Dogs with sausages illustration

‘He’s terribly cute.’

Cute aren’t I?

‘Adorable.’

I’d make a lovely lodger. Neat. Tidy. Quiet, except for when the postman comes and you need an advance warning of him shoving danger through the letterbox.

‘Look at his little tail.’

I can wag my tail faster than any other dog I know. Look at it go. Look at it!

‘What a sweet little boy!’

I’m the perfect pet. Truly! Great personality, though I do say so myself.

‘He’s only got three legs.’

I know I’m one leg short, but don’t let that bother you. Not much I can do about it. They don’t grow back, you know. I’ve tried, believe me. I’ve wished it and wished it and wished it and… nothing. Just this stump.

‘I want a dog, not a tripod.’

I’m no less of a dog. I’m a terrier, in fact. A Heinz 57 is what the vet called me, whatever that is. But I’m a dog, through and through. I just happen to be on three legs. No big deal.

‘He seems to be able to get around on it just fine.’

It doesn’t bother me. I almost never fall over any more. Here, let me spin in a circle just to prove it. See? Dextrous as heck. Just as good as a four-legger.

‘Bound to have problems later though, isn’t he? Arthritis. Spine problems. Dodgy muscles.’

I’m healthy, in case you’re wondering. Heart rhythm is normal, I don’t have a delicate stomach and my teeth are all my own and bright white and shiny.

‘Why would he?’

I’m strong as an ox, the vet says.

‘I don’t know, ‘cos he’s lugging his body round on three legs when there should be four.’

And you know something handy about me? If you ever want to trim my nails, you have four fewer to deal with than with a standard dog. How handy is that?

‘But it’s not like he’s got a lot of bulk to carry around. He’s only tiny.’

And I’m only small, not like some of these clodhopping beasts. I’m absolutely teeny tiny weeny. Could fit right in your pocket. Well, maybe not your pocket. Handbag, perhaps. Yup – I could be a handbag dog if that’s what you’re after. Just so long as you let me out now and again to run because I love to run. ‘Specially if there’s a ball flying around.

‘I don’t think he’s the dog for us. Be practical now.’

Bugger it. I’m losing you, aren’t I? You’ve got sad-face, lady. It’s him that’s putting you off me, isn’t it? Well, dump him and adopt me. Go on!

‘You’re right. Sorry, little guy.’

Your loss. Someone will have me, and I’ll be the best pet ever. Just you wait.

Not fair, this. Not fair at all. Why I couldn’t stay with my old human I’ll never know. I was a good dog. Tried my best to be, anyway. I only left a little pile of badness on the kitchen floor, and only once. But I was sent out into the dark, regardless. That’s when the car bit me. Bit me so bad the vet had to lop my back leg off. And now I’ve wound up in bloody prison. Where’s the justice in that?

At least the human prison guards bring us for days out like this every now and again. They always witter on about us wagging our tails and being on our best behaviour to bag ourselves new humans, but I’ve got the waggiest tail of this whole sorry crew and I always get looked over. It’s the three-leg thing.

I could go it alone, see how I fare in the big, wide world as an independent puppy. And I would, if it weren’t for all the cars about. They’re so unpredictable. It’s hard to read their temperament because they all growl all the time, even the friendly ones. And I can’t afford to have another leg bitten off.

But if I did want to go it alone, I’d be able to get away easy as pie. I could slip this collar in three seconds flat. The prison guards have no idea what I’m capable of. Maybe it’s time to show them. There aren’t any cars around here, anyway. Are there?

Maybe there are. It could be too risky. And it could wreck my chances of winning over a new human. Nobody wants a tearaway terrier. More’s the pity, ‘cos we’re a lot of fun.

Is that…?

Do I smell…?

Sausages. Has to be. Got to be! It’s unmistakeable, that smell.

Haven’t had a sausage since I had four legs. That’s that, then. I’m off.

‘Whut ya doin’?’

Slipping my collar, Bobby.

‘Why?’

Because I can.

‘Uhkay.’

I’ll see you around.

‘Buhbye.’

Bobby the bulldog. He’s got a smushed-up face and a simple mind. Doesn’t question anything.

Oh, it feels good to stretch my legs. Let’s go. Let’s run!

Look at me go! Fast for a little thing. Sometimes I think I’ve some greyhound in me. Didn’t seem to get those long, luscious legs, though. But I can give the lanky gits a run for their money, that’s for sure.

Sausages, sausages, sausages, sausages, sausages, sausages, SAUSAGES.

And a cat. Oh dear. This could be dangerous.

Brave cat. Even I wouldn’t clamber up on that Big Metal Heat Monster for the sake of a sausage. He must have paws of steel. And right in front of the humans. That means he has balls of steel, too. Lucky bastard mustn’t have had them chopped off.

Oop, there we go, two sausages on the floor. One for him, one for me, right? Better be quick though. But you already know I’m fast.

In I go… woah, woah, woah! Put the claws away, PUT THE CLAWS AWAY, I surrender.

Yeah, you can squint at me all you want; I could set chase at any moment if I want to, then you’ll be sorry. Though you are bigger than me… and you have those steel balls. I probably wouldn’t come out on top.

So… take pity on me, eh? Please? Look at these big, round eyes. How can you resist? Maximum cuteness in a teeny terrier package. Go on… give us a sausage. Go on. Let’s get to work on the canine-feline peace treaty over a good old sausage, eh?

Oh, shit! It worked! How did… I didn’t think… I… what am I doing? Don’t question it, just eat.

NOM.

