Read FREE! Episode 15 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Is That a BALL?

Today I join most of the world’s population in being heartsick over the invasion of Ukraine by Putin and those within his power and control. I would say Russia and not Putin, but seems to me that most of the citizens of that country don’t want it any more than the rest of us do—they’re simply in the clutches of a murderous dictator and have very little say in the matter.

Abuse has been a big trigger for me, as I was “blessed” with a cruel and narcissistic father. I’ve had to work my way through layers of “schize” over the years, and I don’t get why people can’t just live and let live. Why can’t they be kind to the humans and animals around them? What makes someone like Putin think it’s a good idea to go and murder a bunch of folks who were just minding their own damn business?

What makes someone think it’s ok to chain a dog in the backyard and toss him food and water if he’s lucky? What kind of people do these kinds of things? I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

It’s probably good that this week, in our story, Imagine is now free of his abuser, and he’s landed with people who only want the best for him. The heart can only take so much pain at one time, no? Here, at least, we have a little happiness and kindness.

Imagine is slowly beginning to trust again as more memories from his past unfold, and there’s hope for a bright future for our boy. If you haven’t started the journey with Imagine, join us at Episode One and follow the links on through. Happy Reading.

Imagine…Life on a Chain

Episode Fifteen: Is That a BALL?

The Rescue Center

Finally tiring himself out, Imagine flopped to the ground, panting, while Melody, Becky, and Evie discussed next steps.

“Well, first, as always, it’s a BATH. This poor boy reeks,” Melody exclaimed, giving the dog another pat on the head and making a face.

Becky laughed. “I guess that’s on me, eh? Fine, I’ll do it, but next time someone else gets the dirty job! I’m always completely soaked by the end.”

“Be sure to use the flea and tick shampoo,” Evie reminded her. “And he might be needing the triple-wash treatment, between the parasites and the smell.”

“Yeah, yeah, alright. Well, come on boy,” Becky called to the dog, walking over and reattaching his leash. “At least you sowed some wild oats. Now let’s go make you all pretty again.” She continued talking to her new friend in hushed tones as they made their way to the white building.

Imagine admitted to himself that the women seemed really nice, but he was nervous anyway. He could hear barking as they neared the imposing white building, and he didn’t know what he’d have to face next. Dogs? How many? Would they be friendly? He’d had more than his fair share of the not-friendly kind, and he wasn’t eager to repeat those experiences.

Becky could sense his unease and kept up a steady stream of soothing observations as they approached the back door. “It’s ok, boy. Your life is only gonna get better from this point on, I promise. First we’ll have a little bath, then some tick and worm medication, and then your favorite: dinner! You’ll love it here, once you get used to everyone and understand that you’re safe. We won’t hurt you, ever. Never again will you be treated like a piece of trash,” she vowed, her voice turning more fervent, breaking at the end.

Imagine looked at her worriedly, wondering at her sudden change in tone. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled at him. “Sorry, sweetie. I’m ok, we’re all good now. You’re safe, and that’s what matters.”

The barking grew louder as she opened the back door, dogs of various colors and sizes rushing to a dividing wall to get a look at (and sniff of) the new guy.

“Hey, who’s working today?” Becky called out, looking over the room.

“I am!” replied a middle-aged man, long dark hair in a ponytail and a big grin on his face. He waved from a chair in the corner, then tossed some treats to the other rescues to draw their attention away from the new rescue. That initial crush of attention could be a little intimidating, he knew. “And who do we have here?” he asked.

“Oh, hey, Jay,” Becky grinned. “We just picked him up today. His owner died of covid, fell over right in the backyard, apparently. It’s a very sad case, but this poor boy’s life will only improve from here, won’t it pup? The guy called him Magnum, but we’ll be changing that for sure.”

“Well, hello, buddy,” Jay came around the division and hunkered down to meet the new guy. “I’m Jay, and I imagine we’ll see a lot of each other in the next few weeks. Welcome. I can’t wait to run in the field with you tomorrow!”

Imagine wagged his tail gently, still unsure of himself but excited by all the attention. The other dogs, while noisy, didn’t seem so scary now that he saw them in person. They all looked happy and well fed, an observation he took to heart. Maybe it will be ok after all, he thought, hope blooming within his chest…for real this time.

 A Ball? A Ball…a BALL!

As Becky scrubbed and scrubbed at his fur and skin—yanking ticks off by the dozens and keeping up her one-sided dialogue all the while—the dog relaxed into the attention and a feeling of cleanliness he hadn’t experienced in years.

