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Dog Diaries
 

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Dog Diaries


  The author and publisher have provided this e-book to you for your personal use only. You may not make this e-book publicly available in any way. Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at: us.macmillanusa.com/piracy.

  Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Notice

  Dedication

  1. Beauregard Presides

  2. Abu: The Dog Who Ruled Egypt

  3. Einstein: What’s in a Name?

  4. Pooch’s Invisible Enemy

  5. Dawg Strikes Gold

  6. Tidbit: A Star Is Born

  7. Marcus: A Mountain Comes Alive

  8. Roscoe: Love Is in the Air

  9. Mimi’s Guide to Life

  10. Bo versus Bank Robber

  11. Jip: The Long Way Home

  12. Lucy’s Blended Family

  13. WOOF! WOOF! Till Next Year

  Copyright

  In memory of Ace

  —B. B., B. D., L. M.

  For W. A. Weber

  —E. B.

  CHAPTER 1

  Beauregard Presides

  In a dark abandoned building, under a rickety staircase, was an entrance, more like a crack between two boards. Light shone behind the boards, beckoning to those outside. Through this mysterious entrance came dogs—large Dobermans, small Pekingese, Scotties, and Pugs. Purebred dogs and dogs of unknown pedigree. Dogs with collars and licenses, and dogs with none.

  Inside, the room was surprisingly warm and cozy. The dogs took their places facing the front, where a small podium stood ready. The room was filled with sound, excited yips and barks, but became silent as an old dog moved toward the podium. His hair was graying at the beard, and his walk had lost the spring of youth, but his eyes shone bright. In his mouth he held a manuscript. He looked out at the group, carefully placed the papers at his feet, and began to speak.

  “Welcome, canine friends. Welcome to the meeting of the WOOF Society—Words of Our Friends. I, Beauregard, your president, am proud to see such a large gathering for this groundbreaking meeting. Let’s repeat our motto. All together now!”

  The dogs began to chant their motto, each in a different voice.

  “WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!”

  Beauregard closed his eyes in satisfaction, then examined the crowd.

  “As you can see, we have a packed house tonight, so if some of the Chihuahuas wouldn’t mind sharing seats, then we’ll get started. We all know why we’re here, so I won’t waste time. Oh, I see a paw raised in the second row. Yes, Pap, you have a question.”

  An old hound dog blinked. “Why are we here? I forgot. I’m fifteen years old, but remember, that’s a hundred and five in people years.”

  “Yes, Pap, good question. I’ll start at the beginning. As you know, for years we have been working to promote a worldwide understanding that dogs have vocabularies beyond sit, stay, and fetch, that we are indeed accomplished storytellers. Through the dedicated efforts of our membership, we have been collecting stories from dogs across the world and throughout history. Tonight we will be hearing some of those stories.”

  “Mr. President?”

  “Yes, a question from the Newfoundland in the back.”

  “Will there be any rescue stories?”

  “Of course. Daring canine heroes have rescued countless masters from the perils of avalanche and fire. And courageous companions have accompanied their owners into battles and across continents in exploration. There will be a variety of stories, rescue and otherwise.”

  “What about history?” said a Basset Hound. “I love history.”

  “Yes, Professor Basset. All through the ages, dogs have faced challenges and had stories to tell. From ancient Egypt to Pompeii to the days of early America.… The poodle in the back.”

  “Well, I hope it’s not all history. Today we face new challenges, like bark collars, electric fences—and what about powder-resistant fleas?”

  At the mention of fleas, fierce scratching broke out among the members. A small black puppy rolled on his back and wiggled.

  “Order, friends,” Beauregard said sternly. “We will cover some contemporary issues. Question from the Shih Tzu.”

  “I hope it’s not going to be all stories from big dogs.”

  “No, there will be stories from many divisions of our canine kingdom, big and small, past and present, smart and … well … let’s just say there will be something for everyone. Question from the small mixed-breed in the second row.”

