Read FREE! Episode 13 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Starting Over

Today is World Hippo Day. Have you done anything for hippos today? No, me neither, but I guess there’s always time to remedy that with a donation to a worthy nonprofit, eh? I mean, it’s not like we can wade in and rescue one, so I assume supporting an org who does is the way to go.

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, whether you’re your own Valentine or not…always a good excuse to treat yourself if you don’t currently have a S.O.! The hubs ended up having to work later in the day, so we had a nice lunch together and then he went to work and I took myself to the movies, as one does.

I didn’t ask for the senior discount—I have no idea what the age is for that, and I’m not eager to know—but the kid working the counter informed me kindly he was giving me the discount anyway. I opened my mouth to question this affront, but remembering a similar situation that happened to my mother, I kept my trap shut and took my lousy $1 off with as much aplomb as I could muster.

One time Mom went to McD’s and she was given the senior discount on her tea. She was fairly testy (used to embarrass me as a kid,) so she snapped at the counter attendant, “How do you decide who gets the senior discount?”

He replied, innocently, “If they look old, I give it to them.”

Ha. The moral of this story? Don’t ask a question you might not want to hear the answer to.

Now for today’s Episode of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Things have turned around for our boy, and I for one am damn happy about it. New human characters are introduced, and two of them happen to be named after women I respect who are still out there rescuing chained dogs, Melody and Evie. See what happens today as they meet Imagine/Magnum for the first time. Start your Imagine journey here if you need to catch up, and then follow the links at the bottom of each episode. Happy Reading!

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Thirteen: Starting Over

Ladies of Rescue

“Oh, isn’t he cute?”

“That poor, sweet thing!”

Magnum felt overwhelmed as the three women rushed him, their voices at once soothing and terrifying, words tumbling over one another and falling onto his sensitive ears. Arms reached for him but he skirted their embrace, wary; he lowered his head and tail and backed up next to his doghouse.

He had no place to hide, nowhere to run. He bristled, unsure, afraid.

How did he know he could trust these people?

He didn’t. He’d trusted before, and look where that got him.

The leader stopped, belatedly comprehending his fear. “Ok, ladies, let’s hold back here, give him a little breathing room. He’s leery, and who wouldn’t be. Given what he’s been through, he doesn’t know who we are or whether we’re here to hurt him or help him.” She took two steps back and motioned for her friends to do the same.

One of the women rummaged in a little pouch she wore around her waist. “Melody, I brought some treats with me. Let’s toss him a few to get him warmed up to us. If I know anything about chained dogs, it’s that they’re always hoping for food or water to come their way.”

“Great idea, Becky! Just throw them from here until his body language calms down. I don’t want anyone getting hurt,” Melody cautioned, voice low, confident.

The dog lifted his nose slightly, just enough to catch the tantalizing scent coming from the woman’s hand. What was that? He’d never smelled it before, but he knew he wanted it! His saliva glands activated of their own accord, and his mouth dropped open slightly, hoping to get a taste from afar.

His ears pricked and his head lifted in interest as her hand rose into the air. Suddenly the treat was airborne; his eyes locked onto it like it was in slow motion, and he reverted to his days of ball catching, lifting his head and front feet just enough to snag it out of the air.

Yum! It tasted every bit as good as it smelled! Then it was gone, and he looked eagerly to the woman for another.

Becky gasped, exclaiming, “Did you see that Melody? He can catch! There’s no way he spent his life out on this chain. Aw, the poor guy. Can you imagine living inside with a family, and then understanding what you’ve lost once you’re imprisoned out here like this? Makes me so sad…”

“Toss him some more,” the third woman encouraged. “His body language has relaxed from just one treat. Let’s throw him a couple more and gradually bring him closer to us. Then we can let him take one from our hand and see how he does.”

Becky reached into her pouch and Magnum took two steps closer, wagging his tail. He knew what was coming, and he didn’t want to miss one of those juicy, delicious morsels.

“Evie, look at him! Isn’t he amazing? He’s already warming up so much, and he doesn’t even realize it. He’s so intent on catching the treats! Ooh, I want to foster him! Can I, Melody?” Becky asked as she continued to lure the dog nearer and nearer, and each time he easily caught the morsels as they sailed through the air.

Evie laughed. “Hey, I thought he was supposed to be mine? Remember, you fostered the last one!”

“But he loves me already…look how close he is to me…” Becky giggled as Magnum licked her hand for the first time.

“Yeah, he loves you alright. What you really mean is he loves those nuggets you’re using to cajole him to you,” Evie rejoined, snorting.

“Ladies, ladies,” Melody laughed. “You both know there are plenty of chained dogs to go around, alas. Let’s worry about getting him out of here and back to the center first, then we’ll decide who gets to foster him.”

