I stood at the gas pump, hit the button for the cheap stuff, and let out a sigh. It had been too long between stops, another day heading nowhere. Dark clouds hung low and the air felt stale; it smelled like dirty rain and old gasoline. I locked the nozzle on full, leaned against the camper shell, and that’s when I saw the dog. She trotted around the back end of my truck, sat down on the other side of the hose and gave me the look.
She held her head tilted, her eyes were bright and unblinking. Her ears stood at attention, though the tips folded over. She looked young and clean, delicate but not small, medium sized around thirty five pounds I guessed. Her appearance mesmerized me. She had light brown eyes that literally sparkled. Her coat looked like a mixture of black, white and gray coloring with copper highlights on her face that enhanced those eyes. A ribbon of white fur ran from the patch on top of her head, between those eyes, to her full white muzzle. It had been a damp day, spitting rain at times, but she looked dry.
The loud clank from the nozzle shutting off jolted me from our connection; she didn’t appear to notice, she kept watching me. I removed the nozzle and replaced it in the pump, screwed my gas cap back on and secured the little door. She sat there and watched me the entire time.
“So, what cha doin’?” I asked.
Her lips parted and she gave me a small smile; she started panting very slowly, her eyes locked on mine. It wasn’t a challenge, but I knew her full attention was focused on me.
I smiled back at her and tried my best line, “Do you come here often?”
No answer, but she cocked her head to the other side and stopped panting.
A greasy man had come out and stood in the doorway of the office, “Is that damn mutt yours?”
“No,” I said, “she just came over to say hi.”
“It’s been hanging around since this morning. It won’t let anyone git near and it hasn’t gone near anyone else, so I thought it was yours.”
“Nope, but she is a cutie.”
“Grab it if you can,” he yelled, “I’ll take it to the pound.”
I held my hand out to stop him, with my index finger up, “Hang on a minute.”
I turned back to the dog, she still waited, watching me. I squatted, keeping my distance and asked her, “Are you friendly?”
She offered me her right paw. It was white, like the rest of her feet, and elegant.
I stretched out and took it, being as gentle as she looked. “Nice to meet you, I’m Marty.” I released her paw.
“She’s wearing a collar,” I called out to the man. It hung loosely around her neck; a blue plastic tag with lettering was attached.
“Can I read your tag?” I asked her.
She scooted closer to me, stretched out and gave me a light kiss on the corner of my mouth. She sat, with her tag now in easy reach.
I grasped the tag, turned it and read aloud, “I AM YOURS.”
She woofed at me in agreement. I felt a big grin break out on my face. I stood up and opened the door of my truck, “Okay, if that’s how it is, load up.”
She leaped, light as a feather, up into the driver’s seat, hopped across to the passenger side and sat down, looking as if she owned the place. I noticed she had a very short tail, making her rear look trim and compact.
I waved over to the man, “Yeah, she is my dog, I just didn’t know.”
He looked disgusted, flapped his hand in our direction and went back into his office, slamming the door shut.
As I took my receipt from the pump, a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds and shone on my truck, giving it a glowing aura. A light breeze brought freshness to the air.