The Stray Princess
The door suddenly opens, a small girl enters the room running. Her laughter fills the air while her dress moves and shines with the sunlight that the windows let in.
Her dress is pink as a peach and looks like one of a fairy tale princess. She is using a small crown on her head, looks like its made from cardboard, in her hand there is another crown that looks really similar.
“Princess! Princess!” Yells the girl in laughter “Here is your crown”
There is a small table in the room, surrounding it there are chairs with stuffed animals sitting on them excepting one and there is a space with no chairs in it. Instead there is a young dog sitting in this space, the dog’s colors are similar to a German Shepherd but physically looks more like a Golden Retriever.
“Today is your first birthday, Princess” Says the girl while patting the dog’s head “Mom helped me with your present” The girl puts on the dog’s head the crown that she was carrying, it can stay there thanks to the string of elastic that is similar to one in a party hat.
The girl sits on the empty seat and smiles showing her teeth and there is one missing in the front row, then she grabs a teapot with her left hand and a cup with her right one. Cold water comes out from the teapot and pours in the cup and she moves the filled cup in front of Princess.
“Oh, I am thirsty, I can drink” Princess thinks as she starts to drink from the cup.
The girl fills another cup and this time she is the one that drinks from it.
“I’m so happy that you came back from the Doctor” Tells the girl while looking at Princess “Mom said that your operation was for the best... do you want another cup?”
The girl refills the cup in front of Princess and she starts drinking again.
A year ago Princess was born, along with her 7 brothers and sisters she was put up for adoption. There aren’t many people that can resist small puppies, so she found a family quickly. It was a family with one father, one mother and a small girl.
Princess never saw her relatives ever again, but she is not sad about that fact all what she knows is now her adoptive family. The father potty trained her to only go to the house backyard and also to follow simple orders.
“Princess! Come to eat!” A loud voice can be heard across the house, is the voice of the girl’s mother.
“Eat!” Princess thinks, she gets up and leaves the room running.
The human language is something hard to understand for many animals, but if some words are used continuously then they can create associations, Princess knows that food will be given to her when the humans say words like “Eat”, “Lunch”, “Here” or even “Princess”.
But animals have different concepts and ways to see life. Princess doesn’t understand names or that she is called that way, she doesn’t understand races, breeds, or animals either. For example: the idea that the little girl or her family are another species has never crossed her mind, she just thinks that are dogs that can walk on their back feet, hence she calls them “Tall dogs”.
Princess arrives to the backyard, where a plate made of metal is on the floor filled with her usual food. Near it is the girl’s mother and a neighbor that recently has been coming a lot to the house.
“Oh! Yum, yum. I like so much when is time to eat” Princess thinks, she is happy while eating, she doesn’t notice that both adults are watching her.
“See? She is very well mannered, and will only come to eat if you tell her to” The girl’s mother tells the neighbor “This is her favorite brand, its a little expensive but I’ll leave you enough money for her needs. It is enough for, let’s say, six months. Please remember to feed her 3 times a day”
The neighbor touches the dog food brand package and takes it his hands.
“OK, understood. I’ll make sure she eats this same brand. When will you come back to the country to pick her up?”
“As soon as we find a good place to start our new life in the United States, we will come back for her” The girl’s mother had a sad expression on her face, the breeze was kindly blowing so her long black hair was slowly moving. “I hope it doesn’t take more that six months, either way we have your house phone number so we will call and let you know or see if you need more money”
“I know is hard to leave her behind, but I’ll make sure she is alright and full of energy when you come back” The neighbor gives a smile that can be hardly seen across his big beard that covers half of his face.
“Thank you, that cheers me up a bit. All that is left is that you give me your bank account so I can deposit”
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t tell you, I prefer it on cash, its a habit of mine but I can control the expenses better that way”
“OK, don’t worry then. I’ll give you the money by Thursday, thank you again”
The following days went by so fast. The house starts to look more empty every day that passes, on Wednesday night the girl hugs Princess and cries over an hour. Princess doesn’t understand what is happening but she can smell sadness in the girl.
“I promise we will come back for you Princess” The words that leave the girl are very difficult to understand even for an adult human, the tears that come out from the girl’s eyes run freely by her cheeks and fall over the hair of Princess.
“I don’t like her this way” Thinks Princess, so she moves and kindly starts licking the girl’s face.
They don’t know, but this night is the last time they sleep together. Around 2 am Princess opens her eyes, both are sleeping over a mattress on the floor and covered with a blanket while the girl hugs her in her sleep.
Everything is dark, moonlight enters the room thanks to the windows and then a small sound hits the glass. It’s starting to rain, Princess feels sleepy again so she lowers her head and puts it close to the girl this calm warm feeling makes her happy, everything is fine. And so, she falls asleep.
On Thursday morning Princess is taken to the neighbor’s house and sees how her family leave in a car, although she doesn’t call them cars but “fat dogs” instead, across the back window she can see the girl waving her hand and with a sad expression on her face.
Princess feels uneasy, she doesn’t like this feeling so tries to run after the car. But the leash that the neighbor is holding in his hand doesn’t let her go too far.
“OK, come inside little Princess” The neighbor moves his hand showing the entrance to her new house but she doesn’t move.
He is not capable of making her move by calling her or pulling the leash, thankfully she is young and small so he picks her up and both enter the house.
