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Teddy and Roo

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Teddy and Roo

  Teddy and Roo

  By Hayley Scholtz

  (for ages 6+)

  Copyright 2014 Hayley Scholtz

  Thank you for downloading this ebook.

  Chapter 1 - In the Doghouse

  "I don't see what all the fuss is about", mumbled Roo from deep within the doghouse. "It was only a few little plants."

  "Maybe," replied Teddy, as he lay on the grass, eyeing the remains of Mrs's flowers, "but it's the third time you've dug them up, Roo. What's so fascinating about the begonias all of a sudden?"

  Earlier that morning, Roo had been in rather a lot of trouble for digging up a flower bed during the night. When Mrs saw the damage, she was very upset and Roo had taken herself off to the doghouse in disgrace.

  Now, a small pink nose poked itself out of the kennel and sighed. Roo's creamy paws were still covered in brown mud. "It's not the plants, exactly," she said in a small voice. "It's all that new compost they put in the beds. Oooh, it just smells so good when it's freshly dug in, and all the rain yesterday made all the chunky bits go chewy and gooey and delicious. I just wanted a little taste and I didn't even notice I was ruining the plants again. Now they think I'm a bad dog!" she sniffed. Poor, poor Roo. She really did try to be good, but her nose often got her into trouble - it was just so good at sniffing out forbidden things, like stinky garbage and ripe compost.

  After lunch, Mrs appeared in the garden with seedlings, a spade and an arm-load of wooden stakes. "Let's see you dig this lot out!" she said, giving Roo an exasperated look. The new little seedlings went in (with more of the delicious compost, much to Roo's despair) then Mrs poked the pointy sticks in and around the new plants like chunky little spears. "Roo, LEAVE!" she said sternly, looking at Roo and pointing at the new seedlings. She dumped the remains of the ruined plants on the compost heap before going back into the house, leaving Roo and the begonias to contemplate each other.

  It turned into another rainy afternoon but the dogs didn't mind. Ted chased the bedraggled, soggy pigeons who tried to shelter under the eaves, while Roo lapped at the little puddles of water that collected all over the garden. She rather liked the taste of rain; it was so much nicer than tap water. It wasn't until evening, while Roo was doing her mad, Here-Comes-Dinner dance that the second bad thing of the day happened. Mrs was just dishing up food for the two dogs when she let out a loud cry and nearly dropped their bowls. She ran inside to find Mr, leaving the two bewildered dogs to finish their dinner in silence. Teddy said it must be something really bad to upset Mrs so much, but Roo was unimpressed - dinner was her second favourite meal of the day, and she felt the mood had been completely ruined. Teddy pointed out that the lack of atmosphere had in no way affected Roo's appetite. Roo gave him a rude look, licked her bowl and went to her kennel to sulk. Being in trouble was one thing; having dinner ruined for no obvious reason was quite another. Teddy just sighed. Roo could be so dramatic sometimes.

  Later that night, the cause for the second unhappiness was made known - Mrs had lost her very favourite, very special heirloom bracelet. ("What's a hareloom?" Roo asked Ted quietly, but Ted didn't know either). Roo had finished sulking just in time to come into the house for an evening lie-down. Meanwhile, Mrs was very upset because the bracelet was old and valuable and had once belonged to her grandmother. Worse still, some of the unhappiness was being aimed in Roo's direction. Apparently, Mrs had forgotten to take off the bracelet before potting out the new begonias, which she said she wouldn't have had to do if a certain blonde dog hadn't dug them up for a third time. Now, the bracelet was lost somewhere in the wet, muddy garden, and poor Roo was indirectly to blame. Mr and Mrs even searched in the dark with torches, but it was no use. The bracelet was gone.

  "I don't understand the fascination with hard, shiny things," said Roo later that night, as she and Ted cuddled together in their kennel. "They don't smell particularly good, and I bet if you buried a bracelet, it wouldn't go all ripe and delicious like a bone." But apparently Mrs had been very attached to the hard shiny thing because its loss cast rather an unpleasant cloud over the household for the rest of the week.

  Chapter 2 - An Unwelcome Visitor

  But eventually, life returned to normal. The rainy weather finally eased off and there were more and more glorious sunny days to enjoy. One afternoon, while Ted was rolling lazily on the grass and Roo was chasing bees (she'd been stung more than once but refused to learn) a little breeze wafted into the garden. Roo stopped mid-snap and lifted her nose into the air.

