Short Stories – My True Freedom

I have no name. I was born in a backyard of a house with 5 other siblings. 2 of them died not long after they came out from my mom’s womb, 3 of them were adopted when we were 4 weeks old. I was the only one left in the backyard with my mom.

Most of the time, me and my mom were living in a cage, a very small cage barely fit both of us. I grew up pretty fast, I was more than doubled in size when I was 2 months old. The cage became smaller and smaller every day.

During day time, the cage was hot with direct sunlight. Me and my mom spent most of our time in our cage trying to get some sleep. We couldn’t do anything else other than slept though, the cage was just too small for both of us. Sometimes mom would lick me clean and I would do the same for her. She was all I have, in the cage, at the backyard of this house.

During night time, the cage became dark, humid and cold. We were fed during evening when the sky started to grow dark. After that, our owner (that’s what my mom told me) let mom out. She said that was her job during night time, to guard the house from bad guys. I asked why I didn’t need to, she said I was still young.

When I was 5 months old, mom grew sick. She slept a lot and rarely woke up to eat and drink. Since then, our owner let me out during night time to guard the house instead of mom. At first, I was curious about the place and I spent a lot of time sniffing around. The house was very big compared to the cage, I didn’t want to go back there. I wanted to stay outside the cage and be able to run around.

A month after mom was sick, she left me. She stopped breathing. She didn’t move an inch no matter how hard I tried to push her to wake her up. I cried and cried until owner came to the cage to move mom away. I didn’t know where she was brought, I wasn’t allowed to follow. I howled very loud when I saw her body was carried away, I was very sad. Owner poured cold water on me to stopped me from crying. I felt colder that night, with my wet body and without mom around.

One night, I smelled a scent which was unfamiliar to me. I quickly ran to the gate and had a look. A figure appeared at the distance, hidden behind the bush. I barked at it to raise the alarm and to warn the figure not to approach the gate. It wasn’t scared by my warning, it moved closer and closer until I saw its wagging tail. It was a black-furred dog about my age.

I stopped barking when it approached the gate trying to befriend with me, it looked friendly. I asked where it came from, it said one of the houses from the opposite. I asked again how it went out, it told me there was a hole in the ground. I thought I should make a hole to go out too.

I quickly found a spot near the gate and started digging. The ground was hard but I continued digging until my paws hurt. When I was exhausted, I stopped digging and tried to squeeze my body through. I failed. It was way too small. I decided to rest and tried again tomorrow.

Next day, owner woke up and wanted to bring me back to the cage. I refused. I struggled hard because I wanted to continue digging the hole. Owner noticed the hole I made and became very angry. He took a broom and hit me hard. I yowled loudly of pain and ran to hide behind the cage, I was scared. Owner punished me by not feeding me that day and didn’t let me out.

After a week, owner let me out again to do my job but he warned me not to do silly things again. I guessed he was referring to hole digging. I wouldn’t give up, I wanted to get out from this horrible place.

The black-furred dog came back again that night. It asked me where was I the past week, I told it I was punished and locked in the cage because owner discovered the hole I dug. It laughed at my stupidity and advised me to dig the hole at a place which was not obvious.

This time, I learned from my mistake. I found a very secret and safe place to proceed with my escape plan – the ground behind the cage. Since I was born, I had never seen owner went to the area behind the cage. The cage was big enough to be able to conceal the hole I dug on the ground too. So I started digging again. I knew I wasn’t able to complete it fast so I dug it every night until I was able to squeeze out from the small hole.

Once I went through the hole, I quickly ran away from the house as far as I could go. I wouldn’t want to be caught again and brought back to that small cage again. I wouldn’t want to get beaten again. I wanted to be free.

There were so many types of new scent I never smell before, there were so many things I had never seen before. I spent the whole night exploring the new area outside the place where I grew up and spent the most time at. I felt happy.

In the next morning, I realized I had to find a place to rest. There was no cage outside the house so I hid under a tree to sleep. The tree was able to shelter me from sunlight so I slept and slept. I woke up with a growling stomach, I was hungry and I needed to get something to eat.

