Three weeks ago I had my lifes epiphany. I was having a good day, I saw my friends that I hadn't seen for a while, I got to talk to my girlfriend of my dreams whom I love so very much, I got to enjoy my life, enjoy the sounds of my Ipod and enjoy the world. Honestly, I don't think much about all of it, I often take it all for granted yet I know I'm living a privileged life. After this amazing day, I begin to start my walk home, I begin to smile at the happiness I have, and I see a weak saddened dog, the kind of dog you would see on a commercial against animal abuse. This dog reminded me of something that happened in my past as a child, something I'll never forget.
There was once a dog who was abused by his owners nearby where I once lived. Owners who, along with the acts of abuse they brought onto the dog, decided to abandon him and leave him out on the streets. I can only wonder just how long he had gone without food. I can only wonder just how long he had to go through being abused. With metal wires wrapped around his neck, scars from what looked like a belt and the look of hunger breaking down his body the dog began to follow me home.
This dog was a very large dog, large enough that It brought me worries of whether he would attack me or not. I decided to test him being the adventerous young lad that I was. I turned towards the dog who was about 10 feet towards me, and sat down on the ground indian-style and stared at it. In amazement I watched the dog do exactly the same and begin wagging his tail. At that very moment I began thinking this is the happiest he's ever been for a while and I sat there and stared at him as he lied down and wagged his tail from the distance.
Suddenly, in the midst of our staredown, I heard a car honk its horn. I had sat down in front of someones driveway as they were about to leave and had not realized it. The man in the car began yelling at me to move out of the way and without hesitation the dog began to bear its teeth. It than stood up, ran over to the car and tried to attack the man who was yelling at me. I called the dog by the first name that came to mind, "Billy", seeing as I have another dog named Lily. Once again Billy brought me to amazement as he sat down, stared at me and wagged his tail. Shortly afterwords he walked towards me and let me pet him. The man in the car then told me to put my dog on a leash and Billy began barking in rage at him, I quickly settled him down by simply saying his name and brought him to my home where he lived with me for next few weeks. My parents wouldn't allow me to keep him in the house due to his hostility, so we kept him in the backyard.
Everyday after school as I'd arrive home, I would come home to the surprise of Billy waiting for me on my front porch despite the fact that all the areas out of the back were fenced off, I guess he was my own personal escape artist. Although he seemed absolutely respectful towards me Billy was hostile towards everyone. If anyone was near me Billy would be sure to be one step closer and be sure they didn't touch me. It was as if I had my very own protector that felt the need to protect me even from my family.
One day, his dislike of all became his end. My Dad went around back in hopes to put a proper collar on Billy instead of him wearing the wires that had been tied on him so long. seeing the fact that I was at school my dad felt determined to do it to try and gain Billy's trust. At first he kept a growl and bore his teeth as my dad took the wires away from his neck. At this moment I return home and I jump from the car and scream, "Hi Dad!" As my dad put's his hand up to wave at me, his sudden hand movement causes Billy to throw his head up. He wraps his entire mouth around my fathers arm and begins twisting. I watch in terror as blood starts dripping down my fathers arm and my dads arm swings back and forth at Billy trying to stop his teeth from tearing his arm apart. I call Billys name with a gasp and he lets go for a split second only to grab my Dad's again as his hand goes up in the air. Billy begins howling, screeching and running after one last hit and the animal shelter is called and on their way. When the dogcatcher arrived, Billy sat there as they wrapped the cord around his neck to be sent away to the pound, he looked as if he knew what was about to come and he looked as if he was ready to face it. That night Billy was put down.
Now I begin to look at this dog, I saw the same look of desperation in its eyes, one foot looking broken and held up against its stomach giving it a limp while it had zip tie wrapped around its neck as a leash. I begin to wonder if this dog had gone through the same things as Billy, this dog was certainly less than half of Billys size so there was obviously no way he could properly defend himself from such abuses. He began following me and I didnt realize he was following until I turned around hearing a car headed my way honking at this poor dog sitting in middle of the road watching me, just as I did with Billy when I was watching him to see if he was hostile. I called the dog over but he sat motionless, with one paw looking as if it was shaking in pain and the same look of hunger tearing his body apart. I had to cross the street because of the police officer nearbye so I crossed and hoped that he would follow, I was determined to give this dog a home just like I had to Billy but this time I didn't want to mess it up.
He followed but he seemed reluctant to come near, he just stayed his same distance, just as Billy did and would stop whenever I stopped. I began calling him over and he stumbled to me, falling over once in the process, coming slightly near my hand and than running off back to his safe distance. He was trying to build up trust with me and I planned on gaining it. Again I called him over and the same exact thing happened except this time a couple walked by as he traveled to a safe distance away from me and the couple and than began to cower in fear from the man for he had what looked like a belt in his hand. It was obvious this dog had been abused just as Billy had. I asked the couple if they knew the owners of this dog and they just shrugged and said, "It's gotta be someones." and I repplied "I'm hoping he'll be mine." The couple walked off showing a smile of sympathy towards me and then the dog.
I call the dog over one last time, and he comes over, a bit more slowly than last but even closer. He lets me pet him and after a few strokes I feel a sudden shakiness come over his body. His tail slightly wags and than he came to a happy bark and some stumbling around. He seemed to run in circles of happiness and bark as loud as it could but when I called him back he began running the other direction. It was as if he wanted me to chase him. I was calling the dog back louder and louder as he started running straight into the busy main road. He just began running faster while looking back at me, wondering why I wasnt chasing him. As his eyes met with mine, I saw his bit of happiness he had, he was a puppy and I began thinking if it was the only happiness he had ever had. When I caught this glimpse my new friend ran straight into the way of a passing car.
I sat there and began crying. I cried just the same as I had cried when Billy was put down when I was 12 years old. It was a moment where I tried to give something happiness but it all ended so wrong.
We all need to cherish our times, and cherish each other.
~Christopher Harrison Lycan
RIP Billy and the one I never got to name, I'm glad I was able to try and bring you both a happy ending.