Chapter 2. The adventures begin

       ... It was still dark when Luke gently stirred Bonnie up and said quietly:
       - Hey, beauty, get up if you don’t want to stay hungry all day.
       - Luke, but it’s still dark, it’s night. Don’t you wake me up, I won’t go anywhere. I didn’
t have a good sleep and I am dead tired. Go and don’t forget about me, bring me
something yummy, - she prattled dozing.
       - What would madam prefer: fresh chicken wings or liver? Ah, perhaps both of
them? – asked the spaniel grinning.
       - Let her be, Ginger. It’s really hard for her. We’ll go look for something while she’s
taking a nap, - said Luke and added to Bonnie:
       - Stay here, we’ll be back in no time.
       But the lap-dog only muttered something indistinct in her sleep.

       Luke, Ginger and Freddie squeezed through the familiar hole onto the park
territory. It was silent but they heard distant cats mewing.
       - Looks like they forestalled us, - said Ginger quietly.
       - Nothing, really. If necessary, we’ll drive the cats away. Go and check the litter bins
to the left and right and I will go straight on, - he ordered.
       Ginger and Freddie obediently left for their “check”. Luke went straight and near
one of the bins bumped into Ray – the one-eared tom cat who had pulled Bonnie’s tail
the day before.
       - Yeah, the police hound! Good morning. Now it’s your turn to eat from the bins?!
Suits you fine. That will teach you not to put on airs, - hissed gloating Ray.
       - I have never put on any airs. Indeed, I worked at the police and fought evil. But
now I also try to be useful and you will always remain a silly idler, - with these words Luke
ran back.
       Unfortunately he foraged only a couple of stale sandwiches and a half of an apple.
Ginger and Freddie were a bit more lucky, each of them carried a roll. One of the rolls
even had a piece of sausage inside.
       - I found it for Bonnie, - prided Freddie.
       Later they found three cookies. Having added them to the loot they went through
the fence hole again and returned to sleeping Bonnie.
       - Good morning, - said Freddie quietly and put the roll with a sausage near the lap-
       - Ah, it’s you, thin legs. Why did you wake me up? – asked Bonnie yawning and
       - Shame on you! – Ginger told her. – He tried so hard to find something especially
for you and brought you the best. And you are teasing him.

       - Who are you to teach me, anyway? I say what I want and all in all... – Bonnie could
not finish.
       - All in all talk less and eat faster. It’s also concerns everyone else. Meanwhile we
should think about our future plans, - Luke stopped Bonnie’s speech severely.
       Bonnie sniffed the sausage, licked her lips but did not bite.
       - If you don’t like it, choose something else, - proposed Luke.
       - Yeah, what else? It’s better to die of hunger than to eat this muck. They prepared
fresh meals for me every day and also gave me vitamins to make my fur thick and shiny,
- the lap-dog sulked and went aside.
       - Listen, you, small, white, spoiled boaster: either you eat now or you stay hungry
all day long. Don’t ask for food later on. And remember – nobody here will cater to you. If
you want to meet your masters safe and sound then do what you are told to, - said Luke
severely, almost angrily.
       Bonnie was so astonished she did not even find any words. Noone had ever
retorted her in this way before.
       Meanwhile, the friends have eaten, shaken off and sat down to discuss their next
       - There are several ways, - thought Luke aloud. – I know a big billboard in the
downtown opposite the fountain. The ads about you can be there. Besides we can get to
the veterinary clinic or even to the zoo.
       - Let’s begin with the nearest, - suggested Freddie who obviously did not want to
strain his bad leg.
       - Let Luke decide, he is the most experienced of us all and he knows the city. We
will follow you wherever you lead us, - said Ginger.
       While they were talking, Bonnie returned to the stale roll. She disgustedly ate the
sausage but couldn’t make herself even nibble anything else.

