Very long ago, a sweet and caring puppy named Jake was born. He had two kitty sisters from his mother’s previous marriage. They all lived in a land called Oregon! Jake’s owners got divorced a long time before he could even comprehend the concept of “Family.” His old master was a very mean man.
Jake grew up next door to a child molester. Though no one knew it for a long time, when the neighborhood found out, no puppies or kitties were allowed to go play over there ever again.
The days were bright, the nights were sleepy, and even though Jake’s owner loved him very much, he preferred to spend a lot of time alone. But whenever anyone got hurt or was feeling sad, Jake would always drop everything and run to them in hopes of helping them to feel happy once again.
Jake didn’t speak until he was three and a half years old. His owners wondered if there might be something wrong with him, despite the fact that they could tell how clever he was. There wasn’t anything wrong with Jake’s brain, and when he did decide to speak, he spoke full, perfect sentences.
When Jake was five years old, his owner met a mormon missionary from a land beyond the mountains. One morning, Jake found his owner in bed with this man and was upset because no one would help him open a box of cereal. Perhaps the man decided that he knew what Jake was worth, by that very moment alone.
The man moved to a land called Nevada, where Jake, his owner, and his kitty sisters all soon moved to as well. There, they all met their new puppy brothers and kitty sister. One of the puppies was awesome! The other was a jerk. And the kitty was just there too.
Jake had been very well potty trained during the day, but sometimes, at night, he would have very warm dreams of swimming under the sun. Jake’s new master was very mad about that. He would spank him and tease him, even though the awesome new puppy brother did it more often than Jake did. When Jake was in the first grade, his new master made him wear a diaper to school, forbidding him to remove it before he got home. Jake was humiliated.
For many years, Jake’s new master would treat him as if he were not so much a pet of his as any of the other puppies and kitties. His new master would force him to stay awake until everyone else was sound asleep, so that he could go over everything that Jake had done wrong that day. He would scold him, spank him, make him pull weeds in the back yard for hours. Sometimes he would make Jake pull weeds with no clothes on, and laugh. It didn’t take Jake long to forget how to fall asleep. Many times throughout the years, everyone in the house would be awoken by Jake’s screams. Everyone knew what was happening, but no one ever came to help Jake.
When Jake was ten years old, his owner divorced the new master. His part of the family and he moved back to Oregon, without the new master and his pets. It wasn’t long before Jake began to stop caring about school. He wouldn’t do his classwork, he wouldn’t do his homework. The only schoolwork that Jake would do was the tests, and he always did better on them than most of the other puppies and kitties.
Now that Jake was living so close to his old master, he was able to see him every other weekend. Jake was happy to imagine having a good master, someone who could guide him, someone who would love him and treat him like a good master treats a good puppy. They would spend a lot of time wandering around the video tape store. Jake loved to look at and read about all of the horror movies, though it was on rare occasion that he would be able to watch them. It became tradition for Jake and his master to rent funny movies and eat pizza together. Over the years, it would become tradition for them to watch Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness!
Jake’s owner and master would argue, every time they saw each other, every time they spoke on the phone. Always yelling, always slamming doors and phones. Jake’s kitty sisters were a few years older than him, and they didn’t have a master. They had always been sneaky, and sometimes naughty, pets. Jake’s owner was quite frequently upset with them as well. But really, Jake’s owner began to spend less and less time at home, between work and her search for happiness. It became the norm for her to always be yelling, screaming, crying, every time she did come home. Needless to say, her pursuit of happiness had not been very kind to her.
Jake’s owner would send him to live with his master multiple times, which would swiftly and consistently result in disaster. His old master certainly was still a very mean and selfish man, only ever seeming to be a good master for mere moments at a time. The first time, he turned all of the pictures down, took back everything he had ever given, didn’t even say goodbye. The second time, Jake had been confined to a room with nothing but a bed. His master grabbed him by the throat, picked him up off the bed and slammed him against the wall, held him there with his feet dangling above the ground, choking as he looked his master in the eye with shock instead of fear. His master told the twelve year old Jake, “One day you’ll call me up from jail, and I won’t come to get you.” The third time was many years later and very short lived.
When Jake was still twelve years old, his owner called everyone she knew, looked through the phone book and called everyone she could. She was desperate to find somewhere else for him to go, somewhere else for him to be. Jake sobbed as he begged her to stop, though she continued until her efforts and imagination were exhausted. There was nowhere she could send him that wouldn’t charge her money to do so, so there he remained.
Jake’s grandmother, his old master’s mother, whom Jake had also spoken his first words to, had always been very close with him. She went to great measure in ensuring that Jake would turn out to be a gentleman. If anyone ever had faith in him, it was her. Over the years, as Jake had been caught up in perpetual argument with his old master, his relationship with his grandmother became conditional. He didn’t want to see his old master, he didn’t want him to know that he was there.
