The character of Xena is owned by MCA/Universal. No copyright infringement is intended by the use of this name in this fan written story. For non commercial use only.
The red ball that Gabbi was playing with bounced on the concrete slab of their back porch, gaining momentum from the small paws batting playfully at it. Gabbi crouched, staring intensely at the object, a huntress’ stance in all ways except the wiggling ball of fur topping her tail.
Xena lay in the shade, fondly watching her companion play. She can still be pretty irritating at times, she pondered. But I love her anyway.
Life had returned to normal after the break-in, and Xena and Gabbi had spent days recounting the past they shared. Now, they both felt that they were on a level playing ground, like they had always shared.
Gabbi stopped playing for a second when her tummy rumbled. She asked, “Xena, did tall lady bring home any bones last night? I’m getting awful hungry.”
Xena got up and headed for the doggie door. “I don’t know. But I’ve got some saved away under that doggie bed she bought for us last week.”
“Good. At least that thing is good for something.”
Xena agreed, and headed into the house for a snack.
Gabbi stayed outside, grabbing up the ball in her mouth and throwing it as hard as she could. It bounced across the yard, close to a side street that ran beside their house. Tall lady had always said to stay away from the street, but since the ball was rolling closer to it by the second, she figured she’d better go after it before it disappeared.
She pounced on it, coming to a sliding stop only feet from the pavement. Happy with her recovery, Gabbi scooped the ball up in her mouth and turned to head back to the porch, when a strange voice spoke from behind her.
“What a cute little puppy you are!”
Gabbi turned, curious to see who belonged to the pleasant voice. It was a stranger, dressed in jeans, a dark blue rain coat and a watchcap. His friendly smile set her at ease that his intentions were good. She walked closer, sniffing at the hand he held out to her.
“Come here cutie! Ol’ Dave won’t hurt you.”
Gabbi was still a little hesitant, unwilling to put herself in a position she couldn’t get out of, when he pulled out all the stops by taking a Milk Bone out of his pocket.
Gabbi’s stomach rumbled hungrily. She lost any inhibitions about taking the treat and eagerly reached to take it from his hand.
The man moved quickly, reaching beneath her diminutive body and scooping her up to his chest. Gabbi tried scratching his arms or biting at him, but the rain slicker he wore protected his arms and chest from any damage she could inflict. He turned and ran to a truck parked across the street, throwing open the back door on the camper and tossing her in violently.
“Stupid mutt.” The man happily mumbled as he walked to the driver’s door and got in.
Xena came back outside moments later, two bones gripped tightly between her teeth from her special stash. She hadn’t been willing to tell Gabbi about the hiding spot until recently when she had rediscovered her soul mate, but had let it slip her mind in the days since. Sharing with Gabbi won’t be a problem now, she thought happily.
Dropping the treats, Xena looked around, expecting to find her friend playing happily with the red ball, like she had left her. She didn’t immediately see her in the yard, so she walked forward and barked, “Gabbi, I’ve got the bones. Let’s eat.”
But there was no answer. Xena looked around, spotting the red ball laying forgotten at the side of the yard, but little Gabbi was nowhere to be found. Xena could smell her friend where the ball was, as well as the faint traces of a person with many animal smells on him, but that was all. Gabbi was gone. Gone without a trace.
Gabbi stoically watched the other half a dozen dogs occupying the tailbed of the truck with her. Most were curled up in fearful balls, whining helplessly as the vehicle bumped along the dirt road. A few were scratching pitifully on the sidewalls, desperate to get back to freedom.
One dog, a white terrier, was leaping at the closed gate, a futile attempt to push the heavy glass hatch open. It stopped for a moment, panting heavily with it’s exertions.
“Aren’t you going to do something to try getting out of here?” The dog asked, clearly terrified of what was to come.
Gabbi felt the calm coming over her. Dozens of reincarnations had prepared her well for a situation like this.
