Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cat and Dog (09/04/14)
TITLE: The Day It Rained Cats and Dogs
By JK Stenger
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“Look, Dad!” Before us sat a puppy with droopy ears and winsome eyes.
She knelt down to pet the dog, who whined in greeting, and licked Jannie’s hand with her tiny pink tongue. Five-year-old Peter stared in amazement.
“She’s a fine dog.” The breeder smiled. “A purebred Labrador Retriever. She just hasn’t got the papers. Her name is Apricot.”
“Can we get her, Daddy. Please?” Peter gazed longingly at the pup.
“A dog isn’t cheap,” I said. “And lots of work.”
“Please Daddy…Pleeease.” Peter picked up the pup.
“Kids, we can’t just buy the first dog we see. Besides, we need to discuss it with Mom, remember?”
“The dog’s on sale today,” said the breeder with a smile.
“Come on, Dad. You always wanted a dog,” Jannie reminded me.
Yes, but I need time to think.
“Mom would love it, Dad. Her birthday is next week.” Jannie patted my arm.
“Who will walk her?” I asked.
“We will!” Jannie and Peter sang in unison. “We will!”
I’m going to regret this.
“How much?” I asked.
“$200? That’s a lot of money.”
“Please Dad,” said Jannie. “We’ll help pay for her.”
“I’ve got two dollars in my piggy bank,” cried Peter.
“And I’ve got fifty,” added Jannie.
I wavered. It´s a really cute dog.
“I make you a deal,” said the breeder. “If you take Rufus too, I’ll give you both dogs for $150.” He pointed to the carrier, which held a sad looking Lab. The dog was a sorry sight. One of her legs was missing. “Rufus is a year old. Got hit by a car. But Apricot and Rufus love each other. Can’t very well separate them.”
Jannie’s eyes were as big as saucers. “Daddy, we have to take Rufus, too.”
As Peter reached into the carrier to pet Rufus, I finally relented. And that’s how we came home with two dogs.
“Children, stay in the car for a moment,” I said, as we pulled up to the house. “I need to explain it to Mom, first.”
As I opened our front door, I thought, What am I going to tell Suzanne?
“Daddy’s home.” Three-year-old Maria ran to meet me. “We have a surprise, Daddy. A really, really, big surprise.”
My wife came to the door and smiled. “Hi, dear.”
I stared at her dumbfounded. In her arms were two kittens.
“Surprise!” Suzanne held up each of the kittens.
“What do we need two cats for?” I asked.
Before she could answer, we heard barking as Peter and Jannie stormed into the house with the two dogs.
“Sorry, Dad,” cried Jannie. “We couldn´t hold them.”
Suzanne gaped at the dogs. “What´s going on?”
"We got them at the flea market,” I mumbled.
“What do we need two dogs for?”
“We got a good deal on them.”
“Yes Mom, only $150,” cried Jannie.
“$150? For two dogs? These cats were free.”
“Where’d you get them?” I asked.
“The Jones’ cat had kittens. They were going to take them to the shelter, but I heard they sometimes kill unwanted cats there.”
Yeah, Daddy…they kill kittens.” said Maria. “But we don’t kill kittens.”
“But why two dogs?” asked my wife. Wouldn’t one have been enough?”
So Jannie told her the story.
For a moment, it was very still.
One of the kittens broke the silence with a soft meow. The dogs resumed barking.
“The animals have taken over the land.” Suzanne knelt down to take a closer look at Rufus.“Are you going to be a good dog, and not fight with the kittens, Rufus?” She scratched him behind the ears.
“That dog won’t hurt a fly,” I ventured to say.
“We won’t let the cats be killed in the shelter, will we, Daddy?” Peter’s lips quivered.
Suzanne and I looked at each other, and we both burst out laughing.
“No, children. We will keep all the animals,” I said. Suzanne nodded her head in agreement.
We named the cats Meshech and Abednego. Rufus stayed with us for more than ten years until he died of old age. Not long after that memorable day, Meshech got hit by a car, but Abednego and the Lab are still with us. We changed Apricot’s name to Yaats, which is the Hebrew word for counsel. To remind us that we always need to counsel before we do anything.
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