I ran outside as fast as I could, as fast as my two stubby paws could carry me. Why was I running? Who was I running from? Well, I'll tell you why humans. I was running simply because a nice man was trying to let me come to live with him, separating me from my mom in what could be forever.
"Number 7!" I heard Mom bark out my name. I stopped in my tracks to look at her. "Don't you see? This man wants to take you home with him. Why won't you let him? I thought you wanted to get adopted by a family. This way you'll get a proper name."
"I do want that, Mom." I answered back. "But at the same time I don't want to leave you."
"Oh, is that what this is about?" She walked closer to me. "Well, don't worry about me. I'll be fine."
"But Mom, don't you miss them? All of my brothers and sisters? They're probably not coming back."
"I do miss them. I'll miss them every day that goes by without them at my side. They're my puppies, my babies. I birthed them. How could I not miss them?"
"So that means you'll miss me too, right?"
"Then I won't leave you, Mom! That way you won't miss me. I'll stay by your side, I promise."
"That's very kind of you, Number 7, but I don't want that for you. I want you to be happy, to live your own life with a happy and loving family."
"But I will be happy, you're my Mom!"
"And I always will be. But I won't be here forever, you know. I want to make sure you're safe and will have a bright future ahead. That's every mother's dream, even if it may be painful for them at first."
"Yeah, but I don't want to make you sad. I'm only eight weeks old! That seems way too young to me to get adopted."
"I'll be happy knowing that you're safe and happy yourself. Please, Number 7. Do this, for me, for your humans. This won't be fair to them if you stay here all your life."
"Just promise me you'll always remember me."
"I will, but..."
"I'll always be with you, Number 7. Just like you and your brothers and sisters will always be with me."
"I'll miss you too, Mom." I whimpered sadly as I snuggled close to my mom. Tears would be flowing down my face if they could. I sniffed. "Alright, Mom. I'll do this. For you. I'm ready to get adopted. I'm not scared anymore."
"That's my baby boy."
"I'm really sorry about this." I heard Mom's human apologize as we came back into the house. "I don't know where he went off to. Perhaps another time."
"There he is!" The man that was going to adopt me cried out. Mom's owner looked at me and smiled.
"Well, well, well, maybe the little puppy had a bite from the jitterbug and ran off because he was scared. Then his mom ran off to give him a pep talk. That's what I gather." The man trying to adopt me laughed.
"Yeah, maybe." I didn't get what was so funny. I also didn't know what 'jitterbug' meant. Humans sure can be confusing. I looked at Mom. She didn't know what he meant either.
The buyer picked me up and looked at Mom's owner. He thanked him by bowing and left. I took one last look at my mom over his shoulder as he carried me away.
"Bye, Mom." I said. "I'll never forget you."
"Goodbye, my sweet pup." My mother said back sitting on her haunches. "I'll never forget you either. Remember I'll always be your mother and you'll always be my baby. I love you."
"I love you too."
The man took me into what Mom said is what humans called a car and we went off. I put my paws up on the window to look back one last time.
"I'm home!" The man announced as soon as we went inside the house where I was going to now live. He took off his shoes and went upstairs. "Honey?"
"I'm in here!" Another voice called. I smelled something. We went to the room producing the smell where we saw a lady. She was stirring something with a wooden spoon in a big metal pot. She stopped to look at me.
"Aren't you a little cutie? You look like you could be a little prince." I didn't know what that meant either but was happy just the same. She grabbed me so she could get a better look at me.
"He's perfect. The perfect dog for us."
"He sure is." The man agreed. "He'll need a name though." I agree. I didn't want to be called Number 7 any more. No offense to my mom or anything, but I hated that name. She named all of her puppies in the order that we were all born in. She knew we would be adopted so that was also the reason she didn't think of better names for us. She left the humans for that 'hard' job. "You said that he looked like a little prince. That could be his name." The woman thought about this, then looked at the man.
"I was thinking Yukko could be his name."
"Yes. I think it's a fitting name, don't you?"
"Then Yukko is it." He looked at me with a smile. "Welcome to the family, Yukko." Personally I don't care what my name was. Just that it was a good name and that it wasn't Number 7. Huh, maybe I do care about my name a little.
Now, since dogs don't have a good conception of time, I don't know how long exactly it was, but I do know that it was a long time. I grew up to be a wise dog, (according to me anyways), still small though, but I wasn't a puppy anymore. Like Mom said, I grew to like these humans and they loved me too. So much that I went by a second name. They started calling me 'little prince of the household', but mostly it was Yukko. I didn't know what my second name meant (or my first really) but it made me pretty special. I was the highlight of my owner's lives, who over time I learned their names were Gen and Kumiko. They were the highlight of mine. They spoiled me rotten but I didn't care, I liked to be the center of attention. Life with them was peaceful. I couldn't be any happier.
