All Dogs …
Miracle passes the door of the good smell human and twitches his nose. If the good smell one appears Miracle can lick tasty bits off his fingers and get tickle rubbed under his ears or around his face and he’ll lick again for flavors on the good smell one’s hands.
The good smell one is not there.
The other one smells different now. Of course, he always smells different, cool like the blades of grass in the big open. But now the different one smells like salt … only not the sweet salt of the good smell one. It’s bitter and Miracle’s nose wrinkles but there is nothing to do but follow the other one.
Miracle walks past the door again. The scent of the good smell one is fainter now that the door is closed.
In the room with the slippery floor the other one gives Miracle food. It is dry and dusty but he licks it and it smells like the wet dirt from the before. When the bowl is empty he looks back at the corridor. The other one brushes his hand over Miracle’s head. Miracle freezes in submission and waits but the touch is over fast, not like the touches of the good smell one that made Miracle duck in playful submission.
He is not as sure what the touches of the other one mean now that the other one is the only one.
The other one opens the door to the good smell one’s space and Miracle leaps in hopefully.
The salt smell is strong and the other one is rubbing under Miracle’s ears and Miracle licks the other one’s fingers even though it doesn’t taste good.
They leave the space that belonged to the good smell one. Miracle walks quickly because the other one is very big and steps very fast. When Miracle sees where they are his tail wags excitedly. The other one opens the dark door and Miracle jumps into the car. Here the scent of the good smell one is sharp, striking Miracle’s nose with a familiar brush. He barks once, twice.
“Shh. It’s okay,” says the other one.
The wind whips Miracle’s fur for a time but the moving suddenly stops. It is still, there is no vibration and the salty smell is strong again. When the door opens Miracle bounds out because the air has more scents than he can catch and it’s fun to try to get them all.
A smaller one is there. She smells warm and tasty like the sticky stuff the good smell one would offer when Miracle lifted his paw. Miracle lifts his paw at the smaller one and she gets even smaller and greets him with a dominant crush. He whines and she makes a sound, stands and then moves her hands in a bird-like flutter. The other one dominant-crushes the smaller one and the air is nothing but salt.
They never return to the big place with the good smell one’s room.
Miracle stays with the other one and the smaller one and Miracle decides that their warm-sticky-salt-cool scents are his now just like the good smelling one was his once. There is a new place to smell, and tasty food and fresh water, and a soft place to sleep.
Every day there are good scents of grass and dirt and leaves and water, and strange smells that Miracle chases. The other one calls him, sharp and hard and Miracle goes to him.
“What did that squirrel ever do to you?” the other one asks.
One day a very small one appears. Miracle sniffs and the very small one smells like the other one and the smaller one and a little bit of the good smell one that Miracle remembers.
The very small one gets bigger. He answers when the other one or the smaller one call “Dean.” Dean tumbles with him and they play for dominance but Miracle always gives in. Dean gives him the sticky stuff when Miracle holds up his paw. He likes when they sleep together. He thinks of the good smell one then and being next to him.
The smells start to be wrong, like too-long-wet leaves, and Miracle yelps when he moves. He wants to lay still when the very small one—who is no longer very small—wants to play. The smaller one comes to him. “Sam,” the smaller one says. Then her hands move like the quickest bird. The other one nudges the food bowl closer but Miracle doesn’t want it. He licks a little. It does not taste right.
They hover over him and Miracle is tired. He is unable to shake his head and even his bark is a just a small sigh. Miracle feels the weight of the smallest one’s head near his own. Then the smaller one strokes his head and Miracle tries to offer his paw. The other one is there and Miracle licks his familiar salt cool hand.
“It’s ok,” the other one says, “go to him.” Miracle closes his eyes.
The sunlight is warm cool sweet wet and Miracle shakes his fur and immediately twitches his nose. The good smell one is leaning down and rubbing his neck and chin and head and ears and strong but playful force keeps him in place.
“How’d you get here?” the good smell one asks as his face comes closer and nuzzles Miracle.
Miracle licks and licks and licks. It’s salty-sweet-sharp. He barks and is pleased by the strong sound.
“Guess we have to wait a little longer, eh buddy?”
He jumps into the car and all the smells are home. Miracle lifts his face into the racing sun air, it pushes against him like the other one’s big hand. He barks proud and clear.
The good smell one says again, “A little longer.” And Miracle settles down for the wait.