Princess has never liked very much the neighbor’s smell and now she is inside a place that only smells like him. There aren’t many things in the new house, it has two floors just like her previous one but its almost empty.
Some days have passed since the last time she saw the girl. The neighbor rubs her head every now and then but doesn’t take her for walks like the previous family did. She was locked in the backyard and feed one time around noon everyday.
“Where are you?” Wonders Princess looking up the sky, the image of the girl appears every now and then on her head. “I don’t like this smell” Because she is locked in the backyard without leaving the house, she has to go potty in the small piece of grass that is there but the neighbor hasn’t cleaned even once so it already has a strong smell.
Some nights are cold, but even so she is never allowed to enter the house. When it rains she just goes under a small ceiling that is there in the backyard with her in order to not get so wet.
Everyday is the same, walking in circles around the backyard, going potty in the same place, watching the sky and the 4 walls that cover around, eating at noon and sleeping under the small ceiling.
The sound of the metal door opening is loud that day, Princess gets up from her spot and starts walking to it.
“Time to eat!” Princess thinks while waging her tail in excitement.
The neighbor enters the backyard with a plate full of food and places it on the floor.
Princess starts eating, she is so hungry today. The food has a different taste, but her stomach is growling so loud that she doesn’t care.
“Time to eat, time to eat” Princess thinks while filling her mouth with the food in the plate.
“I knew you would like that” Says the neighbor “And your owner said that you only eat that expensive stuff, this one is five times cheaper and does the trick alright”
The neighbor stops smocking and throws the filter to the ground, after exhaling all the smoke inhales loudly.
“PHEW! What’s that smell!?” Says covering his nose and looking around in the backyard, where he spots signs of pee and defecation. “Man, you sure are a dirty dog, aren’t you? And after all I have done for you. Who’s a little Pig Princess?”
Princess finishes eating and looks at the neighbor, she doesn’t understand what is he saying but either ways stills wags her tail because is grateful of receiving food.
“It’s been two months already and they haven’t even called… I think they didn’t love you as much as they said. Well, at least the money was used as the first step in my business idea so I’m grateful for that. So I was thinking in calling the brand ‘Princess’ in your honor, what do you think?” The neighbor was patting Princess’ head, she was happy because is one of the things she likes the most and hasn’t had one in quite some time.
The neighbor starts cleaning the backyard with a hose, he uses a wide variety of products to get rid of the smell. After finishing he pats Princess’ head and says: “Better get ready, tomorrow I’ll start my new life”
At night the backyard smells strongly like a lot of chemicals, it was very difficult for Princess to sleep. Each time she breathes, the smell goes up across her nose in a painful way and makes her head spin around.
The doors sounds again in the morning, Princess gets exited because this is not the usual hour to eat.
“Come here!” Says the neighbor as soon as the door opens.
Princess happily enters the house, now is emptier than the day she entered for the first time.
“Come, come” The neighbor keeps calling her, they go outside where a car is parked with the back door open “Up! Up!” now he says louder. Princess jumps entering the car where she feels a big plastic that the neighbor had placed before.
After closing the car and then the house the neighbor gets into the car and the engine starts. They are now moving.
Princess is exited looking across the window to the road, she doesn’t remember the last time she was on a car. But remembers that the girl’s father lets her in the car only when they are going to the vet or to a park with all the family.
“I really hope the fat dog takes us to the park” Princess thinks “I want to see the girl again”
After a couple of hours the car finally stops, just a moment after the back door opens and she can see the outside. It was an empty road with trees at the side.
“Come, come” Says kindly the neighbor. Princess gets out of the car and he puts her the collar and the leash. “Let’s go for a walk” says after grabbing the bag of dog food and closing the car.
“WALK!?” Princess thinks while waging strongly her tail. That word, a simple word that gives her a lot of happiness, a small word that she hasn’t heard in a while.
There are a lot of new smells in the grass and the trees, is a new place that Princess doesn’t recognize. She is happily sniffing the ground while pulling the leash. The neighbor has a hard time calming her down.
Suddenly he pulls the leash very strong and she stops. Princess turns around and sees how he ties the leash in a thin trees’ trunk. After that, he leaves the bag of dog food beside the tree.
Princess thinks for a moment that he was going to serve her food so she gets closer.
He crouches down and pats Princess’ head.
“Sorry, I just have no time to take care of you. I’m just full with work” He says, Princess is glad for being patted so she closes her eyes. “If only you just had a breed I could use for my project… But you had to be a filthy mongrel, I’m sorry but you understand me right? It’s not my fault, it’s yours for being born that way”
He stands up, Princess thinks that now they are leaving but he puts his hand in front of her and says: “Stay! Stay!”
She recognizes that word, is the one that the girl and her family used at her previous home. If she doesn’t move then after a while she will get head pats and maybe food. And so Princess decides to stay put.
The neighbor starts running but looking back every now and then. But Princess is still in place.
Darkness starts to appear, but the neighbor is still missing.
“I am tired” Princess thinks “But I must wait”
The stars are shining in the sky, there is no moon tonight. Everything is silent and dark.
In the grass near a tree in this forest, there is a dog tied to it with a leash. She is curled up trying to sleep but is scared and worried that the human that brought her here doesn’t appear.
Then something touches her head, it’s starting to rain. She moves and goes near the tree hoping that it will protect her from the rain drops. She is now curled up next to the bag of dog food, the night is cold and the breeze makes it even harder to sleep. This is her first night as a stray dog.