       The Sun rose and it was a clear autumn morning.
       - Well, no rain in today’s forecast, - said Luke sadly. – Which means no drinking for
us. On the other side, the ads won’t run.
       - If there are any ads, - added Freddie mournfully.
       - Of course, there are. At least some of the five places must have them. Also we
don’t have to be near the ads, we wouldn’t be able to read them, anyway. It will be nice,
though, to come closer to places with animals. Remember what Paul said: “To be seen”,
- exclaimed Ginger optimistically.
       - Well said, - Luke complimented him. – By the way, along with such places, don’t
forget the circus and even the shelter I had the nerve to escape from.
       - And the pet-shop, - sounded Bonnie’s clear voice. – My mistress has recently
bought new fish there.
       - Right, baby, and the pet-shop, of course, - smiled Luke. – Though I thought you
didn’t care what happens to us?
       - Me? Certainly I don’t care. Just... thinking aloud, - the lap-dog was embarrassed.
       - Ah, then everything is all right. It just seemed to me you were beginning to
change, - laughed Luke.
       - Don’t even think about it! By the way, where can I look at myself in the mirror? –
asked Bonnie without any traces of embarrassment.
       - Only in the shop windows but there are not any nearby. You will look at yourself
when we see one, although I don’t advise it for the nearest two weeks, - said Luke.
       - And why is that?
       - Because I don’t think you would like what you see there.
       - So what should I do?
       - Stop whimpering for starters. Try to forget about yourself for at least a minute -
time will pass faster then. And now – let’s go, - ordered Luke.
       - May I stay? I am not fit for another long run. – asked Bonnie.
       - No, you may not. We already know you should not stay alone. Also, it is highly
unlikely that we’ll come back. So, you have only one choice – to join us. I promise to walk
       The same picture again. Three so very different dogs are striding forward slowly
and confidently. The fourth stood up, stretched and unwillingly dragged after them.

       The dogs trotted slowly along the park fence heading for downtown. Two young
mothers with prams were walking towards them so engaged in conversation as to almost
forget about their babies. One of the babies dropped his bottle, the ladies walked by, the
bottle fell to the sidewalk and the baby cried.
       - Run after these absent-minded mommies and fetch the bottle to them, - said Luke
to Ginger. – You are the quickest and the most dexterous of us all. Also not as big as me
so they wouldn’t be scared.
       - Are you sure they will be glad? – asked the spaniel with doubt.
       - Our duty is to help. As to their reaction, errr... Guess they will be glad.
       Ginger had clasped the plastic bottle carefully with his teeth and ran after the
young ladies. He quickly caught up with them, ran around and put the bottle down just in
front of the pram.
       - Linda, look at this smart dog, - said one of them. – Thank you, you are so nice.
Now, what can I give you?
       She opened her purse and took out a big shortbread with jam.
       - Here, this is yours, you deserve it, - she said offering the shortbread to Ginger.
       “Well, I... I’ve had a meal, thanks. All right, I’ll take for Bonnie. She must adore such
things.” – the thoughts rushed in spaniel’s head.
       He took the shortbread and ran back. Having placed it in front of Bonnie he
courteously said:
       - Here you are, enjoy. You have not eaten anything substantial today yet.
       Bonnie sniffed the cake and began munching greedily.
       - Will she ever learn to say “thank you”, I wonder? – Luke thought aloud looking at
the lap-dog wolfing the cake down.
       At this moment a tall woman in tasteful clothes passed them by. She was
accompanied by a leashed tiny creature with a big pink bow. The bow seemed bigger
than the creature itself.
       - She’s a chihuahua, - said Luke.
       - I don’t need your advice, - declared the lap-dog with her usual arrogance. – What’
s so special about her? Tiny as a mouse. As for the bows, mine are more beautiful and
suit me better...
       Bonnie was about to say something else but could not. The tiny creature has
broken the leash and rushed to the lap-dog:
       - You, a vile dirty slob, you live in the streets, you eat scrap and still dare to laugh
at me?! I’ll make you cry...
       The chihuahua was clearly smaller than Bonnie, but very quick and agile. She had
bitten Bonnie’s sides and once even the right foreleg. All Bonnie could do was to push
her away a few times and untie the magnificent pink bow.
       Seeing the fight, the chihuahua’s mistress cried loudly:
       - Lucy, my darling little girl, I hope you are not hurt too much! I told you many times
not to deal with these dirty stray dogs. They are not worth an inch of your fur. Come
here, my precious baby...
       The woman took the tiny creature in her hands, kissed and pressed Lucy to her
       - Did you hear her saying you are not worth an inch of my fur? – asked gloating
Lucy looking haughtily at Bonnie from her mistress’ warm hands.
       - That’s not true! I am not stray! I am not dirty! I live the same life – I am carried
around, I wear bows and I am also called a precious baby! I’ll meet you again and we’ll
see who is prettier... – Bonnie almost wept.
       - She cannot hear you, they are gone, - said Luke.
       - She is like a mouse – so disgusting. Cannot understand people who like this
breed, - the lap-dog snorted but her voice was filled with insult and pain.
       And then Bonnie lay down on the pavement and cried loudly.
       - Bonnie, darling, please, don’t cry. You are the most beautiful in the world, -
enthusiastically said Freddie looking at her.
       - Hey, baby, cheer up, you’ve been hurt a little but that’s no big deal, it could be
worse. Just imagine Lucy being a dachshund or even a French bulldog... – Ginger
wanted to add something but Bonnie interrupted him weeping:
       - What about you? Just standing there looking. Why did not you defend me?!
       - Because, baby, - Luke has at last taken part in their talk, - you are the one to
blame. You began to bully her, not otherwise. What followed suited you fine. By the way,
she is very much like you. My guess is she doesn’t thank anyone either and thinks only
about how oh, irresistible she is. But that’s enough. Now, tell me, how bad did she bite
you? Are you able to walk?
       - I am. The leg hurts a bit, that’s all, - answered Bonnie quietly.
She stopped crying and was sitting there thinking. And suddenly said:
       - So, that’s what it is like to be a stray dog. Anyone can hurt you, the meals are by
chance and dangers trap you everywhere.
       - Yes, baby, unfortunately that’s true, - confirmed Luke sadly. – Still, I am the only
stray one among all of us. I have to take care of you for twelve more days and as for
them, we must return them to their homes as soon as possible. Now you understand?
       - I think I do, - said the lap-dog significantly with a faraway look. – Luke, you are so
kind and smart. You are the best.
       - I cannot believe my ears. Thanks for the compliment. I am afraid your masters won’
t recognize you. Not that you are less white and fluffy than before but maybe you’ll start
to bring the slippers or worse still – sleep near the front door instead of a pillow...
       - If I ever return home I will always walk in the street to see everything myself from
places other than a window-sill, - answered Bonnie and lapsed into deep thoughts again.
       - Of course you will return, - Ginger tried to cheer her up. – I am the only one now
with all legs intact, all of you are limping, - he added and chuckled.
       Everyone laughed after him.
       - Still, this is not a reason to stop. Let’s go! – said Luke loudly like many times

