He stands majestically, windswept on the rocky beach. He looks longingly to the horizon past the waves. His dark eyes are pondering, intensely focused. He wears a harness to contain his excitement; a red collar and leash hold him back. He has a tiny handmade charm hanging, his silver necklace that identifies him as Appa. His golden fur, much like a lion’s mane, shags out from his body to increase his size and stature. He is a tiny dog, maybe 15 pounds wet. He has pointed ears almost half his leg size. They stand atop his head like a crown, radars listening for all manner of movement. Black eyes, black nose, black lips pursed to a slight pucker at the end of a tiny, pointed face.
Internally, he rages a monologue, “MOTHER FUCKER! GODDAMN IT! LET ME GO! LET ME BE FREE! You fucking slow-ass humans! Why are we just standing here?!? Why are you taking my fucking picture?! There are waves right in front of me…..rocks, seaweed, dead birds, seals, feathers, crabs. WHAT THE HOLY HELL ARE WE DOING STANDING HERE!?! Are you trying to torture me? Can you not see me shaking with anticipation and excitement? I want to chase some shit! I want to chew on some stuff! I want to swim out to sea! LET ME BE FREEEEEEE!!”
He is the lone dog in a pack of humans. They cannot understand him, they only see the picture they are taking of an adorable little pup. They think his excitement is cute.
In his mind’s eye he’s not cute, he’s a goddamn warrior, a hero of the high seas. He imagines himself wriggling free of the harness and leash. His small lithe body squirming out of it like a too tight bra. He runs, paws barely hitting the ground along the beach. The waves lap at his fur, the wind is in his face. He dives into the water and swims out into the ocean, kicking ferociously and breathing hard through his little black snout. He encounters a seal, and they swim around one another in circles. They are deciding if they are friend or foe, they go with awesome pals. He gets onto the seals back and they take a slippery joy ride, land and sea dogs uniting for an epic adventure. They encounter Orcas and they magically all become friends who jump and play in the water for hours. They catch fish and have a snack.
They make it to the other side of the bay, Appa swims to the beach and makes a fire. The seal joins and they roast some fish, swapping shanty tales of salty adventure. The seal really gets him, he understands the magnitude of his adventurous heart in a tiny fluffy body. Appa tells jokes about the humans and the weird things they do, the silly voices they talk to him in, how they poop into a bowl. The seal laughs hysterically telling Appa how they like to mess with humans, but think they are pretty dumb. The Orcas pace the waterline adding in jokes and stories of old. They don’t have much commentary about the humans, they are the keepers of ancient wisdom and know how traumatically naughty those five finger beasts are, they don’t want to buzzkill the party. They praise Appa’s stamina and fish roasting abilities with breaches and tail slaps. The little dog’s chest swells with primal rugged pride. In his mind, he is king of the day.
Abruptly, Appa feels his leash move. The humans break him out of his dream. They are done with the photo shoot and are walking on. Soon, he will get to chase a stick. They will give him 15 minutes of freedom, then clip him back in. They will dry him off with a towel, give him water and dry salmon snacks. They will place him in a crate in the car. It is lined with plush fleece blankets with pink hearts. They’ll drive him home like good chauffer’s. They will coo over what a good boy he is and how fun their beach day was. They play loud music he tries to ignore, they eat snacks he smells but can’t have.
At home they will comb his long golden fur with a brush to get the sand off. He relaxes into their pampering hands, sand is quite itchy, and he is tired. He starts to drift with the methodical brushing and warm murmurs of his dog mom calling him her sweet prince, her little darling. She adds lightly scented oil to his fur, it makes his nose sniff faster, flowers mask the scent of beach. She places him in his little cozy heated bed next to hers for sleepy time. He twitches and has some tiny little growls and noises, replaying his epic day. His dog mom smiles, wondering what he is dreaming. They have no idea the internal potential of the little beast. They have no awareness of the heroic angst contained in his tiny furry body. What a rough life for a little dog.