Chapter 1. Without Freddie or the Adventures go on

       Two hours after all these joyful events, the friends were peacefully resting on the
grass in the shelter’s yard.
       - Stay here for a while, I’ll be back in no time, - said Bonnie. Ginger and Luke hardly
blinked and she was already gone.
       - Where did she go? There is no time for entertainment, - said Luke with
       - Probably found someone to pick a quarrel or maybe to boast. Most likely she is
tired of us, - supposed Ginger sadly.
       - Hey, Ginger, buddy, don’t lose heart. It’s so unlike you. Don’t give up and you will
find your home one way or another, - Luke tried to cheer the gloomy spaniel up.
       - Freddie must be home already. Sitting on his favourite sofa next to his master and
remembering all his two-weeks journey as a nightmare.
       - Yeah, that’s right, - smiled Luke.

       - So, you were not kidding when you said we are leaving tomorrow. Does Bonnie
already know? – asked the spaniel quietly, after Luke whispered something in his ear.
       - Not yet but she’ll know soon. We are leaving early tomorrow morning. If we miss it,
we’ll have to stay for three more days, - answered Luke.
       - Why is that?
       - It’s because our only opportunity to escape is through the kitchen. Listen carefully:
the trash collectors come twice a week. The kitchen’s wide back doors open only on
these days. There is usually lots of trash so we’ll have two or maybe three minutes to run
into the street past the cook before she raises the alarm, - explained Luke quietly.
       - Yeah, I got it. If Bonnie refuses we have to wait for three more days until the trash
collectors arrive, right? – asked Ginger.
       - Even if she refuses to escape, she will never stay here alone. So, she simply has
no other choice, you see, - answered Luke.
       - Are you sure we are doing the right thing?
       - I am absolutely positive. The more days you stay in the streets, the more difficult it
is to find your home. As for our boasting Bonnie, I am almost sure she will be fine. Her
master is to return in five days. If only she doesn’t do something to attract attention
during this time, I promise I will take her straight to the door of her nice house.
       - Then early tomorrow morning we... – Ginger could not finish as agitated Bonnie
arrived and delightedly started to tell about her new friends.
       - Can you imagine, her name is Sylvia, she’s also a white lap-dog, and a winner of
several beauty contests. She’s quite old, though, but still very beautiful... – Bonnie kept
chattering on and on. – When I return home the first thing is to check into the beauty
contests for small domestic dogs. So, I assure you, you will hear of me again, - as usual
she lifted her muzzle up.
       - I agree. This is fascinating and you will share your news and plans with all
neighbour dogs but now you must listen to what I have to say, - said Luke quietly and
very seriously.
       - Here you come again with your silly ideas. Spoiled my mood as usual. All right,
shoot, whatever it is. Hope it’s important.
       - Well, not as important as a beauty contest, of course, but I thought it better for
you to know that tomorrow we are leaving this hospitable place. So, we’d better go to bed
immediately after dinner because we get up before dawn tomorrow.
       - I... What you... How dare you decide everything for me? You did not even deign to
ask my opinion, - cried the lap-dog indignantly.
       - We know your opinion, but in this case it does not change anything because we
don’t have any reason to stay here. We decided it together with Ginger and the topic is
closed. I hope you’ll be a nice girl and try to get some sleep because we have a long day
ahead, - finished Luke determinedly.
       - Where shall we go? – asked Bonnie obediently. Apparently she understood she
would not be able to change anything.
       - You will know tomorrow. We’ll keep on looking for Ginger’s masters.
       - I knew it. Why cannot you stay put? What’s the use of running all the time? What if
I refuse to join you?
       - Then you will stay for a long time. It’s up to you. Who knows if your mistress will
ever be able to find you here... – answered Luke immediately.
       The lap-dog did not have anything to argue with this.
       It was getting dark and the dogs were called into the house for dinner. After the
meal Luke went to his new sleeping place on the second floor. Before leaving he warned
he would return very early and reminded them to be alert.
       Night came. Everyone had fallen asleep except Bonnie. She woke Ginger up and
whispered in his ear that she would probably run with them only not to stay here alone...