  “Who goes first?”

  “We will begin with a manuscript from Egypt.

  Jack’s master is an archaeologist, and while his master was digging, Jack did some digging of his own. This was found near a stela from the Eleventh Dynasty. It tells the story of the reign of Intef. But on the back, unnoticed by humans, is another story, the story of one of our ancestors named Abu, who was the ruler of Egypt.

  Excited yips and howls broke out.

  “Order! Order! Come to order. The presenters will come forward one at a time and read their stories.”

  The dogs leaned forward expectantly as a scholarly-looking Jack Russell Terrier came forward, carrying a small piece of butcher paper.

  “Now, without further ado, the WOOF Society presents what we have come to call Dog Diaries.”

  CHAPTER 2

  Abu: The Dog Who Ruled Egypt

  Egypt, circa 2000 B.C.

  Read by Jack

  I am the ruler of Egypt.

  This is how I know that I am the ruler of Egypt: When I bark, the royal cook rushes to fill up my bowl. He is my servant. When I stand by the door, the royal door opener opens the door for me. He too is my servant. When I stand beside my human, Intef, at the royal throne, people come and bow down. They all serve me! I must be the Pharaoh! All bow before Abu!

  My human brushes my sleek hair. His son massages my back and rubs behind my ears. A-h-h! They call me Abu. They too are my servants.

  I am great! I am powerful! I am totally in charge! All serve me! Except … there is only one who does not serve me. One who does not bow down and serve Abu. One who is disobedient to me. It is Miu, the Royal Cat.

  When my human rides in the royal chariot, I lead the way, running fast and moving sleekly. I call out, “Look at me! Look at me! Make way for Abu!”

  I lead them past the pyramids and past the giant Sphinx. I lead them into battle, fearless of the arrows and spears that fall around me. I hunt the giant ostrich and keep pace with him step by step. No man or beast can run faster than Abu. I keep pace with the mighty hart as we hunt. I keep pace with the hare. I am the fastest in the world! No beast can escape me. Except … there is only one who can escape me. Only one who can race away, jumping to heights that I cannot attain. It is Miu, the Royal Cat.

  I have learned to always be in control, to sit with my human at the royal throne, head up and back straight. I have learned to lead the chariots, running straight as an arrow, not looking left or right. I have learned to wait by the door, standing calm and regal. Abu is always totally in control. Always calm and cool and still as the Sphinx. Nothing can make me lose my control. Except … only one thing can make me lose my control. One creature who can turn me into a scrambling, drooling, running, barking fool. My hair rises unbidden on my back. My lips curl into an unkindly snarl. My front teeth bare. It is Miu, the Royal Cat.

  No one touches Abu’s royal food bowl. The servants prepare the best for me—roasted tender meat. No one comes near, my bowl is only for the royal Abu. Except one. My water is pure water carried from the royal well. No one touches my water. No one dares to defile the royal water bowl. Except one. And no one dare
s to sit on Abu’s cushion under the throne. Except one—Miu. Miu! MIU, the Royal Cat!

  At night I, Abu, sleep in the royal kennel. There are embroidered pillows and comfortable cushions just for my comfort. But … it is dark in the royal kennel and a little cold. Sometimes when I am in the kennel and it is cold and dark, I don’t feel so much like the ruler of Egypt. I try to be brave. I call out, “I am the Pharoah! I am brave! I am not afraid.” My human sleeps in the royal chambers in the palace, his son in the nursery. The servants and guards have their own places. The royal kennel is a wonderful place, a worthy place for Abu. But …

  Sometimes when I am lonely, I curl up and close my eyes and long for the morning to come. Sometimes when I am lonely at night, I sleep and hope to dream happy dreams. Sometimes I feel like there is no hope that morning will come. I am all alone. Except …

  I feel something warm snuggle against my back, and I don’t move. I listen to soft breathing and then a low purr. It is Miu, the Royal Cat. And with the comfort of the warmth on my back, I fall asleep.

