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This is the fourth in the series called "Our Stories," because

people (and animals) want their stories to be told, and I want to write!

Hello. My name is Sandie. I'm five and a half years old. I only weigh about ten pounds and I'm fluffy and white. I think I might be really cute. People say that a lot when they see me and then they want to hold me and play with me. They think I'm wonderful. At least I always thought they did.

For my first five years I had a home. I had my own beds, two of them. I had blankets and toys and a big yard and plenty of food and two really kind people to take care of me. They took very good care of me in fact. I had everything I could want and I was loved. I was really loved. At least I always thought I was.

I always thought so until one day. One day I noticed them gathering all of my things. They gathered all of my things and put them in a pile by the door. Both of my beds were there. My blankets and toys were stacked inside of them and my leash was on top. I wondered if we were just going for a walk, but then they placed my half full bag of dog food beside everything and that's when I began to whimper. I didn't know what was happening, but I knew I was scared of it. I was scared even though I was safe in that house. At least I always thought I was.

"Come on girl," they said. "Come on girl." I'd been hearing those three little words my whole life and they always meant a walk or a bath or a groom or a slow ride in the car, but I didn't think they meant any of those things that time. I didn't know what they meant, but somehow I knew it was going to change things and I backed away from the door. Gently then, the lady I loved gathered me up in her arms and when she brought me to her chest I could see that wet stuff trickling down her face. I licked it, trying to get her to take me into the house again, to put all of my things back and snuggle with me on the couch, but as the salt settled on my tongue I knew that this would not be my house anymore even though they had promised to keep me forever. They had promised to keep me forever and I always thought they would.

I was scared on the ride to where I was going because I didn't know where it was. I was scared and I whimpered and I wondered what I had done and if maybe after a while they would forgive me and come back. I always thought they'd come back. I always thought.

They haven't yet.

I live in a cage now and it's OK, but it's not as warm as my house with my beds and my blankets and my love. There's love here too, but it's not the same and I miss that other love, the love of being the only one, being chosen.

I have food and water and it's enough, but there are a lot of us here and I don't have a yard anymore so I don't play much, but they tell me that some day I will. I don't know what some day means and I fall asleep a lot. It feels better to be asleep when you're lonely and scared.

People come and look at me and take me out and try to have fun with me, but I think I disappoint them because I'm sad and confused and so they always put me back in the cage with the cold floor and the drain in the middle. The drain makes me even more sad.

Today is Sunday and I just woke up because the barking is so loud. It's so loud that I can't sleep. Sometimes I bark back, but mostly I just sit quietly and hope for it to stop. Today I am hoping for it to stop when I see a lady coming toward me and she is holding hands with a man and I have seen them both before. They came and took me out once, but they didn't try to have fun with me like everyone else does. They just sat with me and petted me and said the kindest, gentlest things and they smelled good too. They smelled like a home, but then they went away and I always thought they'd never come back. I always thought.

They are behind the nice girl with all the keys now and she is opening my door and they are smiling at me and when the door is open they kneel down and put their hands out to me, but I don't move. I don't move until the lady takes a little brown bear out of her purse and holds it out to me and then I put one paw forward and I want to run to her, but I stop. I stop because I always thought . . .

I look back at my cage. I see my food bowl and my water. I see the tattered blankets that are my bed. I look back at the lady and the man and they smell so good, but I look to my cage again. I think maybe it would be better to stay here. I think maybe it would be better to stay, but then I see the drain in the middle of the cold floor.

I see the drain and I look away, look back at the lady and the man and they are still reaching out to me. They are still reaching out, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid to stay here and I'm afraid to go to them and I'm afraid they'll leave.

I'm afraid until I hear the lady say to the man, "I always knew we'd find a pup just like her. I always knew."


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