Chapter 22 – Phil, the Autistic Boy, and Shark Bond

After Pixie and Isaac vanished from Shark’s sight, he sat for a moment to think about his day and the information he picked up around the “Demure”. 

It looked like they were not going to be the only dogs in the club’s vicinity that night. Duke and his pack were frequent Friday visitors; this Friday was not an exception. 

He noticed Duke and his pack of eight wandering around the Chinese food place earlier that day. It was unusual for such a large pack to form in his neighborhood, but there it was. Duke’s pack was wilder than the average urban dogs and unfriendly to other packs. They didn’t like Isaac and Shark as much, especially since Duke got rejected from Marshall’s mentorship. 

The old pug decided not to take him under his guidance as Duke was reluctant to listen. He was stubborn, but not stubborn in the way Isaac and Shark were, just bullheaded, fighting against everyone else’s will for nothing. He lacked discipline and humility – two critical attributes that were required to get on Marshall’s team. 

Since the rejection, Duke carried resentment towards Marshall, Isaac, and Shark. The basset wasn’t as convinced that Duke is not their friend but Shark was suspicious. 

Maybe it was because of his lost faith in others due to his sad destiny with Matias, who knows? Or maybe he was just overly cautious. Regardless of what was the reason for the mistrust, he was in an alert mode as far as Duke and his pack were around. 

In all that mess, Shark loved the Chinese food place because of one very important reason: Phillip. 

Just as Isaac befriended Daisy, the ice cream girl, Shark had an unusual sympathy for Phillip. Phillip, or Phil, as Shark loved to call him, came to visit his father at least once a week. James, his dad, was a vet whose office was just a few shops away from the Chinese place. Sometimes, when his dad was called for emergencies, Phil stayed over the weekend, keeping him company with the sick animals. It was the most fun Shark, the abandoned corgi, ever had with a human after Matias left him. 

Shark didn’t like hanging around grownups too much – they were loud, always in a hurry, and traitors, just like Matias. It couldn’t escape him that even the dog owners who brought their home dogs to the vet for interventions were like that. 

“How do these dogs manage to stay calm and be so happy?” Shark often wondered seeing his canine friends driving around in cars, being carried in fancy bamboo baskets, and getting spa treatments every two months. 

But Phil, the boy? Phil was something different. He spent most of his time alone and he rarely spoke a word. He was unusually silent for a small boy, but that’s exactly why Shark grew fond of him. 

Shark knew that Phil was special but he didn’t know why not that he needed any explanation. Phil was autistic and, just as much as Shark, he didn’t like spending too much time around people. He preferred to be left alone, minding his own business. 

After having finished his Friday afternoon quest for leftovers around the Chinese place, Shark hopped over to the vet’s office to see if the boy was there. It was Friday, so it was entirely possible that he was. 

He looked through the glass, and much to his delight, noticed Phillip sitting close to the window. He had something in his hands, a weird quadruple bird with eyes in the center, and one other thing with buttons that Phil was currently obsessively investigating. Shark had no idea what that was. 

“Hmm, what sort of bird is this? I haven’t seen anything like it – it has four wings. Are those wings? What’s that sound it is making? Well, it’s not that terrible, it’s quieter than the hair dryer, that’s for sure.” Shark’s thoughts accelerated as he was trying to get to the grip with Phil’s new drone and remote control. 

Suddenly, Phil lifted his eyes and noticed Shark seating by the window. The boy wasn’t scared. He calmly took his drone and his remote and got out. He stared at Shark for ten seconds or so as he was talking to him without words. 

Shark wasn’t afraid of the boy. His mouth was open and his tongue out, he was smiling. The boy walked to the tiny nearby park, which, luckily, was well lit, because it was already getting pretty dark. 

His drone lit up, too. Shark watched what happened with an open mouth. He was curious. Phil pushed a button, the quadruple bird lifted up and started flying, circling around their heads. 

Both the boy and the corgi looked at the drone above for a few minutes until a worried voice yelled from across the street:

“Phil! Phil, what are you doing out there? I told you not to go out on your own, especially after dark!” James, his dad ran over the street in what seemed like only two seconds. 

”Gosh, I have one surgery taking longer than anticipated and you are already doing your own thing!”, continued the vet, calming his voice and gently hugging the boy, touching him cautiously around his shoulders, as the self-awareness struck him, warning him that he might stress the calm boy without any true need. 

