There was a white dog in the yard of the yellow house. It hurt his heart that anyone would leave such a beautiful creature outside every night in the cold. If she were his, she would sleep next to his bed on a special dog bed. She would sneak into his bed and burrow under the covers with him, pressing her furry body along his and sighing with contentment.
Every morning as he headed to the bus stop she stood in the snow, pushing her black nose through the chain link fence. Her eyes were liquid and hypnotic in the predawn light. He would lean over the low fence and pet her while she wiggled with delight, tugging at his ratty mittens with her pointy little teeth. Her morning greetings gave him something to think about on the bus ride to his mind-numbing job. He had at least one friend in town.
He never saw her in the evenings as he walked past on the way the dingy boarding house where he lived. He imagined her shivering in the dog house at the back of the yard. The cold nipped at his own nose too sharply for him to look for long. At dawn his heart leapt with joy. She was back at the fence, waiting for him.
That night, on the way home from work, he bought his first can of Vienna sausages. The tinned dog food at the convenience store next to the bus stop was over-priced. The sausages came in a pop top, easy to open in the cold.
He would feed his furry white friend one sausage at a time, watch her savor them. She didn’t disappoint. It became their new morning ritual. She would not starve in the cold, even if he had to give up his afternoon soda to afford the weenies.
He got a better job, one that paid well enough to afford a real apartment across town. If he broke into the money he was saving for a car, he had enough for the pet deposit. A few old shoelaces braided together would serve as a leash until he could get a real one. He set off to liberate her. There was a lightness in his heart that he had not felt in years.
The yard was empty, nothing but a few glints of sausage can tops poking through the melting snow there to greet him. He shuffled away, remembering the feel of her tongue on his fingers, the thick warmth of her coat. Perhaps he would adopt a shelter dog. Maybe his dawn beauty would be waiting for him there. If not, maybe there would be a puppy like her, just for him.
Back at the yellow house, the white dog’s owner stood on the sidewalk and looked over the many empty sausage cans exposed by the melting snow.
“I guess these explain why you wanted out at four-thirty every morning!”
The white dog woofed her agreement.