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A Stray Dog

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Jasper and Teryl were walking down the Pirathon nature trail. The surrounding area was quiet, except for the blond man’s constant chattering. The black-haired man was mostly listening to his close friend’s rambling, not saying much; though Teryl probably wasn’t letting him get a word in anyway. 

Teryl was about halfway through his story, but he suddenly went quiet. “Hey, Jasp.” 

“Mmm?” The other man responded. 

“Do you hear that?” He asked, blue eyes scanning the area. 

Jasper raised an eyebrow. “Hear what?” 

“SSSSHHHHHHHH!!!” 

“You asked me a que--”

“SSSSHHHH!! SSSSSHHHHHHHH!!!” Teryl looked around, trying to listen for even the smallest of sounds. 

There was soft whining near several trees. The blond followed the noises and just off the path, underneath one of the trees, was a small Siberian husky puppy--she couldn’t have been more than just a few months old. She was very fluffy and mostly dark grey, but her paws were completely white. Her eyes were green, and her nose was black with small white specks. She didn’t have a collar or anything signifying if she had an owner or not. 

“Hey! Jasper, check it out!” Teryl called out. 

The well-dressed man sighed as he walked towards his energetic friend. “What is it?” He asked, but once he got close enough, his question was answered. “Oh.” 

“I think she’s a stray! Awww, poor thing!” Teryl whined as he bent down beside the tired pup. “We should keep her!” 

Jasper sighed. “You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope! Not kidding!” 

“Have you even owned a dog before, Teryl?” 

“Do you count?” 

Instead of a verbal reply, Jasper glared daggers at his best friend as he crossed his arms.

“We’re keeping her, Jasp.” Teryl declared. 

Once again, Jasper let out a sigh. “Fine, whatever.” He conceded. “Though there’s one thing you’re forgetting about.” 

Curious, Teryl tilted his head a bit. “What am I forgetting about?” 

The well-dressed man said only one word: “Natalia.” 

“What about her?” The blond asked. 

“You have the ‘okay’ from me, but now you need it from her before you can actually officially keep this dog.” 

“Oh, don’t worry about that part! It’ll all work out; trust me.” 

“I’ve heard those words before and, to refresh your memory, it didn’t work out well.” 

With a wry smile, Teryl nudged Jasper with his elbow. “I mean we got out alive, didn’t we?” 

Jasper raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, we did...”

“Then it worked out well!” Teryl exclaimed, smirking. 

I mean I guess. ” Jasper mumbled sarcastically. “That doesn’t change the fact that Natalia’s a cat person. I don’t even think she likes dogs.” 

“Trust me, Jasp.”

“I trust you with my life, but I do not trust you right now."

With a pout, Teryl turned his attention back down to the puppy. “We’ll have to get some stuff for you, little one~” He cooed as he carefully picked her up. “You’re pretty light, even for a pup… You’re probably hungry, huh?” He booped the puppy’s small nose with his free hand.

“Let’s go talk to Nat before you go crazy spoiling this dog.” Jasper said as he started walking back to his cabin. 

Walking with a spring in his step, Teryl followed behind him. “I’m sure Nat will love her~” 

Shaking his head, Jasper let out a huff. “I”m sure this has never worked, ever--convincing a cat person, who doesn’t like dogs, to keep a puppy.

Teryl hummed in amusement. “Nat’s got a soft side; she’ll give in.”

“If you say so.” 

The rest of their walk back to their cabin consisted of Teryl fawning over the little bundle of fur in his arms. They weren’t too far away from it; they were maybe 6-8 minutes away.

Upon getting back to their cabin, Jasper opened up the door and walked inside, Teryl behind him. Glancing around, Jasper didn’t see Natalia. “Is she even here right now?” He mumbled. 

“Nataliaaaaaa!” Teryl called out. “You here?” The two men waited for a response. 

After a few seconds, Natalia walked in the room. “Yes.” She stated. Then her eyes fell onto the animal in Teryl’s arms. “Teryl.” 

Teryl smiled innocently. “Yes, Nat?” 

She pointed to the dog. “What is that?” 

“A dog.” Teryl answered. 

“Don’t patronize me.” Natalia huffed. “Why are you holding one?” 

“I found her under one of the trees along the nature trail. No one was around, and she was just laying down. I’m keeping her!” 

“You don’t mean here , do you?”

“I do.” 

“Oh my god, Teryl. We’re not keeping that mutt.” 

“But look at her cute wittle face!” The blond said in a high pitched voice, as he turned the puppy to look at her. “She’s so cute!” The puppy’s green eyes stared at Natalia. Then the dog tilted her head, ears raised. 

Natalia frowned as she stared at the dog. She let out a disgruntled huff. “I know you, Teryl. Even if I turn you down, you’d just keep the dog anyway. Just keep her away from me .” 

With a triumphant smile, Teryl looked at Jasper. “Told you she’d be okay with it.” 

“I’m literally not.” The young woman said curtly. 

Jasper let out an exhausted sigh and shook his head. “Teryl, you’re an idiot.” 

With a smirk, he faced the dog towards Jasper. “It’s okay, she wuvs you~” He sang as he waved one of the puppy’s paws at him. “And I do too~” 

“This is going to be a disaster.” Jasper said, rubbing the back of his neck. “What’re you gonna name her?” 

Teryl set the puppy down on the cabin floor and watched her sniff around. “That’s a good question.” The small pup began to explore the cabin. Teryl followed her wherever she went as he thought about what to name her. 

Meanwhile, Natalia actively avoided any room that the puppy was in. Jasper was merely watching everything go down, occasionally checking in on Teryl and his dog. 

Ultimately, Teryl decided to name her Winter. Winter was a happy, playful, and energetic puppy, who was also very spoiled. Teryl made sure Winter had the best toys and the best food, among other things. Nothing was too pricey for his precious pup.

However, he wasn’t the only one who spoiled the dog; Natalia, despite everything, grew to love Winter. Even when she’d say: “Keep that mangy mutt away from me.”, she’d be seen giving the husky treats not long afterwards. Teryl usually wasn’t around when Natalia would give her treats, but Jasper often saw her do so. When Jasper asked her about why she’d do that, considering she disliked dogs, she replied with a simple sentence: “Winter is the only dog I like.” 

Jasper often walked the dog, since he liked going on walks anyway. He never spoiled Winter the way that Natalia and Teryl did, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love her. 

Winter went from being a stray ditched on the nature trail to a beloved and spoiled pet. She was in her forever home, and it was all because of the impulsivity and empathy of one blond man.