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My name is Ozzy Pibble. My mom calls me Oz or Ozzito and sometimes Stop It Ozzy!...but that's mostly when something I'm close to has broken...Anyway, I live here with my mom and my best friend Ella. Sometimes others of our kind come and stay with us for a while, and they're sick or hurt or scared, but then they get better and then they leave. My mom always tells me where they went and the new people that they went to live with, and she seems mostly happy, but always a little bit sad too.

I was sick and hurt and very scared when I came to live in this place with my mom.

I don't remember much about my life before the day I was hurt so much, except that I was usually hungry and people didn't seem to like me much...

One day those people made one of the others of my kind beat me up. I don't think he wanted to, but the people were yelling at him and so he had to do it. After I couldn't get up anymore, they threw me out into a field. I remember that it was very hot in the sun, and I was so thirsty but I couldn't get up to find shade or water. I closed my eyes and I lay very still and quiet.

The next thing I remember is being inside a building where it was nice and cool and people I didn't know were holding my neck and trying to put water in my mouth. Boy was that water good! I couldn't drink too well because my throat and jaws didn't seem to be working right. I still scooped up big mouthfuls of it anyway. Even though the water was good, and I was glad to be out of the hot sun, there was something wrong in this place.

There were lots of my kind here--I could hear them and smell them--but there were other animals, too...lots of cats mostly. This place smelled all wrong. It had the sharp smell of fear and the wet, heavy smell of sadness and the smells burned my nose but it didn't matter 'cause I wasn't there very long. That's the place where I met my mom.

She was with another lady and they were looking at me and they smelled scared and sad, too. I was covered in blood and mud and bad smell and I had trouble sitting up and looking back at them so I stayed down and closed my eyes. The lady and my  mom must not have liked that 'cause they picked me up all of a sudden and ran to a car with me. The lady put me in my mom's lap and my mom held my neck really tight with a towel while the other lady drove very fast. (That lady is now my Auntie Denise, but I didn't know that yet.)

I could tell my mom was afraid (I guess 'cause Auntie Denise was driving so fast) and even though she held my neck a little bit too tight, I bled all over her anyways. When we got where we were going, a nice man tried to fix all the places I was hurt and he said to my mom and my Auntie Denise that he thought I was a "bait dog". I wasn't sure what "bait dog" meant, but I didn't think it meant the same as "good dog", so I didn't like it much. My mom and Auntie Denise didn't seem to be mad at me for it, so I didn't worry about it anymore.

I didn't know what was going to happen to me, but I didn't want to go back to the people where I was before or to the place with the smells. I guess my mom knew 'cause she took me to the house where I live now with Ella and made a soft place for me with my very own bowl of food and all the water I wanted. I still couldn't breathe very well, so I tried to stay close to her. She talked to me a lot and stroked the top of my head while I lay in her lap and tried to stay awake to keep her company. I was still very hot on the inside and sick and hurt all over, but my mom held me and then I remember that I new and strange feeling came over me, a sure feeling that nothing was ever going to hurt me again.

My mom didn't seem to care that I was dirty and bloody and smelly, so I made myself as comfortable as I could and just listened to her talk. Sometimes she told me that I was beautiful and told me that was a good boy and that I mustn't be scared. Sometimes she whispered to someone named Saint to come and help me, but I didn't see anyone else so I maybe got that part wrong.

A few times when my mom thought I was asleep she tried to put me on the bed she'd made for me but I didn't want her to leave me! What if those other people came in the dark and found me? What if I got so hot I couldn't breathe anymore? What if she didn't come back? I gripped her as tight as I could with my puppy feet and maybe cried a little bit. She stayed right where she was and made noises that I liked and kissed me on my head and after a while made a place big enough for her too. I stretched myself out close along her side and rested my head on her shoulder so that I could see her face and my mom looked at me and talked to me most all through that night.

She told me stories about being a little girl on a farm with lots of animals and many of my kind that she'd known, and about how she came to live in this place a while ago. She talked to me about how she makes her living taking care of people who are sick and giving them medicine and telling them how to get better. My mom told me she that she kinda figured God ought to be getting more from her than she'd been giving Him (I knew who He was--all my kind know who He is) and that she's been trying to think of a way to give something back. Even though I wasn't totally sure who she needed to give the something back to, I liked the sound her voice made, so I licked her chin to let her know I was listening.

All people are given the gift of being in charge of my kind she told me, and then she smelled a little mad 'cause some of her people are cruel and unworthy and don't protect us and take care of us like she says they're supposed to do. I checked a couple of times to be sure, but she wasn't mad at me so I licked her chin just a little to show her that I heard her and that I thought the same thing, but I wasn't mad. This is just the way of things.

After my mom was quiet for a while, she smelled a little sad, but then that went away. I kept an eye on her in case she needed me, but she was just sorting through something in her head so I stayed very still and may have slept a bit.

Then suddenly she smelled all bright and clean because she was happy and satisfied so I wagged my tail a little to show her that I was happy and satisfied, too. The last thing I remember my mom saying to me that night is that this life is not a dress rehearsal. For my part, I sure hoped this was the real thing.

My  name is Ozzy Pibble.


I am a Pack Life dog.

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