       It was quite dark when Luke silently pushed Ginger with his muzzle and then patted
Bonnie who was sweetly snoring away. Both woke up and the lap-dog asked yawning:
       - Uhmmm... already to run away?
       - Hush... follow me, - whispered Luke.
       Ginger and Bonnie slipped quickly and carefully past a dozen sleeping dogs and
followed Luke.
       - The trash collectors truck is already here. In a minute the kitchen doors will open
and we must rush past the cook and the trashmen. Whatever happens, don’t slow down,
- quietly but confidently Luke kept on giving instructions.
       He crawled under the staircase and the friends passed a dark corridor. The sound
of the trash truck became so loud, as if its engine was running right near them. There
were smells of food, washing powder and dirty dishes.
       A man opened the wide heavy kitchen doors, shouted something over his shoulder
and started to push a huge trash container to the exit.
       - Do it! – cried Luke and lightning fast rushed past the surprised man and stunned
cook, who was standing on the other side of the door.
       He ran out to the street with Bonnie and Ginger trailing him from behind.
       Once in the street Luke ran headlong to the other side and around the corner,
where he stopped to catch a breath and to wait for his friends. They did not keep him
waiting – in a dozen of seconds they came running.
       - Well, shall we go on? – asked puffing Luke and ran on again. The spaniel and the
lap-dog followed.
       And the fat cook was at a complete loss: “Such a weird dog. Escaped for a second
time already. What does this place lack for him, I wonder?..”

       The three of them had been running for a long time very quickly until exhausted
Bonnie stopped right in the middle of the road to catch her breath.
       - My G-d, am I sick and tired of all of you! Could not we escape a week later?
Couldn’t we have stayed there, eat, drink, lie in the sun... Wasn’t that nice?
       - I told you a dozen times already. I don’t want to live there, at least until I can be
useful. As for Ginger he could not stay there by far. He still has to find his home, -
answered Luke.
       - Didn’t they call about his home? All for nothing. Maybe he is from another city, like
Freddie. Anyway, I’m glad thin legs was found. Happy he’s safely returned home, -
declared the lap-dog to finish her complaints. In a minute she added:
       - May I ask where are we heading now? Freddie the coward is not with us anymore,
so who’s now going to be scared?
       - I guess you are well worth three of Freddie’s kind. And I also think you won’t be
surprised to hear it is much harder to deal with you than it was with him. We are going to
the zoo. There is a large billboard near the entrance that surely contains some lost
animal ads, - said Luke.
       - But we have already been to so many places in vain. Where is a guarantee
anyone is still looking for Ginger at all? – spoiled Bonnie could not quiet down.
       - We will go to as many places as it takes to help Ginger return home. We have to
hope, to use the slightest chances and to believe in our luck, - answered Luke.
       Ginger exclaimed:
       - I am sure they are looking for me. I lived with kind people.
       He did not take any offence from Bonnie, he only thought that one always must
hope for the better and as for Bonnie, well she was too tired...
       All in all, she is right in her own way: she could stay some place safe till her masters
return. Instead, she has to run all day long, looking for something and put her life in
       Luke interrupted these thoughts:
       - Hey, redhead, thinking too much is as bad as not thinking at all. Let me better tell
you what we should do at the zoo.
       - What indeed? – wondered the spaniel.
       - Look at the animals, what else? Well, perhaps, show ourselves as well, - said
Bonnie resolutely.
       - No, pretty, we will not look at the animals; the pet-shop was more than enough.
There is no big difference except the zoo has more animals with bigger cages.
Nevertheless, they remain cages. And I don’t like animals in captivity. Now as for showing
ourselves, that’s a bingo. We shall stroll around the main gate – perhaps someone will
take notice and Ginger, like Freddie, will have luck. And always keep close to me, will
you, - asked Luke in conclusion as always.
       - My, oh my! Some week it has been. I have seen fewer things during all my
previous life, - said Bonnie admiringly.
       - Right, baby. Oh, and you still have a whole week left, - laughed Luke.
       - I forgot. Better not to think about it. Everything is like a nightmare anyway. Is it far
to the zoo?
       - A couple of hours. However, you are now tough as a beagle, aren’t you? – smiled
Luke. But Bonnie only turned her muzzle away.
       They trotted slowly along unfamiliar streets. The wind was driving storm clouds and
soon it was drizzling. The friends went on and on...

       At last, they reached a big wooden gate. Judging by the size of the crowd on the
right side, the ticket office was probably there.
       - Today must be a weekend. I have been here on police matters a few times, but
have never seen so many people, - said Luke.
       A big billboard all covered with white notes was hanging on the left side.
       It was near this billboard that the friends sat down. The people around were very
noisy, everyone was in a hurry and nobody paid any attention to them. Half an hour
       - You see now, nobody is even looking our way. I told you it would be in vain.
Anyway, while we are here, why not go inside? I feel very much like looking at different
animals, - declared Bonnie.
       - We agreed not to go, - Ginger told her.
       But Bonnie suddenly stood up and went to the ticket collector wearing a cloth-cap,
who let people into the zoo. The lap-dog slipped in quickly and cunningly. Luke and
Ginger had nothing to do but to follow her.
       - Why did you do this? – asked Luke severely when they caught up with her.
       - Wanted to!
       - And now Ginger has lost a day because of you.
       - The day would have been lost even if I had not entered the zoo. Because you don’
t have any plan for further actions as far as I understood. On the other hand, a walk in
the zoo can do us some good, - answered Bonnie and moved forward decidedly.
       - I don’t think she will ever change or understand anything at all. Too spoiled, - said
Luke wearily.