On one visit, when Jake was thirteen years old, his grandparents had gone into town for a while as he stayed to make a nice lunch for everyone. He heard a knock at the door, soon after they left, and rushed toward the door with a smile, assuming they had forgotten something. The door opened, and in walked his old master. “Surprised to see me?” Jake’s old master had come for business, and he quickly got to work. He took off his belt and told Jake to pull down his pants, but Jake refused. His old master forced Jake’s pants down to the ground and began indiscriminately swinging his belt. He began listing the reasons aloud for why Jake deserved each new crack, until he ran out of reasons that is. With his reasons exhausted, the old master really began to work up a sweat, wildly swinging away with no degree of proper form.
Jake emerged from that day with welts literally from head to toe, and he would never trust his dear grandmother, ever again. He only went to visit her a small handful of times more, over the nearly twenty years to follow, before her inevitable death.
Jake had been abused, humiliated, neglected, discarded, abandoned. Jake had become a complete mess, no one else’s problem. Everything that was wrong with Jake; who had done what, how and why; had been forgotten by the world. But he could never forget.
When Jake was much younger, waiting for his new master to return, he would hide under the covers, imagining that he was somewhere very far away, with a beautiful wife, adorable children, many sweet animals. The only thing that ever mattered to him, the only thing that ever had any value to him, was the hope of being happy some day. The puppy who would cry himself into oblivion, praying that he could just fall asleep and never wake up, wanted nothing to be happy and know that he was loved. That was his mission, his goal, his purpose. That was the meaning of his life.
When Jake was fourteen, he had actively decided that it would be best to forget all of his troubles. Not to deal with them and move on, but to bury them in a shallow grave and run away. Many times, he would successfully forget everything that had happened, but then realizing that he was no one and couldn’t remember why, he would dig as much as he could back up, then remembering why he had forgotten in the first place would commit to forgetting again. With each cycle, he would both remember and forget, less and less. The years quickly passed, and the world became increasingly cold and lonely. Summer, winter, summer, winter; sun, clouds, rain, and sometimes snow. When Jake was nineteen, he would tell his old master that his life would have been better if the old master had never been in it. “Fine, you’ll never hear from me again,” the old master said. And he never did.
When Jake was becoming a young dog of about twenty one years old, he met a young cat by the name of Madeline. She was from a land called Wisconsin. Jake and Madeline would come to be very attracted to each other. He was more of a wreck than he had ever been, and she was in need of some major work as well. Though as you may come to find, that’s very many people, I mean animals, at that age. The first three months of their relationship was amazing! But the next two and three quarter years definitely were not. She would yell a lot, something would always be wrong, and he would always be trying to make everything right, for the first half of their relationship. Then she would yell a lot, and he would yell a lot too.
Jake had grown up being so mistreated, wanting so much to be loved, that he hadn’t yet realized a relationship, that life, did not need to be dysfunctional. He didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. He didn’t even know how to care about himself.
It was a terrifying time in Jake’s life, never knowing where he stood, always hanging on to something that he never fully understood. With the beginning of each new month, he was never sure if he should pay rent where he and Madeline lived, or find somewhere else to move and live, to be somewhere stable. This went on for years, and they did break up a few times, and he did keep going back to her. And just when Jake was sure that he was going to stop the insanity that was their life together and move away for good, Madeline told him that she was pregnant.
Jake was shocked, Jake was incompetent, Jake was still nearly a decade away from being well enough to even do right by himself. Madeline said that she didn’t think she would end up keeping the baby, and Jake said that they definitely needed to really think about everything.
The next day, Jake told Madeline that he thought they could not afford to have the baby, financially, emotionally, in any way. She was enraged by this and told him that she was keeping it, that he had no say whatsoever in it. And on that day, Jake and Madeline broke up, for nearly nine months. He payed half of all the doctor’s bills, she went to all of the appointments. And on the day of that babies birth, Jake received a call from his sister; Madeline wanted him to come and be there with her while it happened.
An adorable kitty cat named Sage was born on november the nineteenth, at 11:19pm.
Madeline and Jake got back together, believing in magic, trying to make a long broken thing function. But she hated him, more than they ever could have imagined, and he was so tired of all the fighting, all of the negativity. He reflected on his life, then decided that it would be best for Sage to have a better chance at not having to experience such unending conflict. So Jake told Madeline, like shoving a sword into his belly, to take the baby that she had always wanted and go back to where she came from.
But for the first three months of her life, Sage was held in her daddy’s arms, every single day. And she loved him so very much. No one could make her smile like he could. And he loves her so very much, to this very day.