Burt wished Sarah McLachlan would stop singing that darn song on T.V., the one about the arms of the angels. When he heard it, he’d hurry to hit the remote or even leave the room. The pictures of those sad-eyed dogs cowering in cages or back alleys just killed him.
I can’t save them all, he told Sarah in his head, as he wrote a check to the SPCA. Save just one, then, she replied soundlessly. He tried not to hear.
Burt loved dogs, but he really wanted to own a big, pedigreed animal that would excite envy and attention. His dream dog. Maybe a mastiff. Or a Doberman. One that told the world Burt was a special guy, a force to be reckoned with, not just another cog in the machine.
He’d do research and visit breeders, get enthusiastic and ready to plunk down several thousand dollars for one puppy or another, but then Sarah would sing again and he’d be lost. Finally, in self-defense, he made his way to the shelter. I’m just looking, he told himself sternly, in case a good dog got hauled in with the strays.
Burt walked along the concrete corridor between the tall wire enclosures. His nose stung from the mingled odors of disinfectant and despair. The noise level was deafening. He’d read dogs in shelters go a little crazy from the din, and he could understand why. But the dogs couldn’t help themselves; his presence brought excitement and hope. They barked. His ears ringing, he peered at the hopeful faces.
Here was a quiet one. She was smallish, with rough brown fur, one floppy ear, and a sagging belly from too many litters of puppies. There was absolutely no resemblance to his dream dog, but when she calmly met his eyes, he felt a jolt of recognition.
I’m your dog. Take me home.
He did. Their song began.