       The three of them turned to the right where the tour of the zoo began.
       The birds were the first to see. There were so many – from the small domestic
canaries to mighty hawks soaring in the sky. Ginger saw parrots again. One of them was
an exact twin of John who lived with Cathy.
       - Whom exactly did you want to see here? – Luke asked Bonnie who was gaping in
all directions. – The zoo is big, so think what interests you more.
       - The wolves! – she exclaimed immediately.
       - Why wolves?
       - I have heard they are very much like dogs. So, I wonder: who looks like a dog but
is not a dog?
       - You are right, it is interesting indeed. All right, let’s go look for them.
       While looking for the wolves’ cages they also saw an elephant, a giraffe, bears and
zebras. The friends entered one of the big pavillions and heard people talking about
turtles, lizards and snakes. Even Luke had no idea what they were.
       Another pavillion housed nothing but fish. However, in the third one, even Bonnie
recognized hedgehogs and rabbits. Her neighbours from the apartment above had
some. Ginger heard a boy asking his mother what was inside a big pool. The mother told
him they were crocodiles and he must not go close to the water.
       Ginger asked Luke why those crocodiles were so dangerous. But he had no idea.
       Then the friends came to numerous monkey cages. The monkeys were of various
breeds and behaved very differently.
       One of them was crying loudly, making funny faces, bullying its neighbours and
snatching their food. All in all, behaved like she was alone in the whole Universe.
       - Doesn’t she remind you of anybody? – Luke asked Ginger smiling.
       - I’d better keep it to myself. Otherwise, our Bonnie will do something outrageous
and we’ll be in big trouble.
       Fortunately, the lap-dog did not hear them because at this moment she saw some
big cages ahead. In them several dogs were sadly pacing to and fro. At least at first
glance one could well think them to be dogs. But Bonnie understood they really were
       - Luke, come here. They look like you! – she exclaimed.
       - Don’t shout. Yeah, I see. Well, I’m a bit surprised I look a bit like a wolf, but I am a
dog and I am quite sure of it.
       - What I think is that it’s high time for us to leave. We’ve seen enough. Let’s think of
where to go next, - interrupted Ginger.
       Surprisingly Bonnie did not argue so they went back to the central gate. On the way
they also saw penguins that were delightedly munching on fish and a leopard with a
beautiful spotted hide.
       The friends left the zoo and sat down near the guard’s booth. They were talking
quietly and looking around.
       Opposite the booth there was a trolley stop. An elderly woman was standing there.
       Suddenly a man in a black leather jacket rushed past the woman. He snatched her
bag out of her hands and ran away quickly. The woman started screaming: “Help! He
stole my bag! Catch him! Catch the thief!”
       Ginger and Bonnie could hardly understand what was going on while Luke reacted
instantly. He ran headlong after the thief in the black leather jacket. In a few seconds
Luke caught up with him, leaped on his back and toppled him on to the sidewalk. The
bag flew out of the thief’s hands. He tried to run but Luke firmly hold his jacket with his
teeth. Every movement the man tried caused a threatening growl from dog’s throat.
       - All right, all right, doggie, I’ll sit tight. Just don’t snarl, - blurted the frightened thief.
       Luke let him sit on the pavement. The security guard called the police and the thief
was still sitting there covering his head with his hands when the police arrived. Only then
did Luke let the thief go and slowly walked toward his friends.
       - Luke, you are so great! You are the bravest, the strongest, and the smartest! –
cried Bonnie wagging her tail.
       - Yeah, buddy, you’re nobody’s fool! – also said Ginger.
       - Thank you, friends. Well, I think the police officers know their work. Let’s go on
and think what to do next, - Luke suggested modestly as always.
       They slowly trotted along the zoo fence. At this moment some man was pasting new
advertisements on the billboard. He had already finished his job and was stacking his
equipment into a big bag when he noticed three dogs going to the trolley stop.
       “Bless me!” – he thought. – “This red spaniel is very similar to the description of the
lost one.”
       - Hey, dogs, wait! You, redhead, stop for a minute! Don’t run so fast, I cannot catch
up. I’ve just pasted an ad that says they are looking for you! – the man in a grey jacket
cried, waving his hands.
       The friends ran faster.
       - He said something about an ad and a red spaniel. Maybe we should stop? –
Ginger asked Luke on the run.
       - It’s too late. Also the police officers can recognize me and send me to the shelter
again, - he answered.
       They had already reached the next trolley stop. The man still ran after them but he
was very far behind. A trolley came by and the doors opened.
       And the friends climbed the steps into the trolley and rode away just like little
Freddie did once...
       The man in the grey jacket stopped, caught his breath and told himself: “How would
they find you now, Ginger? I wish no troubles come your way...”

