Dog: Joy finder

‘I’m bored, said Martha. It was a stifling hot summer’s day in the holidays and the children had played with every toy they could find, splashed in the paddling pool and bounced balls up and down until they were dizzy.

 ‘Me too,’ said Tom. The children trudged off inside to escape the searing sunshine, and sat down with The Stiblers feeling hot and bothered.

‘I suppose we could go for a walk,’ said Martha.

A voice yelled, ‘Yay! Take me. Walking is awesome.’

“Not now Dog,’ said Martha

‘We could collect insects,’ said Tom.

 ‘No,’ said Martha, ‘that’s really yuk.’

‘Epic! – I love insects. We could dig under trees and bushes and hunt them and put them in jars and say which one is yukkest. Let’s go, let’s go!’ said the voice, more of a yelp now.

‘There are times when Dog can be a bit annoying,’ said Martha, to no-one in particular.

Dog leapt out of the box, paws balanced on the edge, his tongue lolling breathlessly, his tail wagging, ears twitching. ‘What’s up?’ he asked with glee. ‘We could throw balls or hurl a hoop or dig for bones or sniff. Sniffing is epic!’

‘Sniffing is not fun,’ pointed out Martha.

‘Wrong,’ said Dog. ‘There’s fun everywhere. Scratching, laughing, jumping up and down, counting clouds, hiding shoes – come on you two– you’re good at this sort of stuff.’

‘It’s way too hot,’ complained Tom lying flat on the cool floor.

Suddenly, Dog landed on him, slobbering his tongue over the boy’s face. ‘No, Dog, no licking,’ shouted Tom.

Dog stopped in his tracks. His huge brown eyes looked both soft and hurt; his tail drooped and he slumped into the far corner of the room with a grunt. Nonetheless, Dog’s sadness didn’t last for long. Within seconds he’d found a plastic tractor with some very interesting wheels to chew off. Dog set to the task with enthusiasm.

‘Do you know what Tom?’ said Martha. ‘Dog has a really furry coat and doesn’t ever complain about the heat. Maybe we’re being a bit silly. Let’s go outside and build a den.’

‘Great idea,’ laughed Tom.

‘Yay!’ cried Dog. ‘I can bring stuff for the den; twigs and tractors and bones.’

Dog looked up, panting with excitement. It was impossible to refuse him.  Even though the children knew that building a den with Dog would be a bit of a challenge, it did seem like the best way to spend the afternoon.