I was all alone. My family has left me like they usually do for reasons unknown to me. I mean, I know that they need their space and I respect that. Every creature needs time apart from each other every now and then otherwise it'll be too overwhelming. But leaving me alone constantly? I don't get it. But soon as they come home again, I'm the center of attention once again.
Anyway, I was so excited when they came home. I bounded over to them, barking and bouncing with joy.
"Shhh, Yukko." Gen shushed me. "You'll wake up the baby." This got me confused. Huh? What baby? There are human babies? I never saw one before. I then noticed that the woman was carrying something in her arms. What's that? Is that the baby? I continued to bark.
"Shhh, Yukko, knock it off!" Kumiko scolded me in a whisper. But I didn't. I just kept on barking. I then heard crying. I stopped. "Oh no! You woke him, Yukko." I jumped in the air over and over again, trying to see what the woman was carrying. Let. Me. See! "Calm him down while I calm down the baby, won't you, dear?" Gen nodded and looked at me, mad. I immediately stopped jumping up and down and my ears drooped. I was in trouble. I don't know why, but I was.
"Yukko!" He said firmly. "Please! We don't have time for this right now. Wait until we settle in." I whimpered to tell them how sorry I was but they both ignored it.
"Yukko!" Gen said to me a bit later. "Do you want to see the baby? You can see him now." I immediately ran to their side. Kumiko was holding him and showed him to me.
"This is Kun, Yukko." Kumiko said to me. "Our new addition to the family. What do you think?" What do I think? The little one sure was cute. This must be what it was like for Mom when my siblings and I were all born. I barked. Congratulations! They smiled and laughed.
"We're going to be wonderful parents to our son. We're going to be one happy family." I barked again. I couldn't agree more.
Boy was I wrong! Now don't get me wrong, I loved the little tyke at first, but as time went on, I began to hate him. He cried constantly. Sometimes very loud. I wanted to scream 'shut up', but of course I couldn't. Curse the humans for not understanding my language. But I don't understand a lot of theirs either so there's that.
And what's worse is that since they took this little brat home, they have been focusing their time with him instead of me. They sometimes took me on walks, but he usually came along when we did, so it wasn't the same. Nothing was. It has me thinking, were my siblings and I little nightmares after we were born?
It was like this for a long time. I was in the same house, but I was like invisible to them. Don't they know that I'm here too and was here long before that little nuisance arrived? And whenever they did acknowledge me and was aware of my presence, they would yell at me and drag me outside or put me in my mobile mini- jail cell, aka a kennel, even though I never had done anything at all (according to me anyways).
Then one almost fateful day (for the baby) at the park is when it all happened. Gen was on a bench talking on his mobile device, Kumiko was off somewhere and I was just minding my own business when I noticed a little bird land on top of Kun's head. I don't know why it decided to land there but it did. Kun must've felt it on his head for he reached out and slapped his head gently. The bird flew off then did something that I never thought would happen. He tried to snatch away his toy keys but Kun grabbed on to the other end of the toy keys and tried to pull it away. I growled and barked angrily.
"Hey, bird!" I barked. "That's my baby human's toy. Leave it and him alone!" The bird however didn't understand me (or he chose not to hear me). The keys then flew to the ground. The bird gave up and flew off.
I was about to go retrieve the toy when I saw Kun get out of whatever device that he goes to when his parents takes us to the park. They usually tie him up in there real good so I have no clue how he got out, but he did. Anyways, he got out and crawled like he always does to get the toy. I watched him pick up the toy.
Suddenly a vehicle with two big wheels zoomed towards Kun. Uh, oh! This didn't look good. I growled and barked over and over again at the human driving the thing. I noticed that he had things in his ears so he couldn't hear me.
I guess I have to spring into action myself. Still barking, I ran towards Kun and pushed him out of the way. Was I about to sacrifice myself? I guess so. Oh, the things I do for you, kid. Suddenly the man driving the vehicle stopped. I looked up and wagged my tail. I was okay. The kid was okay. We both were okay!
"What happened!?" A freaked out Gen wanted to know as he ran up and scooped Kun in his arms.
"I'm so sorry." The driver apologized. "I was listening to music while riding my bike and wasn't paying attention. Suddenly I see this baby in my path and this dog push him out of the way."
"Gen?" Kumiko wanted to know as she came up with two frozen human desserts in separate cones that looked absolutely delicious. "What happened?"
