reading time





Reading is Fun!!!!!!!

Reading is Fun!!!!!!!                                                                    





I can’t breathe. The cage is closing in on me. I feel the bars pushing against my sides. I don’t want to be a Bad Luck Dog. I open my eyes. Silly me, it’s my nightmare again! I’m safe under the desk at Mrs. Prance’s bakery.

It was months ago when Mrs. Prance adopted me from the pound and took me home. I love it when she pets me and calls me Stubb or Stubby.

It’s wonderful living in her apartment above the bakery and snacking on her yummy Puffer cookies oozing with custard, chocolate or lemon cream. “Ouch! That pinch hurt, TT, stop it!”

It’s TT my Terrible talking Tummy. He began yelling and bossing me shortly after I moved in with Mrs. Prance. I had just finished a crispy, round, vanilla cream. Puffer. A high, squeaky voice buzzed in my head. Stubb, this is your hungry tummy talking. Eat more Puffers fill up the tank. That’s an order. I’m watching you. I’m always watching, waiting and hungry.

I’ve tried to ignore TT but he won’t go away. He continues to yell and complain. He loves to eat and fill up the tank, which means he pushes me to OVEREAT. Since TT arrived I eat too much. I feel bloated. I have short legs and after a pig-out or gobbler my tummy bounces up and down on the ground when I walk.

He’s yelling, What about me?? When you’re bloated I get a burp blast and you don’t care.

TT, how can I care? I don’t even know what a Burp Blast is?

A Burp Blast gurgles inside me. It forms a circle of gas and rolls around. . The blast ends with a loud painful burp.

“TT, too many fill up the tanks, pig-outs and gobblers? Warn me when you feel a Burp Blast rolling around.

I’ll try to tell you. But I can’t exist without nibblers, pig-outs and gobblers

 Now he’s crying!

. I trot over to the front door of the shop. I sit and watch everyone that comes in to buy Mrs. Prance’s yummy cookies.

After about an hour the shop empties and Mrs. Prance calls. I do my famous Squish Plop Walk and end up sitting on one of her extra wide orange and black running shoes.

Mrs. Prance looks at me with her round blue eyes. “I’ve always liked your ears. Not many dogs have one ear up and the other ear flopping down. You are a very cute terrier mix.

She laughs. “I love your walk. It makes your tummy jiggle and wiggle.”

She’s right about my marvelous Squish Plop walk. My front paws flatten with a squish, squish sound and my back legs join in with a quick plop plop. My ears wiggle and I bounce along. Before long I have a rhythm going. Other dogs try to copy my Squish Plop walk but they can’t do it. When they see me coming they turn their backs and growl.

TT alert! Her legs remind me of juicy sausages and Stubb, we love nibbling on sausages. Her dimpled walkers stuffed into extra wide running shoes are a BIG TIME YUMMY.

She grabs a flowered dishtowel and wipes off my muzzle and tummy.

TT here. I wish she’d give that dishtowel a rest. She tickles me.

“Stubby, I’ve decided to go on a vacation to Rome, Italy and I’m leaving tomorrow. The bakery will be closed and I’ve booked you into the Doggy Day’s hotel. It’s the best dog kennel in San Francisco, California. You enjoyed your last visit there.”

 What! My Mrs. Prance is leaving me! Who will feed me or take me for a walk? Oh fiddle, not the Doggy Day’s hotel. Yuck! I hate their food. They’ve fooled me before with a shiny bag of dog food covered with pictures of dogs wearing blue ribbons and eating that kibble. The truth is, the kibble or dribble regroups and marches into the intestines. I end up on my back with my paws pawing in the air. It’s called a gas attack.

 Mrs. Prance scratches my ear the one that pokes up. “Before I bought the Puffer Shop I spent several years traveling in Europe. Italy was a favorite place for me.” “I’ll be sixty years old this year and I want to visit Rome Italy again. I love their delicious, golden pizza with bubbling cheese and I miss going into a gelateria and enjoying the best ice cream in the world.”

Mrs. Prance is my cookie connection and I wonder if she could be my gelato connection.

She pats her tummy and smacks her lips. “I wish you could come with me. You’d love the ice cream, but I haven’t the energy to even think about taking you to Italy. My friend, Sue, from Doggy Day’s hotel is coming by after I leave for the airport.”

