Again the next day, Maddie hoped to see the little dog at the shelter, but he didn’t make an appearance. So while the children and Daphne ate lunch, Maddie set out toward the
“Where are you going, Miz Maddie?” The teenaged boy followed her out of the building.
She considered him for a moment, wondering if he would frighten the little dog farther away. Then decided to give the boy a chance to prove himself. “To look for the little black and white dog.”
A odd look crossed Devon’s face, then he took the lead on the narrow trail into the woods. “I’ve seen him sometimes in a tangle of blackberry bushes about a half mile into these trees.”
They walked in silence for a time.
“What are you going to do if we find him?” The kid asked.
“When we find him, I’m going to convince him he wants to come home with me.”
“Lucky dog,” Devon muttered.
A short distance later, the kid slowed down. “It’s right up ahead. Maybe you should go first so I don’t scare him.”
Maddie frowned at Devon and he half-shrugged in apology.
“Hey, my doggie friend!” Maddie called. “Will you come out and see me?”
Maddie continued to talk to the dog as she walked slowly around the berry bushes. “I don’t see him.”
“Wait. I think I do.” The kid squatted down. “See? About ten feet into those bushes. There’s something black and white. Come on, little fella, growl at me or something.”
“Is he moving?” Maddie asked. “What if he’s hurt?”
“I’ll crawl in and see.”
With a slight smile, Devon got down on his hands and knees and crawled slowly toward the black and white object he had seen.
“Can you see if he’s hurt?” Maddie stood on her toes and tried in vain to see the little dog.
“Almost there.” The kid’s voice sounded muffled as he crawled further into the tangle of bushes.
The silence pulsed worry through Maddie’s veins until Devon called out. “He’s alive.”
“Thank goodness! Can you get him out of there?”
“I’ll put him on my jacket and use that as a kind of stretcher to pull him out.”
After what seemed like a dog’s age, Devon emerged backwards, dragging his coat with its precious cargo.
“He doesn’t look good,” Devon commented.
Maddie had to agree. The little dog lay so still, emitting an occasional whimper. Dried blood discolored one of his front legs. “I’m going to take him to the vet.”
Don’t let them put me to sleep!
Maddie touched the little guy’s head. “You tell me what you want when we get there.”
Devon volunteered to go with Maddie and sit in the back seat beside the little dog.
When they arrived at the clinic, the receptionist began asking questions Maddie had no idea to answer. “What’s the dog’s name?”
“Mr. Razzles,” Maddie repeated.
“Date of birth?” the receptionist asked.
Maddie relayed what Razzles told her, and did the same with the rest of the questions. Until she asked when his last vaccinations were.
I don’t like shots, Razzles said.
“I don’t want you to get sick,” Maddie responded.
“Pardon me?” the receptionist asked.
Maddie faked a smile. “He’s been living on his own and I don’t have much information about him.”
One of the receptionist’s eyebrows lifted. “Do you want to just leave him?”
A horrified look echoed the distress in Maddie’s heart at the thought of abandoning the little dog. “I’ll be paying his expenses, if that’s what you’re asking, and he’ll be coming home with me.”
“Not everyone is as generous and kind as you. Mr. Razzles could have some serious injuries.”
“He’ll be coming home with me,” Maddie repeated.
The receptionist smiled. “He’s a lucky dog.”
Copyright Genie Gabriel