The door of her crate softly squeaked as sunlight spewed in through the opening. Sasha huddled in the darkest corner. The light was unfamiliar to her, the darkness was like an old friend. Or at least, it was the closest thing to a friend that Sasha had ever known. While everything else in the world sought to frighten her or bring her pain, the darkness could temporarily comfort and protected her. Shadows hid her from the dangers briefly, until its sanctuary was pierced by a dull light bulb or a flashlight followed by chains and unkind hands. She did not trust the sunlight, yet there was something enticing through the opening, like a portal to the unknown, that although terrifying, seemed to call her forward. She slowly crept beyond the cage door into the world that lay beyond. Her paw touched something strange, and she cringed back. The feeling was not unpleasant, just different, much different than the hard earth and cold concrete that she was accustomed to. She slowly reached forward again, ducked her head and stepped outside. The soft, yet scratchy, green earth was incredible. It was like nothing she’d ever felt before and its warmth gave her the courage to step forward and completely abandon her crate.

The light was overwhelming. She could see the world around her in a way she had never been able to before. She had always seen the world from behind bars of some kind or another. As a pup, it was the cold and filthy cages that she was confined to with her mother and siblings, until they had, one by one either been taken away by strangers or left behind to die. Then it was off to the fighting pits, and her claustrophobic, bloodstained kennel, where any view she had was obstructed by chicken wire or thick bars, preventing her from contact with any of the other creatures. Although, she would have very close interactions with her fellows eventually, but only as nightmarish heaps of fur and gnashing teeth.

This new home was different, it was filled with so many alien sights, smells and sounds that Sasha was not sure where to begin. She crouched lower as small, winged creatures flew overhead, making slight humming sounds as their wings strummed along their elongated bodies. For a moment, Sasha felt the urge to chase them, but she held her ground, unsure of what fate awaited her if she let her guard down for even a moment. Nearby, she could hear soft splashes of water coming from an unknown source. The slow, steady pace made her anxious heartbeat slow down and she allowed herself to relax slightly. The air was filled with the smell of something cooking. The aroma was smoky and mouthwatering, and it made her realize then that she was hungry. Sasha wondered how she would be able to fight for food in the strange new place.

And then, she heard a new sound. She recoiled slightly, startled by the new sound but she couldn’t be frightened of it. It was something almost melodic, like being called home, or what she imagined that home should feel like. Sasha turned and saw the face of a young girl. She didn’t understand the look on the girl’s face, it was not an expression that she was familiar with, but it seemed safe. Sasha slowly lifted her head, and wagged her nub of a tail to show the young girl that it would be okay for her to approach. “Welcome home, Sasha!” the girl said with a freckled smile. The brightness of the girl’s eyes drew Sasha forward as the girl exclaimed, “I’m Katie and you and I are going to be the best of friends!” Sasha was not completely sure what a friend was, but somehow, she knew that Katie was telling the truth and she couldn’t wait to find out all about it.

 

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