Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

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           Her bloodshot eyes closed for good. In her final moments she let out one more helpless whimper, to say goodbye to a world that made her life complete, but also to curse the wicked that ruined it. Her life of seven years ended with three deep breaths, each one longer and heavier than the previous. The blood that remained in her body trickled out of her bullet wounds in a red creek along the ground. The once white spots that covered her body were now stained red. The cold ground that she laid her indolent body on for all those countless naps is now where she lies once more. In a way, she probably appreciated her death if it meant she did not have to move around anymore, that lazy dog.

            Nala was a black and white spotted basset hound who was lucky to been seen awake. Her eyes showed this extraordinarily, because at any given time, they would emit the red of the most flawless rubies. Green sludge constantly formed around her eyes due to her lethargic lifestyle. That was Nala, always laying down or sleeping. With a mane of fat around her head, she quickly became a collarless dog and with her short legs compared to her bear like feet, one could only see her legs if they truly looked. People who first seen her ears called them a mutation. They hung low and loosely and constantly stayed wet from dipping in the water bowl from where she drank. The most worthless looking dog to the untrained eye, most of which might call ugly, but as Margaret Wolfe once said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

            As Nala matured, she developed characteristics that seemed incapable for dogs to obtain. Her respect for her owners was remarkable. She never barked at them, ran away, or, if she understood, refused a command. She knew her place in the world and gave respect where respect was needed. Another quality that astounds most dog owners was Nala’s sympathy for any living creature. Dogs by nature kill other animals and guilt does not exist to them. However, Nala saw other animals as friends. She could be seen playing with cats, squirrels, or even the neighbors horses. On occasions, she would bark at and chase animals, but never bite or harm. She coined the saying, “all bark and no bite.” Her brain would shut down if she had ever hurt anything because it was against her natural instinct. Nala’s compassion grew bigger and bigger over the years and never once did she perform harm on anything intentionally. The last and most significant value Nala possessed was her intelligence. Most people who claim they have a smart dog validate that by saying their dog knows many tricks; this was not Nala’s case at all. It was an amazing feat if Nala could learn any trick other than sit down or fetch. Instead, Nala based her intellect on her study of the world around her. She familiarized herself with school and work schedules, the weather, and even learning from the failures of herself and others. Every morning on the hot summer days, Nala would lay and sleep on the cool paved road where she lived, not once ever getting hit by a car. She had learned what time people go to work and school and she knew the exact time to take her naps there. Nala showed her intelligence this way, not through meaningless tricks, but on genuine intelligence.

            Nala’s values made her a very significant dog. Not only did she prove her duties as a good dog, she was also friend. She understood the nature of humans, and if they did something obscure or senseless, she would be the first to point it out to them by quickly nodding her head to the side skeptically. She was not a dog, but a human in a dog’s body. She lacked every quality of a dog but partook in every human feature.

            It was a hot humid day when she died. Not the hot that burns you, the kind of hot that feels like being suffocated by a blanket. In one of the rare instances where Nala decides to go and explore, she ventures out and into the wrong yard. She had visited the same yard countless of times over the years without any complications. As she disappeared into the yard an eerie quietness filled the musty air. Three gunshots sounded almost simultaneously and followed by that, the most helpless and pathetic squeal a dog could make echoed and masked the gunshots remnants. She ran as fast as her body had ever moved, forming a trail of blood on her way. She collapsed many times along the way, but she knew she had to return home, for the respect of her owners. Her face was scared and she knew she was hopeless. She collapsed in the yard and rolled several feet forward, covering her blood soaked fur in dirt. She no longer looked scared, instead content; content with the life she lived and knowing she made it home before she died. She gazed into the clear blue sky waiting for death to overcome her. With her owners hand rested peacefully on top of her head, she took one deep breath. Her bullet wounds pulsated open and closed, pouring blood. She took another deep breath. Her body trembled with shock and she gave the slightest movement she could to her tail along with a quiet howl. She took one more deep agonizing breath, and she was gone. Her bloodshot eyes closed for good.

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