“Since it won’t do any of us any good to try to escape this contraption, we’re going to have to wait for an opportunity. Not waste our energy trying to do something that’s futile at best.”
“What should we do?”
“What’s your name?”
“Toby. My name is Toby.”
“Well Toby, my name’s Gabbi. And I have an idea that just might work. But we’re all going to have to work together. Ok?”
The little dog trembled, but agreed. “What should I do?”
“First, get everyone to calm down so we can start talking about our plan. I know everyone is scared, but if we don’t do something, we could be in serious trouble.”
“Scared? I’ve been less scared going to the vet!”
“We can get out of this. Trust me.”
Toby and Gabbi headed for opposite sides of the truck bed, organizing the upset hounds in what Gabbi hoped would be a successful attempt.
Xena was still standing over the red ball when Calli stalked across the quiet street. The Siamese flicked it’s tail deceptively, conveying a careless attitude with little more than a twitch. The opposite was actually true. She was ready to leap at any moment.
Calli casually sat on the plush grass in front of the worried poodle, picking up a paw and grooming her immaculate face. “Loose something, hmmm Xena?”
Xena looked up from the abandoned ball and spied the cat. It was a testament to her state of mind that she hadn’t even noticed the cat’s approach.
“I don’t have time to deal with you today, Calli. Leave me alone.”
“Well, if that’s what you want. After all, the loss of your little friend must be terribly crushing for you.”
Xena caught her meaning quickly, and before Calli had a chance to even get up, Xena was on her, pushing the feline to the ground with a snarl and demanding, “What do you know?”
Calli played it cool, leaning back like she was at her comfort. “Know? Why I know it all. And, I don’t know a thing.”
“Don’t play games with me, you alley cat! Tell me!”
“Well, it’s all a little fuzzy...”
Xena grabbed the cat’s neck with her teeth, putting the pinch on her in the only way she could. “Calli! You know what happens now. And if you don’t tell me right now...”
Calli the cat had forgotten about Xena’s ability to use pinch interrogation. But being a dog, she hadn’t thought Xena still had the ability. Her little body twitched in agony, and Calli decided that she wasn’t willing to die for a stupid pooch.
“All right! A big guy in a blue raincoat grabbed her when she went for the bone he was holding. He took her to a pickup truck parked across the street and drove away.”
“Is that all?”
“YES!” Calli hissed. “That’s all I know!”
Xena’s jaw clamped around the feline’s neck and released the nerve that was pinched, allowing the blood to flow to her head once more. She backed up, and Calli scampered to her feet.
“You’ll never get her back! I’ve seen pets disappear like this before, and nobody ever finds them again!”
Calli screeched as Xena barked angrily and chased her off. When the irritating feline was gone, Xena went back to the scents of her friend and the man. I’ll find you, she promised, and she bent her nose to the ground with purpose.
“Yeah boss. I got all the dogs we needed. Where do you want me to take them?”
The dognapper held the cell phone to his ear and listened to the directions he needed to take to get the canine’s to their drop off. His one hand rested on the wheel, steering the truck carelessly over the dirt road he traveled on. A cup of coffee was wedged between his thighs, waiting for his next sip.
“Ok, so this load’s for the lab. When do I get paid?”
He was obviously displeased with the response he got when he jumped, the wheel of the truck going one way and the coffee cup in his lap flying everywhere.
“OUCH! Darn it!”
He screeched the truck to a halt, his left hand fanning his crotch while his right gripped the phone in a clenched fist.
The dogs in the back thumped heavily against the bed sides, and then they started crying and barking.
He pounded his fist against the back window separating them and hollered, “SHUT UP!”
Someone on the other end of the line obviously misunderstood.
“No! I’m not talking to you. I just spilled my coffee all over the place! Listen, I get my normal share or you’ll have to find yourself a new study group!”
He paused a moment, listening to the voice on the other end, then said, “Listen, I’m not going anywhere until we get this settled. I don’t work for nothing, you know.”
