I awoke at darkness time. Master Bob’s dark form laid there as it had since I fell asleep. My sadness deepened. I licked his face. It was cold and stiff. I felt hungry and thirsty. I walked around the darkened house, my night sight seeing everything in a grayish tone. I went by his bedroom across the hall from the bathroom and saw the curtain moving from a breeze. Well, that is interesting.
I went inside to investigate further. I guess because of warmer days he has opened the window to let in the fresh air. I must keep that in mind. I go into the kitchen at the back of the house. Master Bob sometimes forgets to put away his food from when he eats. I look up on the counter and sniff. Nothing. I look at the table where he sometimes leaves food, but again nothing. He would pick this day to be a clean freak! I have my kibbles and water inside the kennel. I remember he left the gate open. Maybe I can still eat by going out through his bedroom window. Then I’ll go back inside later to be with Master Bob and protect him from danger.
What am I thinking? It’s because I didn’t protect him earlier is why he is dead now! But would it have even mattered? “Woo,” I moan. I walked back to his bedroom and raise the curtain and see the window is opened alright, but not to where I could easily climb outside and back inside. I try using my muzzle and pry it up further. It is an effort but after a bit, it moves up just enough for me to get most of me outside. I see though that I wouldn’t be able to climb back inside because the window is too far down to the ground. I don’t think I could jump that high as big as I am.
I am undecided. What should I do? If I stay inside I will go hungry and starve before someone shows up. Master Bob doesn’t have many people who come over except those who wanted money or drugs. I need to eat. Master Bob won’t go nowhere. I will leave you my friend and find that man who killed you.
Just as I was about to jump out the window Master Bob’s phone made a ringing noise. I sniff it. It has a picture of his woman friend; her name is Ginny Fur. It’s a funny name for a funny girl. She has missing teeth that her ex-boyfriend hit out. She laughs about that now but I remember when I was a puppy and she wasn’t laughing when it happened. She cried and Master Bob held her in his arms and they kissed and then, well you can imagine what they did after that. I think her ex-boyfriend went to jail because they talked about him being arrested. Whatever that means.
I lick the thing to make it stop but I somehow pushed too hard and her voice came out from his phone.
“Woof, woof, woof!”
“Boomer! Did you answer the phone? Oh, you are such a smart dog. Go get Bob, Boomer. I need to talk to him.”
“WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!!!”
“Boomer? What is it? Is Bob okay?” She sounded worried. “Stay there Boomer. I’ll be right there, okay?”
The phone went quiet those human words appeared. I don’t know what it says. She told me to stay. I will stay then. I walk past him and wait by the door. I remember she always had a key to unlock it. I sit and wait. I whimper and cry because I already miss his tummy rubs and ear scratches and back massages and chasing the red rubber ball in the back yard. I felt the tears roll down my cheeks.
I heard the car come to the front of the street. It sounds familiar and my tail wags in anticipation. I hear the footsteps run up to the house and I smell her. It’s Ginny! She knocks on the door, and I bark telling her to come in. A minute later the door opens and she turned on the light and she cries out, “Bob!”
She cries and lowers herself to him, covering him and hugging him close. There is blood on her blouse now. She wears blue pants, or maybe it’s green, or perhaps purple, and her hair is chocolate lab color like mine. I knelt down beside her and lick her hands to tell her I’m sad too.
Humans are funny creatures. She suddenly realized I was out from the kennel. She stares at me for the longest time. “You need to go into the kennel. We are going to have a lot of strange people here and you’ll just be in the way. She smiled at me, showing her missing teeth. I looked up at her, wagging my tail back and forth like a boomerang.
She got up and went to the opened door. “Come Boomer! Let’s get into your kennel. Then I can call the police.” I follow her outside mostly because I’m hungry and thirsty, and the kennel is where all that stuff is. But first I beeline to my tree and release my bladder. It felt good.
“Boomer! Come, now!” She looks for me. I can see her by the kennel, but apparently she can’t see me. Humans are blind to the night! That is so interesting. She keeps calling for me, getting more and more agitated. I am done and I run to her and into the kennel, she’s closing the gate and securing the latch. I never paid much attention to that latch, how it works and if I can use my nose to push it open. I will have to keep that in mind.
But first, food. The kibbles are especially tasty this evening. I overhear her talking to someone. It must be those police she was talking about earlier.
It wasn’t no sooner that she called then I hear sirens wailing in the distance, coming nearer and nearer. Then four cars appear with flashing lights over their hoods. I count four in all and they scramble from their cars and run onto my property.
“Woof, woof, woof,” I announced to get their attention. All four of them stop in their tracks. They are thinking. But then they rush inside the house. I hear Ginny Fur talking, crying, and carrying on to a point where I think she is losing her composure or something.
Then more cars come and they don’t have flashing lights on their car hoods. Finally, a black van pulls up and two big men come out. They open the back and a long bed with rollers appear and is placed on the cement sidewalk. It is then rolled up to the house.
I watch this all from my kennel I have since stopped barking long enough to get my drink of fresh water that Master Bob put out to me before. When was that? Afternoon? It was before dark I guarantee you that, by golly.
A man approaches my kennel. I bark and growl with menacing malice at him because he is invading my domain. He smells hesitant and uncertain. He looks about Master Bob’s age, maybe younger with smile full of straight teeth. He is also taller than my master. “How are you doing Boomer?”
He knows my name? Ginny Fur must have told him. I too am uncertain. I wag my tail with caution and I growl nervously telling him to go away.