  CHAPTER 3

  Einstein: What’s in a Name?

  I got a new name today, and it is the perfect name. What’s in a name, you say? Not much, or so I thought. Now I know differently.

  I was born Claudius Augustus III, and the family called me Gussy. I had a little wiggle in my walk, and I felt like a Gussy.

  Then my family moved away, and I went to a place called the dog shelter.

  The lady there did not call me Gussy. She called me Claudius. After a few days, I didn’t walk with a wiggle anymore. I walked with dignity. When I ate, I ate carefully, not rushed and sloppy like the other dogs. I felt like a Claudius.

  There were lots of dogs at the pound, and slowly I began to notice that the name matched the dog. The dog in the cage next to me was named Prissy, and that’s what she was. Prissy did not like to get her feet wet, and when she did, she would spend thirty minutes licking them clean.

  Sergeant was next. His cage was orderly—toys in one corner, bed in the other. If a worker accidentally put a toy in the wrong place, Sergeant would move it back to the correct corner.

  On the other side of me was Sneaky, always hiding his toys and stealing extra food. Then there was Baby, constantly rolling over into a submissive position. On the end was T-Rex. I never went in the run with T-Rex!

  After only a few days at the shelter, I knew my theory was correct. The name made the dog!

  One day a family came to the shelter and took me home. My first night, they were talking about choosing a name for me. Knowing how important a name is, I listened carefully. My life depended on it.

  I wondered what my new name might be. Would it be something grand, like King or Prince? Or something military like Captain or Major? I hoped it didn’t end in O, like Oleo, Waldo, Dumbo, Romeo … well, maybe all O names aren’t so bad.

  I wanted the perfect name.

  “What about TJ?” the man said.

  “What’s that stand for?” the lady asked.

  “Nothing. I just like initials.”

  “It has to stand for something.”

  “How about Cinderella?” the girl said.

  I held my breath until someone said, “No.”

  “How about Spot?” the man said.

  The lady looked me over. “He doesn’t have any spots. It needs to be right.”

  Finally, someone was realizing the importance of this decision.

  “I’ve got it,” the man said. “The dog seems pretty smart. He can fetch and sit and roll over. Let’s put him on the other side of the room and see what he responds to.”

  So, they put me by the chair. They sat on the sofa. Then, they called out names.

  “Checkers. Domino. Uno.”

  No games, please.

  “Utah. Dakota. Tex.”

  No states, please.

  “Buckwheat. Muffin. T-Bone.”

  Could I hear the states again?

  I did not move for any of those names.

  “Wait! I just thought of the perfect name,” the woman said.

  My ears perked up. What was this perfect name?

  “Einstein.”

  I wagged my tail. It sounded interesting.

  “You mean Einstein the brilliant scientist?” the girl asked.

  A brilliant scientist—I liked that even better.

  “Perfect for a smart dog. Let’s try it,” the man said.

  They looked at me, and together they called out, “Einstein.”

  I jumped up and ran to the family. I extended my paw in a handshake.

  Einstein is the perfect name for me. I feel brilliant. In fact, I feel so brilliant I could sing, “I feel brilliant, oh so brilliant.…”

  CHAPTER 4

  Pooch’s Invisible Enemy

  I don’t like the new house. There is another animal here. It’s under the sink. I can’t see it, but I can hear it.

  It gets all the good food. I get dry stuff. It eats three times a day. I am lucky to eat once.

  When it gets fed, I bark and bark. I’m saying, “I’ll eat that moldy meat. I love moldy meat.”

  They say, “Quiet, Pooch,” and “What’s gotten into Pooch?”

  I’m saying, “I love greenish cheese, burnt toast, stale pork rinds.”

  They say, “Quiet, Pooch.”

  Today I made some progress. I learned the name of the animal. It is called Disposal, and when I get my paws on Disposal, he is going down the drain!

