It was early evening, and Nicholas had just gotten up from a nap with the man who calls him Dog. Nicholas had been feeling bad lately, and he didn't know why, but whatever was making those pains in his stomach, the humans must have it too, because they sure had been looking worse for wear. He didn't understand why, if the humans had it too, they didn't have to wear the awful plastic cones around their heads at night. That thing was the bane of his existence - well, one of the banes - and it sure made it hard for him and the humans to sleep. Today in another trip to the animal waiting room, they'd fitted him with a different cone, which was soft and fabric instead of hard plastic - and blue with a white trim. The humans seemed excited about this. Nicholas wasn't sure he liked this new cone any more than the awful plastic one, but at least it looked nattier.
Now, the woman with the lap came into the living room from the back. She rubbed her eye and said to the man who calls him Dog, "I think I slept for two hours."
"You slept for four hours," said the man who calls him Dog.
In a little while, the woman with the lap put Nicholas' green harness and leash on and took him out for a walk. When she set him down on the pavement, he stepped lively down the sidewalk, happy for the fresh air and the distractions of smells everywhere. He led and the woman followed. At the forbidden flowerbed, he turned and walked up the blacktop toward where the car was parked.
"Where you going?" the woman asked.
Nicholas shrugged in a dog way and came back down to the sidewalk. He'd been to the animal waiting room so many times, he figured that must be where they were going.