Perhaps it was the atoms, I thought to myself, sitting on a chain underneath the great Tree of human supeoririty

Perhaps it was the atoms, I thought to myself, sitting on a patch of cold earth mixed with mud underneath the great Tree of human superiority. I had my snout firmly embedded in the book of metaphysical relations and was quite deeply into it, you might say. But, as I had just found myself teetering on the crackled edge of a Breakthrough – that beautiful medley of genius and awaking- when I heard a Noise*. A Noise is a varied and beautiful thing. A noise might, for example, be the nymph-like crackle of a bag of dog food or potato chips. A Noise could possibly be the call of the thus- estranged master. There is also the rare and adored noise of Intruder, which may bring hope to the poor toy poodle and a pillar of fear to the soft old Labrador. Some noises, of a matter if course, require more attention than others of the vein. For example, that of Food carries It's own categories, those categories being Good Food, Normal Food, Bad Food, and Pills. These are in the order of attentiveness above, although evasion of Pills requires a skill and finesse' that few dogs have drunk from the spring of, although I am more gifted than most.

The call of the master has It's own degree of attention in Itself. If the Master is calling, for example, "Come here Boy" then you would do well to keep to your current activity, as eating Good Dead Food and rolling in Dead Not Food is an extremely absorbing and cleansing activity that Humans would do well to imitate

. But if the Master is calling "Come here, you bloody son of a b****!" well, then I would advise you to come with God speed, possibly faster. Invest in a jetpack. Then, the words [spoken sweetly, but do not be fooled!] " Here boy, let's go see the kind veterinarian". These are the vilest words spoken in Human. Hide under the bed and affix yourself in the manner of a limpet, possibly more strongly. There are some that can do it.

As I was saying before I departed on Canis speech, this Noise was loud and fairly sinister, the type that would elicit some barking in a normal situtatation. But- I was bitter from the fact that I had spent most of my life on the chain of Human Superiority. I was supposed to "guard" the junkyard- merely because of my appearance- brown and black with wiry hair and a rather good looking grin. An Airedale of some sort.

Therefore, I just wuffed rather passivelly and settled down upon a most uncomffartble gunnysack. I watched the burglar steal as much as he could with a little smirk of mirth, the sweet tinge of revenge washing over me.

As the criminal made his last pass of the area, I chanced to stand up and smile in a canine's way, which is a showing of ones teeth, like a Human. He mistook this for a snarl, of a vicious and disparaging manner, indicating that I was taking a disturbing interest in nipping his foot. In short, he yelped in human fashion as quietly as possible and took off with a fleetness of limb I was quite surprised at. And to think he was carrying a whole sack of hard metal objects! I must give humans credit- when surprised they are marvels of athlectism and spirited power. I trotted up to the gate, still smiling, to give him a bit of a formal thanks and bon voyage. He galloped elk-like toward the car and slammed the door behind him.The car left an amazingly wide skidmark. I grinned even wider in joyful appreciation, then went back to the gunny sack and utter and painful misery, sniffing gently in the light drizzle that embraced me like a Bogart movie, although without the gentle caress of Elizabeth Taylor. Alas, no sentimental person to feel sympathy for the poor doggie in the rain…

The morning dawned in It's usual pleasant manner- a volley of cursing from the direction of the burglar- ravaged area of the yard. The Master, after extolling the family, friends, and Parentage, I believe, of above criminal, must have had a sudden thought- a rare bird of passion fruit in the marshes if his mind, although if he had seen this bird of passion, he would probably have shot it. Which shows the character of this person.

He rounded the corner with a snarl upon his face. I did not blanch, but perhaps was slightly disquieted. I had no idea that those words could be strung together with such awesome virility. Stunning, really, that a man so mentally handicapped had such grip of the seamier side of Human. Someone should do a study. As I was saying, I started doing such bodily contortions that have only been done by Russian gymnasts, and even then they would possibly erect a statue of me, with a parade of young women in fetching leotards, of which the Master would probably drool so much as to make a decent swimming pool.

After insulting my hair color, he kicked me once or twice and retired to his bed of pain, otherwise known as a color TV with a satellite dish and easy access to wrestling shows. I dug a hole under his doorstop as a small momento, hoping he would fall into it if he ever came out, the odds being slim to none. They say dogs are not vengful.

Later that day I was sitting underneath a car and snapping at flies. Why dogs snap at flies I have no idea. I'm just a dog, not a physiologist. The one time I caught one it tasted like gasoline, so there you have it.

