The morning was met with the sound of Stewart sniffing. Lizzie and Mack stood up from behind one of the many large crates, keeping their paws to the ground and not looking as submissive as usual, they met Stewart with anger and silence. The black dog approached them, circling them. “Why the long faces comrades? You both have been doing so well, crushing opponents and exercising. I’m proud of you both.” He licked both Mack and Lizzie, the two did not move. They waited, they watched the big metal door. Their ears perked, every sound amplified, even though the cement walls-which were no match for a dog’s acute sense of sound.
The sounds of cars driving, people yelling and a cold autumn wind blowing could be heard. Mack wasn’t in great shape, worse than he was a few weeks ago. His side of his face still deformed slightly, more scars and bruises covered his body. Lizzie also had frizzy fur and quite sharp looking teeth from her owner sharpening them. Tails down, hearts pounding and breathing rapid. Staring. Waiting. Watching. Any moment now.
The door clicked, out came Patrick, the overweight owner of Mack.
Being that Lizzie was a bit bulkier, she ran first, right between his legs, causing him to fall face first. Mack followed directly behind, before running away completely, with all of his might, he clamped down on Patrick’s leg, followed by a deafening scream. Time moved in slow motion, sound became nonexistent as Mack clamped on Patrick’s leg and jerking his head back, revealing a large, bloody muscle. “I TRUSTED YOU! You fucking mutt! You bit me! You fucker!” Mack stood and watched the human who had abused him for a bit longer, wiggle on the floor and die of blood loss.
Outside, the sky is grey, their surroundings quite bleak, to the right a large brick wall, to the left, a long alleyway, surrounded by garbage and food. At the end of all of that, the opening that led to the main city.
The two darted side by side together, aiming for the scent of beautiful freedom. The two made it about halfway through the disgusting ally, Mack fell face first into the cement, clutched onto his backside was Stewart, rabid and barking furiously. “Goddamn it Mack! YOU’RE RUINING EVERYTHING!” He shouts and flips the pit bull over, pinning him down to the cement and using his upper body strength to crush his windpipe. Mack ends up swiping Stewart in the face, causing a bloody and deep scar, but the Doberman does not cower. Mack’s eyes narrowed and he growled from deep within his soul. “Fuck you to hell!” This burst of energy did not last long, the back wound was getting painful and probably made some older wounds worse. Mack’s vision became blurry, he knew this is where he could die. He would spend his last dying breath, knowing he tried to escape and failed, being an inspiration to no dog who would come after him. Stewart now was mere inches from the hurt pit bull, putting his muzzle right into his eye. “You pussy, you a- The sentence was snapped.
Lizzie comes charging out from behind a garbage heap in the corner, running into Stewart and toppling him, Mack stands up swiftly and coughs deeply. Lizzie had the upper hand as she bites the black dog’s pointy ear and not letting go. Warm blood flows between her teeth as Stewart wails in pain. Using brute strength, Stewart flips himself over, causing Lizzie to hit her head against a metal pipe which had fallen from the building directly above her and blacked out for a moment. As the Doberman breathes heavily, he notices something at the front of the alleyway.
He smiles a toothy grin, his eyes narrow as he focuses on a young man taking his garbage to a nearby dumpster. About 18 years old, 5 feet, short blonde hair. Looking content as he had done this many times before. Stewart, covered head to toe in blood and filthy from rolling in the garbage, speaks in a tone that he had never spoken in before, a tone that not only read evil, but insanity. “Ohhh…fresh meat! Maybe a teenager is more my style today. Maybe you two weaklings are boring me! I have a new enemy to take care of” He laughs loudly, Mack had never heard such an intense sound come from Stewart, he begins to briskly walk towards the human, shouting over his shoulder. “Not only, could you not both save yourselves from the real world of fighting in a ring, but you couldn’t save the life…of one…innocent human!” The dog lets out a furious bark and charges at the kid, four legs bang on the cement, showing his jagged teeth and knowing that no human was fast enough to outrun him.
