Chapter 3. The second try

       - How long shall we stay there? – asked Freddie in a little while.
       - If there are no ads about us, very short, - answered Luke quickly.
       - Why are you so sure? – interfered Ginger.
       - It’s because they will shoo us out thinking we are stray, - exclaimed Bonnie.
       - Right, baby, - complimented Luke. – Were you not so haughty and spoiled you
could become a real friend for someone.
       - I have done without friends for a long time already. I don’t need any friends at all.
       - I had no doubt your answer would be like that. Now, be careful, everybody: the
traffic is very dense here and the sidewalk is narrow. Follow me and keep away from the
road, - said Luke sternly.
       The dogs obediently followed the police shepherd.
       - We have to cross the road and the pet-shop is close by.
The friends stopped at pedestrian crossing and waited.
       - You see the doggies also wait for the green light. Never cross at red, - an elderly
woman told to a little boy, probably her grandson.
       - What is she talking about? – asked Ginger.
       - One can tell at once you have been living in the suburb. My master used to say
the same. I know you can cross the street only at the green light, - answered Freddie
       The friends crossed the road and walked some long small streets until they finally
approached a place that strongly smelled of animals.
       Bonnie saw her reflection several times on the way but there were so many people
around that she could not look at herself properly.
       - Here is the pet-shop, - said Luke.
       The friends saw a big store with a window display holding many cages behind the
       - Let’s come closer and look what’s inside, - suggested Ginger.
       They came close to the shop window.
       They could see well inside the shop from there. The shop was quite small and
cramped; still there were quite a few animals inside.
       Cages with parrots were hanging from the ceiling. The shelf on one wall housed
cages with other birds. On the other wall shelf there were cages with hamsters, guinea
pigs, squirrels and even several turtles. On the side there were three big cages with
rabbits. And, finally, the third wall was like one huge aquarium with fish of all sizes and
colours. Some woman was just pointing to some of them.
       - I know these up there on the ceiling – they are parrots. They even can speak, -
Ginger wagged his tail joyfully. – One of those lived with Cathy, the girl who found me.
His name was John or something.
       - Look here and here, - said Luke pointing with his muzzle to display corners.
       The friends looked. In a small cage there were five or six kittens. Dogs’ keen ears
could hear their loud sorrowful mewing even through the glass. In the other corner they
saw other cages – these housed puppies. The cages were small and cramped and not
too pleasant even to look at far less being in there. In one of the cages there were three
puppies of the same size but of different colours. They tried to gnaw the iron bars, to
push them with their paws but of course, in vain. A St.Bernard puppy was lying in the
other cage looking at them with sad eyes.
       The cage was so small the puppy could not even stand up inside. When he saw the
friends he wagged his tail and barked. This drew the pet-shop master’s attention to them.
       He came out, looked at them closely and cried:
       - Whose dogs are these? Anyone come with dogs?
       The visitors did not reply. The master returned to the shop, picked up the receiver
and started to dial a number.
       - Run after me. Now, everybody, - cried Luke and disappeared around the corner.
       The others ran after him. They were running very quickly for a long time... until
Bonnie cried that she had not been able to make a single step anymore and just lay
down in the middle of the road.
       - Why did we run, Luke? – asked Ginger.
       - I was afraid the master called a very unpleasant service. He decided we were
stray after all.
       - But he did not drive us away, - wondered Freddie.
       - He’d better shoo us. Had not we run away now, you would never have any chance
of returning home.
       - Hey, Luke, I guess it’s high time to tell us about this service. What is it and why
should we be afraid of it? – asked the spaniel.
       - The dogs that have been in the streets for a long time are picked by a special car
and taken away.
       - Away where? – asked Freddie with a trembling voice.
       - I don’t know. The people are probably right thinking the stray dogs should not live
in the streets. It means there must be a shelter for homeless dogs somewhere. But it
would be almost impossible for you to return home once you are there.
       - So scary, - the pinscher was shaking again.
       - Freddie, don’t be so scared, we ran away, so everything is fine now, - Ginger tried
to calm his friend down.
       - I don’t want to hear of any cars and of other dogs either! I want to eat and sleep.
Cannot even move a leg. Bring me something to eat immediately, or else... – Bonnie was
so tired, she could not even finish.
       - What shall we do? – Ginger asked Luke.
       - It’s getting dark. I guess that will do for today, - answered Luke. – Everyone is very
hungry, though. There is a place nearby we will surely be fed. But I wouldn’t like going
       - That must be the shelter you escaped? – guessed the spaniel.
       - Exactly, - answered Luke. – For your sake and for Bonnie’s I’ll go there. It would
be much better if we go together, though.
       - I am not bulging, - said Bonnie.
       - I won’t move either, - echoed her Freddie.
       - I can go, - suggested Ginger.
       - Then Freddie will stay with Bonnie at a safe place while we go look for something
edible, - Luke was thinking aloud.
       - I won’t stay with him – he is small and weak. Any cat can hurt me while he is
around, - squealed the lap-dog.
       - All right then Ginger will stay with you two. I’ll try to forage something myself. So,
what did we decide? Shall we go to the shelter together tomorrow morning? – asked
       - Yes, yes, yes! – cried Bonnie not waiting for the others.
       Luke ran away and the friends spent their time talking.

       - You know, - began the spaniel. – When I saw those pups I remembered myself
with my brother and sisters being carried somewhere in a basket. I was a pup then but
felt we were to be sold and jumped out of the basket. Thought at the time I would return
to my mother. But a wonderful girl Cathy found me...
       - So, why did not you stay with her? – asked Freddie.
       - Stay? I would never ever leave her if I only could. But the girl’s mother thought her
too little to take responsibility for anyone else. She gave me to nice people and I got
used to living there. It was good but I did not forget Cathy. Frankly speaking, got lost
because of her. Saw her from the car and ran. But could not catch up...
       - A pity... – said the pinscher sadly. – Me, I have been living with the same master
for five years now. And happily so. He is quite old, takes many medicines and climbs the
stairs slowly. Takes a rest every five steps or so. We rarely had visitors. On the
weekends, usually, we went shopping, bought some food and then spent the evening on
the sofa in front of the TV.
       - Some entertainment! – said Bonnie arrogantly. – A bore of a life. We always had
lots of people in our house. Everyone entered and admired me first. I spent most of my
time either in my mistress’ hands or on my cushion. And there were carpets all over the
place. I always had the freshest and the tastiest meals and saw the dusty sidewalk only
from the window sill.
       She fell silent, put her fluffy head on her forepaws and sulked.
       - I have hardly eaten anything for two days now and I am so tired...
       It got dark. Luke returned – very tired and empty-handed.
       - I am sorry, friends, I could not find anything to eat. There is a grocery nearby but I
don’t know the watchman who’s on the shift tonight. He waved his fist at me and was
shouting to keep me away from the shop. So we head for the shelter early tomorrow
morning. And now we have nothing better but rest. There is a small yard round the
corner with very few people. We can sleep under a bench, - suggested Luke.
       - Under a bench? – asked Bonnie wickedly. – I cannot believe I will sleep on the
bare ground again.
       - Unfortunately you will. By the way, how are you? Able to reach the corner I hope?
– asked Luke.
       - Able. Promise I will surely eat tomorrow morning.
       - I can promise nothing. Also it’s not “I”, it’s “we”. You are not one in a million,
Bonnie, when will you finally understand this?
       They came to a small yard and lay on the cold ground under a bench. Bonnie was
too tired to complain. But when the night came she jumped to the bench, curled up in a
tight ball and fell asleep at last...

Linda Green - books for kids