Chip and the Big Flush

Chip grabbed the tool box off his bed and headed out the door.  “Bye, see you tonight,” he called to his three siblings.

Chip walked a few blocks to the office of Plumbers R Us.  Today was his first day on the job.  Graduating from CAT-U seemed like a lifetime ago, since Chip’s focus the past week was preparing for this job.

Chip found Mr. Hewey waiting for him at the front desk.

“Good morning, Mr. Hewey,” Chip greeted the plump black and white cat.

Mr. Hewey climbed off the chair and lumbered around the desk, “Hi, Chip.  Are you ready for your first assignment?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, here are your jobs for the day.  Normally, I try to schedule you 5 jobs each day, but since this is your first day, I started you off easy with only 3.   I will be following you to each home and assisting you if needed.  Any questions?”

“No.”

“Good, let’s go.”

Chip followed Mr. Hewey down the street as Mr. Hewey explained, “The first client has a stopped-up kitchen sink.  The garbage disposal has quit working as well.”

Chip nodded and rang the doorbell.

“Hello, I am Chip with Plumbers R Us.  How are you?”

“Good, come on in,” a tan tabby replied as she stepped aside so Chip and Mr. Hewey could enter.

The tan tabby led them to the kitchen explaining, “My kitchen sink is stopped up and the disposal stopped working.”

Chip opened the cupboards and checked under the sink and then in the sink.  “Give me a few minutes and I should be able to find the problem.”

The tan tabby nodded in pleasure and left the room.

Chip worked quickly as Mr. Hewey observed.  Soon Chip exclaimed, “I found the problem.”

The tabby came back into the room, and Chip showed her the large glob of cat food that was stuck in the disposal and sink drain.

“I am going to dislodge this here,” Chip said, as he positioned the plunger over the sinks opening.  He pumped it several times, before the glob came loose and Chip pulled back triumphantly.

He scooped the old food up and into the trashcan.  He then ran the sink and turned on the disposal.  The water ran easily and the disposal churned.

“You are wonderful.  I can’t believe you fixed it so fast.”

Chip beamed at the praise.

After the tabby had paid Chip for his service, she lead him and Mr. Hewey to the door. 

“Good job, Chip,” Mr. Hewey praised as they walked to the next job.

“Thank you, Mr. Hewey,”

At the next house, Chip knocked on the door, and a large black cat answered gruffly, “Yes, what do you want?”

“I am Chip with Plumbers R Us, sir.  I am here to fix your toilet.”

“Oh, right.  Come in.”

Chip followed the large cat through the house to the bathroom.

“The toilet is running a lot longer than normal every time it is flushed,” the black cat explained.

“Let me take a look at it,” Chip said.

The black cat nodded, but proceeded to hover as Chip looked for the problem. 

“I found the problem,” Chip exclaimed, after watching the toilet flush several times.  “I need to replace the flapper, so the water will stay in the tank.”

The black cat came closer to Chip and peered into the tank.

With a grunt, he backed away again, and Chip set to work

The client hovering made Chip slightly nervous, but he concentrated on his work.

Soon he had the toilet fixed and the toilet flushed and stopped much quicker.

“There you go, sir.  It is all fixed.”

“Thank you.  You are very efficient.”

It was only when Chip and Mr. Hewey were on their way to their next job, that Chip admitted, “The client hovering like that really made me nervous.  I was waiting for him to argue with me about how to fix it.”

“You handled him well, and he was obviously impressed by you.”

The last job Chip had that day was at the house of a young calico mother.  She greeted Chip and Mr. Hewey and ushered them inside.

As she led them to the bathroom she explained, “The shower has been slow to drain for a while but last night it stopped draining completely.”

As Chip listened and followed a trio of rambunctious kittens raced by them.

“I will take a look at it for you,” Chip replied smiling at the kittens as they circled him again.

“Leave Chip alone, please kittens.  He is here to fix the shower.”

The kittens scurried into the other room.

“Sorry about that, they are so curious,” she explained to Chip and Mr. Hewey.

