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The Little Survivor

"Hugo is his middle name"

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Competition Entry: A Survivor’s Story

Victor's first act of survival was completed out of sight of his forever family.

It must have happened sometime during the year or so he had been alive. But that history was lost in the mists of time. Puppy time is mistier than people's time. In any case, he was a stray. And he had been sent to the shelter to wonder what the whole thing was about.

It was in the colorful days of October when he got lucky. His Boss-to-be had been fighting cancer and it was not a good time for his Mommy-to-be. So the Boss decided that she needed something else to give love to and worry about for a while. Boss went down to the shelter and observed there were only two fellows in their cages at that moment. He had his eye on Victor but he knew that Mommy had to come down and make the decision.

When they got to the shelter together they went inside and brought Victor out for a walk-about. Then they sat down on a bench. The Boss asked Mommy, "What do you think? Shall we take him home?"

With Victor sitting on her lap Mommy started crying saying, "Yes, yes," and so it was decided they would be his new persons. His Boss and Mommy. He accepted the position. 

As they were walking out to the two vehicles another lady was walking in the parking lot with two large dogs. For some silly reason, she had let them walk off-leash. They saw Victor and ran at him and began barking and snarling and trying to get him but the Boss had pulled him up into his arms with the leash and was kicking the big ones away. Finally, it was all sorted out and Victor had survived to begin with his forever family.

The folks at the shelter figured that Victor was about a year old. So it was decided that his birthday was gonna be the 15th of October and he was starting his first year in the family. He sat on the Boss's lap on the ride home being very placid. No excitement yet. He was a smart pup. He had no idea if this was forever or not, yet. He would take his time before deciding. Besides, he had already learned that you can't trust everyone. 

The next spring the three of them took a vacation out west to New Mexico. Victor took to traveling quite well sitting on Mommy's lap while going down the road, or even using the Boss's lap on occasion. He didn't mind the leash at all when it was needed. 

They decided to stop along the Canadian River where it was dammed to form the Ute Lake. They got out to explore along the banks of the river and follow the trails as they twisted in and out with shrubbery along the shoreline. Mommy thought it would be nice to let Victor off-leash to sniff and do his thing checking out the pathways. 

They seemed to be able to keep him in sight easily. But one time the Boss and Mommy stopped and were talking for a minute. Then they looked around. Where was that pup gone to? Panic set in as they split up and went back and forth along the myriad twisting trails along the shore. It would be horrible if he fell in the water. It was a frantic time of fear as they searched. Finally, the Boss got a call on his cell phone. 

They had been smart enough to get a microchip placed in Victor as well as a special phone number on his collar that anyone could call to find this family. It had worked perfectly and he had been found back at the parking lot where they had begun their explorations. The silly pup had at least gone back to where they started. The Boss ran back to fetch him and Mommy stayed in another spot where she had ended up during the search.

When the Boss got to where Victor the rascal was sitting in the passenger seat of a pickup truck, quite placid, waiting for the family to find themselves and him. Victor and the Boss went in the car to pick up Mommy and they went on their way. It was to be hoped that they would learn their lesson.  

The next year they were out exploring in the woods where their state park was surrounding a lake. It was fall and most of the leaves were on the ground now. They thought they could see the trails well enough to let the pup off-leash for a while so he could do some exploring as they walked along.

Victor disappeared behind some bushes and was out of sight. And he did not come when he was called. The Boss was in a panic once again. They started calling out his name over and over and tracked through the woodlands. Finally, upon a trail above them, they saw a flash of white Victor fur. It was him. This time there was no phone call, but they still had been very lucky that Victor was a survivor.

You would think that they would learn their lesson with Victor. After all, he was not trying to run away. He was simply absent-minded and liked to explore. He was a geographer like the Boss. And Mommy was sweet enough to always want to let him be free when it was possible. 

Once again, the next year, they were out driving around across the prairie lands of Kansas, along some back roads with the plains spread out over the rolling hills. Mommy thought it was a perfect place to let Victor go off-leash for a while. They parked the vehicle and climbed out and under the fence line and began walking the grasslands. One could see for miles and miles.

And they found out. It did go on for miles and miles, seemingly forever, and Victor was off. Running across the landscape, free and happy. Deaf to calls, of course. He could get that way on occasion. He was away and over the hills, disappearing over the rangelands. And the Boss was running and trying to keep up. 

After half an hour of frantic struggles to try and see him off in the distance he finally reappeared off to one side. Slowly trudging back, wondering where the family had gone to. The Boss was rather upset. He got put back on the leash. They walked up and over the prairie and traveled back home. Once again the little scamp had survived without a scratch. 

His disappearing acts and final reappearances were not the only acts of survival he performed. The first year he was with them they took him to the veterinarian for annual shots. They got them done in the afternoon. In about five hours he was in anaphylactic shock. His whole little puppy face was swollen and he was struggling to breathe.

They got him to the only available emergency vet which was located about an hour away in the big city. Mommy carried him on her lap as the Boss drove, maintaining the speed limit, to the doctor's office. They surely did not need to be stopped by the authorities when they needed to get there fast.

They were lucky and he survived once again. The vets took care of it and they learned their lesson. He should always get his annual shots in the morning. That way they would not need to drive for an hour to get to a vet. And give him some antihistamine before going in for his annual shots to prevent the shock.

That was not their only time to drive to that far-away emergency pet hospital. During the pandemic, the Boss made a silly mistake. He was eating some chocolate while he sat on the sofa and watched television. He got up for a drink and when he came back the chocolate was gone.

Victor had decided to eat all of that chocolate. Once again, after googling "dogs and chocolate," they were off to the emergency room with the rascal on Mommy's lap. When they got to the vet hospital in the big city at midnight they had to wait out in the car while he was worked on in the hospital. All pandemic precautions were taken. Victor survived once more. 

A couple of years ago they took a trip out west to California. They were making memories while the Boss fought cancer, in case Mommy needed things to remember later. They discovered a wonderful sandy beach along the coast. It was long and open and it was wonderful. So, they let Victor off of his leash. And he was off. Running as fast as he could go. All the way down the shoreline along the beach until he got almost to the end.

The Boss called out as loud as he could. And Victor heard. He ran all the way back and got his treat, then trotted off to run some more. Never out of sight. Always coming when called.

He was going to keep on surviving with his forever family now. 




Written by Survivor
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