"I'm sure your husband will explain it all, ma'am." The driver told her. Kumiko looked at him, "I just want you two to know that if it haven't been for your dog, things might've happened differently. If I were you, I'd give him extra treats today." He zoomed off on his vehicle. Kumiko looked at her husband again.
"Gen, what happened?" Gen sighed, looked at me, then at his wife and began to speak.
"Let's have our ice cream while you talk." She gave him his after he put Kun back in his whatever and strapped him in really good so he wouldn't get away again. He took the frozen treat from his wife.
"Uh, okay." Gen said. "You may not like it, like maybe not at all." They sat on the bench and ate their food.
"Just tell the story." So he told her everything. Gen was right. She didn't like it at all, but at least she acknowledged me and smiled. That's all I needed.
As soon as we got home, I got an extra special (dog) treat just like that man suggested I should have. After all I'm a hero for saving Kun's life. They both had said that I was a 'good, dog.' I couldn't agree more. Could this mean they can finally acknowledge me in their lives again and love me as well as Kun?
Unfortunately the answer to that question is no. It was like they completely forgot about me saving their son's life, for they went on treating me the same way before the incident.
I was once again locked outside for a 'time out' for yet another unfair reason. It wasn't my fault for eating from that spilled bowl of rice. Kun literally knocked over the rice and the rice spilled all over the floor. I thought he didn't want them so that was his way of giving his share to me. I was cleaning the floor for you people, yet you still scold and lock me out. I don't get you humans at all.
After pawing, scratching and barking at the slide in door to let me in, I gave up,. I looked at the kid though the window. I looked at him and did a low growl. Man, I hate that kid. I really did. He ruined my life.
"Why don't you run away from these people?" I heard a voice. I looked and saw that it was a Japanese squirrel on a nearby tree. "They obviously don't care about you anymore. I've seen the way they bring you out here time after time. I know what that's like. When my parents had my baby sister, they completely forgot that I existed. So I ran away and haven't regretted it since. There's nothing so grand like the taste of freedom."
"Run away?" I questioned. "No! I can't do that. I'm their loyal dog."
"Suit yourself. Live here and you'll continue to be miserable as they keep doing this to you for maybe the rest of your life, or run away and live the life you always wanted, without rules or responsibilities and just be happy. Your choice. But if you stay here, you don't know what you're missing!" He scurried off in the tree branches.
I can't run off; they'll miss me, or would they? I might just run off right now and they won't even care that I'm gone and attempt to find me. Why live somewhere where you are no longer loved or wanted? Now, these people didn't flat out say that they no longer loved or wanted me, but I feel it. I feel it when they're with Kun. I have to accept that I'm no longer the center of their world.
Except I can't accept it. I refuse to. If they don't want me because they're too busy with Kun, then so be it! I don't want to hang out with them or Kun either! I'll go back to Mom. That is what I'll do. I know that I can count on her unlike these humans. And with that in my doggy brain, I ran off.
After digging my way through the fence, I was on my way. I couldn't believe that I was getting away with this, but with my people focusing so much of their time on Kun, it wasn't surprising. I was free! That squirrel was right! There was nothing more grand than the taste of freedom. That and I no longer get to hear and be in the same room as that loud machine my owners uses to clean the floors. I'm coming for you, Mom! Your little pup is coming home!
Then the thought occurred to me. Where was Mom? I was gone for so long that I forgot where Mom lived. I don't know if she still lives there even. But I was determined to find her no matter what. I can't go back. That's what I knew. I had to keep going forward. I just kept on running, hoping something familiar will pop up.
It didn't. Nothing looked remotely familiar and now my paws were killing me from running for so long. Maybe a little rest. I found a curb on the side of the road, went onto the cement and rested my head in my paws. I was soon fast asleep.
I woke up and yawned. Man, how long was I asleep for? It seemed like my entire life time has gone by, but I know that wasn't true for I was still here and still with plenty of energy. I had to get going. I looked and yelped in shock as I was face to face with a human looking directly at me looking utterly confused (The human, not me. Just wanted to make that clear.)
"Hey, little guy." He greeted me. "What are you doing here all by your lonesome?" I didn't answer (What good would it do anyway? He wouldn't understood). He knelt down and looked me over. I cocked my head, confused. Huh? What was he looking at?
"You don't seem to have a collar." Huh? A collar? Was that the thing put around my neck? I most certainly do! I saw Gen put it around my neck with my own eyes and as far as I know, it was still around me to this very day. Was this human blind? Why couldn't he see it? I saw him thinking. I then smelled him. I couldn't help it. He smelled familiar somehow. Why and how? I don't know this human. We just met.
