“Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.” Anonymous.
Her earliest memories were the furry warmness and soft sounds of her litter mates. She was just one of many, a fuzzy little bundle, with nothing but her nose to guide her to her next meal. Soon the daylight penetrated her eyes, and her ears filled with sounds all around. Happy, and playful, romping with her brothers and sisters on sunny winter days, knowing each other only by smell and sound.
She was a herding dog, one in need of a flock. He, her flock of one, came one night, picking her from all the other furry bundles. He held her tight, giving her love and hugs, became the center of her universe. The world she knew was a small apartment her flock named Brandon and she shared. Sometimes there were parks filled with romps and chasing the Frisbee, leaping high to catch it. There were friends with other dogs, some smaller, most larger than she was.
He’d given her a name, called her, talked to her constantly. They had a home, her flock called Brandon and her, they were a family. He was her world.
She was Valkyrie. This was her quest.
Life was good for Valkyrie and Brandon. He was always so proud when she won an award for caring for sheep, or catching the Frisbee from the air, jumping over jumps. Brandon said she was the happiest dog in the world, tail always wagging, eyes smiling.
She was two the day her world came crashing down.
Brandon didn’t come home. He never left her all night alone. Then another night, and another. Valkyrie knew, somehow, Brandon would never come back, he was gone forever, she’d not see him again. She had water to drink, from the big bowl in the room Brandon sometimes gave her baths in. But no food. Valkyrie was a good dog, she could get into the cupboards, but didn’t.
After many nights went by two men, one a boy like Brandon opened the door. They gave her pats and made sure she ate. Valkyrie knew she knew the minute the door opened, she had a new flock, a flock of two.
Dean smelled of leather, determination and devotion. Sam reminded her of Brandon, he smelled of denim, determination and kindness. They gave her food and fresh water, Dean called her chicky and rubbed her ears. Before they left her home forever, Sam took with him a picture of Valkyrie and Brandon.
Her new home was a car and this flock moved around constantly, Valkyrie loved it. Dean would tell her not to shed her fur in his car, it was called Baby. Then he’d smile and shake his head and brush the hairs from the seat. This was a new life with these two for her to look after. She knew, somehow just knew she’d never be without this flock, life was anything but quiet, and they had most marvelous adventure.
Sam played games with her, and taught her to crawl under the bed carrying a little box with a dial on it that clicked sometimes. Sometimes she’d play the game in old buildings or houses, carrying the box, Sam called it an EMF detector into small spaces for them.
When she was three an awful man with yellow eyes came for Sam, was mean to him and hurt him. Dean kicked his ass then killed him, but not before Valkyrie bit him. Dean said it was ok, since Valkyrie had all her shots and shouldn’t catch anything from the mean man with yellow eyes.
She was five the day Dean and Sam stayed away from their motel for a long time. When they finally returned Sam looked like he hadn’t slept, and Dean had a funny white thing on his leg. Sam called it a cast, and got his hand slapped when he drew silly pictures on it. He had to help Dean get around, and Dean kept hitting the back of Sam’s head. After much pleading and sad looks from Sam, and grumbling from Dean, Sam got Dean to lie on the bed. Sam stood near the bed, arms crossed and head cocked to one side, he told Dean now that he was an old man of thirty he was too old to be thrown around by vengeful spirits. Dean had to be more careful. Dean came back with, “Gonna kick your ass Sammy.” Sam merely laughed and said sure, “Gotta get up first dude.” That night, when Dean was sleeping Sam sat on the bed beside him. Valkyrie jumped up, settled between them. Then she licked Sam’s face and hands when he leaned his head against Dean’s shoulder and cried. Two weeks later when Dean complained constantly his leg itched and he couldn’t scratch it Sam found a gay bar and left him there, to cheer him up Valkyrie figured. Dean just complained louder when Sam went back for him.
When she was six Valkyrie was snatched by a dog hunter, and taken to the demon dog prison. Dean had to flirt with the lady in the office while Sam climbed in through a window, almost getting stuck, picked the lock to Valkyrie’s prison to free her. They had a scary dash through the demon dog prison when they heard funny noises from the prison office and Sam almost got stuck getting back out the window. Dean got to the car a while later, smiling. Sam called him a jerk. Dean said, “You’re just jealous Sammy.”