Chip inspected the water filled tub.  He reached his paw onto the drain but the direct opening was clear.

“Must be a clog in the line.  I will run the snake down it and see of that will fix it,” Chip explained.

The calico nodded and went to check on her kittens.

Chip got the snake from his toolbox and set to work.

He loved working the snake down the drain.  He smiled feeling much more relaxed at this job.  The tub slowly started to drain and after the snake went a few inches further, it drained normally.

Chip retracted the snake and monitored the shower drain.  When the standing water was gone, he turned on the tub faucet and watched the water drain.  When he was satisfied that the clog was cleared, he called, “ All fixed.”

The calico appeared in the doorway shadowed by her three kittens.

Chip smiled at her and said, “ I think have cleared the clog. Is this how it normally drains?”

Everyone watched as Chip turned on the tub’s faucet.  The water poured out of the spout and flowed easily down the drain.

“That is wonderful.  Yes.”

Chip shut the water off.  After being paid, he and Mr. Hewey left the calico’s home.

“Good job today, Chip.  I am very impressed with you.  Are you ready for 5 jobs tomorrow?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Great.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

Chip waved bye to Mr. Hewey and hurried home.  He could not wait to tell his sibling about his first day.

The end

Petey on the Job

Petey walked to his first day of work reflecting on how fast the time had gone.  Before graduating from CAT-U he was offered a job with Structures Done Right.  Now only 5 days after graduating, Petey was on his way to shadow one of the foremen of the company.

He found the office for Structures Done Right easily, and was greeted by a blue-eyed Persian at the front desk, “Hi, can I help you?” she asked flirtatiously.

“I am Petey.  This is my first day here.  I am supposed to meet Mr. Levy here.  Is he in?”

“Yes, he will be right up.”

The Persian picked up the phone and hit a few buttons, spoke to Mr. Levy and then hung up the phone.

Petey looked at the photos of buildings under construction that hung on the wall.

Mr. Levy appeared a few minutes later.  He was a sleek built Siamese with piercing green eyes. “Good morning, Petey.  Are you ready to get to work?”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Levy.”

“Great, well, let’s go.”

Petey followed Mr. Levy out the door and down the block. 

Mr. Levy explained as they walked, “Today we will be helping with the construction on the Furville Tower downtown.  Have you seen it?”

“I saw it when they were just starting to put up the frame work, but that was a while ago.”

“They have the exterior frame up and are working on the support structures on the inside of the building now.  Soon they will be putting up the walls.”

Petey nodded.

Mr. Levy led Petey through the fenced off area, and handed him a yellow hard hat.

After introducing Petey to the crew, Mr. Levy said, “Ok, the first thing we have to do is finish getting the corner supports on.  Take these nails and the support joints are over there.”  Mr. Levy pointed to a stack of thick corner brackets.

The crew grabbed the nails and headed off.

Petey said, “Um.. Mr. Levy, I don’t think those nails are long enough to go through the bracket and the wood.”

“What?  Nonsense.  I have been using the same materials for every building.  I have been doing this for 8 years. “

Petey nodded and quickly looked back to the crew that was working.  He realized that he shouldn’t have corrected his boss.  I am just so excited; I couldn’t help it.  I know they need the three-inch nails not the two-inch nails.

As Petey stood in silence certain that Mr. Levy hated him already, the crew members attempted to attach the corner bracket to the structure.

They each hammered four nails into the bracket, but when they let go, the brackets fell to the ground.

Petey smiled to himself seeing that the nail had barely penetrated the wood.

Mr. Levy glanced around, before calling the crew over.  “What’s going on?”

“The nails aren’t long enough,” a buff brown cat responded.

Mr. Levy snatched the nails from the out stretched paw, and muttered, “Who mixed the two-inch nails with the three-inch nails?”

The crew members shrugged and shifted uncomfortably.

Petey saw that the bucket of nails had the number 2 on one side and number 3 on the other, which caused the confusion.  But after earlier, Petey kept his mouth shut.

Mr. Levy dug through the bucket and said, “We are going to have to sort these out.  Here everyone take a handful.”

