It was the screaming that wore you down. Some of us just lay quietly, but most of us screamed, every day, even when our voices were gone.
Row upon row of cages full of human beings cowering on concrete floors. Centuries of breeding had altered us until we no longer looked like one species. Some were musclebound giants, bred to work; some had faces and bodies distorted for amusement; some almost noseless, some squat, some grotesquely elongated, some whose skins were a patchwork of different colours. Some were as tiny as children. Some were children.
When the great wolves came padding softly between the cages, those of us who had been most abused would cower or shout obscenities; but the rest of us tried to make eye contact, to plead, to make ourselves lovable. Each of us hoped that one day it would be our turn.
The cage would open; a wolf, a kind wolf, would pick us up softly by the scruff of the neck and carry us out of this place; and we would at last no longer be strays, but pets.