Friday, January 8, 2010
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Brother and Sister loved to run through the woods just to hear the leaves crunch underneath their paws. During one of their outings, Sister was sniffing around for a place, a little hiding place for when nature calls. A voice startled her...which didn't help matters!
“It's starting to rain.” Her ears perked up.
“I haven’t had my turn.”
“OK, you hide. But just one more round!”
Sister ran back to the log where she had left Brother. By that time, his back foot was stuck in between some branches. She yelped and wagged her tail, running back and forth in the direction where the human puppies were playing.
“They are so cute!”
“Fine,” he thought. “ But I need to get my paw back.”
Sister pushed and nudged. Finally, Brother tumbled backwards into some sticky, muddy twigs. With his backside looking like a porcupine, he caught up with his Sister, then stopped.
“Ready or not, here I come!”
“This is when they try to find their friends and then the friends try to run back to 'safe' before the first one tags him,” Sister explained by chasing her tail one way and then another.
Brother tried to sit down to watch, but he was much too sore. He began to blink at the rain in his eyes. He imagined playing with his own human puppy. Brother woofed.
Sister jumped from her back paws to her front paws then back again. “Let's go ask Mother if we can keep one!”
The playmates froze as damp fur ran in between their legs. Brother and Sister looked up at the human eyes then at each other. “I would love to have my own!” The siblings howled, racing each other back to the old shed.
The farmhouse up the lane was far enough that the family had never noticed him nor his siblings creeping in and out a small hole in one of the wood planks.
Mother was just laying out bones on some dry leaves when Brother's and Sister's noses sniffed over to her. Then, they pounced left to right, right to left, over her back.
“We saw human puppies playing in the trees!”
“They were so cute!”
“They look so fun!.”
“They didn't make too much noise!”
Mother interrupted, “I can't understand anything you're going on about, barking like that at the same time.”
“Can we have one, pleeeaaaase?” Brother and Sister howled.
“First of all, they are called children. Secondly, no, you can't have one.”
“Then two?” they pleaded.
“No, not three or two or one. We don't have the room.” Mother was pacing impatiently. “Where are the others? Where is your father?”
When the sun was just about to set, the siblings were paw to paw listening to the adventure of Brother and Sister. The chatter pounded on Father's head as soon as he squeezed his belly into the shed.
Father clapped his front paws, “What is all this ruckus about?”
“Can we have a child, pleeeaaase?” each sibling vocalized in unison.
“Oh,... I had a little boy for a time when I was young. Having a pet is a good way to learn about life, to learn how to take care of another living creature...” Father's tail slowly started to wag .
“And who would take care of this child?” Mother turned her head up to one side, pointing one ear higher than the other.
“We would!” the litter barked.
“So, you're going to wake this child up early for school?”
“And fetch him at the school bus?”
“And see that he or she does homework....without any of you eating it?”
“And play ball all Saturday?”
Yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp!
“And what if you're doing something else and forget?”
All the puppies' tails wagged fiercely in agreement, “We won't!”
“Go to bed. We'll talk about it in the morning.” Mother's nose went to each puppy, giving a soggy kiss followed by a quick cleansing lick as they scurried to their corners.
Under the old potato sack, Brother and Sister dreamed about what it would be like to have their very own child.
What do you think?
*What should the puppies know about a child before having one of their own?
*If you were a puppy, would you want to have your own child to play with? Why or why not?
*Why, do you think, the father puppy had a boy only “for a time”?
The sunlight, seeping through a crack in the roof, opened one of sister's eyelids, then the other. She pounced up and nearly onto Brother.
“Wake up!” she licked his face.
Brother hid his sleepy whiskers under his front, brown paw. He scratched his white, back paw against the dusty floor to push himself away from Sister.
“Puppies, it's time for breakfast,” Mother barked.
Father was straightening out his newspaper with all four black paws when Mother barked by.
“Oh good, I can tell them,” he wagged his tail. “Puppies, your mother and I have decided you may have a child...”
Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! Yelp!
“...but there are rules.”