I was looking in the direction of the sidewalk, hoping that by magic a steak would appear in the Nevada sun, when I noticed something interesting. The gate was open. I stayed put for perhaps a second or two, pondering the avabilty of food in Freedom. I came to a descion swiftly and savagely, as my rough handsomeness does induce some feelings of savagery within my person.

The first thing I noticed was people. As I remember, I was stunned that there was more variety then Master, Criminal, and Occasional Customer. That was the day I was aquatinted with the many whiles and ways of People.

The High Roller

The High Roller wears nice clothes, usually white with red bowties and some sort if vegetation. They scream if you even think about shedding within fifty miles of them.

Drink- Serving Ladies

Drink-Serving Ladies are usually wearing skimpy outfits and serving drinks. Avoid.

Normal Ladies

Normal Ladies are usually sentimental and willing to pass you food, although by no means do you touch the dead animals they like to keep around their necks.

Normal Men

Boring, and unsentimental.

Tourists.

Mating call: "Look at that Bubba! A real dog! Hope he in't rabid or something."

Or:"An animal! It will bite me James! Good lord!"

Parents

Children sometimes have Good Food. Parents are a different matter. To wit:

"Look at the doggie Jimmy! Isn't it sweet! I bet the nice puppy-doggy would like to be patted! No, don't poke the nice doggies eyes, Jimmy!"

AVOID ALL CHILDREN OF THIS MANNNER!

There you have it. A field guide. Tear it out and take it with you, all that might be confused.

After a time of rampant and wonderful discovery, I realized that I was hungry. This happens quite often with dogs, so I was not particularly surprised. After realizing that the supply of Normal Ladies was reaching an all time low, I set out in the direction of a giant sculpture of a hamburger. From many years of experience, I have learned that it is hard to go wrong with a giant sculpture of a hamburger. The sidewalk sizzled in the morning sun. My footpads ached slightly as I trotted down the street, and the sun was unmercifully bright. How cruel a world, I thought. The hamburger seemed to be growing further and further away, and it disappeared and reappeared in the waves of heat wafting up from the pavement. I, with my medium length coat, quietly suffered underneath the sun. Why did I have to live in Nevada, land of sin and heat? Suddenly, I felt my feet depart from myself, rather like a house on wheels, come to think of it. I was about to protest when I realized that there was probably some sort of entertainment in the afterlife, possibly loud and tall trashcans. Whatever. Lay it on me. I thought as I felt myself drawn toward a bright light at the end of a tunnel. God's flashlight.

The next thing I knew I was in a cage. Not a prison. Not a pen. A cage. As one might think, I was ticked. I was mostly ticked at the fact that I ha expected heaven to be higher, more comfortable, and with more food, also with other dogs. I came to the conclusion that either heaven was nothing special or that I had been duped into thinking that I was dead. Moaning, I assumed the copyrighted[TM] Poor Puppy Expression and Pose. At that same instant, I saw someone come through the door. So. That sealed it. I was in solitary confiment, in doggie prison. What had I done? I had just been walking down the street, minding my own business, seeing the sights like any old tourist, when WHAM! I was stuck in prison. I moaned again, more plaintively this time. The Human in the corridor stopped dead at my utterance. He turned with little grace but great gusto, making a valiant effort for his three hundred pounds. He then walked unhurriedly over to my cell.

"Shut up, dog."

I was shocked. I mean, I had been expecting some more pity! I had been near death, starving, lonely, in pain, unhappy- and now THIS! Suddenly, I felt my lips fly up over my gleaming deadly fangs [Honest. Totally without my consent] I roared rather majestically and flung myself against the steel, slavering like a hellhound and hissing like a snake. The edifice like man cocked his head in my direction.

"Gotta get one o' em dangerous dog signs. Don't hold your breath, puppy." He waddled off chuckling in a nefarious manner that got to me like nothing else. Grumbling under my breath, I walked to the far corner of my pitiful adobe and slumped downward, rag like in the way of the best method actors.

I woke up late that morning. I am usually an early riser, except for when I am seized in the throes of depression, which I was at the time. Being seized in the throes of depression is no laughing matter. And dogs have a considerably harder time committing suicide than Humans.

"I could always drown myself in t he water bowl" I growled. It was then that I heard somebody say [again]

"Tried it. Doesn't work. Don't bother"

Another dog. He was across from me, in a similar cage. He was small and wiry looking, resembling a fox terrier. I studied him. Was he trustworthy? Or was he merely a neurotic little yap dog? I suspected the latter, but being happy go-lucky and trustworthy, I decided to talk to him.