“Come on, let’s get inside for now. I need to complete some paperwork: the handover with shift number two is due in five minutes. You know that I am the duty vet this weekend. We have plenty of time to play with the drone tomorrow. And we will have daylight, too. The weather forecast for tomorrow looks fine.” 

Shark ran away further and hid behind the nearby building once he noticed the grownup approaching.

Looking at the clear night sky, James abandoned the green park, throwing one long look at Shark at the end. James’ sad look was clearly saying that he had seen too many stray dogs for whom he could do nothing. 

As he was getting inside to provide care for the dog that would soon wake up on the surgery table, James sighed heavily and closed the door behind him, glad that he brought Phil to safety.       

Featured Image Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Chapter 10, A Basset Named Isaac

Chapter 10 – The Cohabitation Experiment

From afar, it looked like a standoff. But that was far from what Isaac and Shark intended. This time, they needed all the help they could get from Pixie.

Isaac was pleased with himself. He got Marshall’s approval and Shark’s word to back him up if things go awry. But this wasn’t allowed to happen. Isaac just couldn’t imagine the consequences of failure. He would risk his position and his gang security. He could even risk someone else’s life.

Inhabitation that didn’t go according to the plan could have disastrous consequences. 

That is why he was unusually cooperative and at his best behavior when he blurted his first words to Pixie:

“Hey Pixie! You look cheerful today! Did you have a hearty meal, by any chance? From your posture and those fuzzy swathes, it looks like you’ve spent the night inside. Lucky you!”

“Stop it, Isaac! I don’t have the time to listen to your chit-chat or fake compliments! What is that you and this scrawny friend of yours want? He looks more like a chihuahua than like a corgi these days!”

“Is it because he wastes his time on looking for troubles around the block and in the outskirts instead of searching for decent food?”, angrily growled Pixie, remembering the problems Shark created for her on her territory in the last couple of weeks.

“Hey, watch it!”, Shark showed his teeth and took a step forward with his right paw planning to repay the compliment, but he was stopped in his tracks by Isaac, who was more tactful anyway, and on this occasion, he had tripled his focus and vigilance.

“Take it easy, bro! You know that Pixie wouldn’t let us near her if she wasn’t curious about what’s going on! Let’s give it a chance now, won’t we?”, he tried to calm down his friend by moving him to the side to chat without Pixie overhearing their intimate bro-to-bro conversation. 

“It’s time to turn a new page in our lives and save some humans with dreadful destinies along the way. You know that Daniel and Charlene stand a slight chance of ever being happy if we don’t interfere by inhabiting them both at the same time. And we need Pixie for that. I know you have a tough time trusting people after what happened to you with Matias. But aren’t we, as dogs, supposed to be the ones that show a character strength unusual for humans if we want things to get better around us?” 

“Come on, fella!” pleaded Isaac. “I know you often get angry and that you are sad most of the time. I am, too. I was born on the street, remember? At least, you had the chance to leave the good life once. I never had that.” Isaac attempted to knock some sense into Shark’s erratic behavior. 

“Who knows, maybe we’ll find our forever homes after this is over? You know what Marshall says: once a dog teaches a human how to love, they fall helplessly in love with them and never let the dog leave their side!”

“No way, Isaac! I am not going back to live with humans! Ever again! I just don’t trust them. Despite the tough times in the economy, I have a much better experience on the street than I had on the farm!” Shark was coming back to his usual quick wit after listening to his wise friend’s wise words. 

“I will help you now – I don’t want to disappoint you or Marshall, your friendship means the world to me, you know that! But humans – nope, a-a!” concluded Shark as they both got back to where Pixie was standing, losing her patience.

“Sorry, Pixie”, said Shark, rucking the apology from below his muzzle.

“Say, what dog? I can’t hear you!”, gleefully responded Pixie, although she knew too well that Isaac had persuaded Shark to apologize.

Shark was now squelching under the burden of his newly adopted collaborative behavior.

“I said I was sorry, okay? Don’t go overboard, Pixie, you know we wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t something for you, too.”, Shark didn’t want to completely toss his rebel persona in the dust.

“Spit it out, then, buddies! Let’s see what you have in mind”

“We want you to join us for a cohabitation plan, Pixie. We need you to inhabit a female by the name of Charlene.”

“We desperately need your help. Please don’t say no before you at least have the chance to listen to the plan in detail”, Isaac explained warily as he saw Pixie’s eyes grow with confusion and the hairs on the back perking up with surprise.