       Although there were few people inside, the trolley was stifling. The friends sat down
quietly in the very rear. Nobody paid any attention to them. A good three minutes passed
before they could finally recover their breath.
       - Can anyone explain to me why we have done it and where we are going now? As
far as I understand, a train ride was not a part of our plans.
       - This is not a train, Bonnie. It is a trolley. Trains have more cars and they are more
spacious. Incidentally, why do you ask? Our plans always were of little interest to you.
What has changed? – asked Luke smiling.
       - We are riding into nowhere and getting farther away from my house. And I have
only four days left and I do not want to get more lost, - said the lap-dog almost weeping.
       - Ah, that’s it! You are afraid of being left in the streets alone – without any help,
without friends and without hope. Perhaps now you understand Ginger’s feelings better.
       - I don’t care about anyone’s feelings. The matter is that I don’t want to lose my own
home while looking for Ginger’s one. Also, I am sick of being hungry all the time.
       Luke wanted to object to the vain lap-dog, but something happened at this moment.
A boy sitting in the rear opened his school-bag and took out a bag with two big sausage
sandwiches. The wonderful sausage smell reached the hungry dogs and even Luke
momentarily lost his composure.
       - Run and bring me the second sandwich, quick. Or else I will bark so loudly... –
cried Bonnie desperately.
       - You will not bark. Nobody moves, - ordered Luke.
       - But why?
       - Because neither hunger nor even famine will ever make me a thief. This is not
ours so we must not take it.
       Everyone fell silent. The smell of food grew stronger. Suddenly, Bonnie, obviously
amazed at her own courage, rushed forward, leaped to the seat with the sandwich,
snatched it together with the paper bag and returned to her friends.
       - Put this back now! – cried Luke but it was too late because the boy cried that the
doggie had taken his sandwich.
       All the passengers looked back first at the boy and then at the three dogs in the
       - Don’t cry, honey. The doggie was very hungry so it accidentally took your
sandwich, that’s all, - tenderly said a young woman in glasses, sitting on the front right
       - What do you mean “accidentally”? When did the dogs start taking food away from
the people? By the way, gentlemen, whose dogs are these?
       Nobody answered. People began to argue but no one ventured to approach the
dogs. Someone said that they were stray, therefore dangerous and one should urgently
call the appropriate service.
       - All that because of you. I warned you! – said Luke severely.
       He took the bag with the sandwich in his teeth and carefully carried it back to the
seat where it was before Bonnie snatched it away.
       The boy looked frightened at the big shepherd but Luke’s eyes were so devoted
and sincere it seemed he was begging pardon. Then the boy took out the sandwich and
offered it to Luke, however the dog did not take it and returned to his place.
       At this moment the trolley stopped, its door opened and Luke jumped out followed
by Ginger and Bonnie.

