The yellow ball bobbed in the blue ocean of sky; puffy white clouds floated past. A white SUV rolled down the main thoroughfare, lined on either side by maple trees decked out in buds that were beginning to sprout the first leaves of spring. Life was returning to the village, and everyone was thankful for it.
The vehicle passed the pet store and the bake shop before slowing down and rolling to a stop in the two-hour parking along the curb.
“Wait here, I will be right back, Rosie,” a slender woman with long flowing blonde locks said to her fellow traveler. A small cinnamon-haired dog barked back excitedly from the passenger seat.
“I will leave the window open for you if you promise to be good!”
“I will Momma,” the dog barked back enthusiastically.
Momma strolled to the Pet Shop and opened the door, but had to wait for a short grey-haired lady with a small bag of dog food in her hands to exit. The two women smiled cordially at one another.
“Thank you,” the elder woman’s voice crackled.
“You’re welcome,” Momma smiled back, then ducked into the store letting the door close behind her.
Rosie watched the exchange from the comfort of the car content to wait for Momma until she saw the door clip the grey-haired lady’s bag, opening a small rip in the bottom corner. The canine’s ears perked up at the sight of food tumbling out of the sack. Each piece would hit the ground and then bounce and roll around before coming to a stop, leaving a trail that went unnoticed by the older woman. Rosie examined each chunk of kibble, and even from a distance, she was able to identify it as her favorite brand.
Much to Rosie’s surprise, the grey-haired woman rounded the corner still clueless about the trail she was leaving behind. The sight of the delicious food sitting on the sidewalk called out to the little dog. It was too much, the canine’s tongue flopped out of her mouth, and soon drool had begun to spill out onto the seat.
“Hmmmm, just a little taste wouldn’t hurt,” Rosie grunted.
Remembering what Momma had taught her, the pooch looked both ways, then leaped from the vehicle and raced over to the little nuggets of chow on the ground and began to munch away.
“Mmmmmm, chicken,” Rosie stopped for a second to lick her lips before following along behind the trail sucking it up like an out-of-control Hoover vacuum rolling down the street and around the corner.
Several blocks later the line of food disappeared and the scent went cold. Rosie looked up and turned to trot back to the SUV, only it was gone. Her heart began to thump in her tiny chest when she realized that she was no longer in front of the pet store. She spun in a circle, not once but twice before coming to a stop. The thumping was now banging in her head too. Her tongue slid from her mouth, and her eyes went wide.
“Momma!” she screamed with all her might.
“It’s a beautiful day isn’t it, Mylo?” I asked feeling refreshed.
“It sure is Cindee,” the cream-colored puppy answered with a big smile.
“Can you believe that bulldog stepped in that big pile of great dane poop?”
The sight of it happened again and again inside my head. There was no way I was going to stifle a giggle.
“I know, poor thing,” Mylo glanced over his shoulder at the rapidly disappearing dog park
“Nah, he deserved it. He is such a bully; you should have heard what he said to Rapi last week.” I was still a little perturbed about that.
“Really? I thought everybody loves Rapi,” Mylo shook his head.
The remark was enough to cause an outburst of laughter, which lasted until we reached the end of the block and turned the corner.
The guffawing and crowing would eventually die down into silence. With the world suddenly absent from our own noise, the sweet sound of sparrows and robins singing filled the emptiness that was left behind. I took in a deep breath through my nose. I just love the smell of spring. The air was fresh and clean, and for the first time in a long while, the sun had the strength to warm the earth.
Mylo and I strolled side by side at a leisurely pace until we came to an intersection. The frozen yogurt shop was down the street, so Mylo and I pulled to go straight but Mommy and Daddy overruled us and turned to the left. Being the goody goody that he is, Mylo stopped and then decided to go along with the humans. Exasperated with these people always going the wrong way, I gave him a questioning look.
“Frozen yogurt is this way,” I stated with confidence.
Mylo looked at me knowingly nodding his head, but the puppy’s eyes pleaded with me to come along without a struggle.
“What’s wrong Cindee, you don’t want to go get a cookie?” Daddy teased.
