This is an excerpt from my new short story, The Story of Bess. It’s about my sweet dog, who left me on December 13, 2017. I still miss her terribly. A great dog, who I adopted from Norcal Boxer Rescue, Bess had a rough life at the beginning. She was so much more than a pet, and was truly story worthy. Stay tuned for the next installment.
I’m number 29. I don’t have a name, just a number. I was born here, just like my mother, but I hope I won’t die here like she did – completely drained of her life’s energy after being forced to have too many babies, too early, too often.
They call me Princess when they parade me out in front of the prospective customers so they can see what the new addition to their family might look like.
After numerous presentations and rejections, I knew I’d been here too long. The only viable escape is with one of the happy looking families, but they never pick me. I hear the workers here use words like, “runt of the litter.” At first, the man who makes the decisions says, “That’ll work for a while. If she’s small they’ll think she’s still a puppy.” But that doesn’t work.
Soon, I am moved into the next phase, a breeder. This is basically a slow death with a variety of horrors that all lead to despair.
The first is the rape stand, a simple, mean device that straps you in – one strap around your throat and another around your belly. The straps are attached to a metal frame. It’s easy to use, even the dumbest person can put it together and strap in the female so there is no escape. You’re simply forced to stand there in readiness – ready or not – as the randy male, answering his primal call, enters you violently. A couple of months later, the next nightmare happens, giving birth. Luckily for me I only had to do this a few times in my life. I was what they called an “inferior producer.”
The first time, I give birth to only one poor little baby. There is something wrong. My baby refuses to nurse no matter what I do. Despite the harsh, cruel world my baby boy is born into, I love him and want him to survive. I sever his umbilical cord and clean him lovingly. I bring him up to my breast, but he will not nurse. It is almost as though he knows and does not want to survive in this horrific world.
My next birth does not go much better. I have two girls, frail, one dies within hours. The other baby girl is deformed. They take her from me and kill her immediately. I hear her final whimper just before the gun shot and I know.
There are only two routes left for me now. Death, just like my daughter or an auction where we are sold off to the highest bidder, no matter what our health condition. Once my “inferior producer” status is noted though, I will be killed anyway.
They hose me down with icy water like they do all the mother’s after giving birth. It is an excruciating ordeal to have high pressure ice water blasted at you, but I am too sad to care.
I start to notice one of the workers walking past my cage more frequently. I wonder why. It’s not as though he’s particularly friendly – although at this point in my life I have no idea what any sort of kindness is.