Petey and the crew grabbed the nails and quickly separated the two- and three-inch nails.

Once the crew was back to work, Petey grabbed some extra buckets, and a marker.  He marked out the second number on each of the buckets, so that it was clear what length nail went in each.  He then carefully sorted the nails into their new buckets.

Mr. Levy watched Petey work without objection.  “Thank you, Petey.  Nice initiative.”

Petey beamed at the praise.

After lunch, Mr. Levy was explaining how the crew was going to start putting up the stucco walls.

Petey listened intently as he watched the crew prepare to hoist a large sheet of stucco up against the frame.

Petey waited for Mr. Levy to pause, before he said, “Mr. Levy, they need more support on that stucco sheet, or it will break before they get it flush to the wall.”

Mr. Levy, followed Petey’s gaze and was about to respond, when the sheet snapped in half and fell back to the ground.  The crew members scrambled to avoid being hit, and all escaped unharmed.

“Good eye, Petey.  Why don’t you go help them?”

Petey nodded with a smile and walked over to the crew.  He explained, “You need an extra support in the middle of the sheet, otherwise it creates too much pressure.  The pressure is what caused the first sheet to break.”

The rest of the afternoon passed quickly, as Petey assisted the crew with placing the stucco sheets along the frame.  The crew members all respected Petey and by the end of the day were asking for his help over Mr. Levy’s.

Petey couldn’t believe, it was already quitting time.

“Bye, Mr. Levy, thank you,” Petey called as he walked out of the fenced yard.

“See you in the morning, Petey.  You did excellent today.  You will be surveying your own construction site in no time.”

Petey smiled and walked home.  He could not wait to tell his siblings about his adventures.  I like this job a lot.  I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

The End

Gizmo and the Rodeo

Two-year-old, Gizmo had graduated from CAT-U last Saturday.  Now only one week later, he was headed to his first rodeo with All City Rodeo.

Gizmo saw the arena ahead and ran to greet his new boss.

“Good Morning, Mr. Buck.”

“Hello there, Gizmo.  Are you ready for your first rodeo?”  Mr. Buck responded.

“Yes, sir,” Gizmo said puffing out his grey chest in excitement.

Mr. Buck led Gizmo and the others through the crowded arena to the riders area.

After talking with the cat at the registration table, Mr. Buck returned with the riding times for each of them.

Gizmo’s eyes lit up as he saw he was scheduled to ride in two different events.  The Buck-off event, where he had to hold onto the bucking bull for as long as possible.  The Barrel Race where he would ride a horse through the barrel maze as fast as he could.

“The Buck-off is coming up soon, we need to get you a number, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck said breaking into Gizmo’s thoughts.

Gizmo followed Mr. Buck through the crowd to the edge of the arena.  A pudgy black cat was holding vests and passed them out as each rider approached.  Gizmo was given the number 5 vest, which meant he would ride 5th in each event.

“That’s good, I can watch the first few rides,” Gizmo told Mr. Buck excitedly.

“Yes, it is never good to be the first one in the event.”

Gizmo stood at the railing at watched as the Buck-off started.

The first cat didn’t last 2 seconds out of the gate.

The second cat lasted 5 seconds.

The third and fourth cat each only lasted 4 seconds.

“Wow, this looks hard,” Gizmo muttered under his breath.  He climbed onto the bull, who right now stood calmly in the slot.  Gizmo dug in claws into the saddle cloth as far as they would go.  He took a deep breath preparing himself for what was to come.

“Ready?” a voice asked him.

Gizmo nodded and clenched the saddle cloth tighter.

The gate flew open and the bull now bucked and twisted down the arena.  Gizmo held on, not feeling at all off balance by the bucks.  The bull then turned to go back up the arena.  He did a series of mini bucks followed by a big buck that caught Gizmo by surprise.  The buck caused Gizmo to slide down the right side of the bull.  Gizmo quickly righted himself on the saddle and was digging all four feet back into the  saddle pad, when the bull did another big buck sending Gizmo hurdling over the bull’s head and onto the sand below.  Gizmo managed to land on his feet and get up the railing before the bull trampled him.