Mack gets his bearings and realized in a flash what was going on, he had only half heard Stewart’s speech. Stewart’s was now darkness and despair. He had gone out like some of the other dogs associated with the blood sport of fighting. Evilness had grasped his soul and wouldn’t let go. Mental illness had taken over, violence was all he knew and that’s how he would die if Mack had anything to do with it. The pit bull ran, not far behind Stewart. Sadly, Mack heard the tear of flesh and a shriek of pain, Stewart pinned the young man to the sidewalk. His left hand in the tight and painful grip of the jaws of death.
The human lied on his side, falling against the sidewalk. A few pedestrians who were on the same sidewalk gasped and tried to kick the black dog off of him.
Suddenly, Mack leaps into the air and dug his front paws into Stewart’s back. He felt his nails dig right into his flesh like tiny knives, the Doberman barked in pain and growled.
The canine let go of the human and attempted to use his back strength to slam his opponent up against the buildings which aligned the alleyway.
A dog fight had emerged, other humans watched in terror, someone dialed 9-1-1. Lizzie quickly joined in the fight, the spectacle was bloody and vicious. Two dogs gaining up against one rabid canine. The three of them, covered blood and biting left and right.
Police were called to the scene, a pedestrian had called to tell them that two dogs had indeed been fighting and looked like it was not the first time. With the last of his energy, Stewart runs toward another pedestrian, but now that cops surrounded the area, he was dead as soon as he was shot by an armed officer.
Not far behind the alleyway, came the warehouse. Various officers and members of the humane society came in to pick Mack and Lizzie up to bring him to safety, a place they never knew existed.
Cops entered the building, they found classic signs of dog fighting within this large space. The bloody walls, the raw meats, the treadmills. Bottles of medication and steroids were also here. The saddest sight? The yellow lab from a while ago, at the bottom of the stairs, covered in blood and long dead. Patrick had died of blood loss. News cameras came to look at the scene, considering this event one of the biggest dog fighting ring busts ever.
Warm water cascaded down his brown fur. Every breath labored, opening his eyes proved to be difficult, so he only half opened them. The sounds of human voices surrounded his ears, soft and kind tones-sometimes he’d even feel a petting upon his head. “Good boy. You’re doing a good job, buddy. Don’t cry.” After the warm water was shut off, time seemed to disappear again.
Now Mack lied on a very comfortable surface, a mattress. He felt wires on his chest and a rhythmic beeping coming from a machine. For the first time in his life, he felt relaxed. Little pinches of pain would come and go, but in the end it made his fresh wounds feel hundreds of times better. He felt groggy and automatically fell asleep completely.
Once he woke up, he found himself in a cage. Nervousness hit him, sniffing all the corners of the area, this living space was much bigger than the one he was thrown into when he was a puppy. Unlike the apartment, this place smelt nice, and while other dogs were here, they all sounded happy. Beyond the bars of his kennel, Mack saw the unthinkable-humans playing with dogs. Playing fetch, belly rubs, treats. This was heaven.
Throughout the day, the pit bull was treated extremely well, but it took time for him to get used to everything. Being skittish was his first reaction. It was so strange to be handed toys and offered words of compassion and kindness. News of the alleyway dog fight spread fast. The radio happened to be on a few days after Mack arrived at the adoption center, Mack lied on his stomach as some students from various schools looked at his wounds.
Crazed Doberman attacks an innocent human by the name of James Walsh. What’s miraculous about this story? A pit bull saved James’s life by attacking the rabid canine and taking him on while James escaped to the police. The vicious dog was shot by authorities before he could do any more damage, the pit bull is now recuperating in the local pet adoption center.
One Month Later…
The teenager made a full recovery, the hand which was bitten would recover, but he would forever lose a lot of mobility. James lived with his parents, both very supportive through the time of healing. Living in a two floor house, he was far from poor-but certainly was not rich.
