My Turn


I’ve been compared to Humphrey Bogart because of my dark and brooding looks. Someone once said I looked like an old fedora. No matter how I feel inside my face seems locked in a deep sorrowful gaze.

People worry about me because I always look so sad. It’s true that I used to be sad a lot before I came to Asherpark.

In my old life I had a silly name – Cyrus. Imagine being named after the king of Persia and living in squalor.

When I was Cyrus I lived in chaos. My person used drugs and had runaway kids living with her. They had drug parties and smoked a lot. The place stunk real bad.

Once somebody did something mean to me. The vet says the bone under my right eye was broken. I think somebody kicked me.

When the authorities seized me I was put in the slammer for five months while all the legal stuff got sorted out. It was cold and drafty. I could smell the fear. Day after day I lay on the concrete floor wondering if my royal name would buy me a better place to live.

When I finally got sprung from the joint, I was a big sorry mess – dirty fur, goopy eyes, and a hundred yard stare from all the misery in my life.

The first thing I did on the way to my new home was puke in the back of the car. It’s a wonder I wasn’t taken right back to the shelter. Looking back I feel ashamed about my behavior. Things didn’t get off to a very good start.

As soon as I got to my new home I attacked the young boy dog, Asher. That’s what ex-cons do. You gotta act macho so nobody messes with you. Then I pissed in every corner and on every piece of furniture.

The second time I got hissy with Ash, mom put me down hard. She wagged her finger in my face and told me to knock the crap off. Then she put me on a leash and I had to follow here everywhere for a week.

When I got off detention I realized I didn’t have to be mean to Ash. Nobody at Asherpark was gonna hurt me. Once I quit attacking Ash, he became my best friend. Mom calls him my babysitter because I’m afraid to be left alone without Ash to keep me company.

The truth is I’m a big scaredy cat. I’m afraid to be the last one in the yard at night. I’m afraid to be left home alone. I’m afraid of walks in the park. I’m afraid to get my feet wet in deep puddles. The strange thing is people love me anyway.

At Asherpark I got my new name, Jack. It’s a wonderful name. It makes me seem like one of the guys, not some goofy dead king.

I go places and represent Old Dog Haven. Because I’m calm around strangers, anybody can come up to me and pet me.

Now that Nellie’s gone Ash told me that I had to step up my game and share the responsibilities. Ash said I’ve stayed in the background long enough. I’ve had three years to get over the bad stuff that happened to me. He’s right. I’m gonna man up and start helping Ash with the DailyBark. You watch me!







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