“The longest ride so far, Gizmo rode for 10 seconds,” the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers.

“Yeah, good going Gizmo!”

Gizmo looked in the direction of the cheers, and saw his three siblings in the stands.  He waved to them and continued on his way back to Mr. Buck.

“Good ride, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck praised, “I think you have won this event.  There are only two more riders.  The rider after you barely made it out of the gate.”

Gizmo nodded, trying to hide his excitement.  He turned to face the arena, so Mr. Buck wouldn’t see the huge smile that Gizmo couldn’t keep off his face.

Gizmo stood at the railing watching the last two riders in a daze.  He couldn’t believe his ears, when the announcer called, “Gizmo has won the Buck-off event today.  Come to the staging area and claim your ribbon, Gizmo.”

Mr. Buck patted Gizmo on the shoulder, “Good going, son.”

“Thanks,” Gizmo beamed and hurried off to collect his ribbon.

Gizmo showed off his blue ribbon to Mr. Buck, before handing it to his siblings to hold.  Gizmo went back to his spot along the railing and started mentally preparing for the barrel race.

It wasn’t long before the first cat and horse team wove through the barrels.  They took several turns too tight and knocked over three barrels by the end of the run.

The next two riders also knocked over the third barrel, but otherwise had a good ride.

The fourth rider made it through without knocking any barrels over, and his time was fast at 1 minute 7 seconds.

Gizmo mounted his horse and clutched the saddle pad.  When the gate opened the horse lunged forward in a gallop.  Gizmo swayed momentarily in the saddle, before steadying himself and concentrating on the barrels.

Gizmo leaned and nudged his horse around barrel after barrel.  After making it passed the third barrel without knocking it over, Gizmo let a breath out. 

“Almost there,” he muttered to his horse.

A few barrels later, Gizmo and his horse made it through all the barrels in a clean run. 

“Gizmo has a clean run with the time of 1 minute 9 seconds,” the announcer’s voice says.

“Drat,” Gizmo says as he makes his way back to Mr. Buck.

“Good ride, Gizmo,” Mr. Buck praises.

“I was too slow,” Gizmo complains.

“You can’t expect to win every event.  You did great for your first show with us.”

Gizmo’s face brightened.  “Does that mean I can ride again next weekend?”

“Yes, I already have you signed up for three events.”

Gizmo felt better, knowing he hadn’t blown his dream job after only one day.

Gizmo collected his red second place ribbon a while later.

As the arena was emptying out, and the crew was starting to clean up, Gizmo found Mr. Buck.  “Thanks for letting me ride today.  I learned a lot and will be ready to go again next weekend.”

“Great, see you for practice on Monday.”

“Bye,” Gizmo called as he hurried out the arena door to find his siblings.

“Good job, Gizmo,” they all cheered at once.

All the way home, Gizmo told his three siblings about his day.

The end.

Misty the Exterminator

Two-year-old, Misty, the gray tabby, had graduated from CAT-U a few weeks ago.  Now, she was excited to start her job with Pest Trackers.  This was her dream job.  She was so excited; she could hardly sleep Sunday night.  

The next morning, she bounced into the kitchen full of energy despite the early hour.  Her brothers staggered into the kitchen and they each started getting breakfast. 

Misty chattered excitedly to her three brothers about her job.  They too were starting jobs today, but they seemed much more relaxed.

Misty finished breakfast first and raced out the door calling, “See you tonight.”

She got to Pest Trackers 10 minutes before 8 a.m.  She didn’t mind being the first one there.  It was much better than being late.

A few minutes later, her boss, Mr. Tux arrived along with some other employees.  Mr. Tux introduced Misty to the other workers, before sending the others to their first job. 

“Now, Misty, you will have your own job list today.  I will be going with you this week, just to make sure you are comfortable,” Mr. Tux explained. 

Misty nodded.

“Do you have any questions before we get going?”

“No, thank you.”

