The urge, the need to survive, my inborn instruction manual tells me to move. My brain tells my body to move, to crawl, I'm searching for something I cannot see, something I cannot hear. I can only smell it.
I found it, yes, the warmth. The food, yes, my body is already growing, soon I will be the most loyal dog you'll ever know. My mother teaches me her rules; my siblings tell me my place. I tell them to shut up.
All I need is my mother, her warmth; her food is all I care about. I am free.
Two weeks old now, my sight has opened up my mind to much more things than ever. I can see my mother, my siblings, and my home. I don't care how my mother looks with all her scars and strange looking ears, I don't care that her belly sags because she had multiple litters. I don't care that my home is dark and concrete. I still have my mother, her warmth; her food is all I need.
As the days pass, my siblings are just stepping stones. I show them whose boss. I found out I could use my teeth to dominate over my siblings. I am free.
Today, I found myself inside a cold wire cage, no warmth from my mother, no siblings to chew on and play games with. My ears had been cut, my owner say's it makes me look fierce, but who am I? They took something from me, my protection, my food, my dignity to be a dog. Now, they tell me I'm a pit bull, but what does that mean? Today, I saw and heard the cries that came from the dogs, locked up outside, heavy chains bound their necks to fences. Their ears are the same as mine, but they have scars like my mother. I can hear them saying they are scared, they live to make money. They are being used and abused. "The humans did this" they told me, the humans took my nature of being a puppy away from me. Am I still free?
Today, I was punched in the face; I was poked by a stick. I realized I could bare my teeth and the poking would stop, but then I was pinched on my skin, I bared my teeth again, and it stopped. I am no longer free, I am a slave.
Today I was praised for chasing a chicken, it was fun. At one month old I was chasing them like a pro, later that week the rooster was tied up, I made my first kill. My owners were pleased. But then they tied me up with huge chains around my neck, they left me. I could not sit, I could not fall asleep. No food, no water. It rained that night, and through the morning. Day after day I starved, all the pent up energy from being chained to the fence made me anxious, made me excited. But it didn't make me happy.
Today I saw food, the first time I had seen it for days. I ate it in seconds, guarding it the whole time. Then I was given another pile of food, but this time my human reached out his hand, but I launched myself to him, and came so close to his finger I could've ripped it off. But the chain yanked me back, and I growled as I finished the food. He smiled at me. Was I really doing what he wanted? Was he really glad I tried to bite off his finger? Why am I not free?
Today I was beaten again, kicked in the ribs, I think one broke. Kicked in the face, some teeth fell out. Then I was thrown back on the treadmill. Forced to run and tire myself out. Now at two years, I am an adolescent, strong and energetic. Another bait dog was put in my range; I could've killed him if someone hadn't stopped me. I was immediately put into a cage, locked up and left alone. I heard banging and yelling. Gunshots, screams, and barking. All seemed still down in this dark prison, then the door flung open and men came down the stairs. Flashing light across the room and holding their breath. My tail started to wag, but I was unsure. These people had a new scent, a fresh clean, friendly scent. They took me and all the dogs outside. I was excited to get outside, but then I was put inside another cage, my open wounds told my story. I thought I was going to be free again.
Relaxation came over me just a bit to let me sleep. Then the door opened and a person with a leash put it on me and took me inside a building, touched me everywhere, then bandaged my wounds. Gave me food and water and left me alone. I still had no trust for humans. Though they thought I was free from the fights, I didn't know how to change, but I know I wanted to. The next day I was 'examined' as the humans called it. The fresh wounds on my ears, the cuts and scars on my head and feet. My broken tail, though wagging all this time, they couldn't believe I had lived through this. But hey, I'm alive right now, and that's all I care about. So let's be happy I'm alive. That's why I was happy. I was free, I didn't know how or why, but I was free.
Now, it's been a year since then, I don't care what happened then. Though my new loving owners remember my past, they don't feel sorry for me, they are just happy I'm still alive to bring them joy. I have a family, a human family, a dog family. Two dogs and a cat live in my 'pack' of diverse species. I am happy; my life could not have a better ending than this. I am free once again.
As I wrote this, it took a couple days. But I thought of a song by a Christian band called Skillet, the song is called 'Open Wounds' I thought of this because to me, it sounds like a dog, asking his owner(s) why they had done this inhumane, cruel thing to an animal, a living being. A dog that breaths, thinks, and has a mind like you and me.
The reason I named this Open Wounds is because of the lyrics. The bridge is as follows:
"Tell me why you broke me down and betrayed my trust in you
I'm not giving up, giving in, when will this war end?
When will it end??
You can't stop me from falling apart
'Cause my self-destruction is all your fault."