It wasn't the first time he had decided to take a temporary leave of absence and he didn't think it would be the last either. He honestly wondered why he felt so cooped up. He had never been a stray dog, not like Chuck. He had been born in a kennel and raised in one as well, had lived in a kennel during his training. It was only when he had been dispatched with his handler that he had really been able to see more than just the same thing that all the other dogs were seeing. Then he had seen the great, wide world and far more things than he wanted to see in many ways. Despite everything, he had enjoyed the action. He hated to feel useless, hated to sit idle. But after the attack and the explosion he hadn't quite lost his taste for action but he had certainly lost his taste for taking orders from strangers. The fact that he had been gifted with a permanent limp that while not debilitating was still prominent enough to get him discharged had meant that he was shipped from center to center and moved from kennel to kennel until they had found a human willing to give a fairly young and high energy service dog a home.
Maybe it was because he had gotten a brief glimpse of the differences in the world, maybe because he had spent much of his early days in kennels; he didn't know. He just knew that there came a point when he wanted to just get out and run. And sometimes, he just couldn't bring Chuck along with him. That bothered him, too. Not because Chuck was nervous, no, but that sometimes Mike could only sigh and say he'd be back later. It made him feel like he was being overly harsh or judgmental when he wasn't being. He had assigned himself as Chuck's protector, after all and never really had a problem with his dramatics or his fears and insecurities. He wasn't tired of Chuck. He wasn't tired of the human that had taken them both in. He didn't think he could even explain it to himself. He just had to get out for a little bit.
So he squeezed his rather box-like frame through the broken slats in the fence and with a quick little hop he just managed to avoid getting his tail banged by it as it swept back into place. Once free, he gave himself a brisk shake hard enough to clack his toenails against the concrete. His ears pricked up and he glanced around him. The sleepy little town was a far cry from the world that he had grown up in. He might have lived in a kennel for some time but it was still busy. His training had been hard and long, and the flight to where their troop had been stationed. Here there was nothing but a few cars every hour and not even all of the streets were paved. The mountains were practically on their doorstep. Something called to him every time he glanced at them but no, the life of a wild dog? No, he was not a wild creature. Freedom was great but he had responsibilities and really, he didn't feel as if he was trapped. Just confined once in awhile.
Resolutely, he turned his gaze from the mountains and set it straight ahead of him. He set off at a trot - albeit an slightly stiff-legged trot with an odd gait - without any clear goal in mind. His ears were up, his tail was up and he exuded a supreme sort of confidence. He wasn't out for a fight and odds were no one would mess with him. He always gave the appearance and the air of someone who would come off best in any sort of a scrape.
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I am beginning to find
That I should be the one behind the wheel
Whatever tomorrow brings
I'll be there, with open arms and open eyes, yeah