Gabby and the other dogs in the truck tumbled hard when the vehicle stopped, and when the chaos of rolling bodies finally subsided, Gabbi opened her eyes to find a wrinkly sharpei butt smushed against her face.
“Get... off... of me.” Gabbi demanded, and the wrinkles shifted again. But the pooch had become so overwhelmed with it’s fear that a little stream of puppy piddle ended up trickling over Gabbi’s nose. Oh, great, Gabbi thought. This just makes the day even better.
Xena asked around, and finally got a description of the truck. She knew that Calli would be unlikely to tell her more, so she went to the dogs she could trust.
A Saint Bernard named Elias a few houses down was happy to give her the details of the abduction, being very concerned about Gabbi’s safety. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do more, but my belief in non-violence prevented me from interfering. You understand, I’m sure.”
Xena was skeptical, but gladly accepted the information he had to offer. “Can you point me in the direction they were heading?”
“Last I saw, they were heading down the dirt road by Sutter’s Hill. That was probably about 15 minutes ago.”
“Thanks, Elias. I owe you one.”
Xena was hopping yard fences as quickly as her feet could move, when she was caught off guard by the yelp of a puppy in pain. Her paws skidded in the loose dirt, tossing dust over her shiny black coat. Unfortunately, her traction was shot, and she slid into the trash cans, knocking them over with a loud bang. Wilted lettuce, leftover spaghetti, and yesterday’s newspaper tumbled onto her head like a ragged hat. Oh boy, she thought to herself. I can see a bath coming on for this.
She shook the refuse off, having to work extra hard at removing a limp noodle from her snout, and looked for the cry she had heard. A small puppy was curled into a ball on the ground in front of the door to the house. It looked like it had been kicked hard, and the little critter was curled in on itself, whimpering in pain. It’s only a baby, Xena thought in anguish. How could anybody hurt a baby like that?
“Little one. Little one! Look at me.”
The puppy rolled over and yelped at the scary sight it saw. A large black hulk sat amidst the stink of the garbage can, with slimy tendrils dripping from it’s mouth. The puppy couldn’t imagine anything more awful.
Xena shook hard once again, and sent the remaining trash flying. She went over to the cowering puppy and licked it’s face.
“Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
The puppy was so young, it didn’t understand her, but it recognized her now as a fellow dog. The little boy’s sad eyes lifted to her imploringly, and Xena couldn’t bear to leave the dog there.
Still smelling like something that crawled out of the black lagoon, Xena gently picked the pup up by the scruff of it’s neck and leapt over the fence, the squirming bundle clamped tight in her teeth.
Although the little critter needed saving, Xena had to find a place to stash it until she could come back. Finding a nice yard with a couple of kids in it, Xena leaned her front feet up and popped her head over, dropping the pup over and onto the grass. It landed with a thud, but was quickly scooped up by a child with curly red hair.
“It’s a puppy!” she cried in happiness, and Xena knew she had made a good choice.
She slipped away, heading towards Sutter’s Hill, when she was again distracted. This time by the local Animal Control. Xena slipped behind a bush, hoping to take cover until he passed, but luck was against her. The officer stopped, pulled out a pole and loop, and headed for her hiding place.
Xena stayed crouched, waiting for her opportunity. It came faster than she expected. The civil servant charged forward, ready to capture the stray dog in his snare. What he didn’t expect was a war-like bark preceding the flying drop-kick of the black poodle’s sneak attack. The man stepped back, but recovered quickly, coming back with his loop.
Xena caught the swinging end in her teeth and ran between his legs. The pole was unbending, and her actions pulled the opposite end after it. It snapped back, catching the unsuspecting dogcatcher between the legs. He stood in stupefied pain, unable to move. Then the man fell heavily, smacking his head on the ground and putting him out like a light. Xena’s adrenaline was still pumping. Ready to fight for her freedom, she didn’t expect the guy to fall at her feet with hardly a struggle.
