Humphrey padded into the warm cave with the weight of the fat rabbit he just caught straining his neck. Kate smiled and ran her tongue over her three beautiful pups. One was tan, one was black, and one was grey. The black one-already acting like an alpha-dashed to the rabbit and immediately started eating. Humphrey laughed.
"David, leave some for your sisters. Boys aren't superior."
"What's superior," David mumbled through a mouthful of rabbit. His green eyes glittered with curiosity.
"It means better than someone else. So males and females are equal. Besides, we outnumber you, so we have the advantage," Kate chimed in.
"You're such a hypocrite," Humphrey said teasingly.
"What's a hypocrite?"
"Oh dear…" Humphrey sighed. He was about to tell his son when his daughter Daisy—the tan pup—tackled him from behind.
"Look Mommy! My first prey," she squeaked, gripping Humphrey's tail with her teeth. Humphrey laughed and shook her off. It was hard, because she was nearly six months old-old enough to go to alpha school. In fact, tomorrow would be her first day. My little babies are growing up, he thought sadly as he ate his share of the rabbit. Heidi, the grey wolf and his youngest daughter by three minutes, barely ate anything because she was talking about how excited she was.
"My first day of alpha school! Yippee! I bet I'm going to learn lots of cool tricks, but I'll never be as cool as mommy! I can't believe you outran bears! And sled on a log! And rode a train!"
"Alright, little ones," Kate said sweetly when dinner was over, "Go to bed now. You have a big day tomorrow."
Kate and Humphrey lay next to each other and stared at the half moon that shone into the cave. The stars twinkled cheerfully, but Humphrey felt just the opposite.
"Yes," his mate replied wearily.
"What is it called when your little ones are leaving, and you feel really lonely and depressed? Isn't it eggless nest syndrome?"
Kate giggled. "Empty nest syndrome. I know how you feel, dear," she said softly as she rasped her tongue over Humphrey's ear. "Don't worry. Every couple goes through it. Our pups will be fine. They were born strong, and they had a great father."
"You're forgetting the mother," Humphrey added before resting his head on his paws and closing his eyes, his mind filled with dreams of his pups' futures, not all of them good.