I roll on my back and poke my feet in the air. I let out a long, sad howl. I don’t want my dear Mrs. Prance to go on vacation without me. I’ll miss her hugs. I’ll miss watching TV with her. How can I exist without sniffing her delightful chops . . . I mean legs.

Mrs. Prance rests her hands on her round hips. “No worries. Sue will close up the bakery and take you to Doggy Days Hotel.”

“Stubby, this is going to be a busy Saturday, so take a nap.” She walks back behind the counter. “No worries. We’ll go out later.”

TT here. This is what I think. When Prance goes on vacation lets have a Puffer gobbler. I can smell them. I can taste that sweet vanilla cream.

I slide under the desk. I guess I can nap, I think I can nap. I hope my cage nightmare stays away. I hear voices and look around. A dark haired boy and a small, serious woman are buying cookies and chatting with Mrs. Prance.

The woman puts a box of Puffers in her bag. “How nice that you’re going to Italy.” She puts an arm around the boy. “Benjamin and I are looking forward to visiting Rome. His father and I will be working at the American Embassy and he’ll be attending summer school.

My eyes are glued on the boy called Benjamin. My heart leaps and my tail trembles. Could this be my Ben? He saved my life.

I creep out from under the desk. He would be older now. I remember, when I was a little pup dumped in a ditch near the road, a boy called Benjamin scooped me up before a car smashed into me. I licked his face and crawled into his lap. I loved this boy so, so much. I was scared, lonely and tired of wandering by the road. Ben wanted to take me home. I was beyond happy. I laid my head on his shoulder and snuggled in his arms.

He begged his mom. Her answer was no. He

He whispered to me. “I need a friend, the kids at school tease me.”

Ben left with his mother. He turned and waved. I noticed he limped as he walked away. Now I understood about the kids at school.

Mrs. Prance calls me over. “Stubb, come here.” She introduces me. “This special fellow would like to say hello to you.”

Benjamin smiles at me.

“Stubby, shake hands ” says Mrs. Prance.

I sit down in front of the boy and slide my paw into his hand. It’s him I’m sure! I remember those sad brown eyes.

    He bends over and peers at me. We are nose to nose. “Mom, Mom, this is the dog that I saved! Remember, he was almost hit by a car!” Ben hugs me. “It’s been about two years. He’s bigger, but I recognize his ears.”

I wag my tail so hard it feels like a propeller. Ben wants me. He always wanted me and he still wants me.

I feel a jerk on my ear. I look up at his mother. She frowns and her voice shakes. “I’m sorry, we have to leave right now.” She leads Ben toward the door.

“Mom, wait! I just found Stubb and I want get to know him. We can’t leave now.”

“Stubby has quite a story,” says Mrs. Prance. The guard at the pound insisted that he was a Bad Luck Dog because no one wanted him. They were putting him to sleep the next day. I adopted him just in time.”

I rub against Mrs. Prance’s chubby legs. I’ll never forget that awful guard. He yelled at me. “You’re on a fast track to dog heaven.” He tore up the sign on my cage, ’Adoption Fee Waived’. He tossed me a dog biscuit. I put a paw through the bars he wouldn’t look at me. I started to shiver and couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to die.

Mrs. Prance finishes her story. “I was surprised when Stubb smiled at me. His smile melted my heart.” She pats my head. “He’s such a love and he knows every word I say to him.”

My smile is another amazing trick. I squeeze my lips together and puff air through my nose and out pops my smile.

She grins. “Ben, you’re welcome to visit. He loves kids and likes walks and going to the park. Maybe Stubb could spend some time at your house.”           

Benjamin’s mom walks to the door. “We’re going to Italy and I’m too busy to worry about Stubb.” Her voice quivers. “Besides, I don’t like dogs. Benjamin, I’ve told you before. You’ll NEVER have a dog.”

“But Mom, I wouldn’t be lonesome if Stubb and I were pals.”

“Stop complaining! You’re always worried about your limp. It’s up to you to learn how to make friends.” She opens the door and grabs his hand. “We must go.”

I hurry after them. I can’t let Benjamin go. I feel a tap on my back. Mrs. Prance bends down.

“You better stay here. For some reason, Ben’s mom hates dogs.” She runs a hand through her wild red hair. “Now I understand why you’ve been watching the door. You were hoping to find Benjamin.”

I crawl back under a chair and cover my eyes with my paws. I missed my chance. Ben was right here. I’ll never stop looking and I will find him again.

