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Rottweilers were supposed to be good guard dogs, weren’t they? Or maybe a German Shephard of some cross or other? Cabanela passed through the shelter—he’d been determined on that one, second chances, nothing like them. They did live in an apartment however. Something smaller would be more appropriate. Did good guard dogs come in smaller breeds?

A Golden Retriever had caught his eye, a most handsome creature, but something compelled him to keep looking. If he wasn’t careful he was going to go home with a new companion himself and he didn’t have the time for that. Or fur repelling furniture.

A series of yaps caught his attention and he cocked his head curiously.

“We’ve had a new litter of Pomeranian puppies,” the assistant piped up. “I don’t think they’re what you’re looking for, but if you’d like to take a look they’re over here,” she offered.

Why not? Cabanela followed the assistant to a pen where the sight of bouncing, wriggling balls of fluff met him. Definitely not what he was looking for, but they were adorable no doubt about that.

“They’re old enough to be adopted now. I can’t imagine it will take long,” the assistant said smiling down at them. “Their mother was left here,” she added, her smile faltering a bit. “And, well here we are.”

One split from its siblings and bounded over to him with a tiny yap. Cabanela found himself being stared at by bright eyes and more wagged at than he’d ever been. The puppy didn’t have a tail so much as a blur.

The assistant laughed. “I think he likes you.”

Cabanela bent over the pen. “Maaay I?”

“Certainly.”

Petting him proved more difficult than expected. The pup didn’t seem to know how to stay still, but he managed some ear scratches and got licked on the hand in among all the wiggles.

Cabanela straightened. “Youuu are a cute one. Bet you’ve got a good home comin’.”

“They’ll be picked up fast, I’m sure,” said the assistant.

No doubt about it and it was time for Cabanela to return to his own search, so he gave the puppy a last scratch behind the ears and moved on. And yet, despite other probably more logical possibilities, a pair of small dark eyes staring from a cloud of fluff, and a furiously wagging tail kept intruding on his thoughts and he found himself returning to the puppy pen. The same puppy launched himself at him again.

His siblings were energetic; he almost made them look lazy. It didn’t make any sense, but ultimately it was up to Lynne and Kamila. Cabanela only meant to scope things out today and bring them tomorrow when they had more time, but if Lynne had some spare time now… “They’ll be picked up fast…”

“I’ll be back shortly,” he said to the assistant. “I need to make a liiittle phone call.”

As luck would have it Lynne was free and soon a taxi pulled up and Lynne and Kamila emerged. Cabanela didn’t see Kamila much these days, but he was pleased to see her looking happier than the last time they met. Lynne merely looked curious.

“I thought we were doing this tomorrow?”

“That was the plaaan, but there’s a little one you should meet, baby.” Why was entirely another matter, but he hadn’t come this far by ignoring his gut, so he led the girls back to the pen.

Kamila clapped her hands in delight. “Aw, Lynne look at them!”

Once more the same puppy emerged from the clambering tangle of its fellows. If Kamila was delighted before she was ecstatic now.

“Look at him, Lynne!” She giggled. “You’re so cute.”

Cabanela really didn’t think the puppy’s tail could wag any harder. He was proven wrong.

“Would you like to visit?” the assistant asked.

“Oh please!”

She passed the puppy to Kamila who held onto the wriggling fluff as best she could and was rewarded with a great deal of licks in the process that left her giggling helplessly.

“Why don’t you say hi, Lynne?” she finally gasped out in the space between her laughter and puppy kisses.

Lynne took the puppy next and was given similar treatment until she resisted enough to set him back down. He sat, tail still thumping the floor and stared up at them. It was the stillest Cabanela had seen him so far. And something about those eyes…

“Not quite what we had in mind,” Lynne said slowly.

Kamila’s smile slid. “But look at him. Are you really gonna leave him now?

“Weeell,” Lynne said and shot a questioning look at Cabanela.

He flipped an airy hand. “I’m only payin’ the biiills, baby. Choice is yours.” And if they didn’t take him…? What of his own decision to remain pet-free…

Lynne stared at Kamila then stared at the puppy staring back at her and she nodded, speaking firmly, “Yeah. This one."


The office felt drearier without their companions both alive and dead while being left to an anxious wait. Cabanela let his thoughts wander over each, lingering most on Jowd before moving on. Anything to distract him from the pain and incoming fogginess. He had to stay awake. Bad enough he couldn’t go with Jowd. 

Jowd. Lynne. Sissel, a real mystery that one. And the brave little warrior… So much care for his mistress. Cabanela suddenly laughed, a tight sound quickly cut off by the pain it caused. He shook his head at the professor’s questioning gaze.

“Just reeealized somethin’. That’s all.”

His memories had been too muddled, and frankly one Pomeranian was likely to be like any other. Likely until one little puppy caught his attention with shining eyes and a fiercely wagging tag. He wanted to find a guardian and companion for Lynne and Kamila back then. Turned out he found the best there ever was.