"So… Why are you here?"

"Me? Ate the couch, yep, ate the couch, green, yep, green."

The latter. It was obvious. He needed Ritalin terminally, poor fool. Perhaps I could coerce something from him.

"Do you know exactly where we are?"

"Me? Heck, yep, we're in the humane society, yep, humane all right. They kill ya after five days, yep."

I turned my back to him. I was lost in thought. Was there a way to get out? How did they kill you? Were they really humane? For Rin Tin Tin's sake! I thought. Perhaps the diminutive little bugger knew. I was grasping at kibble, and I knew it, but there was a faint ray of hope emitting from him.

"How do you get out of here?" I worded it carefully so he wouldn't be confused. Yap dogs are notorious for bad memories.

"Somebody buys, ya, man. You have to be cute, man. Or else they kill ya, yup."

Aha! Like a pet store, an enigma I heard about from a passing Collie. Although the killing part was not sweetness and light, I figured that I was appealing enough to be in and out soon enough.

Subsequently, the first stream of visitors appeared. I turned on the charm like a faucet. I disgusted myself, to tell the truth. Like a damn cat! But it worked, O did it work!

When I saw that fellow, walking around with a gentle grin on his face, patting every single dog that approached him- I knew he was mine. The other dogs mere curs, I was of such quality that I might possibly be emitting a tangible glow. It might have helped that he was wearing expensive clothes too, and wearing a gold necklace, but I 'm not about to tell him that.

I put on the act. It involved whimpering plaintively, grinning, and falling to the floor and playing dramatically dead. This was to signify my heart after someone might have squashed it by walking by.

I swear. The man stopped straight in front of me. I saw a small grin edging his face. Then suddenly he started yelling.

"Perfect! Perfect! How beautiful!"

Whoa! I thought I might be forced to bite him or something to get him to shut up. He was scaring me.

"This is my dog! For the movie! What I needed!"

Well! Things were looking up! Movie! I'd be famous! I'd have a home! I'd be rich! I'd dine on steak! I'd overreact!

My savior went over to my flabby warden and asked him to take me out of my cage. I was bouncing off the walls [literally] As the key turned in the lock I quietly melted in ecstasy.[and not the party drug, as I had no money]

My new Master slipped a rope over my head and led me out. I frisked about as if I was on batteries. The kind with the little pink bunny as the spokesman.

As I trotted out to the Volvo [turbo!] I nodded my head to the poor urchins left behind. I was above them now, a Caninede, my fortune changed in such a dramatic manner that it was almost unbelievable. Since I was now my Master's best friend, I supposed that I was obliged to stick my head out the car window and drool on the leather seats. He looked back with one of those looks that scream love and adoration, and I do mean scream. I started munching rythmically on the armrest.

When we reached his home, I stepped out rather as if I owned the place. Which I now did. My Master though , did not open the door. Instead, he sat me down and gave me a lecture. He explained that my name was now Monty. It was stupid, but one cannot account for good taste among Humans. Rather'd have it Spot, or Duke or something appromaxited as proper. He also embarked on the varied and exotic subjects of Not chewing on Inside Things, Outside for ones unmentionables, and Not To Chase the Cat. He touched briefly on eternal loyalty and cooperation for a wonderful and rewarding partnership. Of course, just by the fact that he used the word partnership I had pledged eternal loyalty. He also said something about guarding the house from Criminal. I refused politely. I had had enough of Criminals and did not wish any more association, thank you.

After this he opened the door and ushered me in, though he trailed behind me as he was unstably carrying a dog bed and some other basic needs[including the squeaky porcupine. Always a squeaky porcupine.]

I shall not bore you with more details. Let us say I came to an agreement with Bordeaux the cat and we are now friends. I did not chew anything particularly valuable. I was trained and made to do tricks for boxes, which I discovered was something that I was naturally suited for, being myself, and therefore genius in scope.

And so I find myself inebriated in a wonderful home. Still, I retain a loathing of Criminal, disgust for cages, and an odd dislike for flabby men and wrestling characters. So where you are is not who you are, you see.

*1- All dogs capitalize Noise and Scent. It is an old and quaint habit, and to further the wider acceptation of Canis society, I have deigned to use it here. The fortune kissed must still retain his links with the commoner. I am Dog, after all.