A Basset named Isaac - Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – The Dog that Didn’t Trust People

“Are you out of your mind?!” Shark couldn’t believe what his friend was suggesting. 

“My mind is a heated debate point lately. Everyone seems to wonder if I’ve lost it. Am I out of my mind? Not at all.” thought Isaac. 

“I’m quite in it, actually” he tried to calm his friend. He never felt more excited and anxious as he was explaining his concept for turning Daniel’s world upside down to Shark. 

“Relax, dog,” Isaac tried to instill a bit of his newly founded confidence about his ingenious method to Shark. “I know it’s weird. But that’s precisely why it will work.”

“Unheard of. Stupid, Ridiculous. Ha-ha. Foolish. Dumb. Shortsighted. The more I think about it, the less angry I get. It’s so nonsensical, that I’m starting to think of it as a huge joke. Unheard of. Unheard of!”, Shark repeated in a futile attempt to bring Isaac back to his senses. 

“Did I mention it’s dangerous and that it could boomerang to destroy all the effort we’ve invested in the last couple of years under Marshall’s apprenticeship”? barked Shark with an open mouth, half-wittingly, and half-scared. He couldn’t wrap his head around Isaac’s gullible plan.

“Ask Pixie for help? You’ve lost it, my friend! This challenge has gotten to your head. You are blabbering nonsense. Did Marshall approve your idea? Say what? He did?”

Sad Shark, a basset named Isaac, chapter 6

Image by Amit Karkare from Pixabay

“There it is! This is one huge mistake. I can’t believe what I’m hearing! And from both you and Marshall! From two of the most grounded people I’ve met in my life!” Shark’s old wounds started to split open as his old trauma of distrust started to cripple back in his newly-found life, one that he tried so hard to build on a sturdy base with devoted companions who never left his side.

But now, the fragile shell cracked through as memories flooded back to remind him of a painful past he was trying to forget.

* * *

Shark had a hard time trusting dogs. And people, too. Maybe even more so.

“People can be cruel. Flickering. Downright backstabbers”! he thought as he recalled his previous domesticated life. 

Those were the days. In the three years Shark spent with Matias, his owner, he was the happiest dog in the world. 

Sometimes, as he was falling asleep in the city at night, he dreamt of his old life. Woken by the sudden onslaught of wonderful memories, he often thought that that the life on the farm never existed. 

“Did I just made that up to soften the hard-hit of this urban existence?”Shark asked himself as he remembered the happy events on Matias’s farm. 

He was the only dog on the farm, but he never missed those of his kind. There was plenty to do and other animals to hang around with, play with, and keep an eye on. Matias spent a lot of his time around the farm and the fields, taking care of the crops and Shark was allowed to follow him wherever he worked. 

A Basset Named Isaac- Chapter 5, Squeal and Yelp

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

When Matias wasn’t with him, Shark wasn’t lonely. Not at all. He played with his best friends, Squeal and Yelp. Squeal and Yelp were two of the friendliest and dirtiest pigs you’ve ever seen. Matias didn’t name them, but Shark knew better to call them just as they sounded when snooping around the farm and in the mud. It was an unlikely friendship. Squeal and Yelp were often too lazy to wander around the farm and the surrounding land, keeping it safe close to the house. Shark, on the other hand, enjoyed long walks, And that’s what he loved coming along with Matias and the other animals. 

“How come pigs and dogs can become such friends”? pondered Matias as he was watching the unlikely bunch hanging out together. Yet the friendship flourished. The threesome enjoyed making a mess in the mud while Matias was busy with his city errands. Those city trips were a rare moment when Shark was on his own, not following his routine trajectory alongside Matias and whatever he was doing.

Shark loved Matias. It was his dream life. 

A Basset Named Isaac - Chapter 4 - buildings and dumpsters

Chapter 4 – Demure, the Night Club with a Poorly Chosen Name

“And what’s with that terrible temper?”, Pixie often asked herself. 

Yet, she was almost positive that Daniel was the reason Issac and Shark rambled at the outskirts of their territory. This irritating, vexing behavior literally and figuratively tested her boundaries.

“Okay, boys! This time, you are not getting it easy!”, growled Pixie as she noticed Isaac and Shark staring at her from behind Daniel’s building block. 