Writing school papers was a bit tougher, but he seemed to manage quite well. What made James truly melancholy and full of fear, were the nightmares. Sleep did not come easily, nightmares of rabid dogs tearing him limb from limb was a common image he had to deal with as his shut his eyes. Some nights, he woke up with a yelp and couldn’t get back to sleep until the sun peaked among the clouds. The image haunted him, he remembered it all. The teeth digging into his hand, the blood spewing, the ferocious look in Stewart’s wild eye. The sounds of the deep growling, these things would forever be in his mind, even in a waking state, he sometimes couldn’t get those violent images out.
If James was home alone, he’d picture that same dog, busting through his living room window like a jump scare in a horror movie, grabbing his neck and tearing his head nearly off its neck. Then, the dog would sit patiently, then kill his parents in a similar fashion. No protection, no one to watch over him. He felt defenseless. He told his parents his fears, getting someone to watch over him twenty four seven seemed impractical. He felt safe at school, but coming home from school and waiting for his parents to come home from work was toughest. Every creak would cause James to lock up the entire place and stay in one spot. No matter how many psychologists he had seen, this fear didn’t seem to subside.
One day, he said his true feelings, something that would shock his parents. He wanted a dog. The last thing they expected, and at first they were apprehensive-what if this would set him into even a bigger fear? What if this made him an agoraphobic? The negative connotations seemed to swirl in the minds of the mom and dad. To prove himself, James begged his parents to bring him to a dog park, to show them that he could handle being around canines. Strange as it may seem, he got a lot of joy out of seeing other dogs. He liked there happy and peppy personalities. For weeks after, he talked of how great having an animal companion would be. How fantastic it would be for him not to only play with him, but to protect him during those uncertain afternoons.
Mack was now getting out almost every day, he loved everyone that worked in the building he was at, not only this-he loved going out in the giant yard.
The other dogs would ask him questions about the dogfighting ring, and he gladly answered everything. Mack was the ‘cool dude’. Some of the dogs were calm, some were bossy with good intentions, but the pit bull was known for his love of wrestling, loud laugh and honest heart. He was the ‘jock’, the guy who’d help anyone. Sure, he got bored easily, but this was him and he had no reason to hide his true feelings anymore. Eating amazing dog food, and sometimes getting pieces of meat every day felt awesome. He had so much more energy, his soul jumped for joy every day to welcome a new adventure, whether it would be lazing around or going outside and talking and playing, the days here seemed to get better and better. There was a day however, that topped them all. It meant leaving his friends-it meant the start of a new life.
On the day, he had heard new human voices speaking. He was a bit startled to see a new face peering through the bars of his cage, it wasn’t so much the face that struck him, but the scent. He knew the scent. He sat up to greet the teen, the dog could feel his excitement. He couldn’t believe his nose, he couldn’t believe who he was looking at, and it was James Walsh. Mack knew it, and the young man knew it. It was apparent that James made his choice as who he wanted to adopt and Mack was happy to go home with him.
The two spent a little while taking a walk, the owners of the center spoke of Mack’s past, of course they didn’t know every detail. It was clear from Mack’s playful jumping and James’s laughter, Mack was the pup for him. His first dog ever.
Mack sniffed every inch of the car, the teen insisted on sitting with the dog in the back seat to hug him. With an arm around his broad shoulders, the pit bull put on a big smile and a few puppy licks. He got excellent vibes from everyone, James had a calm and excited tone, not too loud, but full of emotion. His parents also gave the pit bull a lot of attention, every time Mack heard his name mentioned, his tail would wag a bit more as he gazed at the one who was talking about him.
At the house, James spent the majority of time following his new companion around as he learned new things, smelt new items and learned the rules of the home. He would get a comfortable recliner to sleep on, which he preferred only when he could sit on his friend’s lap.
The afternoon was met with some backyard running and ball throwing, of course Mack could have gone on for hours doing that. Happily barking and ramming into James’ legs as playful rough housing.
Sometimes, James would just sit in the lawn with Mack and relax, basking in the sun and talking to his dog. Telling him his issues at school, teachers who were too strict or homework that defied explanation. Stress seemed to almost be a thing of the past now that Mack was in his life.
