Thursday, September 5, 2019

UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, 14, "Sassie and Mike"

Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication

Today, Sassie decided to return to the dirt road.  She was hungry and felt she should look for another hide-away in this black-skin area.  When she got to the area, she saw a strange object near the dirt road.  The smell of food was coming from inside this object.  She carefully approached this strange thing and as she got closer, she saw an opening into the object. 

Hunger urged her forward.  As she entered the opening she heard a loud snap.  Scared by the sound of the snap, she frantically tried to get out of this object.  After an hour of clawing and scratching, she became exhausted. She was unable to escape this structure.  She finally fell into a deep sleep.

The Animal Control Officer had gotten up early that morning. After shaving, he looked in the mirror and said, “Mike, you are one handsome fella!”  As he said this, he smiled.  His plans for the day included checking the traps he had set the day before.  His first stop, however, was to have breakfast and see Millie.   Millie was the pretty waitress at the Village Diner, and Mike never missed a chance to flirt with her. I sure enjoy her smile! he thought as he grabbed his hat.  The diner was a short walk from his home, and he traveled the distance within minutes. 

As he entered the almost empty diner, he heard Milly’s voice, “Mike, why are you up so early this morning?” 

She was already pouring a cup of coffee for Mike as he took a seat at the counter.  

Mike smiled and reached for the menu.  “I’m going to check the traps that I set up yesterday and see if I can round up a few stray dogs.  There is a gold-colored dog that I hope to catch.” 

Millie liked to talk with Mike, and if the truth be known, she had a crush on him.  “I recommend the special.  It is a good-sized breakfast and at a good price.”  Millie said this as she lingered with the pot of coffee. 

“That’s a good idea!  I’ll have the special,” Mike responded.  Millie smiled and topped off Mike’s coffee.  She placed his order and then greeted a couple that had just entered the diner.  

It took Mike no time at all to finish his breakfast.  After paying his bill and leaving a good-sized tip for Millie, he put on his Animal Control Officer cap and left the dinner.

Sassie awoke to the sound of that noisy metal vehicle that she knew was used by man. 

Forgetting that she was trapped, she attempted to bolt.  The movement quickly reminded her of her entrapment.  When the noise came to a stop near her location, she began to tremble in fear. 

Sassie could hear someone approaching.  She decided to try to look small, but the trap restricted much of her movement.  She saw a man and then something was put over the trap and it became as dark as the night.   Sassie felt a lifting movement and heard a clang as she felt the bottom of this metal cage land on something. 

The transportation noise began, now very loud.  Sassie felt the trap vibrate and sometimes it would bounce as the noise continued to surround her.  This strange experience finally stopped.  She was able to smell the air around her, but she did not recognize any of these new smells.  I am no longer near my home in the wooded area, she decided.

When the covering on the trap was removed, Sassie discovered that the opening to her trap had reappeared.  Taking advantage of the opportunity to escape her enclosure, she dashed out.  She came to a halt when she saw Mike sitting nearby.   She looked around and discovered a wired wall surrounded them.  She was free to run around this area, but she realized that she was still trapped.  There was soft music playing and a strange soothing smell in the air.  Mike was sitting near a section of the wall and was watching Sassie.  She lowered her head and began to smell around this strange place.  This sniffing helped to calm her, and she decided it was the best calming signal to use for this situation.  She then became aware of a food smell. 

The scent came from Mike.  Mike started to toss this smelly food out into the area.  Sassie was hungry; she slowly decided to grab the food pieces that were the farthest distance from Mike. She discovered that Mike was only throwing the food and not moving toward her. She also realized that he was no threat to her. 

Sassie slowly kept getting closer to Mike.  Mike began to gently talk to Sassie.  After a time of talking, he began to throw the food closer to himself.  Slowly and patiently Mike was able to get Sassie’s trust.  Before the morning became afternoon, Mike could pet Sassie, and she began to relax.  She eventually crept into his arms. 

Now that Sassie was comfortable in Mike’s arms, Mike felt it would be a good time to take Sassie to the shelter.  His office had a very limited area for holding animals, and the Riverview Animal Shelter was well qualified to take care of the captured animals.

Mike gestured to Donald, his driver, and when he came near, Mike gave quiet directions, “Bring me a small blanket.  I would like to wrap this dog in it.  Then I will have you drive us to the Riverview Animal Shelter.” 

Sassie seemed to be content to listen to Mike’s gentle voice as she lay in his arms. 

The drive to the shelter was unlike the ride she had had in the trap.  Sassie was able to fall asleep in Mike’s arms, and when the vehicle stopped, she got a number of those good treats.

After spending the morning cleaning, Jane looked at her watch and realized that this would be a good time to break for lunch.  Jane was finishing her sandwich when Ruth entered the break room. 

“Hi” they both said almost at the same time.  Jane smiled at Ruth, and Ruth thought, is Jane ever grumpy or angry? 

Ruth got a snack from the vending machine and was ready to sit down when she heard a buzzer.  Jane got up and explained, “That’s the buzzer for the door that announces the incoming of surrendered animals.  Do you want to join me to greet our new visitor?” 

Ruth had to move quickly if she wanted to join Jane.  At the door, Jane was already welcoming Mike, the Animal Control Officer.  In his arms was a young gold-colored dog.

Ruth and Sassie’s eyes met, and Ruth could feel the fear being experienced by this young dog.  Compassion and love filled Ruth. She felt an immediate connection.  She had not felt this way in a long, long time.  Ruth reached out to Sassie, but Jane stopped her.  “She might bite; she is scared and sometimes that will cause a dog to bite.” 

Mike, the Animal Control Officer, shook his head no, as he showed a treat to Sassie, “Yes, she is scared, but she will not bite.  I’ve been giving her these treats and they seem to make her happy.” 

Sassie’s tail was wagging, and she seemed to be looking at the tasty treat.  Mike handed the treat to Ruth and as Sassie’s nose followed it to Ruth, Sassie was also attempting to move into Ruth’s arms. 

Jane nodded a yes, and Ruth cuddled this golden bundle of fur.  Sassie’s tail continued to wag, and as Sassie’s paws wrapped around Ruth’s neck, the gesture seemed to say, “I like you!  I want to hug you!”        

Sassie was in Ruth’s arms when she saw Mike leave the shelter.  Sassie recognized that her life had changed.  Her listening with her eyes would turn into a love language that she would give to the lives of so many others.


With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, the material from this novel by Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through

As her editor and coach, I aided Helen through my endeavor.

No comments:

Post a Comment