Thank you everyone for your kind responses to last weeks Short Story Sunday! This week’s story is geared toward a younger audience, which is who I like to write for, but I think you’ll enjoy it!
The Dog Napper
“Come on Oddie! Come inside!” Andy was calling me to come back to the house for dinner. He might only be 5 but he has a screech of a scream. I jerked my nose off the ground, following the sent trail left by miss Dolly the neighbors tabby and went barreling toward the house and my favorite little guy, Andy. Most dogs don’t care for the tiny humans but not me. I love mine. Sure, he has no real authority over me but I like to humor him and do my tricks for the green beans he hates to eat at dinner.
I really do have THE life. My family is the greatest. I have a huge back yard to roam and play in, a warm bed next to the fire place and a whole stash of socks no one knows about. “Hey buddy” Andy says as he scratched my head and I follow him inside. The house smells amazing. The warm aroma of lasagna and garlic bread waft into my black nostrils and I take a big sniff. Mmmm Mom scoops a big cup of kibble and puts my bowl down next to a fresh bowl of water. I start to nibble on the kibble, but am looking forward to Andy sneaking me a few tastes of the warm saucy goodness my humans are about to eat.
The evening progresses like usual. After dinner Mom cleans up and I help by licking the crumbs off the floor. She washes the dishes and Dad dries. Andy heads off to the play room and turns on his favorite movie, Spiderman. I curl up on the bean bag next to the TV and doze off and on while Andy reenacts every scene with his own plastic Spiderman figure. Mom comes into the play room and leans in the door way watching Andy play, then finally, “Hey Spiderman it’s time for bed.”
“Are you sure…” Andy replies looking up at his mother. They share the same dark brown eyes and button nose.
“Yes, I’m sure.” Andy gets up and walks slowly toward our mother, she brushes the blond mess of hair out of his eyes and follows him to the bathroom to brush his teeth. That’s my queue to get up too, I stretch my front paws forward and stretch out my spine. I can’t help but yawn in the process sticking out my tongue in a curly Q. “Wanna go outside Oddie?” Dad yells from the back porch door. I hop out of my stretch and shake out my snow white coat leaving small white fibers on the hardwood. I trot over to Dad while he pushes the screen door open. Now out in the back yard I can get back to my sniffing. I never really wonder too far. Our house is one of 25 in this neighborhood, all with equally perfect lawns and groomed landscaping. No one has a fenced in yard so it can be tricky to know how far I can go without getting in trouble but over my 4 years on this earth I have come to figure it out, for the most part.
It’s almost dark out now and there is a slight breeze to the north. I can almost smell Chicago from here, it has a very… how do I put this… sewer like smell that taints the air. Summer nights in Illinois are the best because when the sun goes down the temperature drops and dogs with thick woolly hair, like myself, can finally be outside without wanting to lay in a huge pool of cold water.
I closed my eyes and pointed my white muzzle to the air and took a deep sniff. It was then I smelled him. Cigarettes and axe body spray. The smell of the spray was so strong it made me sneeze. I turned around to see the dingy human coming toward me. He was walking slowly, dressed completely in black. It would have been hard for a human to see him against the setting sun. He was holding a slip lead and a catch pole. “Hey there poochy, you are a beautiful Alaskan Malamute aren’t you?” I started to back away but he lunged for me with a catch pole and before I knew it the thin metal loop was squeezed around my throat and he was dragging me toward a black van that was parked in the street, right outside my house.
He tossed me into one of the many crates in the van. Most of them were empty but there was a small Chihuahua who I had never seen in one and Toby the Golden Retriever in another. “Toby, what is going on!” I whined.
“I have no clue. He grabbed me right out my own back yard!”
“Me too.” Andy is going to freak out when I’m not there to tuck him in. “We have got to get out of here.” Toby let out a long breath in response and laid down in a heap in his crate. I dug feverishly at the floor and gnawed on the bars to no avail.
The engine was loud and the road was bumpy but after what seemed like forever the van came to a stop and the same guy who caught us slid open the van door. It was pitch black outside but I saw a small glimpse of light coming through a barn window in front of us. The dog napper reached for Toby first. Toby growled and snapped at his hand. With a quick slap from the dog nappers hand Toby whaled out in pain. There was nothing I could do from my metal prison, but watch as Toby was dragged off into the darkness. Andy would be fast asleep by now, and with who to watch over him?
