Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: The Heart Worm
By Cheri Hardaway


I held the little ball of fluff with a heartbeat close to my chest, and she snuggled her cold little nose into my neck. She knew she had me. I buried my face in her warm fur.

My normally congenial hubby took one look at my enraptured expression and said one word. “No.”

“But honey, she is so cute. C’mon. My mom wants to give the kids a puppy for Christmas.” I cajoled.

“It’s July.”

“But she wants to give them a Lhasa Apso, and this little one needs a home right now. It will be an early Christmas present.” I gave him my best puppy dog eyes and pouty smile.

“Well…” His resolve was crumbling.

“Here, hold her,” I said, shoving the little brown-eyed bundle into his arms.

The pup knew her future with us depended on this moment. She locked eyes with Jim and then slobbered puppy kisses on his chin.

“Ugh,” he handed her back to me, mopping at his wet chin. “If the kids don’t take care of her, she’s gone.”

A band of dark brown fur wrapped around her tummy, with white on either end, kind of like a reverse Oreo, so we named her Cookie. One eye was rimmed with black, along with the tips of both ears. Her fluffy tail curled over her backside, and she pranced along like a little princess.

The first couple nights, Cookie slept in the kitchen, in a little box with a blanket and a ticking alarm clock. By the third night, she’d decided she didn’t care for that arrangement. The howling began.

After two hours, I groaned at Jim. “What did we do when the kids wouldn’t stop crying at night?”

“We put them in bed with us, but you’re not bringing that dog in here.”

“Oh, yes, I am. We have to get some sleep.”

Minutes later, Cookie lay contentedly at the end of our bed. All was quiet, except for an occasional grumble from Jim’s side of the bed.

Cookie was easy to housebreak, and the family quickly adapted to a routine that included our pup. She loved to curl up with thirteen-year-old Derek. Jacob, who was seven, teased her so, that she would chase any little guy wearing white socks. Amanda loved her, and two-year-old Kayla took to calling her “Ee ee,” because she couldn’t say “Cookie.” Still, I remained Cookie’s most loyal friend; she knew who bathed her, cleaned up after her, and gave her medicine when she needed it.

The years have passed quickly, and Cookie finds herself alone with “Mom” these days. That would be me. I talk with her. I tell her about her “brothers” and “sisters,” what they’re up to these days. She pads softly after me as I putter around the house. If I’m watching television or reading, she can be found at my feet. If I’m at the computer, she is under the desk. If I’m washing the dishes, she lies on the rug in front of the sink.

Her brown eyes are cloudy with cataracts now. When I let her out to go potty, she often just stands there on the porch, because she cannot remember why she is out there. She doesn’t always wake up when we come home; her hearing isn’t what it used to be. She can snore as loudly as Jim. She’s still a wee bundle, but she’s no longer a pup. She is in her teens, making her a senior citizen in dog years. Her health is failing, and she takes daily thyroid medication. She sometimes forgets to ask to go outside when nature calls.

Ever practical, Jim looked at me the other day and said, “You know, we will have to consider putting Cookie to sleep one day.”

“Well, when I get old and senile, are you going to put me to sleep too,” I’d retorted.

“I’m sorry, hon.” He didn’t pursue the subject.

That night as we drifted off to sleep, I heard him sit up and lean over the side of the bed. “Awww…” he cooed. “What’s the matter, Cook? Too old to jump up on the bed? Here, let Daddy help you get up.”

I flipped on the light switch to be sure I’d heard correctly. Yup, Cookie was curled at his feet on the end of the bed. She’d won Jim over too; finally wormed her way into his heart. It just took him an awfully long time to admit it.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 795 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Teri Wilson05/22/08
Very clever title. Love the "heart worm" angle! God bless, Teri
Joanne Sher 05/22/08
Your love of dogs (or this dog, if it is true) comes through SO clearly here - more so than any of the entries I've read so far. Love the title and the wonderful descriptions.
Lynda Lee Schab 05/22/08
Aw....what a sweet story! Yes, your love and affection for Cookie shines through. Isn't it cool to see a man's "tough-guy" heart get touched by an pet like that? Love it. :-)
Karen Deikun05/22/08
Aww! This was so sweet. I loved the title as well, and the story of Cookie sort of wrapped around my heart too. Excellent writing that touched all the emotions.

Debbie Wistrom05/22/08
Your title drew me in and I'm so glad it was the good kind.

Aren't dogs great?!

Thanks for this engaging piece.
Laury Hubrich 05/24/08
Wow! That title led me astray! LOL! So glad:) Very good story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/25/08
Delightful story. I love how your pet won your husband's heart.
Gregory Kane05/26/08
I loved the initial seduction here, along with the vivid description of the biscuit-like puppy.
Glynis Becker05/26/08
Aww! The title is clever and the description of this little lovable puppy is so sweet (and this is coming from a someone who is not an 'animal person') :) Great job!
Chely Roach05/26/08
I absolutely loved the line, "The pup knew her future with us depended on this moment." LOL! This was a very sweet and well told story.
Betty Castleberry05/26/08
Well thanks, now you've caused me to smear my mascara, and I need a tissue. I loved this. It's so true to life. This line made chuckle out loud:

Minutes later, Cookie lay contentedly at the end of our bed. All was quiet, except for an occasional grumble from Jim’s side of the bed.

I *adore* the ending, too. Both thumbs way up.
Joshua Janoski05/26/08
The title was clever. I thought for sure it was about a dog being diagnosed with heart worm disease.

Your dog reminded me of my 18 year old yorkie and my 16 year old Australian Shepard. It was so hard seeing them get old. I miss them both a lot.

Thank you for sharing this story.
Yvonne Blake 05/26/08
Ahhhh...it sounds like my husband with our cocker spaniel. I didn't get the title until the end, but it fits! You made me fall in love with Cookie, too.
Jan Ackerson 05/27/08
Very tender.
Beckie Stewart05/28/08
This was sweet and well-written. You had me interested from beginning to end.
Aaron Morrow05/28/08
Great transition with Jim. I found the first part of the story very engaging.
The section of the dog's life had some nice touches but seemed to bog the pacing down a little.
The conclusion was strong and connected well to the title.
Great work, I really enjoyed reading it!
Sara Harricharan 05/28/08
Awww! So cute! I loved the 'heart worm'. Cookie is adorable, and I especially liked the bit with "What did we do when the kids were crying" ROFL! Too funny! ^_^
LaNaye Perkins05/28/08
This was tender, precious, endearing, and any other word I can think of to describe how adorable this story was. You did a great job writing this. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard05/28/08
Just beautiful. I loved the voice of this one. Yes, puppies can indeed be 'heart worms'.

You only made one mistake... "Minutes later, Cookie lay contentedly at the end of our bed." LOL that one move ended your freedom forever and ensured a lifetime of 'heart worm' :-)
Mariane Holbrook 05/28/08
What a tender, sweet story and so well told!! Kudos!!
Lynda Schultz 05/28/08
This so much reminded me of a Field Spaniel named Goldie who wormed her way into a few hearts that I know. Well done.
Peter Stone05/28/08
What a touching, heart warming story! The ending was very moving, especially 'Here, let Daddy help you get up.'
Dee Yoder 05/29/08
This is why I never go look at puppies-I know I'd bring one home! This is such a sweet account of this puppy's good life, it made my heart smile.
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on placing 28th overall with this entry, Cheri!