I've always been shy and maybe rather obsessional. I got a job with a fabrication company in their stores and worked my way up until I was head storekeeper by the time I was thirty-one. I did try to date, but somehow it didn't work. The girls were all nice enough, but always wanted to change me, or the way I did things. You know, 'Aisle Altar Hymn'? Some were untidy, or wanted me to buy a more sporty car – my old Morris Traveller fits my need and personality perfectly – and who would want to live without Bach, Mozart, or the other greats? So, in my twenties I acquired a dog, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel bitch I called Cora. She was perfect; good company, a reason for pleasant exercise, a joy to watch as she scampered in the park ... and she loved me unconditionally. Sex? Porn, and Rosie Palm. Never had a headache, never on her period, never needed to wash her hair.
Cora did, though; need to wash her hair, that is. Her long, silky liver-and-white coat collected mud and wet like a sponge, but she was very well behaved when I had to bathe her after a wet walk in the park. Afterwards, once she was dry, she'd curl up on my feet or my lap as I listened to my music and if she was on my lap I'd play with her soft, silky ears.
The problem with dogs is they don't live as long as people. Some pedigree dogs are prone to medical problems mongrels usually don't have. When Cora was ten, she slowed down a lot and the vet said she had heart failure. Diet and pills kept her going another six months, until the vet said it would be a kindness to put her to sleep. I held her head and stroked her ears as I had so often as the vet injected her. When she was dead, I wrapped her in her blanket and carried her home, tears streaming down my cheeks. I buried her in my back garden and went about my life.
My friend Eric picked up that I was down and sympathised when I told him about Cora. "Will you get another dog, Pete?"
I shook my head, not in negation, but uncertainty. "I don't know, Eric. I'm not sure I could cope with the loss in ten years, fifteen years, whatever."
"What about different pets?"
"What? Cats? Rabbits? Fish?"
"I wasn't thinking in those terms. You didn't like the girls you went out with because they tried to control you, right? So you gave up."
"I suppose, but..."
"What you need is a pet sub."
I stared at him. "I've read about that. I thought it was all made up. It's real?"
"I don't want to tie someone up, or whip them."
"You don't have to. Some subs really want you to hurt them. Some don't. I'll lend you a book and you can read about it. If you are interested, you'll need to know what to say, what to ask, what to look for. You obviously don't want a masochist, but a slut might suit you, if she's the right one." I was shaking my head. Was I entering the x-files or something? "Don't dismiss it out of hand, Pete."
"I'm not. I'm just wondering if I've swapped dimensions, or something. I'll read your book, Eric, and think about it."
Eric called round a couple of days later in the evening and handed me a substantial tome. He couldn't stop, so I said goodbye and took the book to my favourite chair, selected a relaxing classics CD, started it playing and sat to read "Exploring the Dark Within."
Some of it was horrifying to me, some repulsive, some abhorrent, but... "Your kink is not my kink, and my kink is not yours, but all kinks are okay." That was weird, but I supposed that as long as everything really was consensual – that the pain slut really did get off on being whipped or pierced or whatever, and the humiliation slut really did enjoy, well, being humiliated – I supposed it was okay.
Eric and I were drinking in our favourite watering hole in Derbyshire. "I read your book, Eric."
"And I suppose if I can find the right person, it could work."
"Wednesday night, come with me to 'The Dungeon'. I'll introduce you to an acquaintance of mine, Madame Katalinka. She operates a sort of ... rehoming service. Subs go to her for all sorts of reasons and she puts them up, gets them checked out. Then she's very careful about who gets them. If you're interested, you'll need identification and proof of residence, that sort of thing, and she'll check you out, call after the ... adoption, I suppose you'd call it. There's an admin fee. Not a purchase, but to cover some of the costs she incurs by doing what she does."
I had forty-eight hours to get notarised copies of my birth certificate, driving licence, Council Tax demand and to worry about what I was doing. I consoled myself that going along did not commit me to ... adopt ... a pet sub, any pet sub. Eric warned me, though. "You're going to have to be hard-hearted, Pete, at least at first. They're going to look at you, the way that spaniel of yours used to, but you must choose carefully."
Madame Katalinka was ... impressive. That's the word. She was tallish – five foot ten – her dark hair cascaded down her back in waves. She was wearing a dark outfit that exposed her substantial breasts to below the areolae, emphasised a narrow waist and round hips, reached the floor on one side and her hip on the other. Eric nudged me as she approached and we both stood. I bowed reflexively and she held out her hand. I took it and kissed the back of it lightly.
"Eric ... so good to see you," she said as I was doing so. "And this charming gentleman must be Pete Welham. Please, gentlemen, be seated." I pulled out a chair for her. She smiled and majestically lowered herself into it as I held it before seating myself. "Mister Welham, Mister North has told me a little of your situation, but perhaps you could tell me in your own words what you're looking for?"
I took a deep breath. "A pet, to replace my dog. One that will give me company without conditions, but one who won't need to be beaten or tied up. A pet to care for and nurture."
"No ... do you require sex with your pet?"
"Ah..." I should really have thought that through. I said so. "I hadn't thought about it. As long as she was agreeable, that would be an excellent bonus."
"Oh, I think you'll find that most of the pets who will fit your requirements will expect and even require intercourse, and regularly."
I swallowed hard. "I see."
"Do you want to proceed? You are not committed until you commit."
