Fabulous Fur Friends

Must Love Animals

Run for Your Life – Part I

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It’s early morning.   Jack, the three year old with long legs is woken by the first light seeping through the cracks in the wooden crate.  Slowly and stiffly he gets up and stretches – first his front legs, then his back legs and  finally gives a shake of his ears and tail. The concrete floor is cold and although his body is young, his muscles have cramped in the night with the damp air.

Jack walks outside and sniffs around his pen; nothing but some dried up bits of grass, some holes where puddles form when it rains and a rusty old bucket for his water.  He has a sip from the bucket but the water is bitter and dirty. He turns away to see what else the day might bring.

He sees Roger and Bruce, one on either side of him, and walks to their pens, one by one, sniffs a morning greeting and lies down in one of the holes he’s dug to keep himself cool in summer.

The morning ritual of clanking buckets begins and Jack starts to wonder what tasty morsel he will be thrown today.  The voice is harsh; there is no love in those words.  Jack doesn’t know what they mean, but he does know they are not kind.

The man with the clanking buckets gets closer and Jack, Roger and Bruce all jump up, eagerly anticipating their morning meal.  But he goes away again and the trio look longingly towards the man with the harsh words.  He doesn’t look back, so Jack sits back down in his hole to wait for the next time the clanking buckets come close.

Bruce

The sun breaks through the clouds and casts a shaft of sunlight on Jack’s body.  He smiles at its warmth and enjoys the sensation of his long head resting on a warm lap, with a kind hand stroking his silky head while he stretches his taut muscles along the length of the sofa.

“Good boy, Jack, ” the kind hand says, “Good boy”.

A shadow is cast over Jack’s resting place and he hears the harsh voice again.  This time he has a fair idea what it means. “Jack, Jack, get up you lazy bastard!  It’s time to show us what you’ve got”.   Jack scrambles to his feet and before he can duck or weave out of the man’s grasp, he is grabbed and a chain thrown around his neck.   Jack stops immediately. He has felt the wrath of those chains before on his delicate skin and the scars are still tender.

He allows himself to be led away from his shelter and into the room.  He can smell the familiar, yet frightening scent of fear.  He sees Roger and Bruce and knows that it’s his turn next.

Jack is placed on the treadmill and immediately he has to jog to prevent himself from being flung off the back, a fate of other friends he has witnessed more than once.  “Get running you lazy bastard” the harsh words say, so Jack runs.   Click, click, click go his nails on the moving surface. Click, click, click.

Just as Jack thinks he can’t run anymore, the harsh words say “Ok, enough for now, you lazy bastard”. The treadmill comes to an abrupt halt, nearly flinging him head over heels, and the chain is thrown back around his neck and Jack is dragged back to his pen.  It’s cold and barren, but at least he feels safe in here.  He goes inside the wooden crate with the concrete floor and lies down despite the cold.  His legs are weary and his muscles ache.  The rumble in his tummy reminds him he hasn’t eaten for two days.   Despite his efforts to stay awake, Jack drifts off to sleep, his long head resting on a warm lap, with a kind hand stroking his silky head while he stretches his taut muscles along the length of the sofa.

“Good boy, Jack, ” the kind hand says, “Good boy”.

Jack hears Roger and Bruce stirring in their pens, one on either side of him.  He gets up and stretches, his nails going click, click, click on the concrete floor.  He shakes his head and his tail and ventures out to see what’s going on.  He greets Roger with a sniff and they pace up and down their shared wire fenceline.

In the distance they hear clanking buckets and they do a little helicopter dance – they must be coming towards them this time.  Jack rushes over to Bruce, greets him with a sniff and they run to the end of their pens to see if they can see where the sound is coming from.

At last, it’s their turn.  The man with the harsh words and the clanking buckets comes into view.  He has two in each hand.  He reaches Bruce first, puts the buckets downs, reaches into one with a scoop  and then flings the food at Bruce through the wire fence.  Bruce reels away in alarm but his hunger takes hold and he comes back to snuffle the morsels from the ground.  The man scoops again into the bucket and flings more kibble into the pen. This time Bruce stands his ground.

Jack is next in line. The man with the harsh words and clinking buckets flings two scoops of kibble at Jack.  “Eat that, you lazy bastard.  You’d better make us some money tomorrow”.   Jack does not understand the words but he knows they are not kind.

Frankie

The days are not long at this time of year.  The shadows lengthen and the air cools as night takes hold.  Bruce, Jack and Roger sniff their goodnights and drift into their wooden crates with the cold concrete floors.

Jack tries his best to stay warm – his long, lean body is surprisingly small when it’s wound around itself.  His long tail wraps around his legs and he tucks his long nose under it.  The cold concrete floor his hard on his bony elbows and hips but callouses have formed and protect him from too much pain.

Jack drifts off to sleep, his long head resting on a warm lap, with a kind hand stroking his silky head while he stretches his taut muscles along the length of the sofa.

“Good boy, Jack, ” the kind hand says, “Good boy”.

“Jack, Jack, get up you lazy bastard!”   Jack, the three year old with long legs and a long nose, is woken by the first harsh words of the day.

Jack jumps up as quickly as his stiff legs will let him.  He snuffles up the few morsels of kibble he’s been thrown and along with Bruce and Roger, he’s bundled off in a trailer to a place unknown, but with the familiar scent of fear.

The three are hauled onto a treadmill to ‘warm up’ before their big event. Click, click, click go their nails on the moving surface.   “Ok, enough you lazy bastards” the man with the harsh words says.  He has no clinking buckets today.   “Time to show us what you’ve got and earn your keep”.

Jack’s racing jacket is placed on his skinny shoulders and he sees Roger and Bruce in theirs.  Despite his nerves and trepidation, he does take a moment to admire how well his jacket matches his colour.    Well, perhaps today will be his day after all and the man with the harsh words might say “Good boy, Jack. ”

Jack and Bruce and Roger wait patiently in the starting yard, though their nerves are jumping around like little crickets, making every inch of their body taut and ready.

“They’re off and racing” says the starter as the gun fires, loudly enough to make anyone turn and run the other way.  Jack jumps off with a leap and bounds after everyone else.  His muscles are screaming but he knows he must run as fast as he can. He’s trying his best – he doesn’t know why, he just knows he has to.   Jack is in the middle of the pack – not losing, not winning .  One of the runners in front of him falls, he thinks it might be Bruce, and everyone behind trips over.  Jack can’t stop in time and is flung high in the air.  His long legs and tail are flailing and as he hits the ground he hears the crack.

Never again will Jack have to run for his life.

Kay's Greys_blue girl

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/2012-11-11/4355398

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Author: Fabulous Fur Friends

My name is Kylie and I am passionate about animals and their welfare. My husband and I live in Bendigo, Australia and live with our three dogs - Rupie, Billie and Chelsea - all rescue dogs. I enjoy writing and aim to share health and welfare issues and updates as well as some short stories.

5 thoughts on “Run for Your Life – Part I

  1. Beautifully written Kylie. 😦

  2. So so sad. Trying not to cry whilst reading it.

  3. Painful to read (a good thing for an author to hear) beautifully written.

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