Rays of sun filtered through hues of red and gold, battling with crisp air on a clear October day in Seattle. Dots of color drifted to the ground, carpeting wet pavement with glistening leaves. Sherman and Sadie trotted along the waterfront, heading toward a local neighborhood where children gathered in full force, their laughter chiming along the breeze.
Sherman lifted his nose and scented the air. Candy. Sadie glanced behind her, a last baleful goodbye to her warm blanket and mom, who would not be happy when she discovered Sherman had slipped through the gate and escaped the back yard. Sadie’s head drooped and a low growl escaped her throat as she plodded behind her brother.
Mom didn’t deserve this treatment.
Sherman’s fur stood on end as they zig-zagged across a street and entered the neighborhood, picking up the pace. His short tail stuck straight up in the air. They rounded a corner and came upon a large group of children of various ages being led by older adults. Sadie liked children, which made this whole escape issue more palatable for her. Sherman cruised up to a young boy of about ten years and licked his hand, eliciting a peal of laughter and a pat on the head.
“Hey there boy, what are you doing out here?”
Sherman gazed up at the boy with big Cocker eyes, wagged his tail and tilted his head.
“Wanna go trick or treating with us?” the boy asked.
Sherman nudged the boy’s candy bucket earning another round of laughter.
Sadie resigned herself and started trailing a cute little girl of five dressed in a princess costume. Her pink dress floated behind her collecting bits of dirt and leaves as she wandered down the street.
Sherman paced beside the boy up to the door of the first house. Burnt pumpkin caused Sherman to wrinkle his nose and knock over one of the many carved pumpkins lining the porch. It tumbled down the steps and made a splat on the sidewalk. Unimpressed, the boy rang the doorbell and when the door opened the whole group exclaimed “trick or treat.” This seemed to please the adult at the door who began throwing candy into buckets. Sherman tracked candy as it flew everywhere. One of the pieces landed at his feet and Sherman wasted no time scooping it up and devouring it in one gulp.
Sadie rolled her eyes.
Sherman followed the boy to the next house with a little more spring in his step.
The little girl Sadie followed finally noticed her and kindly held out a piece of candy in her tiny hand. Before Sadie could softly snatch it from the girls’ hand an adult swooped in saying, “no sweetie, candy is not good for dogs, it will make them sick.”
Sadie whimpered, she couldn’t catch a break. It got even worse at the second house. The boy noticed Sherman liked candy and he encouraged all his friends to drop the juicy morsels so they could watch Sherman gobble them up. Children tossed candy around in different spots making a game out of Sherman trying to sniff out each piece.
Sadie watched as Sherman devoured treat after treat. The little girl stroked Sadie’s head, which provided some consolation. At the next house the woman at the door threw out a dog biscuit for Sherman. He turned up his nose and walked away, so Sadie grabbed it.
The night wore on in much the same way. The boys had flashlights now, as the sky grew darker. Sadie was tired and ready to go home but Sherman didn’t seem to notice or care.
Sadie felt a rush of relief when an adult finally seemed to notice Sherman. The man leaned down and grabbed onto his collar. “Hey, he has a tag, maybe we should call his owner to come get him,” the man said to another adult close by.
Finally, Sadie thought, someone with some sanity will end this nightmare. The man then pulled out a cell phone and punched in the numbers typed on Sherman’s’ collar. Sadie could hear her mom answer the phone and she let out a whimper. The man’s’ eyes seemed to notice Sadie and she could hear him say, “Yes, there are two of them here, can you come pick them up?”
It wouldn’t be long now. The man stuck his phone back in his pocket and pulled Sherman and Sadie into a nearby house. Sherman whimpered, his stomach protruded and rumbled. Sadie watched as he curled up into a ball and flopped his head on the floor. All that candy was catching up with him. Not such a big deal now are you, she thought, maybe he’d even have to go to the vet.
Sherman looked like he might vomit. Sadie lay on the floor next to him so she would have the perfect spot from which to witness his torment. The little boy came over and said to the man, “Look daddy she wants to take care of him.” Ha, Sadie thought, not in this lifetime and she rolled over to indicate her indifference.
A knock at the door perked her ears and her mom came in. She leapt up and ran to her owner, genuinely happy to be found. Mom rubbed her ears and kissed her on the head, then walked over to where Sherman floundered and shook her head. “You poor little guy” she said and knelt down beside him.
Mom hooked a leash on Sadie’s collar and scooped Sherman up in her arms. She put them both in the car. Sadie looked at Sherman, who lay puffed up on a pile of soft blankets, like a king. Then he vomited, spewing chunks of tootsie roll and candy corn across the seats.
Sadie groaned and rolled as far from the mess as possible.
As the car rolled to a stop, mom lifted Sherman from his throne and hauled him into the house, leaving Sadie to follow, her leash dragging behind her. Mom nestled Sherman on his soft comfy bed, carefully positioning all his toys around him and tucking him in with a blanket. She even put a nice chew bone next to him for later. Sherman rolled his bloodshot eyes up at mom and she kissed him. Now Sadie wanted to vomit. When mom left the room Sherman looked over at Sadie. Yes, he was smug. He smiled a doggy smile and closed his eyes to go to sleep. Sadie began to rethink her life. This good girl thing was clearly not working for her.