“Oddie! Oddie! Come on boy!” Dad called from the back porch. He slipped on his shoes and jogged out into the yard yelling my name. No response. He walked around the neighborhood calling my name, until he ran into Mitch, Toby’s owner from down the street. “Hey Kev, have you seen Toby anywhere?”
“No I haven’t, have you seen Oddie? It’s not like those two to run off.”
“No, it isn’t. How strange…”
I could hear the dog napper coming back this way. The Chihuahua in the crate above me started to tremor with fear. “Don’t be scared,” I looked up and whispered.
“I can’t help it.”
“What’s your name?”
“Hi Lilly, I’m Oddie. I promise we are going to get out of here.” Lilly nodded in response her little head trembling and eyes wide enough to pop out of her head. He was just moments away now. What could I do? I took a deep breath. “Lilly, I have an idea! Follow my lead.” The dog napper opened my crate door and instead of rushing to get out and baring my teeth, I laid there, not moving. He slipped the lead around my neck and gave a little tug. “Come on boy. Let’s go.” I knew I smelled her. While I was being dragged out of the yard. Miss Dolly was as stealthy as ever, lurking underneath the van waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.
That’s when I heard her. “HISSS! MEEEOOWWW!” She latched onto the dog nappers leg. Sinking all of her claws into his leg. Through his jeans. He howled in pain and reached for Miss Dolly. But she was too fast. She jumped off one leg to the other and started climbing up his torso. This was my chance. I hopped up and dashed out of the crate. Lead still around my neck. I flipped open the latch that held Lilly and she pushed it the rest of the way open. Together we made a run for the barn. I could barely hear Toby over the commotion of the other dogs locked up in cages all down the long hallway of the barn.
I flipped up each latch with my nose and let each dog run free. Toby was at the very end of the row. After he was loose we started to run. There were so many dogs, at least 20, all different sizes, shapes, and colors. Together we ran as a pack down a gravel drive. I heard the black van fire up its engine and we all scattered into the surrounding trees and under brush. The black van flew past us, dust billowing behind in its tracks. We all waited for a moment, catching our breath.
I put my nose in the air, sniffing for someone in particular. Miss Dolly was trotting steadily down the drive, hopping over small pot holes, protecting her orange paws from any potential mud. We came out of our hiding places and gathered together as Miss Dolly came closer. She was holding her head proudly with a little extra spring in her step and flick in her tail. “No need to thank me pooches. Cats rule and dogs drool. Toby, Oddie, lets get home before you two get in any more trouble than you already are.” Toby and I looked at one another, lost for words and started walking along side Dolly like whipped mutts.
Us along with all the other dogs said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. All but one, Lilly, kept following us at a distance. She was trying to stay out of sight but of course we knew she was there. “Come on out Lilly, we know your following us,” I said. “Do you not know how to get home?”
“I don’t have a home to go back too.”
“Well then you can come back home with me. I’m sure Andy wouldn’t mind.” I gave her a little lick on the top of the head and we continued.
Just as the sun was raising, we finally saw all the perfect houses all in a row on our street. Toby started running once he could see his house. Miss Dolly disappeared underneath her front porch. Finally, we came to my yard. I collapsed on the back porch in a pile of white fluff with Lilly curled up next to me. It felt like we had just closed our eyes when Andy slid open the porch door. “Mom! Dad! I found him!” He was still in his favorite footie pajamas covered red and blue with spider webs all over them. He hopped up and down with joy as I stood up and licked his fingers and his face, which was warm and tasted like salt.
“Oddie! Thank goodness!” Mom came outside wrapped in her robe and gave me a huge hug. “Oh my, you are a mess! Where did you run off too, and who is this?” Lilly peaked out from behind me. She bent her head low and was wagging just the tip of her tail. Mom walked over to her with her hand out for her to smell. Lilly perked up then and jumped into her lap and nestled her head in the crock of her arm. “Aww, you are just too cute!”