Collarworld: Messer and the Stream

“Where am I?” the shaggy black dog replied.

“You are in a very special place,” the man said, rubbing his hands on the dog’s pained legs.  “You are in a place known as Collarworld.  I am the patron saint of all animals, young one.  Saint Francis of Assisi, and I welcome you here.”

“I feel funny,” the dog softly barked.

“You lived a very long life,” the saint replied.  “Do you remember your human master?”

“I do … yes, I do.”

“In this world, you are here with other pets, all of whom are waiting for their masters and keepers and human families.  Once those masters pass from the living world, great reunions take place between the masters and their pets.  You will be reunited one day with your master.”

“How long will that be?”

The saint smiled.  “Some day.  I’d like you to meet some friends.”

With that, a king orange tabbycat walked up to the dog.  “Hello, friend dog,” the cat mewed.  “My name is Vincent, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  What is your name?”

The dog looked up.  “I was called Saint John’s Maritime Messer Jubilee, that was my official name.”

“Such a long name.  That’s a lot to remember.”

“That’s actually my show name,” the black dog replied.  “I used to compete in dog shows; I was best in breed twice in the national show.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Saint John’s Maritime Messer Jubilee.”

The dog wagged his tail.  “If you want, you can call me Messer.  That’s what my master called me when we weren’t at the shows.”

Vincent smiled.  “Okay, Messer, welcome to Collarworld.  Come join me at the meadow, I’ll introduce you to my friends.”

“Are there other dogs like me?”

“I don’t think so.  What breed are you?”

“They called me a Newfie.  By the way, is your meadow near any water?”

“It is,” Vincent replied.  “We have a beautiful stream that runs right along the meadow, and the water just glistens from the sunlight.”

“I love water,” said Messer.

Vincent smiled.

==

“So there are different worlds here?” Messer asked Vincent as the two approached the meadow.

“There are many worlds,” Vincent replied.  “Farm animals congregate near Indigo Acres, while the racing animals – horses and greyhound dogs – live near the Oval Pastures.  The Sawdust Oval is the home for circus animals, and Precinct 3:16 are for animals of service – police dogs, firehouse Dalmations, etc.  Many of the birds live over at the Aviary, and one day I’ll take you to watch the Flight of Faith precision flying exhibit that they produce.  There’s also the Silver Forest, but we don’t need to visit that today.”

“So many worlds.  It’s like when I was in dog shows – there were toy dogs, the working dogs, all sorts of breeds.  How long have you been in this world, Vincent?”

The cat stated to climb the tall tree in the meadow.  “I’ve been here for a long time.  Some day my master and I will be reunited, just as you will be with your master as well.”

Messer wagged his black tail.  “I hope so.  I miss him.  Why are you climbing that tree?”

“Oh this thing?” Vincent smiled.  “it’s just something I do for fun.”

“How far up can you climb?”

“I can get to the second branch,” Vincent replied, as he clawed his way up the tree trunk.  “I tried to go higher, but I once lost my footing on some wet leaves, and I fell to the ground.  Luckily there were a couple of dogs that caught me and protected me from the fall – a pitbull named Paisley and a big shaggy dog named Oberon Fortune.  That’s another thing to remember, Messer.  You CAN die in Collarworld, so just be careful.”

“I’ll be careful.  So why are you climbing the tree now?”

“It’s a cool breeze up here, and I wanted to get some exercise,” the tabbycat purred.  “Third branch.  I think I’ll go higher.  You know, you can see the Meeting Place from here.  That’s where you first arrived at Collarworld.  And you should always check the sunshine – a blue sunbeam means that there are new arrivals at Collarworld, and we should all go greet them.  A red sunbeam means that someone has been reunited with their master.”

“Can I go back and see my master, just to let him know I’m okay?” Messer asked.

“I wish we all could do that,” Vincent purred.   “But it doesn’t work that way.  But there’s so much to do here, and I think you’ll find it’s a great place to be while you’re waiting for your masters.  I have to introduce you to my friend Jackson at the Shore of the Cedars, it’s the most beautiful beach – ”

Vincent stopped in mid-sentence, as his paw slipped on a wet leaf.  “Whoops,” he mewed.  “Almost slipped there.  I’d better back up –

But as he retreated, Vincent slipped on another wet leaf – and unable to control his footing, the tabbycat tumbled out of the tall branch and into the stream below.

“Vincent – are you all right?”

The cat splashed into the stream.

“Don’t worry, I’ll save you!  Messer to the rescue!!!”

And with that, the Newfoundland dog jumped into the stream.  With his mighty paws stroking and swimming forward, the dog swam toward Vincent, who was splashing about and trying to gain control of his directions.

“Hang on, Vincent, I’ve got you,” Messer barked.  He used his jaws to gently grab the tabbycat by the neck, and swam back to shore.

Vincent crawled out of the stream.  “Wow,” he mewed, shaking off the cold water from his fur.  “First day in Collarworld and you saved my life.”

“It’s part of my breed,” Messer barked as he climbed from the water.  “I was bred with webbed paws, and I just love to swim in the water.”

===

“So he dove in right after you?” Jackson asked.

“Yes,” said Vincent, as the tabbycat and the golden retriever watched the sun set along the tingling waters of the Shore of the Cedars.

“He had no idea you could swim, did he?”

“I’m not telling.  I had to find out if he was a true Newfoundland.  They will rescue anybody in danger.”

“And?”

“He didn’t hesitate.  He jumped in the water.”

“So what does that mean for the new arrival?”

“I want to contact the dogs at Precinct 3:16 and ask if they have a place for water rescue dogs.  I think Messer would fit in perfectly with them if they do.”

“He will be happy there, I’m sure,” said the golden retriever.

“Everybody needs a place in Collarworld,” the tabbycat replied.  “And I think that the rescue drills at Precinct 3:16 will work wonders for Messer.”

Jackson looked off to the setting sun as it gently kissed the water-edged horizon.  “Anybody ever tell you that you’re a really good pet, Vincent?”

“Yes,” said Vincent, his tail swishing back and forth as a small wave of beachwater soaked into the golden sand.  “That’s what keeps me motivated.  Some day I’ll hear that again.”

“You just heard it from me,” said Jackson.

“I know,” the tabbycat purred.  “And some day I’ll hear it when I see my master again.  I know I will.”

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3 thoughts on “Collarworld: Messer and the Stream”

  1. What a sweet story Chuck. Glad to have one that makes me smile – no tears. Thank you once again for sharing a wonderful story.

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