John hugged Hannah tight near the front door of her house. Her family was in the car, any moment her father would blare the horn.
“Thanks again for watching Bear John.” Hannah said into John’s shoulder.
“No problem Hannah.” There was the car horn. “Good luck at state.” Hannah put her hands on John’s cheeks and then kissed him really quick.
“Bye John. See you in a couple days!” She bent over to run her hand along her dachshund’s back. “By Bear. See you soon too.” She put her hand on the door handle. “Be good boys!” And just like that she was out the door. Leaving John and Bear alone.
Bear whined for the first time a few minutes after Hannah walked out. “It’ll be okay Bear.” John spent the rest of the afternoon trying to entice Bear to play with him, but the closest he got was cuddle time on the couch while John watched a movie.
Bear went out for walks well enough, stopping to sniff the length of the driveway before they moved on. He didn’t even seem to mind going the same route until he got back to the driveway. Bear would whine and lie down, and fight walking back up the driveway. “Come on Bear.” John grumbled. Tugging and begging didn’t seem to do anything. “Thank goodness you are light.” He picked up the small, protesting dog, to bring him back inside.
The worst part wasn’t the whining, which was near constant, or having to carry Bear inside after walks, no, the worst part was Bear hadn’t eaten since Hannah had left. Not his dog food, not his dog treats, not the human food John had tried giving him or just dropping on the floor.
“Come on.” John sat on the floor next to Bear and his food bowl. “Eat please.” John begged. Bear just put his head down and continued to whine. “Hannah will be back. I promise!” John said, but Bear just sighed.
John stared at Bear. He was laying on his side in the laundry roomeyes moving between the food bowl, John, and the hallway leading to the front door. John drummed his fingers on the floor, lost in thought over the heartbroken dog.
Suddenly John had an idea. He pulled out his cellphone and called Skylar, who had been staying at his home.
Skylar sat crossed legged in front of Bear and John. They had just finished massaging their throat and when they opened their mouth a whimper came out. Bear tilted their head and whimpered back. John held Bear while their talk went from whimpers and whines to yips and barks. Occasionally Skylar would give John a thumbs up.
Bear eventually jumped out of John’s lap, running over to the laundry room. John listened to the sound of kibble being crunched.
“Thanks Skylar.” They grinned back at John, starting to massage their throat again.
“No problem John.”
Word count: 490