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The sun wakes me early and I know I need to be on the move to avoid capture. What I don’t know is there are white trucks that drive around looking for runaways like me, to catch us and put us in cages again. Will I never be free?

I am walking casually along the side of the road, not bothering anyone – although I am starting to get a little thirsty – when it happens. The white truck pulls up next to me and probably due to my lack of stamina, has me locked into a cage in the back before I can even make a sound or fight to save myself.

Chapter 3 / Imprisoned

I am exhausted from the stress of capture and fear. What will they do to me now? I lie down and go to sleep on the clean blanket in the cage, my freedom extinguished, despair sets in.

Later that afternoon, a pleasant young woman leads me in the direction of the door to take me out for a walk. On the way, we pass an open office door where I hear a phone call in progress.

“Princess is licensed to you sir,” the administrative assistant says.

My head snaps around at the sound of my name.

“We picked her up on North Soderquist Road,” the young woman stops abruptly. Jason must have interrupted her. There’s a short pause and the woman begins again, “When would you like to come and pick her up? There will be a $50 impound fee and –” he must have interrupted her again. After a brief pause she clarifies, “So you are surrendering your dog sir?”

I feel an immediate sting of rejection and then a flood of relief.

The following morning, a doctor examines me. She spends a lot of time noting and measuring the bumps that have started to appear in various areas of my body. The doctor spends the bulk of the exam time on my mouth though. It is so painful by now that I can barely eat.

“She’s lost a lot of weight so her dental issues will need to be addressed first. Poor old girl,” the doctor says.

Old! When had I gotten old, I wondered.

“Call Norcal. We don’t have the financial resources to deal with this,” the doctor says.

The next day, a very friendly woman comes to see me. They tell her what the doctor said. She seems so kind I would have done anything to leave this place with her. And that’s exactly what we did. Unfortunately, she drove me directly to another place that was just as cold and sterile. There was another doctor and another examination. This time I heard the doctor say, “We’ll need to operate this afternoon. She can’t eat with a mouth like that. I don’t like the look of that mammary tumor either. In that area, it’s probably malignant. The tumor needs to be removed and biopsied.”

I wasn’t sure what all of this meant, but it sounded like it would probably hurt.

That afternoon they put something sharp and painful into my skin and taped it to my arm, a catheter they called it. They put some fluid into the catheter. A few minutes later I didn’t care what they did. Everything was warm and soft and then I went to sleep. The next few days were blurry. After I could stand and go outside to do my business without someone holding me up, they put this big plastic collar over my head. They said I was ready to go home. I couldn’t understand what they meant. Jason had – what did they call it – surrendered me. So where was home now?

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