Bert’s Eye View
It was an average Saturday afternoon for me, except for the fact that my parents weren’t home yet. I wasn’t concerned about it though, after all, we live in New York City, where anything can happen. When will they be here? I thought, I’m starving, and I just need to go outside and play with the kids in Central Park. Then I heard the apartment door unlock and I bolted for the door, scratching up the floor with my gigantic feet as I went.
“Hey there Bert!” said my dad, “Do you want to go for a walk in Central Park after we eat? By the way, your mom is going to have to travel to Germany for work and won’t be back for two weeks.” He sounded tired.
I just looked at him, the same way all St. Bernard’s do whenever they don’t understand something, our tongues hanging out, head cocked to the left at a precise angle of 45 degrees (if you can’t get the angle right, then you aren’t truly a St. Bernard!). Then my dad poured my kibbles and bits which have been specially made for a large dog over the age of nine.
Yes, I know ten-years old isn’t exactly what you humans call old, but just remember that a dog ages far faster than a human. I’m supposed to be 70-years old, but I’ve seem dogs half my age, and of the same breed, get hip dysplasia! And I don’t even know what that is! Anyways, my dad leashed me up and led me out of the apartment complex, along Central Park West and through a small pathway to the Lake (Yes, that’s the actual name. Look it up.). I was surprised at all the funny looks the kids I wanted to play with gave me. Yes I may be an extremely large and thick-skulled dog, I thought, but it still doesn’t give them the right to look at me like that, especially that bully James and his stupid Rottweiler. Luckily those two just kept walking towards their neighborhood. I could have sworn I heard James’s Rotty snicker at me, and that’s where it all went south.
St. Bernards hate Rotties, kind of like the Montagues and the Capulets. The only reason I know this is because I had recently read Romeo and Juliet. I also chewed it to bits as I read the pages. It was a great “reader’s digest!” I just snapped, both at James’ Rottweiler and the leash that held me down. I bolted and yanked my dad face first into the mud.
“Bert!” my dad called after me, but I didn’t listen, which was rare for me. The Rottweiler, whose name just so happened to be Bubbles, sprinted away from me down the shore of the Lake, whimpering as he went. Although, who wouldn’t run away when they saw a dog of my size sprinting towards them at high speed! I have absolutely no idea how long I was running, I don’t even have the brain capacity to tell time. The only thing I do remember was losing Bubbles about halfway through my run of about two miles. I finally stopped in an alleyway right next to the Empire State Building. It was beginning to look like my worst nightmare.
“This could have gone a bit better,” I said to myself. “I’m going to get in huge trouble when I get home. But first I should get … my bearings before I ... do anything … at … all.” That was when I passed out and went to sleep. The adrenaline rush must have had had worn off.
“Sometimes I hate that dog,” I said as I pulled my face out of the mud in Central Park. When Bert ran off after Bubbles he yanked me about three feet through the air and I landed face first in the mud. “I guess I should go look for Bert and, even though I hate to say it, I should probably… No, no, DEFINITELY help James find Bubbles too…” Once I got up and cleaned myself off, I walked over to my arch-nemesis and said something apparently inaudible.
“What was that?” James said, rudely, trying to hide the tears that where aching to come out, “I couldn’t hear you.”
“I said I’ll help you find Bubbles. But mark my words,” I said, rage starting to flow through my veins, “I’ll only do it if you do the same for me in finding Bert.”
James sighed, contemplating whether it was worth it or not. “Fine, I’ll do it. Where should we start?”
I woke up with a start. I couldn’t remember anything from the previous day except for running. And running a lot. My legs were on fire, and I was both hungry and thirsty. It was something that I had never felt before, I was either hungry or thirsty, but never both. I looked up and saw something that I have never seen up close before, especially with my neck at an 89.9° angle. It was arguably the most iconic building in both the city and the state. The Empire State Building.
“Wow…” I said to myself in awe. “Hopefully I can find someone to help me find my home and something to eat.”
“Really? You’re more concerned with finding food first rather than finding a way home?” I had no idea who it was at first, then my tiny brain kicked in and I remembered everything that had happened the day before. I also remembered being hungry, which was probably because I’m always hungry. “What, you don’t remember me? I’m the dog you lunged at in Central Park? Bubbles?”
“Hey, it was you’re fault! If you hadn’t snickered at me in the park none of this would have ever happened!” I don’t think I had ever felt real anger up until the previous night. I was always fairly laid back. But now I was almost foaming at the mouth. “The only way we’ll find our homes again is…” I trailed off, not wanting to say what I was wanting to. It was a weird feeling.
“What did you say pipsqueak?” Bubbles barked.
“I said that the only way we’ll find our homes again is if we work together.”
“Really? That’s your big idea? For a big dog you sure have a tiny brain,” said the rude Rotty.
“Hey what’s your problem with me? You’ve been calling me pipsqueak since I knew you!” I said as I walked over to Bubbles menacingly. I don’t think I realized what I was doing at first because, before I knew it, I had him backed into a dumpster and I was looming over him.
“Hey calm down, you don’t want to mess with me!” He was nervous and suddenly he looked to me like a Chihuahua, shaking in fear. It felt good to see him like that. It probably put him back into focus. Now we would see who the real top dog was, “So, are you going to help me, pipsqueak?”
“Ok, ok. You win, I’ll do it.” Bubbles said, fear making his gruff voice tremble “I’m definitely more street smart than you, but you have a lot more people skills than me. Hopefully we can use this to help us get food and attention so our dads’ and find out where we are.”
“Good,” I said, starting to calm down, “Now, since you’re so street smart, take us to a hot dog stand so we can get some food.”