  CHAPTER 5

  Dawg Strikes Gold

  Colorado, 1892

  Read by Professor Bassett

  MORNING

  We’re on our way out of town. Sam on his horse, Hoss. Me trailing behind. I get tired of looking at Hoss’s rear end, but Hoss don’t like me. If he see me in front or to one side, he try to bite. You ever take a good look at a horse’s teeth? You rather see his rear end.

  Sam talking to Hoss. Why he waste his time like that? Hoss don’t understand. Hoss barely understand “whoa.” What’s worse, Sam talking ’bout robbing a stagecoach. Hoss shaking his head back and forth like he don’t want no part of that. Maybe Hoss understand more than I think he do. Hoss don’t want to get caught and strung up. Me neither.

  NOON

  The town we leaving be called Bad News. It live up to its name. We fit right in. We be low on money, low on food, low in spirit. And we head out with not much more than we brung in. Sam still talking about holding up the stagecoach. Hoss shaking his head.

  Then stagecoach pass us, going fast, making dust. We lucky we still standing. Then Sam don’t talk about stagecoaches no more.

  NIGHT

  We camp. Sam cook some beans with pork mixed in. When he get full, I get the rest. I lick the pan clean. That way I don’t miss nothing, and nobody have to wash it.

  I be thirsty, but I don’t go to the creek right away. Hoss be there first. Hoss always be at the water first. He roll in it. He snort in it. If he feel like it, he pee in it. I wait awhile for the water to get clean.

  I stop on the bank because Hoss slosh water up on the bank. I see funny little rocks lying on the mud. I pick one up, carry it to the fire, and drop it in the pan.

  Sam say, “Dawg, don’t be spitting in the eating dish. It ain’t polite.”

  Then Sam take a look and he yelled, “Gold! You found gold!” Then he shut up because if somebody hear him, they be all over Cripple Creek.

  MORNING

  Hoss and me be back at Cripple Creek. Hoss messing it up, splashing out water. Me picking up gold. Sam sitting on the bank. He hold the pan. That be his part of gold mining.

  NOON

  More gold mining.

  NIGHT

  More gold mining.

  MORNING

  More gold mining. We be at Cripple Creek for a long, long time, doing this every day. When Sam get all the gold he can carry, which was all the gold there was in the creek, we head out. Sam on Hoss.

  Hoss and me buddies by this time, side by side. I’m not looking at
his rear no more. Everybody be happy. Our gold mining days be over.

  CHAPTER 6

  Tidbit: A Star Is Born

  Nashville, Tennessee, 1957

  Read by Beauregard

  I was born the smallest of the litter. Even as a pup I had to fight to survive. While my brothers and sisters grew up to be fast and strong and to jump high, I grew up to be a beggar. While my brothers and sisters grew up handsome and sleek, I grew up ugly. I was a pitiful young thing, but even pitiful young things can have remarkable experiences in life—moments that change a life from pitiful to significant. This is one.

  I took to the streets young, living beside Dumpsters or hanging out at the back doors of restaurants. I lived hand-to-mouth. I made the rounds in Nashville each morning, hoping the trash had been carelessly emptied behind the restaurants or that someone had not finished a Big Mac. I had no home. I lived a dangerous life, avoiding kicks and yells.

  One day as I was making my usual rounds, I heard a noise coming from the back door of a building. It was a wonderful sound. A rhythmic boom boom. A soft gliding sound. A plunking and a twanging, all harmoniously rolled together. A sound that for the first time made me feel like I was home. I parked myself at that door, the back door to the Grand Ole Opry.

  People coming in and out of the Opry are good people. They began to notice me, but instead of kicking and yelling at me, they were kind. They brought me snacks and patted my head.

  I watched every night as a parade of boots went through that door. Lizard-skin boots, ostrich, elephant-skin—every color of the rainbow. There were amazing costumes in shiny patterns and tall, wide hats. They were fancy people, but they were kind. Someone gave me a blanket one day. Once, I got a whole pork chop.

 
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