The world was blurry. It was the first time I opened my eyes. So new, yet so familiar. I saw six small, furry bundles snuggling against me, and one big mother dog in the front. Seven of us, squirming and wriggling to get our mother’s warm milk.
A gust of cold wind blew onto me, and suddenly I awoke to the present. The bitter sting of the ice and snow nipped at my nose and paws. I had forgotten that I was in a human city, and that I had fallen asleep with a stomach full of human food, so there I slept. Right behind a human Shelter. I ran towards the back door, and found plenty of white boxes, full of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and crackers. A couple of years ago I was named Splash, perfectly fitting for a Portuguese Water Dog like me, because I survived the awful flood that had spread through my old town in Florida. The flood was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I was then captured by the animal shelter, which brought me to my new city in Alaska. I broke free and ran to the city.
I loved the city, but things had been strange lately. The humans weren’t coming out, not even the kids, who came out to play every day in the winter. The snow was intensely deep. So deep that I felt I would be up to my flank in snow by the middle of winter, and yet, they say that this is the average Alaskan winter. No extra food was left behind the human Shelter. I had eaten all the scraps. I needed to wash it down, so I lapped up the surrounding snow. The cold, icy part of it stung my teeth. It slowly melted in my mouth and a cold, watery sensation coated my tongue and throat. Just then, I heard an alarming howl. Coyotes. I thought. They're coming to the city. I have to leave! My mind shot back to the strangely empty streets, then back to the fierce howling that pierced my ears. The flood, was it a sign? Was something coming? Something dangerous? Bad enough to make me leave my home and everything I had ever known?
I had to run. Into the wild. I knew that then I would have more to gain than to lose. I slowly pushed myself up with my forepaws, my pelt covered with frost. The frozen shell scattered in all directions when I got to my paws and shook. The coyotes were closer now, and I focused on the strong scent of danger in the air. Now was no time to sniff the stale human scent. No. Now was time to run.