Each were well traveled. All having originated in North Carolina, each had made there way to California and back again. Sure, sometimes the first and the third got away, succumbing to their exploratory urges, but they would always come back. The second never ran off, save for a brief period of time in which he suffered unexplained seizures and would wander in the subsequent confusion. So, for nearly five years, no matter the weather, no matter the location, no matter the state of mind, they were three. A pack of mock wolves; a group of four-legged miscreants; a collection of wilderness falsely domesticated.
But, now, after loading up in their master's truck for one more trip from North Carolina to California, the first and the third decided to explore once again, leaving the second behind. Where once was three, there is now only one. Where once was the sound of dogs wrestling in the yard, there is now only the silhouette of a German Shepherd waiting for the return of his adopted siblings. Where once there was joy in a master's glance, there is only worried pessimism. And a lack of sleep.
For his collection has dwindled to a solitary dog.