I step inside.

Yipping, barking, whining, kennels rattling, claws clicking, tongues licking,

White, tan, black, brown, tall, short, long, stubby, floppy ears, black noses,

Excited, happy, urgent, anxious, energetic, jumping.

He sits and waits.

The crate door opens and his small pink tongue finds my chin, my ear.

He hops in my arms and nestles against my chest and sighs.

The madness falls away; white noise.

My heart is full,

His, content,

I could stay forever in that moment,

The floresent light blinking now and again, bathing us in a blueish light,

The other dogs going beserk and neither I nor him paying them any heed, for a time,

And his body warm against mine and his tiny quick heartbeat tapping my arm and his short fur already coating my shirt,

And his eyes closed.

You know I love you Mickeroo.

He looks up for a moment.

I smile.

He snuggles deeper into my arms.

And every day I say you'll go home today, I'm sure.

And every night I give him some water and say maybe tomorrow.

And every morning he greets me like I make him the luckiest dog in the world.

And so he doesn't forget I tell him he's made me the luckiest kid.

And he smiles.

People say dogs can't smile,

That they can't have compassion,

That they don't love.

But if a smile is a look that says "I'm happy to see you."

And compassion is caring for someone more than yourself

And love is a glowing warmth rooted in a contentment to just be as long as we're together,

Than he might as well be human.

My Mickeroo is my baby boy,

my little man,

my snugglebug,

my buddy,

my friend.

He has never laughed at me,

Or expected anything from me other than a soft voice and gentle hands,

Or made me feel worse about myself,

Or betrayed me,

Or made me cry.

He's just there.

He just loves.

He just waits.

And that is more than enough.

The moment passes and I slip on the collar and set him down and his short nails click click click on the aging fake tile and we cross the room and he's in step with me and he stops to look up with me with one ear perked up and the other hanging down across his face and he tilts his head and asks a question that I don't understand but I smile again and his white tipped tail wags and I open the door.

We step outside.


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