“I’m Detective Mike. I’m going to take you to my house, okay?”
No, it’s not okay. “Woof, woof, woof!” I warned him to get away. My fur stands straight up and I bared my fangs menacingly. I wanted to find my dead master’s killer, not go someplace with him. His house? Unless this killer is there too, I’m not interested.
“Miss Davenport, will you get him out and then we can take him.”
“Certainly,” Ginny Fur said to him and then she smiled at me. “It’s okay, Boomer. He will take good care of you. You want to go walkies?”
Walkies? Now? Master Bob is dead, and this human wants to go walkies! What is wrong with these people? “Woof, woof, woof,” I answered negatively. She opened my kennel and I cowered back into my doghouse, my last safe place. I had my other red rubber ball a rubber bone and a rawhide bone I chew on when Master Bob was in the house and didn’t have time for me.
She came in and hooked the leash to my collar. “He will take good care of you, I promise,” Ginny Fur told me. “Come!”
She’s left me no choice and I felt my tail curl submissively between my legs. I looked at the other people. Many wore dark colored uniforms with hats with black brims and shiny metal disks on their chests. She led me out from my dog house, and I looked back at the toys I’ll surely miss and whimpered.
The smiling man who called himself Detective Mike takes the leash and bends down to my level he smells like coffee and a faint anti-perspirant odor from when he applied it over ten hours earlier. Now his regular body odor came out as a musky scent. He allowed me to sniff his hand and then he petted my muzzle and scratched behind my ears. I think I like you Detective Mike! My tail slowly came back out and began wagging as he continued rubbing my left ear and then my right.
“We’ll get along just fine,” he assures me. He took me to his car and opened the back door and I jump in. Master Bob didn’t own a car. We always walked to the park and into downtown. It’s not a big town. He told me one time we live in a place called Gooding, but I didn’t understand what that meant. I know what good means because Master Bob always told me I’m a good dog. Maybe we live in a good place then.
I jumped into the back seat and sat on my hunches as he closed the car door. It smelled like him. I realized I began liking Detective Mike more. He went back inside Master Bob’s house, and I watched everything that happened for the longest time.
Then those two big men who came in the van earlier came out pushing something long and thin, covered by a blanket onto the walkway and down to the van. I smelled what it was. It was Master Bob. I whimpered and howled mournfully. Those two men stopped and looked at me. They appeared sad that I was sad but pushed my master inside the van, closed the gate and drove away.
I laid down in the back seat and waited until Detective Mike came back. I closed my eyes and drift into a nap, dreaming of running with Master Bob. I sense someone nearby and I open my eyes and look up at the back window and see Detective Mike opening the door and gets inside.
“How are you doing Boomer? We’re going home now. I got a nice big place with lots of land for you to run, and you’ll have other dogs to play with too. Won’t that be nice?”
I wagged my tail in reply. I don’t understand what he says to me, but his voice sounds nice and reassuring. He says something about other dogs. I hope they understand I’m a big dog who gets his way all the time. He starts the car and I sit up watching the street I live on for so long—three years to be exact; twenty-one in dog years. I see the park we always go to and then the store and the main street and then we are out in the country. It smells of growing corn and potatoes and cow manure. After a time, the car slows and stops at a closed gate.
Detective Mike gets out and opens the gate and is greeted by at least four dogs who are as big as me. This is not going to be fun. I might have to fight for my dominance. One is a female. I don’t know what breed she is though because her ears are straight up, and her fur is thick. I don’t know how she manages in the hot times when I have to sleep inside my doghouse during the hottest part of the day.
She apparently smells me and jumps up to investigate. She snarls and snaps at me, warning me to watch myself if I intend to become a pack member here. She doesn’t smell like she ever had litters before. Did they make her barren? Master Bob had a smiling man with nice eyes take me one day and when I awoke, was missing those things between my legs. I hurt for the longest time, but I didn’t miss them and wasn’t the least bit interested in girl dogs after that.
The other three dogs now have jumped up and are seeing me. They too bark, snarl and growl at me, as a way of showing who is and isn’t in charge here. I bark, snarl and growl back with every intent to get out and show them who’s boss here.
Detective Mike though has other ideas because he calls the dogs away and he puts them in their kennel. He then comes back for me. I’m calm now as I realized he wanted to establish that he was the alpha male in this pack, not them, or me for that matter. “You will stay in the house tonight, and we’ll bring your doghouse and kennel tomorrow for you. I don’t want any dogfights between you and Brutus, or Daisy or Carman or Ralph. Boomer, I am the alpha here. I will punish you or the others if you don’t mind this one rule.”
He leads me into his big house, much bigger than Master Bob’s. I want to mark myself for everyone to know this is mine now, but Detective Mike has other plans as he makes me go outside in the back of the house.
While I was marking my scent in the back yard I overheard Detective Mike talk to the human female. She was a plump but short woman near Ginny Fur’s age, maybe older. She didn’t smile when she saw me and I moved cautiously by her. Detective Mike may be the alpha of the pack, but I sensed she was actually in charge of everything else.
“His master was murdered earlier. He needs a good home,” he tells her.
“I wish you had asked me first Mike.” She sounded upset. I felt a sadness deep inside. I felt that I don’t belong here either. Even from way out here, I could smell the man who killed my master. Does he live near here? I sniff the air. The breeze comes from the town Master Bob called Gooding. No, he lives down there. I will find you soon enough. That is certain.