"You know you remind me of my parents' former dog that ran away months after I was born. Now what was his name?" Well, it was great being with you, human, but I have to leave and go find my mom. I walked away as he snapped his fingers. "That's it! Yukko!" I froze and perked up at the name that was given to me. I looked back at him. Hey, I'm Yukko and I ran away. Could it be? No, that's stupid. It's just a coincidence. I turned back and walked onwards.
"Well, goodbye I guess."
All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, something pounced and attacked me.
I yelped, saw that it was a black, fluffy cat and growled. What was this cat's problem?! Why did it just attack me like that? I didn't do nothing to it. It hissed at me.
"Don't you ever come near my human again, dog!" The cat snapped at me. "You hear me?!"
"I hear you." I told her. "But I wasn't doing anything bad to your human, I swear. I was just leaving."
"Good. You better be, if you know what's good for you." I walked off and muttered under my breath.
"Crazy, stupid cat."
"What was that?!" I stopped in my tracks again. Dang; she heard me! I looked back and tried to play it off.
"Nothing. I said nothing." But I knew that the cat didn't buy it, not one bit. I resumed to walk off.
"Don't play dumb with me, dog." I pretended I didn't hear her. "Hey, did you hear me?" Leave, Yukko. Just ignore her and she'll eventually grow tired of it and leave. "I'm not a crazy, stupid cat!" Suddenly she came after me again. Before I could run, she slashed me across the face. I yelped again and winced in pain. I heard someone shouting, but I was too hurt to understand. Suddenly I collapsed to the ground and everything went black.
I woke up, but I wasn't outside anymore. I looked around. Where am I? I then saw the man.
"Oh, good you're up." He said to me. "Sorry about my cat earlier. Myro I think is obsessed with me and hates it when I give others attention. She's 15 years old, but she still has a lot of energy. I saved her when I was six. That must be why she loves my attention. I looked up and saw the cat again. She was licking her paw; the same paw that she whacked me with. I growled at her.
"I called the vet and I'll take you there soon. Now, don't fight you two." He walked off.
"What are you doing here?" I asked the feline.
"You're being dumb again, dog." She said and looked at me. "I live here." Man, I feel foolish now, but I still growled at her.
"Why did you attack me? Why are you so protective over this guy?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"I just want to know, cat! Now, just answer the question!"
"Okay, okay, chill. It happened when I was a kitten and when my owner was really small. You see, I was walking all alone on the side of the road. No one wanted me. I don't know why, but that's how it was. So anyways, I was lost, hungry and scared. This boy and his family took me home and I stayed with them. When the boy grew up and moved out of the house, he moved his stuff and took me along and here we are now some time later."
"Hmmmm, the human must really love you then."
"Of course he does. What a stupid question."
"Wish my family still loved me, but since they have a baby, they love him now. They focus most of their attention on him now."
"I see, and where are they now and if you have a so-called family, where is your collar?" I looked at her again. "I see them on the dogs in the neighborhood all the time."
"Your owner asked about my collar too, but I assure you, I do have it."
"Really? I don't see it."
"Are you blind Iike your owner? It's right..." I felt around my neck with my paw where my collar was supposed to be, but was shocked to feel only fur. "Huh, that's strange. I'm sure it was right there." I felt all around, still nothing but fur.
"You can look all you want but it's not there."
"Then where is it?"
"How the heck should I know?" I then gave up looking for it.
"Well, I don't need it anyways because I ran away."
"Yeah, that darn little Kun. He ruined everything." Myro all of a sudden perked up with interest.
"Yeah, that's what I said, Kun."
"Interesting. That's my owner's name." This time, I perked up with interest.
"Really? Wow, no wonder he smelled familiar. I wonder, no that's stupid and impossible. I then noticed framed pictures on the wall. "Hey, what are those?"
"Oh, pictures of my owner, his sister and parents. Nothing interesting."
"The parents look familiar." I walked over to get a closer look. Myro said something else but I was too absorbed in the pictures to hear what she said.
I couldn't believe the pictures. One of them was of baby Kun. The same baby Kun who I got jealous of. But I guess that was just a coincidence. Almost all human babies look the same, right? But then I saw the mom and dad. They looked exactly the same too. Odd. But then I saw another little girl. I don't remember the girl. I saw Myro now beside me.
"Are you sure that these are the parents?" I asked her.
"Well," She began. " They were with Kun and his sister when they found me and we all were in the same house until Kun and I moved out. Now I may be going out on a limb here, but yes. I believe they were and still are. They along with the sister sometimes visits along with other people." I looked at the pictures of the parents again, then at baby Kun and adult Kun again. Then it snapped.
I know why the smell was so familiar now and why he said my name. I don't know how and why I knew, or if it was even possible. I just knew. I was in the same house as that same baby Kun, but Adult Kun, in the future.