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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)

TITLE: Dad Must Have Been Ugly
By lynn gipson


Splash knew he was an ugly puppy, no doubt about it. In fact, he was so ugly he was taken to an animal shelter as soon as he was weaned from his mother. His five brothers and sisters were all given away to people who eagerly wanted them.

Splash missed his mother. She was a Collie, and had long, beautiful, silky hair. All of her puppies looked like her, except for poor Splash. His father was unknown and his mother wasn't telling, but Splash reckoned he must have been an ugly dog.

Splash had dull, gray, short hair with white splotches on his feet and a big spot on his back that looked as if someone had splashed white paint on him. He was funny looking, with long legs and a body much too small for his frame.

He slept in a cage at the shelter next to an older dog named Maggie. Maggie was a gorgeous Golden Retriever. She told him her former owner had died, and she had no where else to go. When he would cry himself to sleep at night, Maggie would murmur sweetly to him. “Don't worry, little one, everything will be all right. You're a puppy! Someone will adopt you soon, and you will have a good home.”

“I'm too ugly. I heard that man say it yesterday, when he came in with his little girl.”

“You're not ugly, Splash. You're just young yet. You still have a lot of growing to do.”

“I'll never grow up in here. They'll put me to sleep like they did poor Rusty.” Rusty was a mongrel with no personality whatsoever, and no one wanted him either.

Weeks went by, and people came in and took other dogs home. They would all take one look at Splash and move on to the next cage. When Maggie got adopted by a sweet elderly woman for protection and companionship, Splash's heart was broken.

When Splash had all but given up hope, a miracle happened. A few days after Maggie left, a seven year old boy and his dad came in. The little boy looked at Splash and broke out into a big smile. “That's the one I want, Dad!”

Splash was beside himself with joy, until he heard what the dad had to say. “That one? Why, Charlie, that dog is ugly! Look at these pretty ones. There's a beautiful German Shepherd puppy! What about this Dalmatian over here?

“I want this one.”


“I think he's beautiful, and besides, he needs me. His eyes are begging me to take him home. He just needs me, Dad.”

“Okay, son, if that's the one you want. We'll take him.”

Splash was so happy to hear those words he literally jumped into Charlie's arms as soon as they let him out of his cage. He stayed there until Charlie gently put him down at his new home that came with a huge backyard for him to run and play in.

As he grew older, Splash began to notice some wonderful changes in himself and the way others looked at him. He could feel himself becoming tall and sleek. His body filled out, his dull gray hair turned stunningly silver, and the white splotches his feet turned into four perfect socks. Most amazingly of all, the splash of white on his back turned into a beautiful star.

Splash loved his family with all his heart, and when Charlie's dad began calling him Star Splash, he beamed with pride. He had arrived!

He became the envy of all the other male dogs in the neighborhood, and more than one female dog winked at him when he was taken out for his walks.

Star Splash knew he was a handsome dog. One day, while strutting around the block on his leash, a thought came to him. Maybe old Dad wasn't so ugly after all!

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This article has been read 533 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheldon Bass 04/11/13
If this piece does not win I will be surprised. You have hit a soft spot in my heart for all the orphaned domesticated animals out there. Very creative, heart-felt and imaginative use of topic. I think all of us can relate to splash's need for love and acceptance, which we find in Christ Jesus. Ugly or not He takes us and makes us beautiful from the inside out. I really enjoyed this piece!
Lillian Rhoades 04/11/13
Excellent, creative application of the topic. Great job of connecting the reader to your MC. Although the outcome was predictable as the story progressed, the piece was well constructed.

Five barks for this one.:-)
C D Swanson 04/11/13
Touching account this wonderfully written perspective of "beauty from within" - A timely reminder of what "love" and acceptance can do.

Great job!!!

God Bless~
Alicia Renkema04/12/13
This is such a wonderful piece of writing, just the kind I like to read before bed. It is so warm and comforting. It didn't start out that way of course which is what makes the ending so positively wonderful. Thank you for treating us and allowing us to meet a wonderful dog named splash who just as the ugly duckling became a swan, this precious dog, grew a star! This is fabulous writing indeed, even the relationship between Maggie and Splash at the pound was heart-warming.
Alicia Renkema04/12/13
I can't believe I forgot to say, the ending made me laugh right out loud, perfectly titled and it brought everything full circle. Again, great job!
Dana Anders04/12/13
Very catchy title! And I was not disappointed - very entertaining short story. Reminded me of the day we brought our cat home from the shelter. Apparently no-one wanted him, but he is the most adorable pet ever - and has grown into a handsome cat. Thanks for the lovely story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/13/13
I adored this! I love your creativity and the wonderful take on the topic. It is fresh, fun and has a great message tucked inside of it too.

I stumbled a bit on this line: She told him her former owner had died, and she had no where else to go. When he would cry himself to sleep at night,
I thought the he that cried at night was the former owner. it only took me a second to realize it was Splash who was crying, but it was enough of a bump to stop the great flow of this. (Also I think nowhere should be one word) And in this line, you're missing the word on: and the white splotches his feet turned)

Overall, I thought this was a delightful read. It would make a perfect children's story--a modern ugly duckling. I think the ending felt natural and made me smile. Two thumbs up on this wonderful splash of entertainment.
Loni Bowden-Horn 04/13/13
This is a warm fuzzy story about Splash the dog. I am glad the boy chose Splash because he knew the puppy needed him.

This is a wonderful story of how God looks at our hearts and not our outward appearances.

This is a great children's story and is fun for all ages.
Sarah Elisabeth 04/14/13
Aw, cute story! I could see this as a childrens' book.

Trust your descriptions, and use only concrete words, like when describing the mother as having, "long, beautiful, silky hair" you could just say, "long, silky hair." That's a concrete description of beauty.

Loved the last line :-)
Bea Edwards 04/14/13
Just loved it from beginning to end.
We have rescued a three dogs over the years and the ugliest one of all became our most loyal companion. He would hobble down the stairs to see us each time we came home on his 3 legs, while his 'brothers' lazily peered up with one eye and maybe a tail wag from their beds....
Your entry has all the makings of a wonderful children's book.

Christina Banks 04/14/13
I loved this story. You really can't judge a book by its cover, or a puppy by the splash on his back.
Judith Gayle Smith04/14/13
What a delightful story!
Myrna Noyes04/15/13
Dog stories always seem to touch people's hearts! :) You came up with a creative take on the "Splash" topic, and your story kept my interest all the way through. Good job!
Michelle Knoll 04/16/13
I like your take on the topic! This is a truly wonderful story. Very touching.
Alicia Renkema04/18/13
Lynn -- I am so happy that this placed. I adored this story, and I am not even an animal lover per se. I love certain individual animals, but I don't usually go crazy over them, except our cat... You told this story in a way that just made me want to keep reading. You have such a warmth in your story -telling. Congrats again, and may you feel the warmth all day today that this story has brought to others.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/18/13
Congratulations on ranking 19 overall! (The highest rankings can be found in the message boards)Happy Dance!!
Judith Gayle Smith04/20/13
Claudia Thomason04/22/13
This was a fun story. Very enjoyable. The title drew me in instantly. Congratulations on your HC.