At the Kennel

There were five dogs in the kennel, all in different states of distress.

Roman walked the line slowly, stopping at each cage. In the first, a Chihuahua, sat staring up at him. It’s tiny tail wagged, and Roman pursed his lips, then walked on.

The second cage held a mutt, scraggly and unfriendly. It curled a lip at the man staring at him, and refused to break eye contact. Roman shook his head, and walked on.

The third cage held a Rottweiler that saw the man, cowered, and peed in the corner. Roman walked on.

The fourth cage held a puppy, adorable, large-eyed, of indeterminate breeding. It was barely larger than the Chihuahua, and looked up at Roman uncertainly. The smell of the other dogs, the lack of contact, the bare concrete cell clearly had the puppy stressed; its food bowl was still full, and its tail wagged vigorously in hope. Roman shrugged and walked on.

In the fifth cage, an old, gray golden retriever lay on the floor, dead.

Roman walked on to the exit and left the building, and the dogs returned to their slow descents into oblivion.

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