Hazy memories of grooming appointments for him and Dream surfaced, and he remembered that he had enjoyed his “spa days,” as his sister called them. The groomers always picked a new bandana and tied it around their necks, too, and he pranced proudly, showing off when Mom came to pick them up. She’d make a big fuss over them, kissing the tops of their heads and telling her babies how beautiful they were.

The sudden and long-forgotten recollection left him with such an intense longing for his old home and family that his belly ached.

Could I ever have a family of my own again? he wondered. The way today was looking, it was a distinct possibility, and he felt a twinge of happiness for the first time in forever.

Becky towel dried him and gave him a chewable treat that she said would kill both fleas and ticks. As soon as the flavor hit his tastebuds, another memory surfaced. This treat was the same kind Mom and Dad had given him and Dream once a month! He knew it.

The remembrance instilled in him a confidence that these people were honorable. After all, he reasoned, Mom and Dad were the best thing that ever happened to me; if Becky gave me the same medicine, then these people must be good, too, right? They have to be…

He wagged his tail and spun, tossing out a happy “Woof.” Melody and Evie bustled in, laughing and clapping at his show of positive emotion. Their favorite part of the job was watching the dogs transform from heartbroken and sad pups to happy and beloved family members.

“Aren’t you a gorgeous lad,” Melody clucked, kissing his nose and rubbing her hands all over him. “Now that you’re all cleaned up, why don’t you come with me; we’ll call the vet’s office before they close to get you an appointment for an exam.”

After his rescuers treated him to two bowls of the most delicious food he’d ever eaten, Imagine was introduced to a few other dogs. He met only the sweetest and kindest, older dogs, while Melody, Becky, and Evie evaluated him for behavior with both humans and canines.

After the life-affirming experiences of the previous hours, Imagine began to relax and remember who he was before the last three years tanked his life: he knew that his sister, and his mom and dad had all loved him, and considered him a good boy. Maybe I could be that same boy again?

As he pondered the possibilities for his future, something that was—in his world—a miracle occurred: Jay brought out a bin of something he hadn’t seen since his days with Dream: TOYS!

Toys, toys, glorious toys!

And…balls? Balls! Dazzling, delightful tennis balls? No way! His absolutely most favoritest thing in the whole world!

Imagine had been drowsy after the day’s emotional and physical rollercoaster, but his demeanor underwent a sudden and dramatic change: he popped up off the dog bed, eyes alight and ears alert. His tail wagged a mile a minute, and he gave another happy woof, as if to say, “Could one of those be for me, please?”

Jay laughed, taking note of the dog’s interest. He chose a squeaky toy out of the bin, asking Imagine, “Is this what you want, boy?” But when Imagine’s eyes went instead to the pile of tennis balls, Jay dropped the toy and picked up one of the fluorescent yellow-green balls. “No? How about this, then?”

Imagine jumped up and down, whining with excitement.

Jay tossed the ball in his direction, and Imagine leapt for it, catching it out of the air like he’d been doing it all his life!

Jay and Becky—who’d stayed late to finish up Imagine’s evaluation—both wiped tears from their eyes as the dog began to play by himself, grabbing the tennis ball and tossing it into the air, gleefully catching it before its second bounce.

Imagine just couldn’t believe it. He had a ball again! He had a ball again.

He had a ball again.

The two sat quietly and watched, transfixed, as the dog played this way for an hour, finally tiring enough to find a bed and curl up, ball tucked safely under his chin.

It had been a good day. As his new friends put him into his own little “bedroom” to sleep, they both gave him an extra hug, touched by the level of transformation he’d undergone in mere hours.

They even let him take his ball to bed with him.

Yes, it had been a good day, indeed.

Next Episode: Catching the Smell

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 15 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. Is That a BALL?

  1. Pingback: Read FREE! Episode 14 of Imagine: Life on a Chain. The Rescue Center | Tamira Thayne's "Untethered"

  2. Reblogged this on FreedomChaser Books and commented:

    Read Free, the newest episode from author Tamira Thayne is now live!

    Imagine…Life on a Chain

    Episode Fifteen: Is That a BALL?

    The Rescue Center

    Finally tiring himself out, Imagine flopped to the ground, panting, while Melody, Becky, and Evie discussed next steps.

    “Well, first, as always, it’s a BATH. This poor boy reeks,” Melody exclaimed, giving the dog another pat on the head and making a face.

    Becky laughed. “I guess that’s on me, eh? Fine, I’ll do it, but next time someone else gets the dirty job! I’m always completely soaked by the end.”…

    Like

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