A basset named Isaac - chapter 4, Marshall

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

And she was right. Daniel was Marshall’s new challenge. Rigid and stern, with a difficult character – if put nicely, and a total schmuck – if put candidly, he was out of the dog’s world of generous benevolence. 

Despite the team’s knack for solving hopeless cases, they sniffed the difficulty in this one. 

“Are we up to the task at hand?” pondered Isaac thinking about their course of action, while Shark was more concentrated on pestering Pixie. 

He did it just for the sake of it. 

He just couldn’t stop himself and loved how Pixie got triggered by his shenanigans. “It is so effortless!” thought Shark. 

He enjoyed diverting Pixie’s attention while Isaac approached Daniel’s window to explore and gain more information about their latest task.    

“This case is a pressing matter,” pointed out Marshall as he was filling Isaac and Shark with details about Daniel’s love conquest the morning before. 

“We have a tough nut here. He is handsome and difficult. A nasty combination. I’ve overheard girls talking about him. They say he is one of the hottest guys in the “Demure”, but they don’t like having to do anything with him”, he added. 

“Humans have a funky take on attractiveness, Marshall.”

“Yes, Isaac, as we’ve already seen so many times by now. They rarely tend to scratch beneath the surface. And when things get tricky, we need to intervene and, hopefully, play the savior role.” 

”Demure? What a weird name for a night club!”, thought Isaac.

A Basset Named Isaac - Chapter 4 - neon sign night club

Image by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay

The club was dim-lit and painted in a mysterious violet nuance, but there was nothing bashful or demure about it. Isaac knew all too well about bouncers’ busy Friday nights. Or, better to say – mornings. 

The 2 am to 3 am window was the most chaotic period of the night. 

It was the end of the night for the first-shift partygoers and early night boozers. And it was high time for random drop-ins. 

People were getting in and out at the same pace. Bouncers struggled to keep things calm, as the two rows were at their lowest tolerance levels for patience. 

The newcomers wanted to catch the best of the Friday night party while the second group was too wasted to stay calmly in line. There were a few occasional throw-out cases, too.

Isaac couldn’t help but notice that Daniel was among the jettisoned on more than a few occasions.

 “Such a shameful, pitiful energy squandering!” Isaac felt for Daniel in his dexterous ways. 

“Someone with so much inward aggression must have a plethora of ghosts and demons inside”, Isaac’s suspicions about the reasons behind Daniel’s behavior started growing stronger. 

“How on earth am I going to inhabit him? There will be so much resistance…The more aggressive they are, the stronger they fight… Hmmm, perhaps if I catch him on the treadmill?”, wondered Isaac. 

He had this weird idea that if he caught Daniel while he was at the peak of his stamina during exercise and in his element on the treadmill, he would show less resistance.

“Will I manage to invade him faster?”, Isaac didn’t find his usual vocabulary appropriate in Daniel’s case.“

“Inhabit? Nope. Inhabitation was meant for generous and welcoming souls. Daniel is certainly not that, at least not now! Invasion sounds quite right. Invade him, it is!”, concluded Isaac. 

a basset named isaac chapter 3 dwarf spitz

Chapter 3 – The Troublemaker and the Student

Today’s task looked like trouble. It was in a dangerous area. Marshall sent Isaac and Shark the outermost western territorial limits. 

Whenever they had to mend hearts on the periphery, outside their usual territory, Isaac and Shark had to deal with the “outers”. They called them the outers. Any dog that didn’t belong under Marshall’s guidance was an outer. 

Isaac was certain that they face a particular challenge today. The western outskirts were under Pixie’s dominion. Pixie was a half-spitz and half-unidentified overly territorial female dog.

Blessed by the prideful spitz demeanor and lucky to be trained on the streets, she was a formidable guardian of her territory. 

“You know what she is like, Shark. She is flirtatious as hell and uncommonly vigorous for a dog with a pedigree long lost somewhere behind in her breeding line. Pixie caused a lot of trouble in our ventures already. She could easily amass a support army and swiftly turn the western outskirts into a fiery frontline of battle”, Isaac’s worried face was not to be underestimated. 

“I know, dude. But you worry too much, methinks. Say, humans don’t like hanging in this area much, do they? They are scared of us – a bunch of dogs howling and barking at midnight. They have no idea what is going on.”

“I don’t think so. But maybe some do” – Isaac’s face took a solemn expression, one he learned from Marshall.   