My eyes widened and my ears perked up. Even my tail got into the act, flip-flopping back and forth behind me. Do I want a cookie? I thought to myself. What kind of silly question is that?
“Um, of course, I want a cookie,” I barked out loud.
“C’mon, let’s go then old lady,” Mylo chuckled, but the laugh was cut short by an ear-splitting screech.
Mylo and I stopped in our tracks and looked at each other. The commotion was coming from around the corner.
“What is that,” the puppy asked, a combination of fear and concern washed over his face.
‘Mommaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” the pained wailing came again.
Friends, I got goosebumps all over and my hair stood on end. It sounded like a tormented ghost.
Mommy and Daddy led us around the corner where we came face to face with a little cinnamon and white dog sitting in the middle of the sidewalk all alone crying for its momma.
“Oh, poor thing, it’s lost! What are we going to do Anjo?” Mommy asked, her face contorted into a look of concern.
“I guess we see if we can help her find her home,” Daddy answered.
Daddy, Mylo, and I approached the little dog, who looked at us through tear-filled eyes.
“Can you help me?” the pooch asked between sobs.
“Sure, we can. My name is Cindee,” I said extending a paw in welcome.
“I’m Mylo,” my younger step-brother said with a grin.
The little dog smiled weakly and accepted my paw.
“Rosie. My name is Rosie,” she said, whimpering a little less now that help had arrived.
“What’s wrong,” Mylo asked.
Daddy knelt beside Rosie stroking the hair on her head and looking at the tag hanging from her collar. As he did this the small dog told the story of the grey-haired lady and the trail of kibble that she had been following, making sure to emphasize all the terror she had been feeling.
“… and then you guys came around the corner. There were a few humans that came along but they all just looked at me like I had two heads and kept on moving,” Rosie said, finishing her tale of woe.
Mylo and I could only sit and stare open-mouthed at the tale. I wasn’t exactly sure how to feel. I mean I felt sorry for this poor girl being lost and all, but geez, how about a little self-control and maybe thinking about consequences. I turned and looked at Daddy.
All the things I am thinking I have heard before. Many times, before. I was repeating the same words that Daddy always says to me when I do something foolish. For the first time in my life, I understood. He wasn’t trying to punish me with words, he loved me and was trying to prevent a situation like this from happening to me.
I let the thought ruminate in my mind for a few moments while I peered over at the trembling little dog and considered how lucky I was. I mean, I was abandoned in a cardboard box in a parking lot as a baby, I could empathize with what Rosie was feeling. Somewhere out there was someone who loved Rosie and was looking for her.
“Let’s find your Momma,” I barked with determination.
“Let’s!” Rosie rose to her feet with a new sense of belief.
“Which way did you come from?” I asked.
Rosie looked around, then thought about it for a moment. The confidence she wore only a moment ago had already begun to wane. She surveyed her surroundings once again and then descended back into a state of despair.
“I don’t know,” her voice gave away the defeat that was growing by the moment.
I looked around hoping that Rosie’s momma would just suddenly appear like magic, but that didn’t happen. My own certainty in being able to help her was starting to slip.
“Okay, that’s not a problem,” Mylo said calmly.
“We came from this direction, and there was nobody looking for a lost dog,” the puppy reasoned out loud.
“So, maybe we should go this way,” he said pointing straight ahead.
“Mylo, you’re a genius!” I smiled, following his logic.
“Plus, Rosie said her Momma went into the pet store, that is this way too,” I added.
“Right, the evidence seems to be pointing us in this direction,” Mylo agreed.
Rosie looked at both of us and smiled, then turned and took off running down the street. Mylo and I gave each other a look that said, “oh no!” and took off after her. I expected to run out of leash quickly, but it didn’t happen. I kept going and going. So did Mylo. I glanced over my shoulder and saw that somehow; we had pulled the leashes out of Mommy and Daddy’s hands and now they were running behind us trying to keep up.
“Cindeeeeeee!” Mommy called out.
“Mylo! You stop!” Daddy yelled.
“Should we?” the puppy asked between breaths.
“No,” I said huffing and puffing myself.
