You saw a paragraph of this before. This longer version will be just one of many stories in a collection coming next spring.
In the cold darkness of a moonless winter night he gazed at starry skies. From his desert aerie the Milky Way brought precious memories of a golden eternity. From stars he came and to stars he would return, again and again. Nearly time to return once more. Too many years had passed since the soft cloud’s embrace that fueled a life on earth. How can I tell her that I must go? She will not, she cannot understand. But it is for her sake too, that I must go. His thoughts swirled from memories to worried contemplation.
Many years had passed since they met. Joyous years. Weeks spent together on glorious vacations. Running or walking mountain trails, smelling spruce or wild flowers. Digging shells at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Swimming in Albemarle Sound. Chasing ducks in Maine ponds and listening to loons calling one another. Days at home, encountering neighbors walking their friendly dogs. Romping in the snow with the kids. The simple pleasure of watching TV together.
She wondered how he seemed ever youthful. No signs of age showed on a face that seemed unchanged from the day she brought him into her home from the shelter where she volunteered. For her, time had not stood still. Gray became the dominant color of her long soft hair. Wrinkles creased a smiling face. The kids finished grade school and were well into their high school years. He learned what he needed of Earth from her, from her family, from their time together.
She would cry. She would miss him but in the end she would treasure the years he spent in her home. He must go, soon now, lest her suspicion grow into obsession. An obsession leading to testing. Testing that would reveal that he could not be of planet Earth. In time she would find another friend to rescue from the shelter. One that would age and die like humans, just much more quickly. Back among the stars, he would tell of his days among the people of Earth and how he loved his life as a golden retriever.