A poodle waits for years for a good squabble, and ends up with this, she mourned. With a last, regretful look, she took off again, leaving behind the missed opportunity and heading for another.
Gabbi gathered the animals around her and said, “All right. When he opens the hatch, we all have to rush at him. He won’t be able to handle us all at the same time, so we should be able to get away.”
A beige cocker spaniel was concerned. “But what then? When we get out, what will we do? Where will we go?”
“Yes. And what says we’ll even get away? “ a yorkie added.
The other dogs joined in the caphony, and Gabbi wanted to scream in frustration. Instead, the timid but loud Toby howled loudly and quieted them down again.
Gabbi took control at that point, commenting, “Would you rather stay here and face the consequences?”
The group remained silent.
“All right, then. Now here’s what we’ll do.”
Xena spotted the truck a little later. It was sitting on the side of the road, with the driver hollering into a cellphone and the camper suspiciously quiet.
But then all hell broke loose.
The dogs in the back started barking to raise the dead, and the guy on the cell threw it into the seat, flinging open the door and stomping with anger around to the gate. As he was throwing open the camper hatch, the dogs inside spilled out in a rush, bouncing off his body like a springboard for a pool. Xena saw Gabbi rush at him, and charged into action.
Her fierce war bark had the dog snatcher stumbling around to face her, but he didn’t find a dog on the ground. Instead she shot into the air in an incredible flip, landing solidly on the roof of the pickup. Her teeth snapped at his face, and her paw with it’s long toe nails wrapped itself around his neck, holding tight.
The man didn’t know how to handle a canine that fought back, and tried to yank himself free. He fell backwards, thrashing, but Xena simply followed, landing on her feet as sure-footed as a cat. From there, the dognapped victims took matters into their own paws. They swarmed around the fallen criminal, nipping and shredding his well-used coat. The watchcap fell off and the smallest dogs grabbed chunks of his hair and pulled. He screamed, but they didn’t relent. They were determined to seek retribution for their abuse.
Gabbi didn’t join the fight, but walked over to where Xena was standing and sniffed loudly. “Ewww, happened to you?”
“Oh, just trying to save your hinie, that’s all.”
“Took you long enough.” “Sorry. Next time I’ll get my driver’s license first.”
Gabbi’s tail wagged happily. “I’ll hold you to that.”
The were walking away when the animal control truck pulled up. The same man who had tried to capture Xena was calling for police assistance and collecting the miscellaneous dogs, ready to take them back to the owners listed on their tags.
Xena and Gabbi were content that the other dogs would be safely taken home, and slipped into the brush, anxious to return home themselves.
On the way home, Xena stopped at the yard where she had dropped the puppy. Peering through the wooded slats of the fence, she saw that the little girl and her sisters had given the pup a bath and were now dressing it in their baby doll clothes. The little one looked as happy as a critter could be, and Xena knew it would be all right.
“I take it you did that?”
“He’s the reason I smell like something the cat dragged in. What’s your excuse?”
Gabbi gave a puppy chuckle and bounded friskily down the sidewalk. “I’ll never tell. Come on, Xena! I’m still hungry!”
Xena followed behind at a slower pace, simply happy she had found her friend in time.
Tall lady was in a panic, running around the house and throwing together a MISSING flier when Xena and Gabbi walked in the doggie door. They sat watching her for a moment, amused with her frenzied actions. Gabbi finally took pity on their poor mistress and let out a friendly woof to tell her they were home.
“Gabbi! Xena! Where have you been? I’ve been so worried about you!”
She rushed to take them in her arms, but when she smelled the odor rolling off them, she stopped.
“Well, it looks like it’s bathtime for poodles, hu?”
Gabbi looked at Xena and said, “You really do stink.”
“Yeah, I know. You do too.”
“Yup. So, are we gonna let her do it?”
A slyly smiling Xena answered, “Not if I can help it.”
Both dogs took off like a shot, with tall lady running behind. “GIRLS! Come back here, right NOW!”