Walking through the misty evening, she stepped over puddles and avoided the piles of garbage as she headed home to him. The blazing sun had finally eased its hold over the sky and a cooling breeze was blowing, dispensing the stench from the gutters and the fumes from the generators liberally everywhere in its wake. Music blared from the stalls that lined either side of the road she walked along. It did not matter that it was evening, there were still goods to be sold. A few people shouted at her as she hurried past, but she paid no heed to them, her heart and mind were set on getting to him.
She owed everything she was today to the way he had chosen to care for her, chosen to love her in spite of her inauspicious beginnings. She ignored the glances of those who tried to get her attention as she kept her eyes firmly on the distant landmark ahead of her. She had been one of many siblings, born to a father who prided himself on his ability to have his offspring scattered all over town without a backward glance at their mothers. He was the uber-baby father and he had no intentions of relinquishing that title to any other. Her mother had done the best she could for her, but she had still ended up living rough, sleeping on the streets. Deep down, she had always nursed a dream that she would catch the eye of that special person who would take her away from her life of squalor. Her companions mocked her for her dainty habits, the way she always prided herself on her appearance and the way she groomed herself, sometimes incessantly.
Her mind went back to the day she first saw him. She had caught her breath at the way he had walked into the midst of the caterwauling females with an air of purpose about him. He had looked around while conversing with Mrs. Dare, the one person who had taken it upon herself to try to instill some order into their chaotic lives, and for one split second, her eyes had met his across the room. She had seen a gleam of interest in his eyes before he had turned away and continued his conversation as if nothing had happened. Two days later, she had been in the middle of her afternoon nap when Mrs. Dare had come to get her. Scarcely daring to hope, she’d walked alongside her respectfully till they came to a halt in front of him. She had scarcely dared to hope as she lifted her eyes to his, and her heart had leapt with joy at the unconditional acceptance in his. He had opened his arms to her, and she had nestled within them in contentment, knowing deep within her that she had found her rest, her anchor. She had hoped he would take her with him that day, but the procedures had had to be followed, with negotiations going on back and forth. Finally, the day had arrived, and she had left with him without a backward glance at those she was leaving behind. It was not as if they had ever liked her and her uppity ways.
She was startled to discover how far she’d walked as she saw her home just ahead of her, and as if the act of raising her head had conjured him forth, his car purred to a stop in front of her. She broke into a run, with no attempt to hide the sheer joy and pleasure she derived from being in his presence, and the grin he gave her as he stepped out of his car was reward enough. She bounded up to him as he stroked her head, and then she rolled over for him to tickle her belly.
She was his dog, he had chosen her from the rescue shelter, and she was glad he was home.