“People always make it all about themselves, don’t they, Isaac? – Shark shook his head spicing up the motion with his standard amount of cynicism.  “They think we are all here to get them”! 

He sometimes entertained himself by practicing this cynicism and surprising a passer-by with a bark that looked like it was coming out of nowhere. 

A basset named Isaac chapter 3 - spitz Pixie

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay

The problem with the outers was that neither Isaac nor Pixie’s gang followed an exact schedule. Marshall assigned tasks to Isaac and Shark randomly.

This agitated Pixie so much, it made her blood boil. And she responded likewise – in her unpredictable manner.

Like any other dog, she appreciated some predictability. But she was also unpredictable. And she was loud.

Calling Pixe loud was a harsh understatement. No, when Isaac and Shark approached her territory, casting their net to help the humans in question, Pixie was deafening. 

When she showed her presence in a neighborhood, her resounding barks shut several windows, raised a few hairs, and provoked some juicy curses. 

“I don’t care. I’m loud and I’m proud”, thought Pixie in her head as she noticed Isaac and Shark wandering nearby.

”Shut up, you bitch!”  – a half-filled carton of eggs flew over the window sill before the rail went down with a slam and the owner of the angry voice hid inside. 

Pixie knew that angry voice. It belonged to Daniel.

Daniel didn’t bother her much. This was her neighborhood, after all. Just as the humans who resided there knew her well, she had a good grip on their perks, too.

She was all too well acquainted with that particular hateful window and the room behind it.

When Daniel would call her names, she would relish the sweet irony, almost as much as the chicken leftovers she got from his microwave each Friday night: “Yup, I’m da bitch, alright!”, Pixie would snort with content, ravishing the chicken wings, covered in tiny spots of breadcrumbs over and there. 

Tonight, she got herself a nice portion of fresh eggs, enjoying the eggshells as much as the liquid yolks in the carton.

“If you ask me, I prefer veal, Daniel. But you put too much garlic on it. I can’t stand that much garlic. My tummy disapproves!”

 The frozen bone broth was off-limits for her. It made her belly twist and her eyes watery. She sadly watched as her neighborhood gang voraciously licked and chewed upon the pieces thrown in the bin.   

“Thanks for the eggs anyway, bozo!” woofed Pixie.

a basset named isaac chapter 3 coffee maker

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The light in Daniel’s apartment lit up every evening at around 6:30 pm. 

Pixie knew his schedule by heart. First, she would overhear him dropping off the keychain on the hallway table. “I know what’s next! Yup, there it is!” 

Thereupon came the thud of the laptop bag on the wooden floor and the swoosh of the clothes landing next to the king-sized bed. Finally, the espresso machine went off.

“Daniel has a nice life,” Pixie thought, envying his warm home, his jam-packed fridge, and his workout machine that produced all those ridiculous sounds. 

“That seems like fun!”. Pixie was one of the rare breeds that weren’t afraid of vacuum cleaners and other loud machines.

Daniel often left Pixie dumbfounded.

She stood there in wonder, asking herself a million questions as she gazed into Daniel’s bedroom window while he did his regular cardio workout on the elliptical. 

She couldn’t quite get what was the reason behind Daniel’s murky eyebrow curve. 

“He seems… angry and sad at the same time. He seems desperate…”


A Basset Named Isaac - Shark, the Corgi

Chapter 2 – Shark, Isaac’s Best Friend

But when it came to love, Isaac was anything but lazy. He would wind up all of his engines and often lost himself in the story. His relentless enthusiasm would take him for a ride and he just couldn’t curb his expectations. He kept coming up with premature conclusions, inaccurate assumptions, and wild projections, over and over again.  

“Am I the best hound to teach people how to love?”, Isaac asked himself after a couple of repetitive failures. 

He was. He just didn’t know it yet.

In his overexcited youthful attitude, he just couldn’t appreciate enough the changes he brought into people’s lives. Picturing the long-term effects of his lessons was a challenge. After all, for him, love was always in the now. 

“People wear those solemn, sober faces all the time. It’s like they carry the whole world on their shoulders,” he told Shark, as the two best friends wandered around the train station while they were looking for a new person to teach a love lesson among the commuters. 

Shark was a corgi-turned-stray dog and Isaac’s best pal. He got his nickname from his new street gang because he proudly owned the strongest muzzle in the block.

After his owner Matias left him on the street, he asked so many questions that confused him. The most common one was “How could someone that loved me for so long leave me like that?” 

