dropped off

Lucy looked up, confused. She whined, cocking her head from side to side. Where were they going? Who were these other humans? 

She knew this place. This was where the man in the white coat lived. The man was a nice man, but sometimes he poked her and it hurt. Lucy didn't have to come see the man in the white coat often, which was good. 

Her humans had only left her with the man in the white coat once before. There were a flurry of people around her, people that she didn't recognize. They took her into a different room and set her on a cold metal table. The man in the white coat was petting her, saying nice things. She felt a stick. 

The next thing she knew, she had woken up in a small cage. Lucy had felt groggy yet like she had slept deeply for hours. Her stomach hurt. Lucy wanted to lick at the wound, to heal it, to inspect it for any infection but they had put a plastic cone around her neck and she couldn't reach. The cone was clear but that didn't stop her from bumping into everything and tripping over thin air. While Lucy may never figure out what the man in the white coat had done to her, she did know that her humans had come to get her. They had taken her home and fawned over her, carrying her around, feeding her extra food.

But this time they took her straight into a cage. 

There was no cold metal table, no cone, no stick. 

Several cages around her held other dogs. Most were sleeping. Some were barking. Others were crying. 

Lucy curled up in a corner of the cage, waiting for her humans to come back. They were coming back. She just knew it.

They didn't come back.

The humans fed her and cleaned her cage. They took her on walks too. 

Lucy wanted to go home.

At home, she had free range of the backyard. There was a little flap in the door that led into the yard. Her humans almost never closed it so she was free to come and go as she pleased through the little flap. She would spend hours lying in the sun. Sometimes she'd run and chase the little brown squirrels in the trees beyond the fence. 

At home she had more toys than a dog could play with. Her humans would play with her too, tugging on the toy and throwing it for her to fetch once they had wrested it away from her. They always seemed so excited when she brought it back. It made her happy to see them that excited so she'd chase the toy and bring it back every time. Lucy loved playing with them.

At home, there was always food. It was her food. Sometimes the humans made her special dinners, mixing her usual hard food with chicken or egg or even steak one time. Often times, the humans would give her pieces of their food too.

At home, there was love. The humans pet her all the time. They told her how good she was and how much they loved her. They never shooed her off the sofa when all she wanted was to sit next to them. They held her close when the thunder and lightning ripped open the sky. They let her sleep curled up on the bed every night. She passed most nights curled in the small of one of the human's backs. When it got cold out, they would lift the comforters so she could climb under them. Sometimes when it was really cold, she would crawl inside one of the human's shirts while they slept. They never got mad when she did that. Instead, they laughed and ruffled her ears. She loved her humans and she thought they loved her too. 

But this place wasn't home.

This place was cold where home was warm. There was food but never chicken or beef. There were toys but only the two toys her humans had given the other humans before they left. Besides, no one played with her here. There were walks but with 5 other dogs. The walks were always very short. 

This wasn't her home. These weren't her humans.

Lucy resigned herself to her fate. Her humans weren't coming back. This was her new home now. This bleak, dismal place was her home. These humans were nice but they didn't love her. There were too many dogs and too much to be done for them to love her. One would play with her now and again but that was rare and short lived. 

The days passed. Lucy didn't eat much. She didn't play much either. Mostly she just slept. 

One day, one of the humans came and took her out of her cage. They put her toys in a bag and put a leash on her collar. They took her out the front door, the one that led out to the hallway and not out to the yard. Lucy followed quietly. The human chattered away happily. Lucy had to admit that her excitement was infectious. 

They rounded a corner. 

Her humans were there. They had come back for her. One of her humans squealed her name and picked her up. Lucy licked her face excitedly, whining and wriggling in her human's arms.

Her humans had come back for her.

She was going home. 

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