       The four dogs trodding slowly along the big road looked amusing and funny. A
living quarter with high houses loomed ahead.
       - Don’t approach the playground, - said Luke loudly. – There are too many of us
and some kids are afraid of dogs, so let’s stop between these two houses and have
some rest. I’ll try to remember the way.
       - Where are we going, anyway? – asked the spaniel.
       - We should finally reach the big central square. There are two ways. The first one
is short. The second is a roundabout but it has a zoo, a pet shop and even dog shelters.
In all these places there are people who love animals. We can even have a rest and a
meal there as well as the announcements about lost dogs. What do you say? It’s your
decision now.
       - Of course we shall take the roundabout! – exclaimed Ginger.
       - Maybe we should take the short way, though? It will get us to the central square
faster. We walk too much as it is, - prattled Freddie plaintively.
       - As for me, I am not going to move anywhere at all. I’m fed up with it. We have
been walking for three hours now. I could not cover such distance in a week, - objected
Bonnie with characteristic arrogance. – And by the way it’s almost lunchtime.
       - Hush. Be quiet! – suddenly interrupted Luke.
       - Why should I be quiet? What happened?
       - Don’t you smell anything? – asked Luke intensely.
       - Nothing suspicious except fried chops at the nearby house, - asnwered the
spaniel with a smile.
       - And vegetable soup with a drumstick, - added Bonnie.
       - And boiled sausage at the house in front, - said Freddie especially sadly.
       - I knew it. You think of nothing but food, - declared Luke.
It took him a few more minutes of probing the air with his wet nose until he confidently
       - There is a fire somewhere. May I drop dead if it is not a smell of burning. I’ll know it
in a million, this is not the first time. Guys, we must find the house with something burning
inside. Every minute counts, we should not delay. Soon it may be too late.
       - How can we know the house? – asked Ginger.
       - We have no choice but to leave Bonnie and Freddie here. They are small and
very tired. We – you and me – should find out.
       Ginger obediently nodded and in a second they were gone to find the fire. Already
on the run they agreed to split.

