Bruce heard the jingle of his lead. He cocked an ear to see if it had been an accidental brush by one of the people causing it to jiggle or if it was the promise of a walk. Nobody came through the door to the living room and he didn't hear the lead again. Assuming it had been an accident; Bruce laid his head back down on his paws and resumed watching the baby crawling around the carpeted floor.
He was bored. The black box in the corner with a silvery screen that showed sometimes, other animals, sometimes other dogs, but never with any smell other than of heated electrical wires, was flickering to its self with the volume turned down. Bruce kept an eye on the child. It had recently developed a liking for his fur; pulling it painfully any time he was careless enough to get too close. For a small puppy sized infant, its grip was amazingly strong. He had lost a fair amount of the precious coat to the sticky fingers of the human puppy. The child seemed to be content at the moment, stuffing a plastic toy into its mouth and gurgling in the back of its throat.
Bruce's ears pricked up again. He had heard the lead again and also his master's voice calling to him to come. Bruce didn't understand the noises that these human partners made. They have an infinite number of unintelligible sounds, but occasionally, some were directed at him. Usually, Bruce could get an idea of what was required from the inflections. Popular ones involved him sitting at the edge of a blacktopped trail that had mechanical metal projectiles hurtling along them. He knew that these forms of transportation were dangerous and should be avoided at all costs unless you were in one. At those times, smells swished past his nose almost too fast for him to recognize them. But, the exhilaration of the wind being forced up his nose and over his sinuses was a thrill that he loved to have.
He recognised the call of his master and nosed his way out of the sitting room and into the hall. The two-legged man was dangling his lead from one hand and buttoning a garment over his other garments. Bruce yipped at the promise of a walk, or even maybe, a ride in the transporter that was outside the home kennel in a smaller kennel of its own.
His lead was clipped on to the hide collar that had been around his neck now for many years. Bruce had learned to ignore the way it rucked up his fur and chaffed at the delicate skin underneath. He had also got used to the pull of the lead if he stopped to check out the state of the neighbouring dogs by the smells and scents left as messages by his fellow pets.
It was to be a walk after all. This would inevitably take him to the park that had a few trees, but was mostly grass. This was okay in his thinking, but he always held a guard up because some of the other visitors to the park were not friendly and would rather bite than play. He had made acquaintance with some of the regular visitors and learned to avoid those who had not been interested in playing tag. It seemed that most of the other dogs had been made infertile, both bitches and dogs, making them less interesting to check out. Their aromas of sexual readiness stifled leaving only the condition and health as indicators of their moods.
They arrived at the park after walking for ten minutes through the suburban streets. Bruce could hardly contain himself. Wanting to be released from the confines of the lead to dash off and run until his legs trembled from the exertion. A quick look around didn't show any of the dogs he knew. In fact, there were very few people at the park and only one or two dogs that he didn't know, but that was okay too, because he would be able to chase around and not have to worry whose territory he was invading.
Let off the lead, he took to his feet and raced across the grass. Champion runner he thought; just let me catch a sniff of a squirrel to add to the sheer fun of being a dog.
Some time later, when he had reached a point were running had lost its initial appeal; he sought out his master and trotted back. He was talking to another person, a female of the species, but not the lady of his kennel. Bruce eventually reached them and thought to make his acquaintance by sliding along the leg of his master. The female was first to acknowledge him though and he allowed her to stroke his head and the back of his neck. She said something to his master in those guttural noises they made, and petted him some more. His master however, ignored him and continued to talk, if that is what it was, to the female.
Bruce decided to check her out and put his nose to work. She had a sweet alcohol based smell about her. Bruce recognised it as perfume that the females put on themselves, probably to disguise their smell. She was not a dog person. Bruce could detect no smell of canine about her. He could detect an undertone to her, a slight muskiness that signified she was sexually receptive, but not on heat. He followed them to a wooden bench were they sat down. Bruce, needing to recover from his excursions, lay under the bench and snoozed. His need to run off the laziness of home life was satisfied for now.
He must have fallen asleep he decided, because he woke with pheromones registering in his brain. Bruce lifted his nose and opened his eyes to see just where these sexual signals were coming from. They weren't canine, but were easily identifiable as a transmitted need and willingness to mate.
The aroma was coming from the female who was still sitting next to his master. They had shifted from sitting side by side facing out, to looking at each other half turned toward the other. The people, oblivious of him, continued to talk, both emitting sexual messages by their smells, but seeming to ignore them. Bruce had long ago figured that these animals called humans had lost the power to detect smell, probably because they covered themselves with chemical solutions that masked body odours.
But, perhaps not this time. Bruce could feel, almost tangibly, the tenseness between these two. They were touching their paws together and then Bruce saw them touch their mouths briefly. Bruce yawned to clear the mixed messages from his sinuses and got up to relieve his bladder against a litterbin.
Bruce trotted over to them and had his lead put back on. The people got up and began to walk to the exit gates of the park. He was happy to lope along at their pace on the left side of his master who was still making noises with the female. When they left the park, instead of turning towards the home kennel, they turned in the opposite direction. This was unfamiliar to Bruce, but he went along with it, figuring that his master knew what he was doing.
After a little while, they stopped in front of a tall brown building. One of several kennels stacked on top of each other. The female was climbing up the stairs that led to a large glass and wooden door. She was fishing around in a bag for something, and then laughed as she found a small brass object and inserted it into the door and gave a twist.
Bruce was aware that his master was sweating a little and he detected a little fear from the aroma of him. Bruce started to feel a little apprehensive. If his master was feeling unsettled, then so would he. Without warning, the master started to climb the steps as well and entered the door that the female was holding open for him. They followed her up a couple of flights of wooden stairs that led to floors inside the building. Noises could be heard from behind doors that were either side of the landing were the stairs stopped. So many smells invaded Bruce's nose but he had no time to check them out. Some he recognised immediately as food, but other had chemical bases that certainly were not natural. He could hear children in various stages of moods from happy to angry, but again, he had no time to investigate because his master was almost dragging him along behind the female.
She stopped in front of a door and inserted another of the brass objects into this one and gave a twist. The door opened into a neat little kennel, they all entered into it, Bruce bringing up the rear.
.... There is more of this story ...