The shade was a welcome relief from the thick beating heat of the sun. Already Baer's fur was only slightly damp, water beading at clumps of fur along his underside and chin. Settling himself down a few feet away, he watched Star, his caution receding into curiosity at this cheerful female dog. He'd seen dogs that looked like her before among the hunting dogs, and had noticed that the dogs had particular shapes and markings, much more diverse than different groups of wolves. Some were small, some were large, some narrow and slender, and even some more bulky and muscular than himself. Star's breed was one a little in between, not quite large, but not small, lanky but still with the lithe muscle of a hunter. He wondered if she had been a hunting dog, she didn't behave like one, she was too friendly and trusting for that. He tried giving another light wag of his tail, but the movement felt odd and forced. It was something only done around family, in one's pack, and it felt strange to act so familiarly with one he'd just met.
Paradise... He blinked, trying to take in her words. It exists! A wag of his tail came a little easier now, thumping the ground once, and puffing out a small cloud of dust. ”It is... “ he scrambled for the words he wanted to say, but speaking did not come easy for him, especcially not now in his excitement. His ears were pricked alert, eyes shining with hope. ”...it is safe? I am welcome?” His body felt numb, his thoughts darting about in his head like startled butterflies, filling head with their soft but deafening wingbeats. He had made it, he was safe and this was Paradise . No more running, he could start over and his past could truly be forgotten. He was safe.
Dazed, he closed his eyes to shut out the light, trying to calm his thoughts. He breathed in deep, taking in the rich smell of summer, ripe with the scent of warm earth and green leaves just at their prime. The butterflies in his head began to still, and he re-opened his eyes to look at Star. He didn't need much thought for his next words, ”Thank you.”