The Secret Files of the Chickensheep
The following is based on a true story about a small dog who was taken by coyotes, presumed dead, and reunited with his owner almost exactly two weeks later.
Spoiler alert: Part of being human is never being ready for what's beyond our imagination. There are things more certain than doom. Everything is possible and anything can happen. The choice to believe these three ideas has been and always will be yours.
WHAT IS A CHICKENSHEEP?
Hello. Glad you asked. A chickensheep is a term of endearment bestowed upon a category of canine who have the vibrational qualities of both a chicken and a sheep. The balance they bring to this earth is commonly overlooked or misunderstood. (Did you know chickens protect the planet from deadly centipedes? Did you know sheep are highly capable of long-term facial recognition?) The bark of a chickensheep to politely demand attention sounds like the short clucks of a chicken. Their fluff, physical build and characteristics may sometimes be reminiscent of a little lamb. The sight of them warms our hearts. They guard us when we sleep. They play with us when we are close to losing hope. Chickensheep puppies are often raised by cats, are highly emotionally intelligent, and can appear anxious and overly concerned about the dimensions of reality we can and cannot see. Their mission, as you will soon come to know, is to uphold one rule: wildly protect what they love the most.
We, the darling humans whose eyes are most likely reading these words, are the privileged recipients of their affection.
The Rough Part
A polite "woof" nudged the sleepyness of the dark. It was earlier than usual when Eli asked to go outside. By his second cluck-like bark he was sending strong telepathic signals in order to wake his human.
"Alright, buddy, alright."
She slowly climbed into some pants, mustered up a hoodie. Didn't bother with shoes. Yawned. Patted his head. Together they shuffled through the house and onto the sidewalk. This pre-dawn hour of morning kept the orange glow of street lights and the quiet of a carless neighborhood street.
Eli did his business on a patch of grassy sidewalk, afterwards digging a bit into the ground on his slice of turf. Glad about the short potty break, she took two backwards steps toward the front door, still facing him.
The rest happened quickly.
Eli's stance had stiffened. His ears went up and his body flexed every muscle, all the way to the tip of his tail. A coyote appeared a few feet away, approaching from the street. Eli now stood between the wild dog and his human.
The air shifted.
Every cell of Eli’s body seemed to simultaneously both leap forward and pull back with all his might in her defense; this resulted in a full muscular pounce. With his entire being he barked his face off and started to chase the coyote away. This single coyote had been accompanied by two more that were a bit smaller in size, making a pack of three.
Eli ran after all of them.
She ran after Eli.
After some hard strides on the asphalt, she yelled, in her best "I'm really really not messing around anymore" voice at him to come back. It was then that a fourth coyote came up from behind both of them and took him by the neck. Instantly, Eli's body softened in its jaws.
The world had never become so quiet so quickly.
She stopped in her tracks. Her body suddenly felt very cold from the inside out.
What followed was a blur of barefoot steps, crying out, returning home for shoes and an umbrella to do something with in her dog's defense, just in case it wasn't too late.
After a few hours of searching, crying, climbing up a hill and calling out his name until her voice was hoarse, it felt like exactly that: too late.
Hours had passed. After they had crossed the Hollywood Hills, the coyote that held Eli by the neck slowed down and set him down gently. He apologized for being too rough.
“Sorry about that, Sir. I had to make it look convincing.”
Eli took a long stretch on the ground, rearranging himself once he landed on all fours with a vigorous full body shake from head to tail..
“That’s alright, Marve. Operation Charade is the only way it could be done; there’s no way in my right mind that I’d leave her. In time, the certainty of my capture would give her peace.” He was suddenly misty eyed as he glanced at the picture of the two of them he arranged to be placed in a locket for his new collar. A tear rolled down his cheek. “Anyhow, it had to be done. Now is the turning point for all of us…”
He took a long stretch, sniffed the air, and signaled for them to continue on to the nearby creek. Commander Eli and the Coyotes eventually reached the rendezvous point to meet the others. There among the trees and moss covered rocks was the largest gathering of chickensheep one could imagine. As they realized the arrival of Eli and his crew, sleepy faces turned into big-mouthed grins and wagging tails. Happily swaying chickensheep butts filled the knee-level sky. Eli sniffed and butted heads with Ralph, Captain, and Sherlock. After a good twenty minutes of their favorite game, Spazzy Side-eye Keep Away, Eli put his new collar on and made his way to the podium. A large holographic map zapped on, illuminating the space behind the makeshift stage. He looked out into the fuzzy crowd of velveteen ears and big brown noses.
“I’d like to express my deep gratitude to you all for being here this morning. And thanks again to The Pack for your stellar execution of the pickup.”
The coyotes yipped into the sky out of respect. One chickensheep sitting close to them nudged his Tandem Dog on the shoulder.
Eli spoke slowly at first, “To those who just arrived --myself included, I know this initial stage was painful on many levels…” The air filled with quiet understanding. They were all aware of the strong emotions around the moments of their own feigned capture, known as Operation Charade. Many were also aware of the incredible bond Eli had with his human. Eli continued on, ”No revolution was ever easy or without sacrifice. Yet, the time is here to do our part. You have been made well aware of your assignments, that were distributed from your Designated Neighborhood Hotspots. After sniffing out the numbers in comparison with the surrounding districts, the Table has determined that data we’ve collected regarding the human pleasure scale is, in fact, accurate. The numbers are dangerously low. Faith in the future is being dwindled by rising stress levels and mental escape during these trying times. I wouldn't be here if we weren't all being called into action."
Several beeps and zaps changed with the magenta hologram images, displaying the panicked heartbeats of their distressed humans, neighbors among them, former owners. Slide after slide, three dimensional tables of data glowed in the wide-eyed faces of chickensheep and their coyote comrades alike.
"We must accelerate our training, ramp up affection levels and begin educating the little ones on the Principles of No Matter What. Without further ado, I’d like to present the details of Project Escapade…"
TO BE CONTINUED
Stay tuned for next week's installment of Secret Files of the Chickensheep