The sun rose outside the basement apartment, but Mouse didn’t move. The concrete floor under his stretched body was cool against his fur. It was going to be another hot day, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. Even the idea of going outside to relieve himself didn’t seem like the best idea, though he did rise to his feet with a groan, padding across the room to accept the leash Harry put on his collar.
“I know it’s hot, boy,” Harry said, thumping his ribs affectionately.
Mouse wagged his tail once or twice before leading Harry outside into the brilliant sunlight. His tongue furled out of his mouth as soon as he climbed the stairs up to the street. Heat lines quavered on the sidewalk, more of them visible on the sticky asphalt of the roadway. It was barely morning and already Mouse wanted a few gallons of water to drink.
“Whew!” Harry wiped his forehead. “Come on, buddy, let’s get this over with and find some shade somewhere.”
After he’d relieved himself, Mouse decided he knew where to go to get cool, and dragged Harry along behind him. “Wait, uh,” Harry said, but Mouse was stronger than his friend. “Mouse! Heel!”
Ignoring him, Mouse pulled, his ears flicking up and forward, his mouth opening wider as he tasted the heated street air. He inhaled deeply, catching the sweet scent again, and picked up his pace. Harry stumbled but caught his balance and kept up – and suddenly broke into laughter.
The sprinkler park was full of children, rushing through the water. Mouse let out a whine and looked at Harry. Harry grinned, and let him go into the spray. “Okay, so you do have good ideas!” he shouted as Mouse trotted under the water, sprawling down at the base of one of the sprinklers, out of the way of the kids. “But I didn’t bring a towel to dry you off!”
Mouse snorted. He could shake himself dry, and cool Harry at the same time. Later. Right now, he was soaking up water right down to his skin.