Rufus sat by the door, whining and wagging his tale. Alex pulled up his backpack and patted his dog on the head. Rufus started to pant. Alex smiled:
“You don’t need to miss me boy, I’ll be back by 3:45, just like always,” Rufus let out a happy bark and let Alex head to school.
Rufus was always overprotective, Alex’s family had adopted him from the shelter and by the sounds of it the home he originally came from was pretty rough. I guess being in a happy home made Rufus want to protect it at all costs. Alex always laughed it off, even if he couldn’t put it into words his happy family and needy dog were just parts of a life that he understood to be incredibly privileged. And he was incredibly grateful for it. Though lately things had been feeling kind of off for him.
School was getting harder. He always tried to befriend everyone, but a couple weeks ago a new kid joined his class. Alex introduced himself but the new kid just looked at him with pure hate in his eyes. Though he didn’t know what he had done, Alex knew this kid wasn’t a fan of him. At first Alex just kept his distance, but soon the new kid was taunting and teasing him. Slowly that escalated to threats, and recently the kid started having two other kids from a different class constantly by his side.
Alex hated to admit it, but he was scared. Thus he was relieved to not see the new kid or his posse at school that day. However, that relief turned to despair on the walk home. He rounded a corner only to come face to face to the three. Without a word the new kid punched Alex upside the jaw. Alex reeled and fell to the ground, something coppery filling his mouth. It was the first time he had ever tasted blood. Soon the other kids joined in, kicking him while he was down. Alex could feel the bruises instantly form as they struck him from all sides. The pain turning unbearable. The kids continued their beatdown regardless, Alex desperately begging for someone to notice and stop them.
“Warf!” a loud yip interrupted the bullies, and Alex could hear the growl of a dog. The dog started barking loudly and aggressively, and as the new kids sidekicks ran away Alex was able to look up and see Rufus boldly barking at the new kid. The new kid, for his part, just chuckled. Rufus growled as hard as he could but the new kid just walked up to him and stomped on his paw. Rufus yelled in pain and the new kid walked away, leaving a howling Rufus and a curled up Alex.
Alex started to cry. Partly because of his pain, partly because of Rufus. He couldn’t even protect his beloved dog. Alex continued to cry until he heard a familiar whimpered right beside him. He looked up to see Rufus limp towards him, before the dog gave him a big, friendly lick. “Rufus” Alex smiled through the tears, “How did you find me?” Alex got up and checked his watch, 3:48, no wonder Rufus had looked for him, he was late,
“I’m sorry buddy,” Alex patted Rufus’ head while he happily panted. Carefully the two of them limped home, Alex, and his savior.