I was born in the country, in a little town outside of Anchorage in Alaska. My mother was of German stock, having been imported directly from the old country. She was named for that silly playmate of Peter Pan’s, but she had none of that little girl’s simpering style of mothering. My mother was a strong female. She licked us roughly with her tongue and let us know that life was not all softness and cuddling.
My father, who had a bold name which I will withhold here, excited in all of us puppies a desire to be like him. He was fast and strong and large with a bold bark. The humans loved and admired him and frequently showed him to their guests.
I was given to understand, as were we all, at a young age, almost before our eyes opened, that when the time came, we would be separated and sent into different homes. Some of us would become heroes: police dogs, service dogs, actors, companions–we would seek, hunt, guard, find, love and gain glory in the world. People came, of all sizes, shapes, and smells. They held us and petted our silky puppy fur and chatted over us. Mother was always near. She came and licked the puppy who cried out, but caused a fair number of cries herself, stepping on her other offspring to get there.
I was one of seven siblings, and possessed two sisters and four brothers. All of us had been given a different colored collar, and by these colors we were known, until our future humans came to adopt us and bring us to our new lives. My most intimate companion was Orange Boy. Orange Boy and I were the quieter puppies in our litter, and perhaps this was why the humans gave us the less bold and less simple names (our brothers were Red Boy and Blue Boy). No primary colors for Orange Boy or for me, Teal Boy.
Early on, while our brothers and sisters fought one another for milk when there was plenty, or crawled on top of one another to show who was top dog, Orange Boy and I might be exploring the far corners of our enclosure, sniffing for where our humans had traveled to. We whined and wagged our tails over strange and startling scents and dreamed of what they meant when we curled up together to rest. Orange Boy, of all my siblings, was the true brother of my questing soul.
We were happy together, he and I, but little did we know, that this happiness would not last.