  "Do you smell that?"' she asked.

  "Hmmmm?" replied Ted, as he lay on his back with his paws in the air. He looked at Roo upside down.

  "I smell something.... unusual," continued Roo. "Where do you suppose it's coming from?" Roo was up and off like a shot, nose sniffing wildly, tail in the air. "Over here," she called, "it's coming from over here!" Ted slowly rolled over and shook the grass and tiny flowers from his black coat. What was the silly dog up to now, he wondered.

  Roo, meanwhile, was trotting down the narrow drive that ran alongside the house. A rickety old gate stood at the end; it was seldom used and hung a little oddly on its hinges. There was just enough room underneath it for something small and determined to squeeze through; a small, determined thing was, in fact, now making its way slowly down the uneven driveway. Roo stopped short. What on earth was this? It looked like a little brown helmet with legs. She approached cautiously, sniffing, but the helmet-thing ignored her and kept on plodding towards the back garden. Roo woofed at it. The thing stopped, dropped to the ground and pulled in its head and legs. Roo was now barking excitedly. Teddy arrived just in time to see her bouncing up and down in front of an ordinary, brown garden tortoise. "Calm down, Roo!" yelled Teddy, "I think it's a tortoise. I wonder where it came from?"

  "Well, why don't you ask it," said Roo snippily. "I Do Not Speak Helmet." She was clearly annoyed at the intruder, and just a teensy bit embarrassed that she'd had no idea what it was. She hated looking ignorant in front of Ted who, for all his 3 years, was a very wise and knowledgeable dog in Roo's eyes. "And tell it to go away," she added rudely.

  But the tortoise had no intention of leaving. Its shell was quite scuffed and worn on the edges - clearly it was very adventurous and had squeezed through many gates and fences in its lifetime. It also seemed to realise that the dogs were more bark than bite, and cautiously pushed its head and legs back out of its shell. It gave them both a beady-eyed glare before resuming its slow, rambling plod down the drive. Roo was perplexed. She didn't want this thing in her garden, no, not at all! But short of picking it up by its shell, all she could do was bounce along behind it and make sure it didn't cause any mischief.

  The tortoise made slow but determined progress in the direction of Mrs's flower beds. Roo did not have a happy feeling about this. She may not know much about creatures in shells, but she did know a thing or two about messing with begonias. And from the direction the tortoise was headed in, the situation did not bode well for either Roo or the flowers.

  Chapter 3 - Things Get Worse

  Teddy tagged along behind the tortoise and Roo, more out of curiosity than anything else. It had been a rather lazy morning so far; Mr and Mrs had gone out and the arrival of the tortoise promised at least some entertainment. Roo was still bouncing around and making excited little yips. By now the tortoise had arrived at the main flower bed. The recent rain and all the sunshine that followed had turned the garden into a glorious riot of colour. The new begonias in particular had taken root beautifully and were covered in loads of lovely young flowers just coming into full bloom. The tortoise headed straight for them. It was quite oblivious to the barrage of anti-Roo stakes which still pointed ominously upward. It stoically pushed them aside like a small brown tank
. It reached the first plant, stretched its long neck out and neatly snipped off a flower. Roo was mortified. "Stop that!" she ordered, but the tortoise ignored her and carried on munching. "Ted, Ted, it's eating the begonias!" she cried. "Do something!" But Ted really had no idea what to do. He'd never encountered a tortoise up close before and was staying well away from the sharp, bitey end. As long as the thing didn't cause any major damage, he would keep an eye on it from a safe distance, thank you very much. But Roo was having none of it.

  She darted frantically in and out of the flower bed where the tortoise was now chomping its way slowly down a begonia stem. She pawed frantically at the sand beside it. "Shoo!" she said, "Shoo! Go away, nasty thing!" She turned around and tried kicking sand at the tortoise, but the wooden stakes were in the way. "Ow, ow, ow!" she yelled, bouncing on three legs and holding up a paw. The tortoise ignored her and moved on to another plant. "Leave Mrs' plants!" she barked angrily, but the tortoise ignored her. She bounced and kicked up more sand, but it was useless.