But he just had to accept his fate and quickly became accustomed to street life. He was a cheerful corgi with a weird temper. As much as Isaac was agreeable, Shark was confrontational.

But they got along well, learned a lot from each other, and were the best partners on Marshall’s team for healing broken hearts. Despite their strong impulses to handle things fast, they still had the highest success rate in around dozens of blocks in the neighborhood. 

“Do you think this stellar reputation will follow us around for a long time?”, Issac checked with his friend with a doubtful face.

“Relax, dog”, Shark nodded in his laid-back manner, without uttering a bark. 

If a human had observed how Shark and Isaac communicated, they would have noticed just a couple of dogs wandering around the train station. The canine couple looked just like the standard strays that are looking for restaurant leftovers or a warm cardboard shelter. 

Most people wouldn’t have a clue that they were constantly communicating. Most people, but not all of them, as we will later see – a gifted autistic boy and a wondrous vet with the biggest heart somehow got to understand them. 

As a general rule, humans didn’t understand the hound language. Save for the common dog vocabulary, Isaac and Shark also had their jargon and a long history of inside jokes accumulated over the four years they hung out together under Marshall’s mentorship. 

“Humans give too much credit to words, bro!”, said Shark. 

“All they do is talk, talk, talk, and forget to listen. No wonder they don’t understand each other!” 

Shark oozed confidence as his friend stuck out his tongue and looked at him with a smile.

”I know, Shark. They rarely listen. Especially their own hearts!”, blurbed Isaac as he recalled the special skill that sometimes cost him dearly. He remembered his recent failures and wondered if he was truly qualified to teach lessons in love. 

“There, my sucker confidence took the better of me again!”, Isaac didn’t let his mind drift into the vulnerable territory as he and his bud concentrated on the task at hand.

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Basset Named Isaac Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – How Isaac Got His Name

Isaac was standing on his favorite park bench, sniffing around to check the surroundings. He had never thought why his name was Isaac. “It’s not a typical dog’s name”, a thought crossed his mind. But he loved it.

One day, when he was visiting his neighborhood butchery, he overheard a mother telling a biblical story to her daughter.

The two of them were sitting at the nearby cafe.

“Isaac is the one who will laugh”, mentioned the mom to the four-year-old while the tiny one was joyfully picking at the ends of her ice cream cone with her fingers. She looked at it like she was doing an advanced physics experiment. She didn’t seem too concerned with the Bible.

Isaac fell in love with her immediately. He laughed with a soft bark hoping to get the little girl’s attention. The little girl smiled back revealing her strawberry-stained grin.

It was a great day for Isaac. He got a rib from the butcher’s place and he made a new friend. This friend was of his favorite kind – small people.

And at that very same moment, the hound decided Isaac is indeed a great dog’s name and that he will carry it with pride.

A Basset named Isaac Chapter 1 girl with ice cream

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

But Isaac’s wandering thoughts returned to the park’s bench. He had a big problem.

You see, he fell in love with people too often. And that was a problem in his canine alliance. His greatest strength was also his greatest weakness.

His task in the canine alliance was to teach people how to love better. They struggled with such a simple pursuit so much. He had to invade their hearts and borrow a part of his innate world for a while.

“Love comes so easy for dogs!”, Isaac thought and wondered why humans often found love so difficult. He just couldn’t wrap his head around it.

Therefore, when he invaded the heart of the person he was supposed to guide towards acquiring the perfect set of love skills, he often messed up. He abandoned his discernment.

And whenever two people who were supposed to live happily ever after separated, or when a girl spent a week crying, or engagement was broken, he would walk to his abandoned warehouse shelter with his head down: “Smarten up, Isaac. You shouldn’t be so gullible. People are not dogs. People are not dogs. People are not dogs….”, he tutored himself with a self-denigrating voice.

Marshall, the chief pug of the canine alliance often told him: “Isaac, when you inhabit our chosen person’s heart and spirit you have to keep some level of detachment. You can’t allow a tearjerker to keep you away from your chosen path. Remember, you are not to give humans a fish, you’re supposed to teach them how to fish!”, repeated Marshall.

But Isaac puffed each time he heard the older pug’s advice. Perhaps the problem was in his mentor’s metaphor. He neither understood, neither liked fish.

“Fish are for cats, Marshall!” he responded in his no-nonsense, lazy basset manner. “I don’t know why you’re telling me this!”