Polly’s left leg moved like a wiper on a windshield as he tried to cut the straw around his neck with his nails. Seeing Jake coming closer and closer was enough reason to move even faster. He did it, finally! He felt the straw break loose. He was free!
The vendor was busy cooking he didn’t notice that Polly had gotten loose. Polly walked backwards. He felt his heart beating fast. Many times, he was just an invisible dog to many and how he wished that he could not be seen that moment. Then he heard - “Hey, glad you came!” the fishball vendor greeted Jake without looking. He stirred the mix of fishballs and quekiam that were cooking in boiling oil. He took a strainer and placed the cooked pieces in it. .
“You found it?” Jake ending his question with a naughty smile.
“Just a moment.” the vendor replied. He took the squid bits that he had soaked in a mixture of starch, water, salt, and
“Stop it, Bruno!” Martin shouted.Bruno stepped closer to Polly still growling, teeth showing, salivating.“I said stop it!”Bruno growled some more.“Stop it I said!”Bruno growled one more time then faced Martin. “I can’t believe you brought in another one, Martin! It’s getting pretty crowded here.”“I don’t see why it’s a problem, Bruno. He takes very little space.”“Now, there’s another one to take care of…again! I’m getting pretty tired doing that.”“You don’t have to take care of him! He will look for his own food just like the others!”“I heard the pack had to step in to save that dog! And I did hear about you taking the blows again! I can’t understand why you had to do that,
“I wish I can prove Saucy wrong but I am so far away from finding a human. I am farther away from that now than before!”Saucy and Polly headed back to the headquarters after a few hours. Most of the pack were there already taking a nap.“Take a rest, Polly. We’ll head to the main street later to eat.” Saucy said as she took her place on the couch.“You mean back there with all the food carts and mobile stores?”“Yes, Polly. Look, I know you don’t want to be back there but we’re here, okay? Go sleep and let’s figure it out later.”Polly nodded. This time he took a place under the couch that Saucy was sleeping on.“I could just stay here with Martin, Saucy, Bruno, and the rest of the pack. Maybe I should stop thinking about finding a human to love, because that part is easy. My mother said that I love with all my heart, with a
Martin did not think anymore. He ran as fast as he could and shielded Polly with his body. Both of them were waiting for the heavy wood and roofing to hit them they both closed their eyes. They were saved, however, by the tall cabinet on their far right when it caught a portion of the wooden brace holding the whole roofing.Martin had not done it before but he carried Polly by his scruff after noticing that he had frozen still again. Martin could hear some of his pack crying for help. Those were the ones that hid inside the structure. He knew some of them had managed to escape but there were some that got pinned by the large debris falling from the surprise demolition that morning.Martin was heading for the exit but the demolition team had blocked all possible entrances and exits. He did not know if some of his pack got out. He was too stunned to realize what was happening. He was on autopilot. He was running on mere adrenaline or instincts, whichever was presen
Polly had made up his mind he would separate from the pack believing that he was responsible for bringing bad luck upon them. A plan emerged in his head. He would wait for Saucy to fall deep in sleep then he would get away for as far as he could. There was just one problem, well a few problems. His wounds had not healed from the thorn that pricked his side and from being dragged by the fishball vendor. He still could not walk very fast. Saucy would catch up with him easily if he was not careful. Another was that, Saucy has got a powerful sense of smell. All dogs did, him included, but multiply it by four or five times and that was how strong her nose was. Her hearing, too, was pretty good. Better than the average dog so maybe if he moved, it would easily wake her up and his plan would go kaput. Polly was actually afraid to leave the pack. Although he still did not feel like he belonged there, at least he knew there was at least three dogs looking out for him
It took days before Martin and Bruno found Saucy, Polly, and about five more dogs that belonged to their pack. Each one’s ability to smell their way towards one another was muddled by hunger and shorter hours of sleep and rest. All of them were too far away from the main street that had nourished them all in the last few years and far from the quarters that sheltered them for too long.It was evident that Martin and Bruno had been engaged in various fights. They had probably been bullied by other packs of dogs in different places. That was understandable. That’s how dogs were. Dogs protect their territory.If it were up to Bruno, he would establish any place as territory. He was not afraid fighting everyday it that was what it took to claim the place. That was what he tried to do when he found the main street. Bruno was young, muscular, strong and smart, too. He had been alone long enough it would seem like he was no longer afraid of anything. <
It’s been days and Martin’s pack, which was considerably decimated, had not found a place to settle in. Food had been scarce. Whatever piece they found was divided among the eight of them and that usually wasn’t a lot. Everyone was not only tired and hungry, they were desperate.Everyone was looking out to him for comfort and assurance but even him was doubting whether he had enough of those for everyone.One night, the pack gathered around, as they usually did, around a whole pack of bread they got from the trash of a small grocery store. It was already expired as stated on the packaging but there wasn’t any molds yet.Martin urged everyone to get a piece each, and as always, he was the last to get a share.Everyone ate quietly this time. There wasn’t that usual chattering and teasing. The mood was dreadful.“I don’t think we’ll be able to last long if we stay together.” Martin said, h
“So Polly, what do you think?” Saucy said as she watched the jeepney driver carry a box with a crying kitten inside. “Huh?” Polly was tilting his head puzzled. “I’ve been watching that jeepney driver. For two days now, he’s been bringing in stray cats in his house! I think he’s the human for you.” “Oh, I don’t know. He seems nice and all but maybe he’s a cat person.” “Cat person? Can’t you see he’s got dogs, too! Plus it looks like his kids like animals, too.” “Yes, his kids like cats, too.” “What are you talking about? I think this family likes both cats and dogs.” “Ahmm, Saucy? Maybe you should go find your own place now and I can go find my human on my own.” A change of atmosphere was triggered by Polly’s suggestion. “What made you bring that up?” “You’ve done so much for me. I mean, you could’ve stayed with Bruno and Martin
Three big dogs came running all over the school’s basketball court. They did not notice Polly and Saucy standing in front of the gate. They were busy marking the walls and corners within the fenced school. It was afterall their territory that was occupied for a while by those children. “What are grinning about?” Saucy stood up, turned her whole body so she could have a good look at Polly. Polly did not answer at first. He was so focused and looked obviously engrossed at the view before him. “Oh, are you seeing something that I am not seeing? ‘Cause all I see are three dogs doing their usual stuff!” “There’s a dog person in there, Saucy! She’s the one I was waiting to see… Oh, I thought I was just hallucinating.” Polly sounded relieved. “I hope you are right about that.” “Well, I thought you wanted me to choose my human?” “Yeah, I know. I just want to see you hurt again so don’t k