  Within a few minutes, Roo had done almost as much damage to Mrs' flowers as the unwanted visitor. Pointy sticks lay everywhere, sand was flung about and at least three plants had been completely flattened. To top it all off, Roo stood on a stick which lodged itself painfully in her back foot. Whilst hopping up and down wildly to loosen it, she stepped in a hole of her own making and promptly lost her balance. She fell, face first into the sand with a little 'oooof' sound. "Stupid, stupid tortoise," she muttered through a mouthful of dirt.

  Teddy surveyed the destruction before him; despite Roo's injuries, the whole scene was rather funny. He was trying very hard not to laugh (Roo would take that very badly indeed) because, through all the chaos, the tortoise had barely batted an eyelid.

  Just at that moment, a car pulled into the drive. "Uh oh," said Ted, "they're home." Roo sat up, covered in sand. She was on the brink of tears. She had so badly wanted to do something good for Mrs, but as usual, her misplaced enthusiasm had only made things worse. A minute later, a key turned in the back door of the house. Teddy ran over to say hello. Roo just sat awkwardly in the flower bed. Her paw ached and really, there was no point in hiding.

  "Hello Ted, my boy," said a lady's voice. Where's Roo-Girl?" And then Mrs spotted the flower bed. "Oh, Roo!" she yelled, "WHAT have you done?" Mrs stormed furiously to the flower bed, while Roo slunk down low.

  "Bad, bad dog!" said Mrs, reaching down to take Roo by the collar and march her out of the flowers.

  "What the...?" She stopped mid-march. The tortoise was still chomping on the begonias. A cheerful red blossom hung half way out of its jaws. Mrs stared at it in comprehension. Roo didn't dare move. Maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't be blamed for all of this. Mrs closed her eyes and sighed loudly. She turned to say something to Roo, but just as she opened her mouth, a shiny glint caught her eye. Letting go of Roo's collar, she dropped to her knees and quickly brushed away the sand beneath the last begonia, which drooped pitifully over the edge of a rather large hole. "My bracelet!" she exclaimed, pulling out a metal chain encrusted with dirt. Mrs was so happy she completely forgot to be cross. "Roo, you mad dog, if you hadn't dug up half my plants again I would never have found this! And as for you, Mister, I'm afraid you're going to have to find another home." This last remark was aimed at the tortoise, but it seemed not to care. Mrs trotted off happily into the house to share the good news with Mr, leaving a grubby but relieved Roo to hobble out of the flower bed. Mrs returned a few minutes later with a big plastic crate. "In you go," she said, lifting up the tortoise. Then she looked at Roo. "And as for you madam, I think somebody needs a bath."

  So Roo suffered the indignity of soap and hot water, but she didn't mind too much since no one was cross with her. In fact, Mrs seemed to have quite forgiven her. She chatted away to Roo while she washed, and called her 'silly dog' a lot, which was much better than being called 'bad'. Afterwards, Mrs towel-dried her thoroughly (the only good part about bathing, in Roo's opinion) then the happy dog rolled madly on the lawn to wipe off the clean smell.

  That night, the two dogs lay happily on their mat inside the house while Mr and Mrs ate dinner. Mrs had even put a bandage on Roo's sore foot, and all in all, everyone's mood was rather cheerful. Shortly after dinner, the doorbell rang. "I wonder who that could be?" said Mrs. It was the next door neighbour, Angelica Fine.

  "Did you by any chance see a tortoise in your garden today?" asked Mrs Fine. "I'm looking after one for a few weeks while his owner's away. His name's Sunshine, but 'Houdini' would suit him better; he's a real escape artist! This is the third time he's found a way out."

  "As a matter of fact, said Mrs, "I have him right here." And as she handed over the plastic crate and the tortoise, Roo decided that it was quite possible the happiest moment of the entire day.

  Chapter 4 - Seagulls and Sand

  "The beach, the beach, the beach, the beach!" sang Teddy one glorious Saturday morning. "Roo, Roo! We're going to the beach!" Once in a while, Mr and Mrs bundled the dogs into the back of their old station and drove to the beach for a swim. It was a long, rugged stretch of sand with lovely rock pools. Not only was it Teddy's favourite, favourite place on earth, getting also required another fun activity - riding in the car. Just after breakfast, Ted had spotted Mrs taking out the dog towels and leashes, and now he was running in circles with excitement.

