the dog’s black eyes shined with joy as each bound of his short legs brought him closer to the lakeshore. when his owner’s voice called his name, the dog flopped onto the dewy grass beside the dock to wait. he closed his eyes and relaxed as the breeze coming off the water rustled his short and scraggly grey fur.
“good boy,” said the man, when he caught up.
the dog opened his eyes as the man knelt beside him and began scratching his ears; the man had learned early in their years together what made the dog happy; “r-rowl,” was the dog's appreciative reply.
when the man smiled, sunlight reflected in his dark blue eyes and played on his beige skin. tension returned to his face, however, when he looked toward a tiny shed at the water's edge.
it worked - the man looked at the dog with a luminous smile; the dog had learned early in their years together what made the man happy. "I'm sorry there won't be fishing today, boy," he said, patting the dog's head and scratching his ears before standing up.
the man ran a hand through his short wavy dark brown hair and sighed, then put on gloves and strode to the shed. by the time he had unlocked it, the dog had already begun to stare longingly at the glimmering lake.
while he watched the lake, the dog heard the man emerge from the shed. he glanced over to see him pushing the familiar cart loaded with two large wooden boxes; a three and a seven were painted in black numbers on the outermost box.
after the man took away the cart a fifth and final time, the dog darted into the shed and eagerly sniffed the fishing rods and tackle box stuffed beside a cabinet in the corner. when the empty cart clattered into the shed, the dog barked at his owner and gently nudged the tackle box with his nose.
“maybe next time,” said the man, scribbling something on a pad of paper before ripping off the top sheet.
the man retrieved a tin from the cabinet and stuffed the paper inside, then strode to the door.
the dog reluctantly followed his owner, sparing a hopeful glance toward the dock before jumping into the truck’s cab; no boat arrived at the tiny dock.
with a sigh, the dog flopped down on the seat facing the window.
“good boy,” said the man, scratching the dog’s ears before pulling the truck onto the twisting gravel road.