The ground is hot. Her tiny paws burn with each step and she hops awkwardly, trying to touch the rocky surface as little as possible. But a hard yank on her leash and she stops. Master doesn’t like it when she hops. He finds it an irritating sight, and a quick yank or swift kick to her ribs usually serves as reminder of this.
Penny is not a young dog, almost twelve this fall. There once was a time when she was full of energy and joy, romping through the cool fall leaves as Mistress smiled and patted her on the head. Master was Young Master then, or at least that’s how she thought of him. He was shorter, his hair was lighter, and he rode a bike that he sometimes tried to chain her to. Now he’s older, taller, and heavier in all the wrong places. His hair has become a dull brown, his face is wrenched into a permanent scowl, and Mistress is gone.
“Keep up, yah damn mutt,” he snaps at her and Penny trots along as fast as her spindly legs can manage. She used to be so strong, ran so fast; now her legs shake on a good day.