  Soon the two happy dogs were loaded up and ready to go. The drive there was a short, pleasant trip through farmland and small holdings. The back of the station wagon had small sliding windows on each side. Roo loved to push her nose out through them and sniff the horses and cows as they passed. Everything smelt so deliciously farmy that the trip there was almost as much fun as the beach itself. Just as they rounded a gentle bend in the road, Roo caught a whiff of something new and exciting. She shoved her head further out the window. "Careful," said Ted, "you're going to fall out". But Roo took no notice. She had just spotted the source of the wonderful new smell - a herd of tiny brown buck, grazing on the grassy hill of a farm. "Look, Ted! she cried, "look at those funny cows!" Roo's excitement was uncontrollable. One minute she was pushing her head out the window, the next she was bouncing and yipping in the back of the wagon.

  The poor little windows were no match for Roo's enthusiasm and eventually one of them inched completely open. Straining for a better view, she pushed both her front legs right over the narrow metal edge of the window frame. Suddenly, in a flash of cream fur, Roo's whole body slid out of the window! She landed with an inelegant roll on the side of the road. Luckily, Mr and Mrs had slowed down to admire the herd of buck too, just as Roo tumbled from the moving vehicle. Mr screeched to a halt to retrieve Roo. She was so surprised by her fall that she quite forgot to run after the buck. The grassy verge on the side of the road had broken her fall, and she was more embarrassed than anything else. Mr was too perplexed to be angry. He looked at the tiny window, and then at Roo, shaking his head. He picked her up, gave her a quick once-over and popped her back in through the tailgate. Then he latched the two windows tightly shut. Roo had the decency to look sheepish as she lay down on the rubber mat in the back of the wagon.

  "Thanks a lot" said Ted, "now we can't smell anything!" But he immediately regretted his remark and asked, "Are you alright?" Roo nodded. She'd recovered rather quickly. "I think I flew just a little bit," she grinned. Ted rolled his eyes. Trust Roo to turn a silly mistake into a personal achievement. "Well, you could have been badly hurt," he grunted, giving her ears a lick. "Don't give me a fright like that ever again!"

  The beach was every bit as wonderful as they'd hoped. There weren't too many people out yet, and the sun was warm but not yet hot. The tide was just right and the rock pools were full of sparkling blue water. Ted was in doggy heaven. Mr threw sticks into the waves for them to fetch, and in between, Roo dived for tiny, glittering fish. She went right down, bottom-up, duck-style, to snap at them. Ted preferred to stay on top of the water, but he was having a marvellous time too.
  After Mr and Mrs finished their swim, they took a long, slow walk down the wide, sandy beach. Roo bounced along happily, stopping every few feet to sniff at seaweed and crabs and generally managed to get under everyone's feet. Ted chased the odd seagull that dared to fly too low, but most of the time he trotted faithfully alongside Mr. The only hairy moment was when they rounded a bend and walked straight into an oncoming line of horses, out for a morning trot. Ted, despite his good manners, could not resist running round their hooves and having a quick sniff. Roo eagerly followed suit, but the horses were not impressed by the dogs. One big snort from the lead animal was all it took to send the two dogs scurrying back to their owners.

  The drive home was largely uneventful (the windows stayed closed) except for an unfortunate incident with a leash. Apart from smelly things, Roo liked chewy things too. She said gnawing was relaxing, and by the time they got home, she had managed to relax a sizeable hole in her new (and expensive) pink leash. But instead of being cross with Roo, Mrs was cross with Mr for leaving the leashes in the back of the wagon in the first place. Roo's chewing habit was well known and Mrs said Roo could not be blamed for making the most of the situation. Mr grumbled quietly to himself and shot Roo a pained look as he tossed the ruined leash into the bin.

  After the two dogs had had the sand and salt hosed off them, they lay in the sun to dry off. They were thoroughly exhausted, but in that good, day-at-the-beach kind of way. Roo declared it a fine end to a lovely morning, especially since, for once, she was not the one in the dog box.

  But, as it turned out, the day did not end quite as well as Roo predicted. That afternoon, after a long and lazy nap, Roo woke with a nasty, grumbly feeling in her tummy. The feeling did not go away, and by supper time, she was feeling decidedly ill. Mrs dished up their food, but Roo barely looked at her bowl. Mrs took this as a very worrying sign indeed, since mealtimes were usually the highlight of Roo's day. Mrs decided to keep an eye on her ‘til morning, and Roo went to bed feeling very, very sorry for herself.

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