Today’s task looked like trouble. It was in a dangerous area. Marshall sent Isaac and Shark the outermost western territorial limits.
Whenever they had to mend hearts on the periphery, outside their usual territory, Isaac and Shark had to deal with the “outers”. They called them the outers. Any dog that didn’t belong under Marshall’s guidance was an outer.
Isaac was certain that they face a particular challenge today. The western outskirts were under Pixie’s dominion. Pixie was a half-spitz and half-unidentified overly territorial female dog.
Blessed by the prideful spitz demeanor and lucky to be trained on the streets, she was a formidable guardian of her territory.
“You know what she is like, Shark. She is flirtatious as hell and uncommonly vigorous for a dog with a pedigree long lost somewhere behind in her breeding line. Pixie caused a lot of trouble in our ventures already. She could easily amass a support army and swiftly turn the western outskirts into a fiery frontline of battle”, Isaac’s worried face was not to be underestimated.
“I know, dude. But you worry too much, methinks. Say, humans don’t like hanging in this area much, do they? They are scared of us – a bunch of dogs howling and barking at midnight. They have no idea what is going on.”
“I don’t think so. But maybe some do” – Isaac’s face took a solemn expression, one he learned from Marshall.
“People always make it all about themselves, don’t they, Isaac? – Shark shook his head spicing up the motion with his standard amount of cynicism. “They think we are all here to get them”!
He sometimes entertained himself by practicing this cynicism and surprising a passer-by with a bark that looked like it was coming out of nowhere.
The problem with the outers was that neither Isaac nor Pixie’s gang followed an exact schedule. Marshall assigned tasks to Isaac and Shark randomly.
This agitated Pixie so much, it made her blood boil. And she responded likewise – in her unpredictable manner.
Like any other dog, she appreciated some predictability. But she was also unpredictable. And she was loud.
Calling Pixe loud was a harsh understatement. No, when Isaac and Shark approached her territory, casting their net to help the humans in question, Pixie was deafening.
When she showed her presence in a neighborhood, her resounding barks shut several windows, raised a few hairs, and provoked some juicy curses.
“I don’t care. I’m loud and I’m proud”, thought Pixie in her head as she noticed Isaac and Shark wandering nearby.
”Shut up, you bitch!” – a half-filled carton of eggs flew over the window sill before the rail went down with a slam and the owner of the angry voice hid inside.
Pixie knew that angry voice. It belonged to Daniel.
Daniel didn’t bother her much. This was her neighborhood, after all. Just as the humans who resided there knew her well, she had a good grip on their perks, too.
She was all too well acquainted with that particular hateful window and the room behind it.
When Daniel would call her names, she would relish the sweet irony, almost as much as the chicken leftovers she got from his microwave each Friday night: “Yup, I’m da bitch, alright!”, Pixie would snort with content, ravishing the chicken wings, covered in tiny spots of breadcrumbs over and there.
Tonight, she got herself a nice portion of fresh eggs, enjoying the eggshells as much as the liquid yolks in the carton.
“If you ask me, I prefer veal, Daniel. But you put too much garlic on it. I can’t stand that much garlic. My tummy disapproves!”
The frozen bone broth was off-limits for her. It made her belly twist and her eyes watery. She sadly watched as her neighborhood gang voraciously licked and chewed upon the pieces thrown in the bin.
“Thanks for the eggs anyway, bozo!” woofed Pixie.
The light in Daniel’s apartment lit up every evening at around 6:30 pm.
Pixie knew his schedule by heart. First, she would overhear him dropping off the keychain on the hallway table. “I know what’s next! Yup, there it is!”
Thereupon came the thud of the laptop bag on the wooden floor and the swoosh of the clothes landing next to the king-sized bed. Finally, the espresso machine went off.
“Daniel has a nice life,” Pixie thought, envying his warm home, his jam-packed fridge, and his workout machine that produced all those ridiculous sounds.
“That seems like fun!”. Pixie was one of the rare breeds that weren’t afraid of vacuum cleaners and other loud machines.
Daniel often left Pixie dumbfounded.
She stood there in wonder, asking herself a million questions as she gazed into Daniel’s bedroom window while he did his regular cardio workout on the elliptical.
She couldn’t quite get what was the reason behind Daniel’s murky eyebrow curve.
“He seems… angry and sad at the same time. He seems desperate…”