“Above all,” Mother barked in, “taking care of the child will be your job. If I see you forgetting to rub the child's leg, bring in the family's newspaper or chase the cats from the child's swing set, then we give him to another home. A child is a living creature and must not be ignored.”
“Are we clear?” Father looked up.
Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! Yelp!
“And he stays outside!” Mother ended with a firm bark.
As soon as their water was lapped up and their stale bread eaten up, the puppies ran one by one out the small hole of the shed...all but one. The littlest dog did not want a child and shyly went back to his blanket.
“Why aren't you coming with us to pick a child?” barked Brother .
“I am afraid of children. They are so much bigger than I am and sometimes, they kick!”
“Don't worry. We'll only choose a gentle child.”
Slowly, the puppy followed Brother out to the field between the shed and the farmhouse. Each of their feet squished into the damp, morning grass. Their noses were moist from the dew as they sniffed for the path of a human puppy.
“Don't forget your lunch bag, Charles!” the lady from the house yelled. A boy stopped just steps away from the school bus. He turned around to his mother, frowned and just shrugged his shoulders.
Without thinking, Brother and Sister ran towards each of them, jumping over a bush and underneath the hanging laundry.
The lady gasped as she felt Brother grab the lunch bag from her hand. He ran the length of the house and tossed it to Sister who caught it in her mouth and rushed it to the boy five trees away just as he was stepping up into the bus.
“Thanks, little pup.” The boy smiled and patted her head. “I'll see you after school.”
She could barely pull her tongue back into her mouth from panting so hard. Her tail wagged faster than a treetop in the wind.
Brother approached and nuzzled her cheek. “Well done, Sis!”
“You, too,” she nuzzled back.
They walked back to the bushes where their siblings were waiting for them, eyes wide open, tails flapping. “Wow, you found us our very own child!”
“How do we know he won't kick?” The hesitant little puppy sighed to himself.
What do you think?
*If you have a pet, how did you feel when he or she was new to your home?
*If you do not have an animal, would you like one? Why or why not?
*Have you ever been afraid of an animal or of someone? What were you afraid they would do? Was it true?
The littlest puppy positioned his eyes between two fence posts and bent his back legs down. The sun swung above him at noon. Clouds crossed the sky. It rained. The clouds parted. Finally, the bus came down the road.
Brother told him to howl one time then bark twice as soon as the bus was in sight. But, he kept quiet.
In any case, the brakes screeched so loudly that the other puppies ran quickly over and past each other, sliding their paws to a stop just behind the gate. Brother and Sister stood ahead, their front legs leaning beside the latch.
Seeing the group of puppies welcoming him home, Charles grinned and stepped away from the bus. “Hey there!”
The boy headed up to the front door. He said, “You wait here. Mom doesn’t like animals in the house.” The young dogs nodded respectfully. “I'll get you something to eat.”
Meanwhile, the mail carrier was driving by. So a couple of puppies fetched the letters and a newspaper. They sat them on the porch just as the boy opened the screen door.
“What good puppies.” He handed them each a stale cookie.
The littlest puppy did not eat his. He still was not sure if Charles was the kicking-kind of kid or not
“Sure, he's nice now. But, what if we get into mischief?” After that thought, he grabbed the newspaper in his teeth and shred it to pieces.
The other puppies stood stiff and looked at him with large eyes. Woof! Woof! “What are you doing?! You'll ruin everything!”
Charles reached down and picked up the little pup. The little pup looked down at his brothers and sisters. He had never been so high. “Help!” he howled.
Charles pet his back. He looked into his eyes. “You must want to play. I'll go get my ball.” He put the little furry creature down as slowly as a leaf would fall.
Charles motioned for them to follow him to the backyard, “Here Puppies! Are you ready to play?”
The littlest puppy was the first around the house and to to reach Charles’ sneakers. He barked over to Brother and Sister. “Luckily, the only thing he likes to kick is his football!”
All the puppies howled with joy.
What do you think?
*What does mother dog and Charles’ mother have in common?
*How did the puppies and Charles show one another their kindness?
*How will Charles and the puppies take care of each other?