With that, Mr. Tux handed Misty her job list for the day.  She scanned it quickly seeing that there were 5 appointments set up for her.

“Let’s go,” Misty said.

She and Mr. Tux gathered the equipment she would need and walked to the first appointment. 

A delicately build calico answered Misty’s knock on the cat condo door.

Misty and Mr. Tux were ushered inside as Cally explained, “I have ants in the condo and I cannot get rid of them no matter how much I clean.  I have no idea how they are getting in.  I don’t want my kittens getting bitten, though.”

As if on cue four tiny kittens scampered through the room around the corner and back down the hall.

Misty smiled as she replied, “Show me where the ants are, please.  I will figure out where they are coming from.”

Cally smiled and led Misty and Mr. Tux to the utility room at the back of the condo.  Cally pointed to the back corner of the room, where Misty saw the line of ants marching across the floor.

“I will look into this, and let you know what I find,” Misty replied.

Cally nodded, “Thank you.”  She then left the room to find her kittens.

Misty checked the room thoroughly.  Next she checked the kitchen along the same wall.  Mr. Tux stood back and observed Misty’s work.

Misty then went outside and around the condo.  She searched along the back wall of the condo where the utility room was.  It didn’t take Misty long to find a large ant mound several feet from the wall of the condo.  Misty sat still as she watched the line of ants marching from their mound to the condo.  The ants showed her how they could slip between a tiny crack in the siding.

“I found where they are getting in.  Look,” Misty called to Mr. Tux.

She pointed where the ants were filing into the small opening.

“Good job, Misty.  You figured that out fast.”

Misty beamed at the praise, before going inside and asking Cally to come out to the back of the house.

“The ants are getting in through this small opening in the wall.  This is the back wall of your utility room.  I am going to put Ant-X on the mound.  The chemical will not harm you or your kittens.  I am also going to spray a little along the inner wall of the utility room.  You will need to get the siding hole patched as well,” Misty explained.

Cally nodded. “Thank you, Misty.  I can’t believe how quickly you figured out where they were coming from.”

Misty smiled. “Let me finish up here, and we will get out of your way.”

Cally retreated back inside the condo.

Misty sprayed the mound and then the exterior of the condo.  Mr. Tux followed her back inside, where she sprayed the utility room wall.

Once she was finished, and had placed the canister of spray out on the porch, she handed Cally the invoice.

Cally said, “Thank you, Misty.  I will definitely call you again.”  Cally handed Misty a check and held the front door for her and Mr. Tux.

Once Misty and Mr. Tux were down the block, Mr. Tux praised, “You were so poised with the customer, and finished your work efficiently.  I am very impressed.”

“Thank you.”

Misty and Mr. Tux arrived at the next job on the schedule.  Misty’s next three jobs were routine maintain spraying of the yard and home.  While Misty still enjoyed this work, she was delighted that her last job of the day was tracking where the cockroaches were coming from.  Tracking and finding bugs was her favorite.

By the end of the day, Mr. Tux was so impressed with Misty, that he told her, “You obviously don’t need me tagging along with you.  You will be on your own tomorrow to complete the jobs.  You can always call me if you run into a problem.”

“Thank you, Mr. Tux, this has been the best day.”

Misty waved bye and headed home to tell her brothers of her success. 

The end

Lucky’s Big Backyard

I will never forget the morning my mom carried me outside, explaining, “You are going to get to stay in the backyard now, Lucky.  You will have so much more room to hop and play.”

What?  Outside?  I have been indoors in a rabbit hutch my whole life.  I don’t know how to defend myself outside.

Mom sat down on the patio with me in her lap.  The sun was already high in the sky. A thousand strange smells filled my nose. I sat nervously not about to move from the security of Mom’s lap.  My ears flattened against my back to shield them from a loud thumping and clanging noise that went past the other side of the fence.

“It’s just the garbage truck, Lucky.  It’s alright. Come on, I will walk you around,” Mom said, placing me on the ground. 

Mom stood up and took a few steps.  I sat frozen in place for a moment, before deciding that it was better to follow her than stay by myself.

