Amazing Kids! Magazine

Xeno

By Jannessa Abascal, age 15, California

 

The echoing of the increased barking continued as the clicks and clangs of nails hitting the rows of metal cages joined in. Each dog yelled for attention, begging to get a family. Small, big, brown, black, spotted, shaggy, curly or short haired, there were all types of dogs to choose from.

“Which one has been here the longest?” Loreed asked.

The receptionist at the front counter raised her eyebrows and lowered her glasses. With a pen in hand, she pointed to the last cage at the end of the row. “He’s been adopted 3 times now, but returned every time. People don’t have the patience or commitment to handle him, because of his disability and how he looks. He’s been here since he was 9 months old.”

As Loreed walked to the last cage, every dog jumped, trying to get her attention. On the front of the last cage there was a tag that read “Xeno, 5 years old.” In the cage was a white, brown, spotted, Jack Russell mixed mutt, curled in a ball laying in the corner. He stood up on three legs. He had a green and a brown eye. He wasn’t barking like the other dogs, and instead just stood there curiously.

Grinning, Loreed announced, “I want him.”

“Okay, see you next week when you decide to return him,” The receptionist said sarcastically.

“No, not this time. He’s not going to be coming back.” Loreed said this firmly as she filled out and signed the adoption papers.

Loreed put the kennel down in her living room after she opened the door. “This is your new home, Xeno! You can come out now.”

The white leather couches with gold trimming complemented the royal blue drapes. The living room ceiling was high with art pieces on every wall. From the living room window, there was a beautiful view of the famous Los Angeles. Loreed was the child of wealthy business owners, and everything had been passed down to her and her sister.

Xeno stayed at the back of his cage, timid and frightened. “Come on, boy! No need to be afraid, I won’t hurt you.”

He slowly creeped out head down and began sniffing around.

The front door lock clicked and Xeno shot back into the kennel. Eva, Loreed’s older sister, walked in.
“You should’ve seen the long line at the mall today. And they didn’t even have valet parking! Pathetic.” She went on and on as she took off her diamond earrings, put down her sunglasses, let down her long blonde hair and removed her high heels. Entering the living room, her rant was cut short with, “WHAT THE… GROSS! WHAT IS THAT? THING GET IT OUT OF HERE!”

“He is not an ‘it’!” Loreed exclaimed. “His name is Xeno, and he will be living with us now, so calm down, would ya?”

“Get rid of that ugly 3-legged monster-looking mutt! I don’t want to see it again—he is going to ruin our furniture with those claws!”

“Give him a chance Eva! Can you just not be selfish for once?”

The 8 am sun’s gleam shined through the windows. Loreed stretched and rubbed her eyes, getting ready for the day. Rising from bed and slipping on her slippers, she called for Xeno, but didn’t hear the sound of his nails against the floor when he walked.

She walked downstairs to the living room. Xeno was nowhere to be found. She whistled, but still no answer. Eva was nowhere to be found either. Loreed’s palms started to sweat. The kennel was still there. Eva’s shoes, keys, and her car were still in the driveway. The odd thing was that the front door of the house was wide open.

“Eva? Xeno?” She crept into the living room area, scanning the room, and as she walked her sock was wetted by what seemed to be urine.

Eva burst inside, holding Xeno on one hand. “Where are my keys?”

“Eva, what are you doing and where are you taking him?”

“I’m taking him back! He already had an accident on the floor!” Eva yelled. “It was a mistake bringing a filthy animal into this home.”

“You can’t do that!”

“Watch me.” Eva walked outside slammed the door shut behind her, and just as she approached her red sports car, Xeno began trying to squirm out of her arms. His nose twitched, he sensed something.

Out of the blue, a loose stray lab mixed mutt leapt onto Eva, tugging on her shirt. She was so startled that she dropped Xeno, who immediately got up, barking and nibbling at the stray dog. The stray’s attention went to Xeno, and now Xeno was the one being mauled.

“What’s going on?!” Hearing the commotion, Loreed barreld out of the house. She came out with a broom and waved it, shooing off the stray.

“Eva, are you alright? Where is Xeno?”

Eva was on the ground. She had minor scrapes on her arm and her shirt had a couple tears. She slowly rose, pointing her finger at Xeno, who was lying in a bush with a couple scrapes and a deep bite mark on his neck. “We need to get him to a hospital!” Eva said nervously. Despite her torn shirt, she and Loreed grabbed Xeno and drove off to the vet.

One hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and four. Eva counted the tiles of the waiting room floor, twiddling her fingers. “Do you think he will be alright?” She asked Loreed. “I..I really hope he is.”

“Suddenly you care?” Loreed questioned. “What happened to taking him back?”

“I was wrong. I was selfish. He’s a brave little fella with a great character. He saved my life. I could’ve been severely injured if it wasn’t for him stepping in.”

The doors to the waiting room opened, a three-legged Jack Russell wagged its tail out with bandages on. The veterinarian grinned. “Who does this little miracle belong to?”

Both Eva and Loreed shot up. “ME!”

They both looked at each other. Loreed giggled.

“Come on Xeno,” Eva happily chanted as Xeno leaped into her arms. “Let’s go home!”