All the dogs were bored and mad.
“I don’t know why we can’t have a park of our own to play in,” Overdog complained. “With a nice pile of leaves to roll around in and a fountain to drink out of.”
“They don’t want to spend the money,” Poodle said, shaking her curly head in disgust. “So I say we spend the afternoon making pests of ourselves. Let’s run through people’s yards and bark and make a mess.”
“Hooray!” “Good idea!” all the other dogs yelled as they started to run.
Underdog ran with them, but he felt bad about it. When he was a puppy he got a kick out of tearing up people’s gardens and breaking open trash bags, but now that he was grown he didn’t see the point in it. It just got them all in trouble.
He found a couple of tasty pork chop bones in a trash bag and nibbled on them, but he wasn’t hungry. Overdog came along and pushed him away from the bones, but Underdog didn’t even bother to growl. He sat by himself while his friends sniffed the cantaloupe rinds and potato peels scattered on the sidewalk.
When they were finished making a mess, all the dogs trotted downtown.
“We really got even with people for not giving us a park of our own,” Bulldog said with a satisfied smile.
Underdog saw an old lady across the street, standing there watching the cars zip by. She looked scared. A couple of times she put a foot out to cross the street, then yanked it back when cars went by honking their horns. Underdog ran over to her, and with a nod of his head and a wag of his tail, helped her across the street.
“Are you nuts?” Overdog growled. “What did you do that for?”
But Underdog saw that Poodle and Beagle were both looking at him with interest. He felt wonderful and handsome and useful.
Suddenly the smell of hotdogs and steak and hamburgers filled the air. It was dinnertime. The dog pack broke up, but Casey the Lab stayed behind and said to Underdog,
“That was a good thing you did.”
Underdog raised his tail in a thank-you salute.
Then he trotted home, past a cat that had scratched his nose once and made it bleed. The cat hissed at him, ready for another go-round, but Underdog didn’t chase it. The cat was very surprised.
When he got home, his owner was waiting for him.
“Don’t you trample my flowers!” she warned him. “And don’t come into the house if your paws are dirty!”
Underdog walked very carefully up the center of the sidewalk, away from the flowers, and scraped his paws as he walked.
“You really are a good dog," she said, leaning over to scratch his ears. “I might give you a steak bone tonight.”
Underdog stayed awake in his doghouse most of the night. He was trying to decide which of his friends might leave Overdog’s pack and join him in a new pack – a pack that spent time trying to be helpful and left the trash bags alone.
Underdog wanted to have a purpose in life.
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