"Sometimes you put up walls not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down." - Unknown
Sitting back in my couch, I sighed at the rain that spilled on the darkened walls of my home. To calm my stressed nerves, I decided to look at one of my old photo albums. The black and white photographs brought back many memories of my youth. I could feel a sense of serenity envelope my spirit and I smiled while turning the cream pages.
One picture in particular caught my attention and I looked closely. In the picture was myself as a young mouse, graduated fresh out of college. I was holding the head of a large hound in quite an affectionate manner. It took a few seconds to jog my memory and I couldn't help but chuckle lightly, remembering that annoying, speckled mongrel.
Looking back at the memory, I knew that I had detested him. But now, as I pondered the thought, I knew he held a special place in my heart...
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Only a few years back, I had started my job as a private consulting detective. I was merely trying to make ends meet while simultaneously creating a name for myself. I had just finished my last case of the day and I had to pick up some groceries for my dinner. I had wanted to rush and pick up the necessities before it got too dark and before I got too tired.
Like almost every weekday, the street was crowded with London citizens. They pushed past one another in droves, stopping by the shops and booths every now and then. I quietly maneuvered my way through the streets and walkways, my shopping list clenched in my hand.
My destination was a few simple steps away yet my attention was turned from my shopping to a large white and brown basset hound sniffing at my head and panting heavily.
Nonchalantly, I waved his large tongue away from my face but he continued to follow me.
"And just where did you come from?" I questioned the mongrel, not really expecting much of an answer. He only wagged his tail and licked my face, resuming his pursuit.
Unfortunately, I couldn't ignore the dog completely no matter how many times I shooed him away. Finally, when I could take no more, I turned to face the basset hound.
"See here! I am not your owner! Now depart from me this instant, you flea-bitten mutt!"
At first the hound was taken aback by my words but seeing my expression made him crawl away with a low whimper, his long ears sadly drooped.
With a scoff, I continued my shopping yet I felt a sense of guilt pervading my soul. Something inside me was telling me to apologize to the dog for my rudeness.
He could be a stray, The voice said, Perhaps you should take him in?
Several times I dismissed the thought but it continued to nitpick at me. Turning back in the direction of where the dog had left, I followed the path and stopped when I noticed him walking through a crossroad full of passing carriages!
"Foolish mutt, what on earth are you doing?!" I rushed over and pulled the dog out of danger.
Moving back to the sidewalk, ignoring the yells of some of the passersby, I wagged my finger at the dog in a scolding manner.
"You could have gotten yourself killed! Did you not see the carriages and vehicles that were clearly passing by-"
The dog was quick to caress my entire body with his wet tongue. I sputtered out some nonsense, suddenly remembering that the dog couldn't speak. Fixing my coat, and wiping off the spittle with my handkerchief, I turned on my heels to leave.
"Well, now… I bid you good day!"
Once more, the sense of guilt overpowered me when my ears perked to the sounds of the dog whimpering, nudging his nose against my tail. Letting out a small sigh, I patted him gently on the nose and smiled softly at him.
"Again, I apologize but I cannot keep you in my home…but I do know a place where you can stay."
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With quick hands, I tied a small note to the dog's neck:
To a kind sir or madam,
I would be most gracious if you took me into your home and cared for me.
I promise to be good and to provide the best of company.
You will not regret having me as a companion.
I directed the hound to stand his post and quickly hid after skillfully ringing the bell. Hiding in the bushes, I watched the door to open. There stood a man who petted the dog and read the note around his neck.
"Toby, eh?" He chuckled lightly. "Well, come in. I'm sure you're quite weary from your travel."
He scooped the dog up in his arms and closed the door behind him. I smiled, knowing that Toby would have a nice, warm place to stay.
I'm sure Toby will love his new home… Once again, I smiled to myself and trudged back to my own home. I knew the dog would be more than grateful with his new master.
Plus, I would be close enough to visit him once in a while…depending on my mood at least~