A whine escapes me. Bad Luck Dog repeats in my head. I roll on my side and howl. I just know he’d love my dog kisses. I’d make him happy. Benjamin was my first friend.

Mrs. Prance reaches down and rubs my tummy. “Stubby, don’t be sad. I’m sure you’ll see Benjamin again.”

I hide under the desk. A soft whine slides out of my muzzle. It comes from my heart.

Later Mrs. Prance and I go for a walk. She stops. “What’s happened to your happy walk?”

My paws refuse to squish plop and my tail drags. The sadness won’t leave me. I follow her slowly back to the Puffer Shop.

That night I can’t sleep. I’m thinking about Benjamin and how to find him. An idea pops into my head. I’ll follow Mrs. Prance to Rome. He will be there with his parents. I’m Super Stubb. I’m a sneaker and a creeper I’ll find a way.

TT checking in, if you’re Super Stubb you better think up a travel plan. We can’t walk to Italy.

The next morning I jump up and take a deep breath. I stretch my lips and puff air out through my nose. I feel a big smile spread across my face. I have a plan and I’m going to Italy.

Mrs. Prance is stacking her luggage by the front door. “I’ll miss you. When I get back I’ll tell you all about my trip.”

 No, Mrs. Prance you’re wrong. I won’t have to hear about your trip. I’m going with you.

TT checking in. I hate your silly smile and I hate kids. Forget about finding that Ben! I’m awake and hungry. Get movin. I’m waiting . . .

“Behave yourself. Put a freeze on all pinches.”

I’m waiting . . . I’m still waiting . . . ready for your genius escape plan.

Mrs. Prance pats my head. “Ciao, Stubb. My friend Sue from Doggy Days Hotel will be here in a few minutes. Wait under the desk until she picks you up. Have fun with the other dogs.”

She bends down and kisses the top of my head. I wiggle, whine and give her a wet kiss on her round cheek.

“No Stubby, you must stay here.” Mrs. Prance grins. “It’s get up and go time.” She waves and rolls out the door.

I’m right behind you, Mrs. Prance. I don’t need a change of clothes or a toothbrush. I’m a sneaker and a creeper. Her garment bag might be my travel bag.

The door is open a crack. My Invisible Creeper trick is perfect for sneaking up on Mrs. Prance. I crawl forward and slide into my wonderful Invisible Creeper trick. I pull TT in. Then slide my two paws forward and slowly pull up my rump. I’m out the door.

There she is next to the taxi yelling at the driver, “Hurry up, pal!” She snaps her dishtowel in the air. “I have a plane to catch.”

No one ‘s looking, so I’ll try my sneaky bag trick. I creep forward, unzip the bag and crawl inside. My heart pounds, I’m getting that locked in a cage feeling. I’ll be brave even though it’s stuffy and tight. I wiggle down to the bottom. I stick out a paw and start to zip up. Oh fiddle, the zipper won’t go over my tummy.

TT alert! Don’t catch me in that zipper. Try taking a deep breath and pull me in. You can do it. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this problem. We’ve been stuck before.

 “Okay TT, one, two, three breathe in, tummy tight, and a quick zip and a peep hole at the top. It worked! We’re in and on our way to Italy.

I snuggle down into the bottom of the bag. It’s just a bag. As long as I can get some air I’ll ignore the weird, creepy feeling bubbling in my chest. The words Bad Luck Dog pop into my head. I ignore it. I’ll sing a song in a soft voice. I love to sing. It makes me feel safe.

TT alert. Hold it! I hate your singing it stinks! Food is your job. Besides, dogs never sing.

“TT, shut up I mean yut up. I can’t say shut up to him. His feelings get hurt and he’ll cry for hours. He’ll accept “Yut up.”

“TT, singing and traveling go together. Remember, I am not MOST dogs.”

   Squish, plop, plop, my fat will jiggle.

I’ll visit Italy, with a squish plop wiggle.

Super Stubb will eat, sing and giggle.

Gobbling gelato who needs an excuse

I won’t eat dog food it’s Stubb abuse.

I peep out watch Mrs. Prance’s dishtowel disappear under her chin and around the wrinkles on her freckled neck.

“Mister, hurry! I know my suitcases will fit in this taxi. My cases are full of high fashion clothes. I’ll need them in Rome.
Oh fiddle, I hear a door slam. I peek out. The cab is pulling away!!