Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Good Dog

Been doing a bit of fiction writing lately, so I thought I'd share.

Night had fallen and the family was asleep. Rex had curled up on the living room rug, wide awake but staying quiet—his boy did not like to be disturbed at night. None of his humans did, but he especially fussed over his boy. Grown-up humans could take care of themselves. Little boys needed good dogs to help them.

Rex heard his boy's bedroom door open, and he stood up. His boy was probably just up for a glass of water, but he was still very little and it was dark in the house. A good dog would go help him. He padded to the boy's side, able to see much better than a human at night. His boy was filling a cup when he heard it.

There was a noise at the door that made his spine tingle. It was a sort of cracking noise, like somebody was trying to pry the door open instead of using the knob. Nobody had ever taught him, but something in his doggie-senses told him that only bad people tried to break doors in the middle of the night. He growled and his fur stood up all over his back.

The door broke open and a man came in with his face all covered up, even though it wasn't winter. Rex didn't like that. The man moved into the kitchen, and he liked that even less. His boy opened his mouth to yell for the grown-ups and the man grabbed him, putting a hand over his mouth. Rex's heart pounded. He had to do something. Good dogs did not bite, but this man was hurting his boy, and good men did not hurt little boys. Perhaps it was okay for a good dog to bite bad men?

He heard his boy whimper, and that settled it. Rex bit into the man's leg, and the man yelled and let go of his boy. The man tried to kick at Rex, and he bit harder, shaking like he did with his toys until he heard the rip of fabric and tasted blood. The taste scared him, but he didn't want to let go for fear that the man would go and hurt his boy again. He heard the grown-ups now, heard them dialing the phone. The man flung him off and tried to run. Rex chased him. Bad men could hurt his family. Bad men had to be stopped.

By the time the men in uniform arrived, Rex had the man by the arm. His family came running and he let go at last—men in uniform took bad men away. He had seen it happen on the television that his humans liked to watch. Tail wagging, he approached the men in uniform, expecting them to praise him for saving his family. Instead, one of the men pushed a long pole toward him, and Rex felt something close around his neck. He didn't understand. Men in uniform only took away bad dogs. The people on the television said so. But he had not bitten his boy. He had bitten the bad man. He was a good dog.

He saw one of his humans move forward, heard the words "good dog". She was trying to explain. But the man in uniform shook his head and said something Rex could not understand. He felt himself being pulled away and started to panic.

He strained against the thing around his neck, barking frantically as his boy began to cry. "No! You can't take me! I'm a good dog! He was going to hurt my boy! I had to protect him. I'm a good dog!" He barked all the way outside as the men put him in the back of a van.

But humans could not understand dog-talk. Rex laid his head down and whimpered as the van began to drive away with him in it, taking him away from his family.

"But I'm a good dog…" 

The dog-thoughts are heavily influenced by Amy Shojai (she is awesome, go check her out). She has a section of her thriller novel that is from the point of view of the dog.

As far as I know, the laws that protect homeowners from prosecution for defending their own homes do not usually apply to dogs who bite intruders. Which is a shame, since I have known at least a few dogs who would never hurt a fly unless they really thought their family was being threatened.

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