Rosie reached the corner and slowed down, unsure of which way to go. Mylo and I were making up ground fast.
“To the left!” I called out to Rosie. She made the adjustment and turned with Mylo and me right on her heels. I glanced over my shoulder again to check on the human’s progress. They were falling back but could still see us. Judging by the expressions on their faces, Mylo and I were going to be in big trouble when this was over.
“Cinnamon!” was the last thing that Mommy said before we made the turn and then disappeared from view.
We had stopped in front of the brick building with the green sign that said Village Pet Store on it. I didn’t need a sign to tell me it was the right place though; I knew just by the delicious aroma of freshly baked cookies that emerged from the store and tickled my nose. That smell was an old friend of mine that I wish would come to visit me a little more often.
Mylo interrupted the courtship that was building between the cookies and me. My head descended from the clouds. Once all four paws were firmly rooted in reality again, I shifted my gaze to my younger sibling, who was nodding at our new friend.
Rosie had dropped to the ground in defeat. A quick glance down the street revealed that Mommy and Daddy had stopped running and were now walking with purpose toward us. No question about it, Mylo and I were in trouble. My worry now was what Mommy and Daddy would do. Would they still help Rosie or were they so mad at us that we would just go home? I had to put that concern out of my mind and come up with a plan.
“Let’s not give up just yet,” I said in my best soothing voice.
“Cindee is right, your Momma is still around here someplace, maybe she just decided to look for you in the other direction first,” Mylo reasoned, pointing straight down the street in the opposite direction from the one we had just come.
“No, she’s gone,” Rosie moaned.
“Mylo is right, she probably just went the other way,” I added hopefully.
“No, our car is gone,” Rosie pointed toward an empty parking spot.
Our heads sunk and our shoulders slumped.
“You are in big trouble,” we looked up to see Mommy glaring at Mylo.
“Very big,” Daddy came up behind her.”
“She needs our help!” I barked.
“Not now, Cindee, we have to find this baby’s momma.”
Daddy glared at me with that disappointed look. I hate that look. It always makes me feel guilty. I was determined to not feel that way, besides, he didn’t even listen to me. Well, two can play that game. I lay down on the cement and put my head on the ground. My sad puppy dog eyes met his. All he could do was sigh in defeat.
“I’ll go in and see if the employees know anything about this girl’s momma,” Daddy said.
He mussed up Rosie’s hair and went into the shop, the bell clanging behind him. We all gathered at the front window and held our breath while Daddy talked to the girl at the cash register. Mommy tried to read their lips and interpret what was being said, but sometimes it just didn’t make sense. I don’t think she went to lip-reading school.
Pandemonium broke out while we were focused on the conversation happening inside the store. I leaped into the air at the sound of screeching car tires and honking horns coming from behind us.
“Jeepers,” I howled at the sound.
“Help,” Mylo cried and shied behind Mommy.
A white SUV had skidded to a stop in the middle of the road. The driver’s side door flew open. A woman jumped from the car and raced towards the sidewalk, her hair flailing around her head. The man in the car behind her began to yell nasty things at the woman, but the words didn’t faze her, she was too focused on something happening on the footpath. The woman screamed a single word.
Our little friend spotted the young lady dashing towards us and took off at a sprint meeting her at the curb. The woman swooped Rosie up into her arms and covered her face with kisses.
“Oh, my baby, don’t you ever do that to me again!”
Mylo and I looked at each other and smiled.
“Nothing better than being yelled at out of love,” Mylo said.
“Best thing in the world,” I agreed.
You may be asking yourself … What happened to Mylo and me? Well, we did get in big trouble too. Mommy and Daddy took turns lecturing us all the way home about rules and scaring Moms and Dads and being careful. The sermon didn’t end until we reached home and concluded with two of my favorite things, a big cookie for Mylo and me, and of course, my three favorite words …
“I love you,” Daddy said, snuggling his head against mine.
“I love you too,” I replied with a super slurpy sloppy smooch.
On this day what was lost was found, and joy triumphed once again.
“I love happy endings,” I said.
“Me too,” Mylo added with a chuckle.