When I was staying in the house, owner would bring food to me every evening unless I was punished. This time, I had to find my own food. I circled around the area trying to find food but there wasn’t any. I ran and ran until I was thirsty. I sat down and panting, my tongue stuck out to release the heat and sweat.

At that moment, a little girl came near me and offered me something which smelled good. It smelled like food and it should be very tasty. I couldn’t control my saliva from dripping down my mouth as I was very very hungry. I approached the girl slowly as she knelt down and her hands stuck out, offering the food to me.

Finally, I had the food in my mouth so I chewed and chewed, I swallowed and swallowed. The little girl touched my forehead and stroked my back gently. It felt warm. I had never had anyone touched me before except my mom. The touch from the girl warmed my heart and I liked it. I liked her. Her eyes were brown and the mane on her head were black too, same with the black-furred dog. I licked her hands to show my appreciation and she laughed when I did that.

Soon, someone called the little girl’s name. She answered and turned away from me to run towards that person who seemed like her mom. Her mom hugged her and carried her away. I missed my mom.

I wasn’t always lucky to have someone given me food. Most of the time I had to get it from very big plastic containers placed outside each of the houses and I drank from rain or pools of water I could find anywhere on the floor. Sometimes the food tasted good, sometimes it tasted weird. I didn’t care much as I was hungry.

I didn’t have a usual spot to sleep too. I roamed around so much so I usually slept under a tree or sometimes crawl under a big moving machine. Sometimes I would be awakened by the roaring sound of these machines but when it was not, it was able to protect me from the attacks.

During evening, kids were playing around their houses and some of them went a bit far away to play. Some of them were friendly, they would called me over and gave me something to eat. Some of them were mean, they threw stones at me and yelled at me, calling me “unclean”. I couldn’t understand why they did that to me. I didn’t harm anyone. Maybe I was really dirty, I only shower when it rained.

One day, I passed by a group of grown up kids playing with a round object at the field. I didn’t know what they were doing with the round thing but they seemed having great fun with it. I didn’t meant to attract their attention but eventually I did. One of the kids shouted at me and ran towards me, the rest of them followed. I tried to run away but soon, I was surrounded by them.

I didn’t know what they wanted to do but I felt scared. They were a lot taller than the usual kids I met outside the houses and they looked stronger. They circled around me and kept on yelling at me. Not long after that, more kids joined in, some of them carried a sturdy-looking stick with them. That reminded me of the broom my owner used to hit me. Before I could react, I was hit at the back near my tail. I howled loudly and fell down. I tried to get up and run away but before I could do that, another hit on my head. I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see anything. All I could feel was a lot of kicking and hitting on all over my body. I vomited blood and choked on it.

Time seemed frozen at that time. I couldn’t feel anything, I was numb. The group stopped attacking me but they found something to tie me up. They tied my right front leg with my left hind leg and they put another rope around my neck, pulling me around. Despite the pain I felt all over my body, all I could hear was their laughter. They laughed and laughed when I was pulled around. Finally, they left me lying on the road, tied up and dying.

When I was left alone, I thought about my life. I had a loving mom but she left me. I had a house which was supposed to be my shelter but my owner was treating me badly. I was able to escape and did whatever I wanted and I was free but I was brutally attacked. All I wanted was love and a place I felt safe, I never did a thing to harm anyone. Why my life was ended like this?

Suddenly, I saw my mom. She was standing there looking at me. She asked me to follow her, away from this terrible place and she would bring me to a happy place. I followed, leaving my distorted body on the road. Finally, I was able to have my real freedom.

My Notes

The idea of this story came to me in my dream. All I remembered was a seriously injured dog which was tied up and left on the road. Its distorted face and body made me heartache and I actually cried in my sleep. I woke up with tears in my eyes too.

The writing of this short story is simple because I intended to write it for children. I wanted to share with them that we should have empathy towards animals (not only this pity dog). Some of them are harmless and even they seemed dangerous, most of them kill for food or self-protection. Humans kill for greed.

This story was originally published on Wattpad on 1st August 2015.

Photo by Itay Kabalo on Unsplash

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