       - How dared you refuse the sandwich when the boy was giving it to you freely? –
cried Bonnie indignantly.
       - I dared in much the same manner that you dared taking what was not yours. I
hope you feel at least a bit of shame? – Luke asked her sternly.
       - Eating from trash containers and begging for food is a shame!
       - You are wrong! That’s not very pleasant, agreed, but at least it is not stealing.
Hope you understand the difference, Bonnie.
       - I am sick and tired of you with your rules and laws. Meanwhile I can die of hunger,
- answered the lap-dog and lay down right in the middle of the road.
       - What happened, Bonnie? – asked Ginger.
       - I will not move until I have a meal.
       - Don’t mind her, Ginger. Here, see this big branchy tree? We shall rest there, -
said Luke to Ginger.
       They strolled leisurely away from the road, to the place filled with smells of trees
and dried autumn grass. Bonnie did not budge.
       Almost an hour passed. Luke quietly talked to Ginger.
       - Maybe we should bring her here? – asked the spaniel for the third time.
       - No, we should not. Anyway there will be rain, a real thunderstorm soon. She has
nowhere to go but here.
       - How do you know there will be a thunderstorm?
       - By the clouds. Don’t forget I have been living in the streets more than a week like
you have, - replied Luke smiling.
       - Of course, you have seen and you know much more than I. Tell me honestly – do I
still have a chance of returning home? – asked the spaniel.
       - Of course, you do! There always is a chance – you just have to believe and to
hope. Well, and not to idle either.
       - So, what are our plans now? Bonnie was right when she said we boarded that
trolley accidentally, wasn’t she? Moreover we rode in the wrong direction as well, - said
the spaniel.
       - Yes, buddy, she was right. Only if I had told her in the trolley, she would have
gotten really mad. The main thing is that I don’t know where we are myself. It’s my first
time here, - said Luke quietly.
       - What shall we do? What can we tell Bonnie?
       - One must always do something – the worst thing is idleness. Look, it’s beginning
to rain. We should wait till it’s over. Then we have nothing better but to return to the zoo.
       - Why should it be the zoo? And how are you going to find your way back after the
trolley took us this far? – wondered the spaniel.
       - I know the road from the zoo to the central square of this town. It’s your next
chance, remember? As for the way back, it’s quite elementary: we reverse our steps
along the trolley tracks, - answered Luke smiling.
       - How simple everything is when you know what to do, - the spaniel was wagging his
       However, in a minute he asked doubtfully:
       - Only, how shall we tell Bonnie about it?
       - Just tell her. Oh, here she is. Hello, beauty. The rain soaked you a bit? Came to
dry yourself? – Luke ironically asked Bonnie, who was soaking wet. Her white hide
became grey once again.
       - Hello to gentlemen and to real friends! I had been sure you would come for me... –
she started the familiar litany.
       - Move closer to the tree, baby, unless you want to get wetter. I don’t see any traces
of the bath Maria gave you yesterday. You know, you are grey again, - said Luke sweetly.
       The lap-dog sat down near them and said maliciously:
       - It’s your entire fault. You abandoned me on that road.
       - Nobody abandoned you. You rolled in the dust yourself, - answered Ginger.
       - Bravo, Ginger. At last you learned to talk to our princess, - laughed Luke.
       It was raining harder. In a few minutes there was a flash of lightning and a
thunderclap. Bonnie leaned against the tree trunk as if looking for support and
       - Are you cold, princess, - Luke asked her.
       - Not especially. Hungry and sleepy, yes.
       - Concerning the hunger I am helpless, but as for the sleep, you can doze right
here quite easily. Ginger and I are nearby and the rain seems to be continuing.
       Tired and wet, Bonnie fell asleep in a minute. She had been sleeping for only ten
minutes when an awful clap of thunder woke her up. Her small body was shaking with
       - Don’t be afraid, baby, it’s only thunder.
       - Yeah, I know. But my mistress always closed all the windows and took me in her
lap so that I would not be afraid when there was a thunderstorm. I have never been
exposed to such weather and have never heard such a loud thunder.
       It rained almost until the evening. After the rain stopped it was getting noticeably
       - I’d like to ask when we’ll have a meal today? If any, that is, - said the lap-dog sadly
looking at the last raindrops falling from branches.
       - I don’t know when we will manage to eat, baby, - confessed Luke, - But seemingly,
not today.
       - I knew it. And also I understood we had lost our way. I dreaded it above all and it
happened. I lost my home too! – cried Bonnie resentfully and loudly wept.
       - Bonnie, come on, don’t cry, we have not lost anything. Well, maybe got lost a bit
but Luke will lead us back to the zoo today, - Ginger tried to sooth her up.
       - What!? Today? I am not going anywhere today! I mean it even if I’m left totally
alone here and will never see my home again! – cried Bonnie. Then she covered her
muzzle with a paw and looked the other way.
       - What do you say, Luke? I guess she is very tired indeed. Perhaps that will do for
today? – asked the spaniel.
       - All right, we’ll spend the night here. Return to the zoo first thing in the morning, it’s
close to the Central square, - pondered Luke.
       He came to the closest big puddle and started to drink thirstily. Ginger and Bonnie
joined him. Having drunk their full they settled under the tree and watched the sunset.
Bonnie had seen it before, although only from a windowsill in her masters’ apartment.
       - It is even more beautiful this way, - said she dreamily.
       - Of course it is, - answered Ginger and Luke together.
       The sun almost disappeared behind the horizon. Tired and hungry, the dogs fell
asleep on the bare ground. Tomorrow they will continue their hard, dangerous, but
interesting journey...

Linda Green - books for kids