She was eight when they were in Mississippi and there was a big storm Sam called a hurricane, with lots of flooding and winds and rain. Some little kids got stuck in a building when the roof collapsed. Valkyrie crawled through the small spaces carrying bottles of water like she did the EMF box, going back and forth countless times with water and small bags of food for the children. They liked her and laughed and forgot to be scared when she licked their faces and wagged her tail and brought them things while the people cleared a bigger path for them to escape. The people said Valkyrie was a hero, saved the little kids; well she had her flock of Dean and Sam who helped too.
Valkyrie was eleven the time Dean and Sam left her alone all night. They’d never done that before, and she was frightened. The terrible time so many years ago when Brandon didn’t return came back, haunted her and no sleep would come to her until her flock returned. When Dean at long last came home his eyes were red, his voice rough, his face marked with lines of worry and age. He rubbed her ears, and said, “Sammy will be ok chicky, I’ll take you to see him. Sorry to be gone so long.” They drove in Baby to a big building, and snuck in a back door. Valkyrie had to be very quiet and still, Dean carried her, his jacket almost covering her. The building smelled of antiseptics, new life, and sometimes death. They found their way to a room; Sam was in a bed looking pale and tired. He had a tube attached to one arm that went to a bag hanging behind the bed. Dean explained, “Sammy used to have an appendix, but it burst open, so he’s gonna stay here for a day or two. You have to be quiet or they’ll kick you out. He’s got a big cut in his side, but he’ll be ok.” Valkyrie crawled under the blankets and snuggled between Sam’s arm and chest, making him smile. Dean stayed in a chair next to Sam’s bed the whole night. It was ok; her flock was here, their family together.
The year she turned fourteen they went back to Bobby’s house, but not at the usual time of year. Not when it was time for her shots. This time Bobby wasn’t there, Valkyrie knew, somehow just knew Bobby would never be there again. They spent a lot of time there that year, it was theirs now. For the first few weeks they’d sit and talk about things, Bobby mostly. Valkyrie remembered the first time she met Bobby. He was kind with a scruffy beard and nice laugh. He sent Valkyrie toys and treats and always had a bone for her when she came to visit with Dean and Sam. She almost stayed and lived with Bobby, until Dean turned the car around and came back for her. They all laughed when she raced across the gravel, freckled feet barely touching the ground and leaped into the car, settling in the front seat between Dean and Sam. Head on Dean’s leg, body sprawled across Sam’s. She’d miss Bobby. So would Dean and Sam.
Her days now were filled with snoozing in the warm sun on the porch of Bobby’s house. Dean had to lift her into the car, and Sam always picked her up to put her on the couch or bed. She couldn’t crawl through small spaces, but didn’t need to much these days. Running and jumping were only memories, but good ones. It didn’t matter she had her flock of two, Valkyrie was a happy dog.
One warm fall day Dean lifted her into the car, wiping his eyes. Sam slid into the other side of the car, Valkyrie curled, as she’d done most her life, between them for the ride. They went to the vet that day, she liked the vet they gave her hugs and pats and treats. It wasn’t time for her shots, but that was ok, she liked to visit. As they got out of the car Dean said, “You know we have to Sammy, it’s what’s right.” Sam nodded, and wiped his eyes. Dean carried her inside, Sam followed, rubbing her ears the whole time. Valkyrie sat very still on the table. She was a good dog and always sat still here. There was a small prick of a needle on her leg. Tears ran down Sam’s face, Dean’s too, Dean never cried.
Valkyrie didn’t get it, why they were so sad. The needle made her feel so much better, she could jump off the table and sit up and spin in circles and RUN again. As her flock left the vet, Dean carrying her collar in loose fingers at his side, her small freckled feet barely touched the ground as she raced ahead of them to the car. When Dean opened the door she bound in, front feet on the dash, tail wagging, ears up, eyes brightly smiling.
Sam laid one hand on the seat between him and Dean, meeting Dean’s eyes. “Did you feel that?”
“Yeah, I did.” Dean smiled and hung her collar on the rearview mirror.
Valkyrie knew she just knew her flock of two understood they’d never be without her. What with vengeful spirits, and werewolves, vampires, tricksters and wendigos, these two needed serious looking after. For that they had Valkyrie, always. This was her flock, this was her job. Their lives were her most marvelous adventure, her most treasured possession, her duty.
She was Valkyrie, this is her quest.
May you always have a dog to love along the way. -- Anonymous