“My friend said he saw a St. Bernard and a Rottweiler over at the hot dog stand on 7th avenue,” James said as we sat in his baby blue Toyota Prius, “we should go over there. It’s not that far.”
“Hmmm?” I said, “I was distracted by how unmanly your car is. It’s hilarious! I mean seriously, a baby blue Prius with cloth plaid seats?”
“Hey shut your trap. This isn’t mine anyways. I’m renting it…”
I almost exploded with laughter, “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I’m sorry but that’s just pathetic!”
“Yeah, yeah, very funny. Let’s get back to finding our dogs.” James was finally realizing that he wasn’t as cool and tough as he thought he was. He came from a fairly poor family which often couldn’t afford to pay the bills. The only way that James made any money was working at a local fast-food joint. He hated his life and his job, so I guess that he took his anger out on others because he has nowhere else to turn. It’s sad actually.
“I could have sworn that was my dad’s car…” Bubbles said, “Did you see it? It was the baby blue one.”
“Nope, I’ve been watching cars go by for almost two hours now. I never saw James or my dad.” It had been two days since I ran off after Bubbles, some kind people had given us food and water the previous day and we had been in the same alley since I passed out so they knew where we were. My only three methods of entertainment were watching cars go by, hoping that one would be my dad, chasing away alley cats and reading the signs that were posted on the walls by my dad so he could get the word out that we were missing. I hope he finds me soon, I thought to myself, as I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up a few hours later to the sounds of hissing and barking, and I immediately knew who the barking belonged to. I wasn’t so sure about the hissing. I looked to my left and saw something that I didn’t really expect. Bubbles was, once again, backed into a corner, but this time by a group of I think almost ten alley cats (I don’t know exactly how many there were. I’M A DOG FOR PETE’S SAKE! I don’t exactly have the best counting skills.) I walked over behind the dumpster that he was pinned against and crouched down, watching and listening to what was going on.
“We know you’ve got a stash of food around here, just tell us where it is and no one gets hurt.” It was like something straight out of the old mobster movies me, my dad and my mom used to watch at home. The alley cat that was confronting Bubbles sounded almost exactly like Al Capone from those movies. He was getting increasingly aggressive, and I too was wondering where Bubbles’ secret food stash was. I sprinted out from behind the dumpster and started barking. Let’s just say the cats didn’t even think about sticking around for very long.
“So,” I said awkwardly, “that happened. You had food this whole time and you didn’t tell me? What is your deal? Do you think that it’s cool to hide food right under a starving person’s nose? Those people who were giving us food and water stopped coming back two days ago! Now tell me where you got the food and where it is!” Bubbles didn’t say a word. He just kept staring at the ground suddenly I felt bad for him and his owner. I knew that Bubbles often couldn’t eat some nights because James, through no fault of his own, didn’t have enough money to buy food for both of them. Times were tough.
“It’s right over there, behind that trash can. All I have is some chicken fingers and French fries. I’m sorry I lied to you, I really am. Those cats must have seen me moving the trash can and jumped me.” He started to cry, something that I never expected him to do, “I’m really sorry.”
“Don’t be, I can understand why you hid the food. I just didn’t expect a big, tough dog like you get cornered by a couple of scumbag alley cats. You really aren’t as tough as I thought.”
“I’m not. I just act like I’m tough so people don’t make fun of me. I’m a loner, and if people try and talk to me, I always have to scare them off because I have such a stupid name. I feel like James is the only one who cares about me.”
I stopped what I was I doing and turned towards him, “Hey, you know that’s not true. There are tons of people who care about you! I can guarantee you that my dad is looking for you! He wouldn’t be doing that if he didn’t care! I wouldn’t be here. Those people who gave us food a few days ago wouldn’t have done so if they didn’t care!”
“Thanks, that means a lot. I get it. I must have made myself seem like a complete idiot.”
“Hey, it’s ok.”
“We should probably go for a walk,” Bubbles said, “but we shouldn’t go out into the sidewalks, animal control might see us, bad who knows what would happen if they got us!”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
“HEY!” a voice down the alleyway said. It was the cats that had attacked Bubbles, and there were at least twice as many now, “IT’S THOSE DOGS AGAIN! GET’M BOYS!”
“Run?” Bubbles asked.
“Yup,” And we bolted down the alley.
“Any update on Bert and Bubbles yet?” I said as we drove in James’ baby blue Prius once again.
“Nope, although I did hear on the news yesterday about a group of alley cats attacking two stray dogs. Maybe we should check it out,” James was right, we hadn’t seen either of our dogs in almost a week, and this was our last shot at finding them.
As we were driving down the street, I thought I heard barking. It was the loud, deep bark that only Bert could possibly make.
“I think I just heard Bert!” I was overcome with joy as I listened, and I knew that I was finally going to see Bert again “Turn down that alleyway! Your car is so small it should fit!” And there he was, my dog, playing with Bubbles I an alley (I didn’t expect that. They were pretty big rivals.).
I was playing with Bert for a while when I heard the car pull into the alley. We were chasing each other around as dogs usually do, and when I saw my owner rushing towards me, I was overcome with joy as Bubbles and I ran towards our respective dads. “They’re here!” I shouted to Bubbles.
“Oh my gosh finally!” Bubbles said, this time with actual enjoyment in his voice.
We almost leapt into our dads’ arms, which probably would have broken something important in their chest area, but I held myself back as he led me into the car (Which I almost didn’t fit in). I don’t remember much after that. But I do remember being happy, and wondering if anyone, or anything, could even come close to being as happy as I was that fateful Sunday afternoon. And, better yet, we had made some unexpected friends!