I took a deep breath. "I think I'd like to meet some of the ... pets ... who are looking for a new home."
"This is how it will work. Rather than you wandering round looking at pets in cages, they will come to you, give their name, age and the number of previous Masters. They should then give a brief run down of their needs and hopes and any skills they bring to the relationship. If you decide you want to adopt one, you will need to complete a couple of forms and produce some ID, which I think Eric will have explained. I will monitor progress over three months, at the end of which if both parties are happy, you're on your own. You can, of course, come back. If you return your pet after the three months, however, unless there is a powerful reason otherwise, you will not get your adoption fee returned. Similarly if I find out you have abused your pet."
She turned to Eric. "How is Lara? I haven't seen her here for months."
"She's fine, but with only a couple of months to go with her pregnancy she's finding it hard to get around. You know how it is, I suppose."
"Not personally." Madame Katalinka chuckled, but I thought there was no humour in it. "I will have to visit for a chat. It's so hard getting away from here, though."
"Lara would love to see you, I'm sure."
She left us, and I began to look around at what was going on. Two girls and a young man, wearing very little, were dancing on a small stage; a very erotic and suggestive dance. Around us were odd sights; young and not so young men and women, almost naked, wearing collars and sitting or kneeling next to people I assumed were their master or mistress. Even they, the masters and mistresses were dressed, shall I say, unusually. But I didn't have time to analyse any of that, because a young blonde woman, in nothing but collar and thong, approached me and knelt. "I am Susie. I am twenty-six. I have had two masters since taking the collar, and am skilled with mouth, cunt and anus. I sometimes misbehave in order to be spanked."
She was very pretty, but I didn't want a pet who would deliberately misbehave to provoke me, so I thanked her and sent her away. One after another, others came; ranging in age up to early fifties, but all attractive in different ways. None of them, however, struck a chord. Some, I wanted to help, but that wasn't enough. I was almost ready to give up and go home.
Then I saw her. Maybe five foot two or three, a little plump, but her figure well defined. Her breasts wide, low, mounds with no sag and small nipples, her waist, her bottom, perfection. She had brown hair which, however, had widely differing colours in from almost blonde through tan to almost black, and it was gathered into bunches each side of her head so it resembled the floppy ears of a spaniel. She knelt, and spoke in a quavering voice. "I'm Coral..."
Was the name a coincidence? Her appearance? "Look at me," I said.
She looked up, briefly and her eyes were large, dark brown and glistening, on the verge of tears. "I'm twenty-two, and I've had one master..." her voice caught.
"Coral, would you stand for me, please?" She did so. "And turn round. That's it – keep turning..." her back, and her lovely rear were marked. "Enough. Coral, did your last master beat you?"
She sniffed, and nodded. "I know I made mistakes, and I don't mind being spanked when I'm naughty, but..."
I couldn't have resisted by that point anyway, though I didn't say so. "Coral, come and sit by my legs, will you?" She came. Leant against me, wrapped one arm round my legs and rested her head on my knee. I stroked her head gently. "What do you want from your master, Coral? What do you need?"
"To be loved."
I had to swallow hard and get my voice under control before I spoke again. "If I was to adopt you, Coral, do you have any skills?"
She nodded, her head moving against my knee and under my hand. "I can cook, a little, and I am an art student. I draw and paint."
"Good. I think we need to see Madame Katalinka."
"You want me?"
"Yes – I really think I do."
She looked up at me with a face bright as the rising sun. "If you'll excuse me for a minute, there's something I need to do. I'll come back and take you to her office."
"Certainly, Coral. Do what you need to."
She disappeared for maybe ten minutes. When she came back, she handed me a leather lead and knelt again. I took the lead and clipped it to the D-ring on her collar, slipped my hand into the loop at the other end. "Lead on, then, and we'll see about the paperwork."
She was careful not to pull on the lead, but to stay just a pace ahead. When we reached Madame's office, she turned to me and said, "Normally I would walk to heel, but you said to lead the way."
"Quite right. Good girl." Somehow she gave the impression of wagging her tail.
"So, Mister Welham ... you've found a pet who meets your needs?"
"I think so..." I glanced at Coral, who had dropped to her knees 'at heel' and her head was down. "I couldn't explain why, but I can't resist her."
"Excellent. I've spoken to Coral, and she's very happy to agree to a trial. Indeed, like yourself, she seems to think you're made for each other. Right. There's just the small matter of documentation..."
Formalities done, Coral dressed in a denim dress over a t-shirt, sneakers for her feet, carrying a couple of bags – I took one, which was a lot heavier than I expected (full of books, I later discovered) – and an artist's portfolio. We walked out to the car-park, to my car.
"Wow! This is yours?"
"I love it!"
"Good; I'm glad." I was. Her reaction showed even more that we were suited. I unlocked the rear doors. "Pop your things in there," I said, suiting action to words with the bag I'd carried for her. Then walked round to the nearside to unlock the passenger side door. She shut the rear door and she came round to me.
"Do you wish me to ride in the front, on the front seat?"
"Yes. My dog always curled up on a seat. Admittedly, I put a towel down and washed it regularly, but I don't think you're going to get muck on the seats, or shed lots of hair on them. Coral, whatever our relationship behind closed doors, or in places like Madame K's, in public I want to treat you with respect. Most of the time, anyway."
"Oh! Just for a minute I was afraid you wouldn't use my lead."
She wanted me to take her out on a lead? We'd need to talk about that.