The dog grapevine allows me and my buddies to talk endlessly but disappoints me some knowing my Kahu can’t understand a word I’m saying, especially since I got this notion about wanting a prefix before my name instead of always being introduced as ‘this is my dog Bernard’. Mastiff Bernard sounds more dignified and commands some respect even from humans who think I’m too big to walk on the sidewalk.

Charlie jumps on the dog grapevine and begins talking before I can say hello. “Dawg, I’m a mess o’ nerves over here. I did like you said and found a secret hiding place in the dryer on a pile of warm clothes. The resident brat happened into the mudroom looking for his Nikes when he spots me peacefully living in my dreams. Suddenly I feel my body thumping against a hard surface and hear my Auntie Jamaica yelling at the resident good-for-nothing. I can see his knobby legs out the window while spinning in a gravity force field the astronauts could use for training. She pulls my ragged body from the dryer after it stops spinning and holds me to her bosom calling me Charlie Love. “My darlin’ pet, Charlie Love. We gonna get them peoples to grab a hold o’ that boy’s manners if’n I have to take ya home with me for a spell while you rest your tired body. Her bosoms are as soft as down pillows, Dawg, where I could make myself comfortable for the duration. I’m still thinking of following Auntie home and hangin’ there till I make a plan for myself that doesn’t include animal cruelty, a word I hear the Mistress of the house bandy about when looking at her face creams. She doesn’t mind my being in the bathroom while she showers. All the moisture clears my sinuses. Can hear the twerp coming toward the kitchen where I’m now hiding under the breakfast bench. No one should have to live in fear. Gotta go, Dawg.”

Charlie’s misfortune rattles me into thinkin’ maybe I gave him the wrong advice in telling him to find a secret hiding place or I should have told him all the places not to hide. The dryer seems obvious to me, but then I’m a Mastiff and too big to fit in one so don’t give the appliances much thought. He is right though; no one should have to live in fear. Charlie’s living conditions concern me some, what with the resident twerp making his life a misery. I consider the thought of rehoming him myself but the Kahu not being able to understand a word I’m saying makes communication an added difficulty in conveying my lofty ideas.

Not two hours later the little beagle’s giving me another update on the dog grapevine about his woe-be-gone life. “Dawg, I’m hardly able to sleep these days what with the surprise attacks and listening to Auntie Jamaica arguing with the rents over their offspring’s bad manners. Right now she’s tellin’ them she’s had enough o’ the child and has a mind to take me home with her and accept the job the Four Seasons Hotel offered her to cook the pastries. Wouldn’t that be something, Dawg, Auntie bringin’ the leftovers home and our eating them together on the couch while she pets this woe-be-gone boy?”

“Let’s hope for the best, dog buddy. I’m happy to hear you got somebody to attach yourself to while the going is rough. A dog needs to stick his fishing pole in the sea where dreams reveal themselves in our reality. Auntie sounds like the Godsend you need right now. Keep the faith buddy. I’ll check in again soon.” I mosey on into the kitchen with Charlie on my mind.

“What’s worrying you, Bernard?” my Kahu asks in a sweet voice. I put my front paws on the counter next to him and stare into his eyes, feeling Charlie’s sadness. Somehow, being called Mastiff Bernard doesn’t feel so important anymore.

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