Kahu asks if I would like to go to his favorite vegan restaurant Living Greens for supper. My tail thumps against the sofa where I’ve been snoozing for the last four hours working up an appetite. While he’s doing his business in the bathroom, I hurry to the kitchen and wrap my mouth around one of the salmon sample jars, put it in my backpack and then slip my head through my red bandana in hopes of bumping into the bikers eating their beans and rice. Mostly, I want to check on Larry and make sure he’s been treating Lola the way a little girl chihuahua should be treated with sloppy kisses and belly rubs. I sit at the front door and wait for Kahu to finish in the bathroom. I often wonder why he has to do his business in a little room when it’s easier to pee on a bush at one’s leisure rather than making a production out of a natural biological function. Humans mystify me, but then they haven’t fully grasped the workings of a dog’s mind either and give us less credit than is our due.

“Good boy, Bernard.” Kahu notices I’m all trussed up in my backpack. I don’t have much to put in it except a water bottle and a few mini treats that are so small, they get stuck between my teeth. I usually share them with the pint-size pups at the dog park. They’re an appreciative lot and look to me for protection like I’m some kind of bouncer at a redneck bar. Although I may be buff, I lack the violent tendencies to think like a warrior except to defend my own Kahu.

I’m beside myself with excitement every time we go on one of our field trips. Anything could happen after dinner, but usually we hit a good stride and walk home to spend some time lying on a blanket in the backyard staring at the stars. Most dogs love the stars. We consider them the Divine Dog’s tiny flashlights that help our human companions see in the dark alongside their canines who prefer the low lights on account of having big pupils. The Divine Dog tends to all the details even encouraging Yours Truly to make himself useful to others on the grapevine by helping dogs and an occasional ferret master a world controlled by humans not all of whom care about our wellbeing. Beagle Charlie comes to mind. I put a mental note inside my massive head to check in with him later.

 Kahu and I come upon a row of Harleys shining like chrome bumpers sporting various colors. Several bulky trucks and two clunkers fill up all of Living Greens parking spots. Kahu and I live within a short distance and walk with a leisurely stride although I confess instead of enjoying the stroll, I’m thinking about my menu choices, finally deciding on the rice and beans staple along with the little jar of salmon buried in my backpack. I put my brain to work on figuring out a way to get the stuff from the jar to my bowl without making such a fuss, the manager is going to get a whiff of dead fish in her vegan establishment. Don’t want to embarrass my Kahu by displaying bad manners but a dog has to look after his own stomach. I really believe this last statement otherwise we would be skin and bones so your average homeowner can save money on their food bills to pay the mortgage. I also confess to a long habit of eavesdropping.

Once inside, I hop on the bench and settle myself next to Larry and Lola who recognizes me and squeaks with delight. I never heard such tiny noises come from a dog, although here I could question the use of the word dog. Lola’s size deserves another category in the AKC world but still the little mite is unquestionably a dog. I give her a friendly sniff and she nearly loses an ear on the inhale. This causes her to squeak even more. She works her way out of Larry’s saddle bag and shoves herself against me in a show of affection.

“Bernard, thanks so much. I’m calling my girl here Lola. Isn’t she pretty?” I disapprove of putting girl dogs in dresses. It disturbs the universe by throwing the planets out of alignment. Not to mention the confusion it causes the squirrels and other rodents skittering hither and yon looking for nuts when a silly looking chihuahua passes by sporting a cotton sheath. It’s enough to cause this boy to do the unthinkable. I reach down and grab the hem bottom and pull it over her tiny head in one graceful yank. Larry appears stunned while my Kahu, bless his heart, bursts out laughing. 

“I remember Lola. She’s the one who hid under Bernard while the police handcuffed the woman who stole her from someone’s backyard. Sad story, really.” Kahu peers closer but can only see her head sticking out from underneath my neck ruffle. “That’s her all right. Bernard disappeared with her for a few minutes. I knew wherever he left her, would be better than the county pound.”

“Bernard threw her in my sidecar and ran off. Oh yeah, and he gave me a kiss that nearly knocked me over. I tried to find the owner, but Lola didn’t have a chip or a collar.” Larry pats Lola gentle like for a big man with a gruff voice and a tattoo running up the side of his face that makes him look like he did prison time.

I’m busy working out how I’m going to pour my salmon jar over the beans and rice the waitress put in front of everyone.

While they chew the fat, I stick my head in my knapsack and use my teeth to pull off the lid without spilling it. Larry and Kahu remain deep in conversation, hardly noticing their dog companions until I give Lola a slight nudge that knocks her to the floor. Both humans nearly hurt themselves leaping under the table to make sure the little darling is all right. Meanwhile, I empty the salmon pate on top of the beans and rice, blend the ingredients together with my tongue and sit back looking concerned over Lola’s wellbeing. I give her a couple more sniffs before Larry gently places her back in her saddlebag. I drop in one of the mini treats figuring that will take her mind off having the wind knocked out of her. I’m thinking she needs a dog companion.

“I even took her to one of those animal communicators.  Cost a pretty penny but well worth it if you ever want to hear what Bernard has to say about the world in general. Still though, she wouldn’t tell the communicator where she come from sayin’ she liked her new human and wanted to stay with me. I cried some over being loved right off the bat. The last woman in my life told me I was an acquired taste, and then she left with one of the other bikers. Life’s hard, man.”

Once mopping up the tears, Larry hands Kahu the communicator’s business card. Both men smile and shake hands before we step outside into the cool night air. Naturally, my brain’s working overtime on making the communicator useful. Letting my Kahu know I would like a prefix to my name comes to mind. Mastiff Bernard flows easy into this boy’s ears.

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