Decisions

The one with the food definitely seems ok, thought Magnum. His belly agreed. That means the others are probably nice enough, too. He began to relax, his mouth open in a pant, and the women moved closer. He sniffed each of their hands and they smelled kind—one better than the others, of course, the one that smelled like treats—but the other two didn’t smell bad or threatening.

The dog looked at his pitiful home. It’s not like anything can be worse than this, right? He had nothing to stay for, and every reason to take the risk of trusting these strangers. He just had to believe it would lead to something better.

He decided to try with humans one last time. A rush of hope buoyed his heart, and he rubbed up against Becky, who sighed and ruffled his fur. It felt nice! Prince had never once showed him such a kindness.

Soon both Melody and Evie were loving on him, too, scratching behind his ears and pulling ticks out of his fur and hide. “Disgusting,” Evie said, making a face and shaking her head, her dark hair swaying. “Maybe you can foster him after all, Becky,” she said ruefully. “You ready to stay up all night tick picking?”

“Well, he’ll stay at the center until he’s all cleaned up and vetted,” Melody replied. “That’s our standard protocol anyway, and it’s safer for everyone. Guess what, though, guys? Did you notice that he’s neutered? Chained dogs are never neutered! That definitely tells me this guy had a real home before. I’ll bet once he’s had a chance to fill out and rid himself of all the parasites, he’ll make a great companion for someone again. Let’s do this!”

Freedom

Melody pulled the relinquishment paperwork from her bag and walked over to Helen and Elmer. As she worked on filling it out and getting their signatures, Evie and Becky continued to fawn over the dog and check for any signs of lingering wariness or illness. Seeing nothing of concern, Evie removed a collar and leash from her backpack.

“What do you think, boy? Do you want to go with us?” she crooned, ensuring she kept her tone soothing and light.

Go? Go!!!! He knew that word! Mom and Dad used to say it right before the word WALK! He couldn’t believe his ears. Was it really happening? He jumped up and down, the excitement almost too much for his beat-up soul to bear.

He raced around Evie and Becky in his eagerness to GO!, entangling them in his chain. “Ouch, boy, settle down,” cried Becky, frantically pulling the links from their legs before they ended up in a heap and covered in doggy doo. “I think he knows the word G-O!” she told Evie, tears in her eyes. “It makes me so damn mad that anyone would do this to a dog. I’ll never, ever understand it.”

Evie rubbed her arm, tearing up in empathy with her friend. “I know. It sucks. All we can do is make sure he gets the best life ever from this day forward. And we will . . . let’s promise him that.”

She turned to the dog. “Are you ready to go, boy?” His tail thumping against her side told her all she needed to know. “Then let’s get this collar and leash on you, and we’ll blow this one-horse popsicle stand.”

Becky held him as Evie fitted the collar to his neck and attached the leash. Melody was busy taking photos and video for their social media accounts: there was nothing their supporters loved more than watching that moment of release! It always brought a happy tear to every dog lover’s eyes.

Even Helen and Elmer held each other, smiling, and teared up at that special moment of release: Evie unfastened and then dramatically dropped that rusty old logging chain like it was on fire. Having second thoughts, she picked it up and pitched it with all her might against the doghouse, nodding her head when it hit with a satisfying crash and broke yet another board from the dilapidated shack.

Whoops of joy and cheers filled the air, and the dog who’d suffered so unimaginably was finally FREE! He jumped toward the front yard and FREEDOM, pulling with all his might as he dragged Evie behind him and raced for the open van.

Melody and Becky hurried after them. “I guess he knows where he wants to be,” Melody laughed. “Anywhere but here!”

The dog jumped without hesitation into the crate in the back of the rescue van, and Becky gave him a couple more treats for being such a good boy. Don’t mind if I do, he wagged, exuberant.

He didn’t know where he was going—but for the first time in years, he didn’t care. All he knew was it had to be better than where he’d been, and for now that would be enough.

If there was one thing he knew for sure? He’d treasure this moment for the rest of his days.

Next Episode: The Rescue Center

Tamira Thayne is the author of It Went to the Dogs: How Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Compound Became a Haven for Rescue Pups. She’s also written other books for adults and children, including these for adults: Capitol in Chains, Foster Doggie Insanity, The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, The Knights Chain, and The Curse of Cur. For kids of all ages she’s published No Guppy Puppy, Raffy Calfy’s Rescue, Spittin’ Kitten’s Speed-Away, Squirmy Hermie’s Heroics, Smidgey Pidgey’s Predicament, Happy Dog Coloring Book. She is the editor of More Rescue Smiles, and co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles.

2 thoughts on “Read FREE! Episode 13 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Starting Over

  1. Pingback: Read FREE! Episode 12 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Rescued…For Real this Time? | Tamira Thayne's "Untethered"

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