And it’s gone, just like that. Chewing is a waste of time, I’m telling you. Come on kitty, catch up or I might have the other sausage off you. Maybe if I sit pretty and do the eye trick again and lick my lips like I’m so hungry

Seriously? You’re letting me have it? Well, you don’t have to offer twice.

NOM.

That’s the stuff. Sausages – the wolf of foods.

Thanks, cat. Your kind aren’t all that bad. Dumb, if you’ll fall for my wide-eye trick, but nicer than you look. And now I’m gonna run before you turn on me, because I know cats have a filthy habit of doing that.

Now, where to next? There’s that weird, tall stick thing that looks like it was a tree once upon a time. It’s an ideal target for a cocked leg, but there are too many people around it for my liking. People don’t like it when you pee on anything except grass and lampposts, so I’m told.

There’s a deliciously sweet, creamy smell hanging in the air which might be worth an investigation. But it seems to be coming from those big car-looking things. They’re not moving, I guess. And I don’t hear them growling. But for how long? I’ve never quite been able to determine if cars can bite when they’re stationary. Would rather not chance it.

Maybe I should go back to the prison guards, turn myself in. It’s inevitable that they’ll find me, anyway. And it wouldn’t be so bad, I guess. I’ll get a meal later, and a warmish place to sleep, and a couple of rubs on my belly and behind my ears if I’m really, really lucky.

And who am I kidding when I think about going it alone? I can’t go it alone. I’m a tiny dog who’s missing a leg. The cars will eat me for breakfast if I don’t have a human around to protect me. So it’s settled – I’ll go back.

But I might as well explore for a little while first. What’s the harm?

Lots of mini humans about. That’s a shame. They’re sticky and gropy and they leave my fur feeling all tatty and they get up to the weirdest stuff. That one has a butterfly on its face and doesn’t even seem to notice. And that one has a cat face on its face… how do you even manage that? And that one has… suspicious-looking brown stuff all over her mouth. And people think us dogs have a reputation for eating poop.

I’m far more of a tall human kind of dog. Quiet, tall humans, specifically. Quiet, tall, humans who are incredibly generous with sausages, if we’re going for the ideal companion. But maybe that’s only a pipe dream.

There are lots of tall humans over there near that big white house. Exclusively tall humans. And I’m pretty sure they smell of food. Yup… it’s coming to me on the wind. I sense an opportunity.

One benefit of being so small is that I can slip through packs of humans without drawing attention. And my nose is close to the ground, which makes it a breeze to snaffle up titbits that have been dropped from the clumsy paws of humans. Ooh, look – bit of bread. Ah – another bit of bread. And here’s some sort of crispy, biscuity thing. It’s bland and – ugh – dry, but it’s better than nothing. No meat about. It seems humans have this knack for avoiding dropping even an ounce of meat on the floor. Funny that.

Strange sort of house, this. The walls flap about in the wind and there’s a great big hole where a door should be. But the humans seem to like it in here. They’re all drinking like mad. Must be something making them really thirsty.

It’s a bit rowdy. Not a fan of that. But there’s a human over there who looks like my type. He’s quiet and he has food – what more could I ask for? I’m going in.

I’ll sit and stare at him for a while, I suppose. It would be rude not to. Don’t want to go in all guns blazing, nudging him with my nose and all that malarkey. Besides, he might drop something which will save me having to do the wide-eyed act.

Who am I kidding? I’ll do the wide-eyed act regardless.

Best not blink. If I blink I might miss it when he drops a morsel. Or the food might just disappear right out of his hand – I’ve never seen it happen before but it’s always a worry. I don’t know what it is he’s eating; it doesn’t smell all that interesting, but I’d have a good chomp on it anyway. It’s human food, after all, and human food is always delicious, except for when it’s green. Mind you, we will eat the green stuff if it’s offered, just to show willing.

Good food-to-mouth coordination, this one. Hasn’t dropped a crumb. And he hasn’t noticed me either. I’m too small. Damn these stumpy legs! Suppose I’ll give him a quick nudge with my nose.

Woah! Don’t freak out, it’s just me, I’m just a little dog, cute little dog. Wet nose can be a shock sometimes, I get it. Sorry about that. Here, let me wag my tail, show you how harmless I am.

Food! Wow. I didn’t even try. Thanks. And another bit. And another bit. And another bit! This is great!

Strange morsels, though. Crunchy. Getting all stuck in my teeth. No, that doesn’t mean I don’t want more, I definitely do, definitely…

Scratch behind the ear, eh? That’s a bit forward, don’t know you very well but I’ll let it go. It’s quite nice actually. To the left a bit… here, let me tilt my head for you… almost… there… that’s the spot.

‘You must be with the rescue centre.’

I do like ear scratches. You are correct.

‘Need a home, do you?’

I do want more food, yes indeed, that would be delightful.

‘I might just have space for a wee dog like you.’

But if you’re offering food I’d quite like a sausage. I’ll show you the way to them if you like. It’s not far.

‘Three legs. Poor guy. What happened to you, eh?’

I’ve already had two but I’m sure I could squeeze in two or three more.

‘Heinz 57 is what you look like.’

Huh? Vet said that once. Guess it must be my breed.

‘Maybe you could come home with me, eh?’

We better be going now. Who knows how long the sausages will be there and we don’t want to miss them.

‘Yeah? You want to come home with me?’

I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I can’t seem to stop my tail wagging.


‘An Ode to Sausages’ is an excerpt from my latest short story collection, Come What May Day, available in paperback and eBook from Amazon.

Come What May Day: A Short Story Collection by Ellie Scott, available from AmazonFollow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com

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