Sam was bored … terribly bored. Bored of his sizable mind. Scruffy, for his part, was busy looking behind every stone, grinning at him, his tongue lolling and dropping the ball at his feet. Scruffy was always trying to figure out what Sam wanted. He really wanted to make the boy happy, but why was it always about a ball? Sam seemed fixated on her, which was fine if you liked that sort of thing, but Scruffy wasn’t sure he did. Other dogs might say it was an obsession, but Scruffy didn’t want to judge. Every man for himself.
The thing was, he had a kind of tic, Sam did, like the Westie on Harbor Lane who had come out of a rescue home and his left leg shot out like a butt when he heard the word “lupine”. Until you see a dog with Tourette, you don’t know how many words sound similar, like “new pin,” “look inside,” “look” and “wacky,” which, however, as we know the Westie certainly was Scruffy never judged gladly.
In Sam’s case, whenever he held a ball, a spasm would send the precious object up into the sky or toward the sea or toward a tree, and Scruffy had to keep bringing it from some really terrible places and dropping it right at his feet.
Don’t take it … don’t take itScruffy pleaded telepathically, trying to burn it into the boy’s brain with the power of a bright and steady look. It triggers your condition.
But even if Sam understood, he didn’t seem to be able to help himself. As a result, Scruffy spent many busy afternoons falling victim to the boy’s illness. Sometimes he thought he could even make it easier.
He liked Sam well enough and found things – he loved playing Hunt the Smell, for example – but from time to time he was pissed off at Sam’s inability to learn from his mistakes. Was medication the answer? He had tried to return with an empty mouth, but the boy would just pull another ball out of his pocket and the whole thing would start over. Scruffy was afraid to leave him alone in case his tic should defeat him. It has taken a toll.
Scruffy almost cried when he saw Molly come over the hill. She looked from the boy to the dog and read Please, please, let him stop on the faces of both of them. She could see her misery very clearly. She knew that while her cousin was throwing, Scruffy would keep fetching; They had themselves on a treadmill that would surely end in the death of one of them. Molly bent down and ruffled the dog’s fur, picked up the wet and sloppy ball and gleefully stuffed it into her hoodie pocket.
“We made cakes. They look a bit funny but taste like rainbows. Grandma Alice said you should come and try, Sam. “If Scruffy still had energy he would have got up on his back legs and hugged her.
“Oh, I played with Scruffy.”
“Yes, and he doesn’t want to play anymore.” The dog blushed, but didn’t deny it. Molly always knew what he needed.