Sunday, August 4, 2019

UNDERSTANDING SASSIE, Ch. 10, "The Black Skins"

Understanding Sassie: A Novel of Dog and Human Communication

I began to travel to the dirt road more and more often.  I considered this area Sassie’s food pantry.  It was easy to open the black skins and feast. This black skin never fought, nor did I need to chase it; it just would lay there.  It seemed to be already dead, so there was no need to kill it.

I found it rewarding to go to this dirt road area to see if there were any more of these black skins.  I’d listen for the sound of man’s movement or that metal object that made the loud noise.  If I heard anything suspicious, I would run to my hideout and hide.  

One day when I had hidden in my safe hole, I was able to see two men get out of their metal noise maker and pull some boxes out of the back of this metal object.  They began to pull food from one of the boxes, and as they were eating, they moved away from me. 

One man had been eating a sandwich, but instead of finishing it, threw it down on the ground.  I could not believe my luck.  I had never seen man give away food.  I stayed near my hideaway and made sure not to move until the men had gone out of sight.  When I was satisfied that the men were far away, I pounced on the half-eaten sandwich and quickly gobbled it.

When the rains soaked the landscape, we found large puddles everywhere.  We knew it was not good hunting weather, so we stayed in our den and kept warm and dry.  When the sun finally began to dry the area, we again began to hunt. 

I decided to head to the dirt road.  Arriving at my hideout, I was surprised to see a river running into and through my hole.  As I looked at the dirt road, I saw that there were several black skins nearby.   I was hungry, so I immediately attacked one of the black skins.  This was not a good decision.  I should have been looking for a new hideaway first, before eating. 

Suddenly, I heard that metal sound and realized that man was coming.  I panicked.  I dashed behind a nearby bush and crawled under its thick branches for a hide-a-way.  Little did I realize that my tail was still uncovered, and its golden color was seen by the men in the vehicle.

The truck held two people, a driver and his passenger.  They were not hunters, but they had been searching the area for stray dogs.  “It looks like there may be a dog in that bush,” Mike, the Animal Control Officer told his driver, Donald. 

“Yep. Seems so.” Donald replied.  “Want me to stop? I’ve brought some extra food, if you want to use it.”

“No, the dog will only run.” Mike answered and then decided, “I’ll bring the largest Have-a-Heart trap that we have from the shed back home.  I’ll bait it with the good stuff tomorrow.”

“Do you want to search any other areas?”  Donald asked.

“No,” Mike replied. “It will be dark soon, and I think it would be a good idea to go back to the office.

When the metal object left, Sassie made the wise decision to return to the warmth of the den.  She had eaten and felt sleepy.  She knew the den would provide the safest place for sleeping.


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.

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