Rescue Hellhound

Writing Prompt: You found an abandoned puppy on the side of the road and took it home to keep as a pet. It wasn’t until it started to sprout horns did you realise you, unwittingly, adopted a hellhound.

It was the eyes, reflecting red in my headlights that caught me. Of course I had to stop. It was pitch black, raining, and miserably cold. Any animal that could, would have been on the move as fast as it was able, or tucked up somewhere cosy.

It was the sweetest little thing, a black ball of fluff, near invisible in the night. It crouched, shivering and whining, but didn’t run when I went back to the car for a towel.

It let me scoop it up and oh, when I opened the car door and put it on the passenger seat, where it was dry and warm and light, you could just see the joy in its big black eyes.

I popped around, hopped in on my side and got the car going again. “Now what am I going to do with you?”

It was a bit of a silly question. I’d been thinking about getting a dog ever since I moved to Lower Andover and here was the most adorable one I’d ever come across just waiting for me to drive by.

“We’ll need to get you to a vet in the morning, you’re rather hot and I’m hoping it’s not a fever. They can check you for microchips and if you don’t have one, then I guess I’m going to say you’re mine. Would you like that?”

The puppy whined, then barked, then did that sweet little mouth open, tongue out panting thing that makes them look like they’re smiling.

“Good, I’d like that too.”

I realised I had no idea what gender my new little friend was. Never mind, there was time and plenty to discover that.

I pulled into my driveway and shut off the car, then reached across to scoop the puppy into my lap. It wriggled free of the towel and all but clambered up my chest to sniff and lick at my face.

It made me laugh, such a little cutie. I bundled it back into the towel, then made a run for the front door, the rain was coming down in sheets by then.

In the process of drying us both off, I found my new friend was a girl and had a long discussion with her about a suitable name.

We got rid of the obvious ones pretty quickly. Blackie? Disgusted sneeze. Midnight? Yawn. Ebony? Despairing head on paws.

She perked up when I started looking up names of ancient witches and goddesses. Circe, Hekate, Hel, Lilith, Nyx, and Persephone all had her pricking up her sweet, floppy ears. We ended up going with Nyx and I think it’s perfect.

She was as good as gold at the vet, although there was a little moment when a grumpy old woman nearly stepped on her foot and yelled at her for being in the way. Turned out Nyx had a very low, reverberant growl. It sounded like rolling thunder and had the sour faced old bat skittering across the room like someone had put ants in her knickers.

No microchip (YAY!) and she submitted to the various tests and vaccinations with long-suffering patience. Needless to say, the vet staff adored her, she got far more than her fair share of treats from them.

Home by way of the pet shop where we picked out a very stylish red collar, and all the other paraphernalia I needed to become a proper dog companion.

She settled in like she’d always known the place, took barely a week to house train her, and oh my goodness did she grow! The first warning was her paws of course, they’re always the clue to the eventual size of the dog and they were big! By six months Nyx was the same height as the neighbour’s German Shepherd, chunkier, and still growing.

She hit her grown-up height at about ten months, and began to fill out, not in a chubby sort of way, but muscle. Not that most would realise, she was still as fluffy as a dandelion, if dandelions were so black they seemed to absorb light.

I was lucky she was so amenable as there’s no way I would have won a battle of strength with her. But she’s always been so happy and obliging, a delight to have in the house.

When she was a year old, I made the mistake of going on a date with a man I didn’t really like or feel comfortable with. He followed me home, and who knows what might have happened if Nyx hadn’t been there. As it was, Nyx happened. And I’ve never seen or heard from that creepy low-life ever again.

It was the next morning, when she was getting ‘such a good girl’ head scritches at breakfast that I first felt the hard lumps on her head. Well of course I went to bundle her straight off to the vet but my obedient Nyx flat-out refused. She wasn’t upset, or angry, she simply would not get in the car to go there.

Since she wasn’t in pain and seemed quite comfortable with these new bumps, I decided to leave if for a few days, see how it went. She did like to have them rubbed, they were obviously itchy, and they grew worryingly fast. Fast enough that I asked the vet to make a house call.

Nyx was not pleased with me, but I think it was the right decision. You see, our vet has an interest in some more unusual animals and when he saw her horns coming in, I finally found out what breed of fluffy little puppy I’d picked up on the road that dark night.

I am the proud dog mummy of a hellhound.

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