The Dog Tales #7, At The Howl - By Lillow Mi

   Sweet Loretta loved going to salons, getting a shampoo and blow dry with creative styling, having her nails done then her back massaged and finally misted in heavenly scented spray derived from real flowers. Then she liked to visit the Doggie Donut Den and enjoy a delicious bacon flavored fritter with a saucer of high quality toilet water. Sweet Loretta was, in fact, a bon vivant, and Spike her unknowing suitor. Spike's intentions for visiting were always gastronomical while Sweet Loretta's for receiving him, and his dubious associates, were amorous. 

   Today was a special full moon howl night and excitement was high. Everyone who is anyone will be there. Sweet Loretta had her hair and nails done, her bacon flavored fritter and toilet water consumed, and her spirits high as she entered Gladstar Farm through the main gate. She felt safer as soon as she entered as well, because she was safer, and that made her smile wider. When she was by the Golly Orchard Fido came bounding by. 

   “Heyyy Sweet Loretta!” he called out as he bounded by. Sweet Loretta was startled by his sudden appearance and watched befuddled as he grinned back at her without even slowing.  

   With a shake of her head she continued on past the Golly Orchard then turned right, going cross-country to the back of the manor. She could see Spike and Rover at their usual places chatting and letting loose a few practice howls now and then, waiting until the actual howl started. Father Sun was just dropping below the horizon and darkness was descending. 

   “Sweet Loretta!” Spike barked as soon as he saw her. “Welcome! Gosh it's grand to have you here!” He swelled his massive Bulldog chest and grinned as he trotted over for their traditional sniffing and tail-wagging ritual. 

   “Thanks, Spike! Gladda be here!” she woofed. 

   “This is the big one, you know,” he said, looking important. “Yep, the Full Moon. Worshiped by howlers for millions of years and tonight we see her right here, real and big, and we howl!”  

   Sweet Loretta felt a shiver of excitement mixed with awe pass through her body. She looked to the horizon where the earth's single moon would soon appear, becoming the brightest thing in the night sky. The stuff of dreams and a call to the savage howl within that erupts at its sight. She glanced around, seeing Rover watching them but also watching for the moon while Fido stared with wonder at the sky. 

   Alley was perched atop the fence, swishing his tail casually as he watched the horizon but yawning occasionally and glancing around disdainfully, like none of this actually impressed him. Then he'd look again at the horizon. All their eyes expressed their yearning, their love and their awe, their faces open, accepting. 

   Then, to in-drawn breaths and ahhhs, there appeared a small but rapidly growing green/blue disk whose rising brought forth howls, unconscious, instinctual, first with one then another and by the time the moon was full up the entire pack howling full bore with Alley screeching along. A veritable symphony of love and appreciation. There was, of course, thunder and lightning with a small tornado, yet through it all our blessed Luna's face shone through, bright and compelling. Spike walked Sweet Loretta home after and they sat gazing at the dawn while off in the distance they could hear Lillow and Lorna start the morning crow. This Howl will be remembered.        

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