Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Dog With No Name----Chapter One

A dog with no name is alone in the world, fearing and avoiding all humans---until he meets a newborn baby that will change the entire world. This is a story of the First Christmas and beyond, and a young dog who meets the newborn Son of God and becomes a valued part of this very special family

Chapter One

A dog with no name limped deeper into a dark narrow alley, pressing his injured body against the cold stone wall.  He tried to disappear into the safety of the shadows, hoping he was alone as he examined his left flank.  The slice in his hide had stopped bleeding, the fur caked with congealed blood and dirt from the road.    The dog tried to put weight onto his left hind leg then yelped in pain.  It throbbed but he summoned up the courage not to whimper.

The dog was confused by the recent increase in the numbers of people entering this quiet little town.   From the alley the dog looked at the buildings across the way.  He could see people in every window and crowding the doorways.  They even filled the cobblestone streets and were becoming impossible to avoid.   By their strange smells the dog knew they were travelers from great distances.   They carried on them scents unlike any he knew. 

Being a stray the dog had never trusted people.  He avoided the people and the people ignored him and that relationship suited the dog just fine.  But now there were so many people it was difficult to avoid them, making it harder to find food and shelter.  The dog licked at his injured flank and recalled how earlier this evening he had tried to run across the street to a dependable source of food.  The dog dodged one group of travelers but did not see the oncoming horse pulling a heavy laden wooden cart.   The dog could not dodge the horse's hooves quickly enough.   He was struck, clipped by a hoof, and tumbled between the horse and the cart it was pulling.   The wheel narrowly missed him and the dog scrambled back off the street towards the dark alley.  Injured and scurrying away he heard people shouting but they did not follow him.

The dog could not go back to the streets.  He could not return to his usual shelter by one of the outer gates of the town.   The dog would need to find shelter close by.  He sniffed the air.   Cool air from the hill above drifted from the back of the alley towards the dog.  It did not carry the scent of humans. The dog limped deeper into the alley looking for shelter.  To his left was a large mound of rubble, he would not be able to cross that, not with his injured leg.   To his right was a fence of roughly laid large stones that set the boundaries of the yard for the small stone house that edged the alley.  He sniffed and limped along this wall.  He could not jump over it in his condition, so hoped he could locate an opening.  He could smell a current wafting from further along the fence.  This smell was different than the alley or the street, and it was at a low level, so probably not coming from over the was hopefully indicating an opening in the fence, an opening hopefully he would be able to squeeze through. 

As the dog limped along the fence line, the smell became stronger.  Goats!  He quickly identified that smell; there were many goats throughout the town.  And where there are goats, there is shelter, bedding and water.  He felt his luck turning as he saw a gap in the fencing where it met a large rock face.   He sniffed cautiously through the opening to be sure there were only goats on the other side.  He did not want to meet up with a herding dog, or worse, a human.   But all he could smell was goat.  He wedged himself through the opening, pressing and scraping his injured flank.  As he stumbled into the well grazed paddock, he held in a yelp, not wanting to alert anyone that he was there.

The dog surveyed the paddock.  To his left was the rock face, a steep hill with no vegetation.  To his right was the back of the buildings that lined the streets of the little town.  Some of the buildings were seemingly stacked one on top of the other and merged with the rock face in the distance.  Immediately in front of the dog, the ground was rocky and dry and what little grass he saw was brown.  The short scrubby trees were stripped of their leaves, except a few dry brown leaves dangling from the highest branches.  He did not see any goats, but his nose knew they were nearby.  He could also smell that a human--a male--had walked through recently.  The dog hoped this meant a final check on the goats and that the man would not be back until the break of dawn.  He did not smell another dog, a good sign for him. 
The smell of the goats grew stronger as the dog limped along the rock face to a dark opening.  It appeared at first, a cave.  But as the dog got closer, and the smell of goats stronger, the dog realized this cave was the shelter for the goats, and for him.  The cave’s opening was wide, but narrowed the deeper it went.   Once inside the cave grew smaller and darker.  The ceiling was lower than the outer edge of the cave.    It appeared that it was made by a human, probably rocks scratched out of the rock wall were the same ones used for the least they smelled the same.

There were several goats in the cave. Most were bedded down, huddled together, chewing their cud; three goats were standing at a wooden manger pushed back against the cave wall, pulling at the hay left by the human.  There was coarse straw on the floor for bedding.  There was no watering trough, but the dog could hear a dripping sound near the back of the cave.  There must be a spring behind those walls, the dog thought, smelling the coolness of the water.  The drippings from the rock were collecting into a stone basin placed on the floor.  That is what he needed, water.  The goats paid no attention to the dog as he lapped at the water.  It was as if the goats were used to dogs....not a good sign.  But the dog was tired and would deal with other dogs in the morning if necessary.  The dog found a dark corner, a bit of a deeper recess in the back wall of the cave.  Some straw was pushed against it and the dog, limping, made several circles on the straw creating a bit of a nest.  This would help to hold in his warmth.  The dog laid down, surveyed his surrounding once more, then quickly fell asleep.  
As he drifted off, the dog sensed his world was changing but little could  he understand  that this change would impact not just him, but the entire world.

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