Every morning, James ran downstairs from his bed room to pour himself coffee and greet his pup. Never once did he mention that the side of his dog’s face was slightly deformed. He seemed to look cuter every single day as far as he was concerned. Mack lied at his feet as he woke up. Once the big yellow bus came to pick up James, slight panic seized Mack. Would he come back? No more treats? No more belly rubs? Usually, James’ mom would take him out to go to the bathroom one last time before going to work-and this was something Mack didn’t really like. Being left home alone. For like James, he also had fears-fears he would not have had if he hadn’t lived such a depraved life for sure. No matter though, this was heaven. No beatings, no swearing, no biting other dogs. Just a quiet house and plenty of toys to keep him occupied.
The afternoon would roll to a start, James leapt off the bus, first one home always. The human would spend hours sitting on the recliner with his best friend, letting Mack sit right in his lap. Sometimes the two would watch TV, but nothing violent, since the sounds of yelling brought Mack to a full panic attack. Sometimes the two would nap. James had not had anxiety in an extremely long time. Mack was his hero. His savior, and also kept him laughing. He was not immune to the usual dog tricks.
Grabbing things off of counters and running wild with them. He was always the one to start play wrestling with James, never did Mack attempt to bite anyone again. Especially never James. Mack felt the young man’s frailness at times, he respected others who were not always as boisterous or confident. Then, dad would come home, give Mack some more attention and sometimes slipped him beef jerky if his wife wasn’t looking.
Every single day, James thought of how lucky Mack was. He could have so easily died in his previous situation, but now this was a clean slate. A new life. A new Mack.
At the dog park where James and his dad would go to let the pit bull run about every day, Mack was greeted to the usual pups. The green grass tall, the sun beating down, the sky blue. A few labs, a couple of big dogs slam into him and chuckle. “Hey man!” “Sup!” “Big Mack!” The group ram into each other, licking, sniffing rear ends and playfully nipping as James and his parents sat on a nearby bench. Balls were thrown and caught, Mack was asked a lot about his new owner. “He’s the best guy ever! Sweet and he’s my kid. I love humans, human are awesome! Would do anything for him!”
Suddenly, he smelled a familiar smell, he dashes for it in an energetic state. He speaks loudly. “Lizzie!” The German Shepherd and Pit bull roll around together. “How the hell are you?”
The two end up lying in the grass side by side as the other pups get distracted by bugs and toys. “My owner is a kind girl, she has kids and they love me..I guess!” she softly chuckles. “My human is named James, the kid we rescued.” Of course, Lizzie had to go over to see him. “Mack, you’re a hero. I hope you know that. You’re a good boy, Mack! I always told you that.” James decided to join all the dogs for hours. Ball throwing was Mack’s favorite and he was amazing at it. Doing flips and catching it between his large mouth, the spitting the slob covered ball at his owner’s feet. This was a sport the pit bull was known for around town, any kid who threw a ball and lost it, Mack could retrieve it. He was a master.
As James slept, wrapped in blankets and his companion lying beside him, he still would get nightmares about the biting. Same images, same dog. Waking up in a cold sweat was not nearly as painful as it was before hand, for as soon as it would happen, Mack would be there to give sloppy kisses on the face and sniff around, sometimes lying right on top of James and looking around the room for potential dangers. The human would whisper to the dog, ‘sorry for waking you up’ and all sorts of things.
Mack also had moments where he would groan or slightly bark in his sleep due to disturbing images of being in the ring or flashbacks to when he was a puppy. James was there to give him warm hugs and loving words or maybe even a treat. Sometimes, at one in the morning, he would silently sit was Mack and cuddle. Listening to the soft sounds of crickets or the neighbor’s TV sets, or sometimes Mack would pant loudly, with a big grin on his face and tail wagging. But tonight, the bedroom was the warmest place to be since winter would be coming.
James and Mack had a true, unbreakable bond. Something that Mack never thought he’d have, and something he knew for sure every dog deserved-no matter the breed or their dark pasts. Love and affection was the light at the end of the black tunnel he called his life. The night ended as Mack’s chin rested on top of warm blankets, his eyes droopy and his heart warm.