I hopped at Mom’s heels.  As we left the patio, I froze again.  Suddenly, I was next to a big body of water that stretched the length of the yard.

“Hop around the pool, Lucky.  It’s not warm enough to swim yet,” Mom called.

I gave the pool a cautious glance and sniffed at the water as I crept to the edge.   Nope.  I am not going swimming.

I stayed along the flowerbed edge as I followed Mom around the pool.

As a branch brushed off Mom’s legs, it swung back into my face.

Pesky thing.  I will get this off the path.

I easily chewed through the tomato plant branch, and was about to spit it out when, I realized this tastes delicious.

I watched Mom just up ahead of me as I munched on the branch.  I then grabbed another branch as I hopped to catch up with Mom.

As I stopped at her feet, I noticed a small feathered creature walking under the brush just in front of where Mom and I stopped.

I stretched as long as I could to get a sniff of the new creature.  Just as I was getting a whiff, the creature flapped and got itself up on the fence. I jumped in surprise and darted behind Mom’s legs.

“It’s ok, Lucky.  It is just a bird,” Mom explained.

As I recovered from my scare, I grabbed a mouthful of the nearby bush.  Hey, this bush is good too.  I like this variety of treats.  Maybe this yard won’t be bad.

We continued on around the pool.  As Mom walked across the grass, to check on a spot by the fence, I took a mouthful of grass and a few slow hops on the grass.

The grass was soft and the sun was warm; the combination made me happy.  I ran in a quick circle before frisking across the grass.

This is fun!

Mom and I continued across the grass, until we came to a big mound of dirt.  Mom carefully stepped around it, but I sniffed it. As soon as I put my nose to it, dozens of tiny moving creatures came out of the dirt and crawled toward me.

I hopped back in surprise.

Mom knelt down next to me, “Leave the ants alone, Lucky.  Let’s make sure none of them are on you.” 

Mom brushed me off carefully, and then we continued back to the patio where we started.

“I am going to bring your food and water dish out here. I will be right back,” Mom told me.

I watched her disappear through the door to the house.

Who needs that old food dish when I have a whole yard of fresh greens.

I frisked off the patio and wandered through flower bed after flower bed, sampling each plant as I went.  

As Mom reappeared from the house, I reached the grass on the backside of the pool, and I was frisking happily from one end to the other.

“You like it out here, don’t you, Lucky?” Mom asked.

I did another happy frisk and dashed, in response to show her my answer.

As I neared the bush again, the bird had returned.  This time I was able to sniff him, and he eyed me without flying away.  

I grabbed a mouthful of leaves and chewed thoughtfully. This yard isn’t scary any more.  Now I have a new birdy friend, and all the fresh greens I can eat.  I will like living outside.

Mom stayed outside with me awhile longer, but when she went inside, I barely noticed.  I was flopped in the dirt next to the tomato plant. It’s shade was the perfect spot for an afternoon nap.

Yes, outside life is the life for me.

The end.

Bucky’s Big Race

Seven year old Henry was following his mom through the pet store one Saturday morning.  As they approached the small animal section, a sign caught Henry’s eye and he froze.

When his mom turned around to find him, Henry exclaimed, “Look they are having a hamster derby here this afternoon.  Can I enter Bucky, please?”

His mom studied the sign for a moment, “Alright, we can look into it, let’s get Bucky’s food first.”

Henry nodded and continued following his mom.

Once they were at the checkout counter, Henry asked the cashier, “How do I sign up for the hamster derby?”

The cashier glanced at Henry and replied, “ There is no sign up, just have your hamster here by 1 p.m.”

“Thank you.  My hamster’s name is Bucky.  He is really fast.”

The cashier smiled at Henry’s enthusiasm, before saying, “I can’t wait to see him run.”

Only then did Henry turn to ask his mom, “Can Bucky run in the race, please?”

His mom responded, “Yes. We better go eat lunch and get Bucky.”

“Yeah!”

As soon as Henry got home, he race to his room. “Bucky, guess what, you are going to run in the hamster derby today.  We are going to the pet store after lunch. If you win, we will get a big trophy.”