       - Why cannot Luke sit tight, I wonder? He must deal with everything instead of
finding something to eat, - Bonnie made a displeased face. – We cannot make any
progress helping everyone.
       - If Luke knows he can help, he always will. You know it yourself, don’t you? – asked
       - It’s impossible to help everybody. One should worry about oneself first!
       - Luke doesn’t think so, - objected the pinscher.
       - Well, I’ll take a nap then, - yawned Bonnie and lay down on the sidewalk.

       Luke had “examined” three houses but the faint smell of burning did not get
stronger. “It must be the other direction” he thought and rushed to Ginger’s side.
       The spaniel was already sitting under the window of one of the houses, whining
nervously and wagging his tail. Some of the upper windows of the second, third and
maybe even the fourth floor reeked of burning. As always Luke had been right – this
definitely was a fire.
       - It is here, - said Ginger anxiously when he saw Luke.
       - Right, buddy. What shall we do? It’s lunchtime, almost nobody here.
       - I guess we have no choice but to bark as loudly as possible. Some of the people
must be at home, they will react, - suggested the spaniel.
       - I think you’re right, we have to show there is a disaster in the house. If we linger
the whole apartment may catch on fire. And until someone notices it may be too late, -
answered Luke.
       They did not linger and at the same moment started barking as loud as they could.
       A lean grey beagle appeared in the second floor window and shouted:
       - Why are you bellowing here? I cannot sleep! What happened?
       - A fire! A fire somewhere in your house, - cried Luke.
       The beagle pushed her long muzzle out of the window, moved her keen wet nose
around and said loudly:
       - Smells like smoke, indeed. How could I miss it? As bad luck, the master left to do
some shopping but should be back any moment. I’ll tell him. By the way, my name is
Donna. I cannot go out, have to guard the apartment, but you guys are really great.
       Luke and Ginger went on barking. A wisp of smoke flew out of a slightly open
window on the fourth floor. Some people were passing by and luckily one of them noticed
two dogs who were frantically barking and lifting their muzzles. At once everything
became clear and they called the firemen. In a little while Donna and her master were
out of the house.
       - We would have had a hard time if it were not for you. You should be quite proud
of yourselves, - she said.
       - We are not proud, we are glad it ends well, - answered Luke.
       With these words he decided to leave. People will deal with everything themselves.
       A crowd gathered under the windows. The firemen arrived in five minutes. They
climbed the ladder and, of course, the apartment was empty. Except for a plugged in iron.
       - Let’s go, it will be all right now, - Luke called his friend.
       Someone in the crowd asked how the fire had been spotted anyway. The man who
called the firemen answered that they owed it to two wonderful dogs who warned them
on time about the danger.
       - Yeah, I guess we should go, - answered Ginger and making their way through the
“forest” of human legs they ran towards Bonnie and Freddie.
       - Well done, Luke, - cried Ginger on the run.
       - You too, - laughed Luke.

       - Even from here we heard a noisy crowd cheering your resourcefulness. Pity they
forgot to feed you again, - said the lap-dog spitefully.
       - We left modestly, - answered Ginger.
       - It’s time to go on, - said Luke with his usual confidence.
       - I don’t want to go anywhere, I can hardly move, - whimpered Bonnie.
       - It’s slightly more than one hour of fast running to the pet-shop. So, it’s about three
hours of walking. I suggest we go on. There is always plenty of people in the pet-shop
and most of them are fond of animals. Your masters’ friends could be there or maybe
just a person who had read about you... Oh, and also there might be some shops with
big window displays on the way. I guess someone here wanted to look in the mirror, -
said Luke with a smile.
       His words did magic to Bonnie who had refused to move along a minute ago. She
stood up, shook her fur, proudly raised her small fluffy muzzle and declared:
       - All right, I can hobble to the pet-shop. But promise me no more walking for today.
       - Only if we get something to eat at the pet-shop. Or else you sleep with empty
stomach, - answered Luke.
       - No, I cannot think about it now. Hey, I’m bored. Tell me something interesting
along the way, will you... – asked Bonnie and the friends went on.

Linda Green - books for kids