“Where did you find him?” my wife asked me.
“Just outside the bar on the corner,” I replied as I scrubbed the dog in our bathtub. “He was sniffing at a passed out drunk who woke up and punched the dog.”
“I chased after the dog for a bit and swept him up in my arms. It must have thought I was going to hit it as well.”
I continued to scrub at the dark fur and it only seemed to get lighter. It went from a murky black to pale brown and the more I washed and rinsed the more pale the fur became. After twenty minutes of this repeat cycled the dog turned out as white as the white foam I rinsed off of him.
Despite what my wife first expected the dog was perfectly friendly once it knew the intentions of the human. I wondered if it was trained, but in the days that followed the behaviour it displayed proved otherwise. It tore up pillows, it was trained for the indoors and dog food through our already shaky budget into the trash. In short, the dog became a pain that we could not afford.
Although my heart leapt out of my chest at the sight of it being abused, I could not help but think I should have left the dog on the street. Still, we weren’t about to throw it away like we would trash. We asked friends to help until we knew what to do with it and soon we were back on track, albeit, working a little more to afford it and pay people back.
“What do you think we should name her?” my wife asked me one evening.
“I honestly have grown so used to calling it, ‘the dog’,” I replied jokingly. “I mean,
“How about snowflake?”
“That’s what you name a rat pretending to be a dog.”
“Oh, really? How about Brutus?”
“Now you’re just messing around.”
“No imagination in that at all.”
The two of us went back and forth like that for a week. As often as she would come up with a name she would tell me or text me if we were at work. Each and every one I shut down because none of them felt right. Eventually, we struck upon a name that the dog seemed to choose. We were listening to some of our music one evening and the dog became affixed by the tune of one song. It was ‘Layla’ by Eric Clapton.
“You thinking what I am thinking?” my wife asked me slyly.
“Of course, it’s perfect,” I replied. “Come here, Cocaine!”
Layla didn’t seem to appreciate my joke, but my wife was in tears. The next few days became easier as my life and my wife grew with the times. Our work wasn’t exactly essential to our chosen careers, but as the years went on we still managed to maintain a steady income. Of course, steady doesn’t always mean a good thing, especially when it comes to money. You will always need more and having a dog began to seem more like an unnecessary expense every day. However, we would not lose the love for that dog, no matter how dire the situation became.
When things started to seem at their most low there was a change to the system somewhere. I found work and work that was far more lucrative than the work I had before. My wife, she decided to join my in my enterprise. It would often mean working at night, which was an unpleasant change at first, but it was so much easier to become a night owl than an early bird.
We no longer ate the peanuts we were paid, but thrived in our home which grew more comfortable every day with the changes we made. Layla, who used to roam the streets in misery much like we used to, slept on a feather filled pillow. There was something beautiful in it all the...in the madness of it. We struggled deeply, but no longer.
Of course, Layla became more adjusted to city-life, now from the point of view of an owned dog rather than a stray. That changed sadly one evening. An evening I remember in particular because it was the last time me and my wife ever saw Layla. The three of us went out for a walk, taking turns with the leash. There were even passers-by who complimented the beauty of our dog.
That was when we heard the sirens and our way was blocked by policemen. That was when my wife was grabbed by three men and shoved into the back of the police van and me after her. It was a cold experience, but truly, after what did to get where we were, one we expected. In those moments we did not think of the dog, but once those van doors closed it was all that plagued our minds.
Our lawyer, who was trying his best to prove our innocence, was completely flabbergasted by our dedication to an animal that was no doubt roaming the streets as we spoke. I pushed harder to get someone to help us, but who would want to help drug runners? We were on our own with that lawyer; made him promise to find that dog and help him.
“Thank you,” I told him resting my cuffed hands on the table. “I cannot tell you how much Layle means to us.”
“You two face death row and all you have ever given me was details on your dog,” the lawyer murmured. “You’ve made my job very difficult to work with, but you two don’t seem to care much if you get out of this alive.”
“She was much like us when my husband found her,” my wife told the lawyer. “Begging, pleading and scared. We couldn’t turn her away once we took her in. She was family and the police didn’t even collect her, take her to a shelter or anything.”
“I understand, I will do what I can to find your dog. I own two myself, I can agree that losing a pet is an awful experience.”
“Then we have done all we can,” I told him.
Today is the last day of our lives. We are about to pay for the drugs we sold and the man we killed. However, we did get to see our dog before it happened, we saw how happy he was. We both could die with that sense of peace, if nothing else. We had nothing else.
Be sure to follow!