Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.
The trails meander through the river valley park where the city erected unique benches made from verdant trees felled to create park pathways. At night Paul and his four dogs inhabit a particular bench. They rest their tired legs and pant joyfully, cooling off from the hot humid summer days, during the night.
However, in the winter the dogs huddle against Paul, absorbing each other’s heat. Paul doesn’t have much in his tattered backpack. Only a oversized bottle of water, a bag of dog food, a couple of protein bars, and thin blankets for the dogs. But one night the ice creeps up frosting Paul’s beard. It’s -45 degrees Celsius outside and the homeless shelters are full.
Despite layers of clothing Paul trembles and his teeth chatter; he can’t sleep in this miserable blizzard. He’s terrified the dogs will freeze to death — they’re his family and all he values in the world. He covers them, wrapping them in blankets before spreading the sleeping bag across them all. Their fur is frosted over and he keeps rubbing them with his gloved hands to keep their bodies from stiffening.
Suddenly, a light shines, blinding Paul in the treacherous cold, then his body heats as if he were sitting out on a beach in Mexico on the perfect hot day. The dogs peer up at him from the white sand, wagging their tails. Paul and his dogs have moved on and exist in a place beyond words or woofs. They’ve left cruelty behind.
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