Dog Days, part 3

I don’t really like to talk about what happened next.

I managed to scrape by, finding food where I could.  I learned to eat fast, so the scraps that I found wouldn’t get stolen.  Water was the hardest.  There were two places where water was always available.  One was the river, a scary place to try to get a drink.  The other was a pool guarded by a nasty mean dog.  Every once in a while, when he was in a good mood, he’d let someone get a drink, but I was always too scared to try.  I made do with puddles, drinking as much as I could.

I’m ashamed to admit that I followed people, hoping for a handout or even a home.  I’m not proud of it, but it was necessary.  It turned out to be for the best, though, because a sweet girl with a little dog finally felt sorry for me and let me come to live with her.  She was the first person to give me a name; she called me Eli.

It was nice, where she lived, and I would have liked to stay, but her dog was mean and didn’t like me.  Because I was scared of him, I never got enough to eat.  The girl wanted to me to stay, but her father convinced her that perhaps I needed a different home.  I don’t know how they knew her, but they introduced me to Leigh.  She had a kind voice and was careful with me, because she knew a little bit about my history.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the best day of my life was when I went to live with Leigh.