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Man's Best Friend
A dog is man's best friend. How many times had Alex heard that phrase? He didn't remember. He was almost fifteen years old and had few friends. He had begged his parents for years for a dog, but they didn't want an animal in the house. A kid could come up with all sorts of reasons why they should get what they want and Alex was no different. He told his parents that the dog could stay out in the yard and that he would build him a house. Nothing seemed to matter. A dog wasn't forthcoming any time in the foreseeable future, as far as Alex was concerned.
What Alex didn't know, was that his parents had seen how few friends their son had. Even though they didn't really like dogs, they were giving serious consideration to their son's request. Maybe, if they fenced in the back yard and kept the dog there, it wouldn't be too bad. They would exact a promise before they even went to look at dogs, that this animal was to be the sole responsibility of Alex. He would have to feed and care for it.
As for Alex, they shouldn't have even doubted that he would agree to their rules. He would have done anything then, to get a dog. He even knew what kind of dog he wanted. Alex had looked at dog books for years and knew a lot about different breeds. The one the he decided that he wanted was a Weimaraner. Now, most people wouldn't have ever heard of this breed, but Alex thought it was really cool.
It was a large dog, with short hair and was a smoky gray in color. These dogs all had their tails docked when they were very young. The most distinguishing feature however, was their eyes. Unlike most dogs that had eyes of the deep brown color, a Weimaraner had yellow eyes. Alex had no doubt that this is what unnerved many people about these dogs. He had seen one at a dog show, which he had been to with a friend several years ago. He knew instantly that this was the dog he wanted to own.
Alex went with his parents to a local breeder that Alex had found in the phonebook. This man advertised that he bred this breed exclusively. He also knew that they were going to be expensive. He doubted that his parents had a clue what one would cost, but they had agreed to get him a dog and Alex felt sure that they wouldn't deny him what he really wanted after they had promised.
When they got to the place where the man lived, his parents had gone to the door, while Alex went around back where he heard dogs barking. It a few minutes, his parents and the breeder came around the corner together. The breeder said," Well, Alex, do you see anything that you like?"
"Wow," Alex replied," There are so many!"
"Yes, we've had two litters this year from two of by best bitches. All of the puppies survived, but there was a runt in each litter." "Go ahead young man, go into the pen and see if you can find one that you like."
Alex didn't have to be asked twice. He opened the gate and went into the pen. The puppies all tore away from their mothers and bounded toward him. They were looking from a new playmate. Alex was mobbed in short order and knocked to the ground. He lay there with almost a myriad of puppies crawling over him. He laughed and tried to get up, but the puppies weren't going to give up their new playmate so easily. The breeder saw the way the young man reacted with the puppies and knew that they weren't going to leave without one.
Alex's father and the man started talking price. Alex didn't hear any of this though; he was way too busy. He noticed that there was one puppy that wasn't as playful as the others were. It sat back at the edge of the pack and watched. This is what caught Alex's eye. That one was considerably smaller than the others were and Alex knew that it was probably the runt of the litter, but he liked this particular puppy for some reason. He looked up to where his parents and the man were talking and saw that his father's face was red. This wasn't good.
He got up and went over to the fence and heard," But 500 dollars! That's too much for a dog!" Alex knew that it was his father talking.
The man replied," These are all registered, all except the runts and 500 dollars is the going rate for animals of this quality." "I tell you what. I see how much the young man likes the puppies, so I'll sell you one of the runts for only $300." "That's my final offer."
"Well, that's still too much, but we did promise him a dog and he has his heart set on this breed." "Alex," his father addressed him," would you be happy with one of the two smaller puppies?"
"YES!" Alex yelled. That meant that he would get the one he had already decided on anyway. He went over to where the small puppy sat and picked it up and hugged it. "This is the one I want," he told his father.
"OK, it's a deal," his father said.
The man was pleased also. This puppy didn't act right and if he could get that much for it, he was happy. He had figured to almost have to give it away. No one else was going to pay for a puppy that small and it was much less active that the others anyway.
Alex kept the puppy in his arms as his father paid the man and they got in the car to go home. "I hope this is what you wanted Alex," his father said. "I didn't know that I was going to have to pay that for a dog. If that man hadn't cut us a break, I don't think that I could have afforded one of those." Alex hugged the wiggling puppy even tighter. He had what he wanted now!
Alex's parents watched their son with his new dog. He had named it Bo. Bo and Alex quickly became inseparable. They went off exploring in the woods and were gone for hours. Alex had taught Bo to retrieve and had worked out a series of signals with Bo and he would follow Alex's signals to the letter. They couldn't believe that this dog was so well mannered. Alex had taught him well. Their ban of dogs in the house only lasted a month or so.
It seemed that Bo was lonely without his littermates and howled at night. After more that a few nights, they gave in and let Alex keep the dog in his room at night. He washed Bo at least once a week and he didn't smell bad, so his parents didn't have much to say. After the first night, Bo found his place on the foot of Alex's bed and was happy. The only time he even went into the yard, was when Alex went to school.
Today had been some day. Alex had turned sixteen today. His parents had made such a fuss and had invited all of the family over for a barbecue. It had turned into a real party. True, Alex had gotten a lot of cool presents, but he would have rather gone exploring with Bo. Alex was proud of Bo, when he showed all the others what his dog could do. He had preformed everything he had been taught without a glitch. Everyone loved him.
Now it was time for bed and Bo was at the foot of it where he usually slept. It was a warm night and Alex had left the window open. Alex was set to sleep, but had not turned off the light yet. He looked down at Bo and was so proud! He reached down and put his arms once more around Bo's neck and hugged him. Bo responded in kind, by licking Alex's face. Alex took Bo's head between his hands and looked into his eyes. Those yellow eyes that were so haunting.
Alex had heard that a dog wouldn't look you right in the eyes. It was part of dog nature, that if you looked another in the eyes, you were challenging him and most dogs avoided this. Alex was surprised when Bo didn't try to turn his head. He stared right back into Alex's eyes with an unblinking stare. Alex could feel the love that passed between them. Those eyes caught him up! There was something! He could feel the thing, almost like it was a call or something coming from Bo!
Alex shivered with a need that he had never realized. It that moment, something passed from Bo to his owner and Alex was filled with an essence that no human had ever experienced. He shook his head and looked down to where he still held Bo's head. His hands were gone, replaced with paws!
He dropped them from Bo and started to get up. His balance was off for some reason and he fell to the bed. His body had suddenly turned fluid and was flowing into a new form. He felt his mouth push out and was filled with canines. His tongue hung from a muzzle where none had been before. Scents, never before known to him burst into his brain and his hearing staggered him. His chest was being squeezed and his lower body quivered as it also flowed into new shapes. The thing was going so fast, that Alex felt like he hadn't even breathed while it happened.
He rolled over and got shakily to his feet. All four of them! Bo had jumped off of the bed and stood there watching Alex change, almost like he knew it was going to happen. Alex was getting used to his different sight, when Bo came over and started to sniff him under his tail. He jumped and yapped at Bo. Wait, this was his friend and he hadn't meant to snap at him. Alex went over to Bo and within a few moments, knew each other like they never had before. Bo started for the window. Alex wondered what he was doing.
Bo yapped again and jumped up and out of the window to the ground outside. Once outside, he barked again and Alex knew that Bo wanted him to follow. He found that he wanted to go out also, so with a bound, he went out the window also. He landed funny and "ooofed" as he rolled on the ground. He got back to his feet in a hurry and was off behind Bo. He seemed to know where he was going and Alex followed, trusting in his friend.
Bo led Alex on a trip around the neighborhood. Alex had never seen it like this before or more accurately smelled the neighborhood like this before. Alex could tell as he ran, where other dogs had been. He smelled something that excited him. His brain told him," CAT." Bo suddenly veered to the right and was after something. Alex realized that it was Mrs. Jones' tomcat. They ran like the wind, trying to catch it. Alex didn't know or care what they would have done if they had caught it, but chasing was sooo fun!
The chase was over too soon, as the tom scampered up a tree where the two dogs couldn't follow. They lost interest quickly and went on their way. They came to a trashcan outside the local restaurant and Alex smelled something good! He pushed the can over and as the top fell off, found the source of the smell. He nosed around in the garbage until he found what he was looking for and woolfed it down, not even considering what he was doing. Bo wanted him to go on, but there was more here. Suddenly, a bright light came on and Alex heard a loud noise. He never even thought, just started running.
After a few moments, he realized that he wasn't followed and looked back. There was a man there with a broom, picking up the spilled trash. If he had been human, he would have laughed. He and Bo went onward. They roamed over almost the whole town that night and Alex thought that he had never had so much fun in his life. Being a dog was so much fun!
Finally, Bo led the way back home. They managed to scramble back in the window and curled up on the bed. Alex was sure tired and he could tell that Bo was too. They looked at each other and after Alex had moved round and round the bed, he curled up, head between paws and slept.
Alex woke the next morning and yawned. He was tired. Man, what a dream! He had dreamed that he had become a dog and he and Bo had gone out on the town! He looked down at Bo in his usual place on the bed. That had been so cool! As he tried to get up, his body protested. Good grief! Why was he so sore? He looked down at himself and saw something that shocked him. He had dirt under his fingernails and his whole body was dirty! He could even now smell himself. He had a funny feeling.
Alex looked back at Bo, who had woke as Alex got up off the bed. As he looked once more into those mischievous eyes, he felt something stir within him. Bo had a doggish grin on his face and Alex knew then that it was no dream. He was still in wonder, as he showered before his parents got up. He went back into the room and sat there on the bed petting Bo. As Alex petted man's best friend, he knew or thought he did, what would happen again that night. This certainly was going to make things more interesting from now on. He couldn't wait!
Man's Best Friend copyright 1998 by Tekwolf.
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