Bucky poked his head out from under the mound of bedding where he napped.  He stretched and yawned as he walked over to the cage door.

“You want a yogurt treat, don’t you?”

Bucky stood waiting as Henry fished a treat from the bag and handed it to him.

“Henry, come eat lunch,” his mom called.

“Coming,” Henry shouted back, before telling Bucky, “I will be back.”

After lunch, Henry balanced Bucky’s exercise ball in his lap as they rode to the pet store.

Bucky turned and roamed inside the ball, confused by the new surroundings.

Once the car was parked, Henry climbed out carefully carrying Bucky in his ball.  As Henry led his mom into the pet store, he froze momentarily startled by the overwhelming sight of children and hamsters everywhere.  

“Wow, look at all the people.  Let’s go get Bucky signed in,” Mom said.

Henry nodded and followed her to the registration table.

It was not long after they got registered, that the first race began.  Henry crept closer to the tracks as the store employee started talking, “ Welcome everyone to the first hamster derby.  We have a 10 foot track set up for you today. There will be eight hamsters running at a time. The winner of each round will progress to the final run off.  I have the participants divided into six groups. I will call the names before each race, and my associates will help you get the hamsters in place. Is everybody ready?”

Henry screamed, “Yes!”

The store employee read the first eight names.

“Good, we aren’t up first so we can watch.” Henry commented.

His mom stood behind him, “Why don’t you move up closer so you can see.  I will stay right here.”

“Okay, thanks, Mom.”

“Do you want me to hold Bucky.”

“No, he needs to see too.”

Henry wove his way through the crowd of people to an opening that gave him a clear view of the track.

The first hamsters were loaded and at the employee’s signal, released.

“There are three hamsters aren’t moving off the starting line,” Henry whispered to Bucky, “Look, that black hamster is way in the lead.”

Henry stood and watched 3 more races, before Bucky’s name was called.

The store associate, took Bucky’s ball from Henry and placed it in the fourth lane on the track. 

Henry stood directly behind the fourth lane of the track. “You can do it, Bucky.  You will win, I just know it.”

As the associates started the race, Henry ran to the side of the track cheering, “Go, Bucky! Go!”

Henry bounced up and down in place.  Bucky was in the lead. Suddenly, Bucky slowed his pace.  

Oh, no.  Bucky has stopped and is now heading back to the starting line.

“No, Bucky, you’re going the wrong way!”

Henry watched as Bucky was passed by the rest of the hamsters.  Henry’s fist clenched at his side and tears welling up in his eyes, as he pleaded, “Please, Bucky, run the other way.  You can do it.”

As if hearing Henry, Bucky turned in his ball and continued running in the original direction.  Bucky picked up speed and quickly caught up with the other hamsters and pulled into the lead. He didn’t slow down, so his ball bounced off the other end of the track.

“Yeah, you won!  You won!” Henry cheered.

As the pet store employee announced, “Bucky comes in first, Fluffy came in second, and Oreo came in third…”

Henry wove his way through the crowd, and collected Bucky from the employee.

As he walked back to his mom, Henry chattered excitedly, “I am so proud of you, Bucky.  I knew you could do it. Now we are in the final race.”

Even though, Henry’s mom had seen the entire race, Henry could not stop himself from recounting the events to her.  He was so busy talking about Bucky’s race, that he missed the final three rounds. Only when he heard Bucky’s name called by the store employee, did Henry turn around and hurry back to the starting line with Bucky.

Bucky was placed in the second slot on the track this time.  Henry stood behind Bucky’s lane, explaining, “There are only five other hamsters running this time.  I know you can win, Bucky. Just run your fastest.”

Henry moved to the side of the track, just before the six hamsters were released.

“Go, Bucky, go!” Henry cheered. 

Bucky started running immediately, and this time he did not slow down.  

“Bucky’s in the lead! Yes, he is going to win,” Henry cheered.

A moment later, Bucky was caught at the other end of the track, by the store employee.  

“Bucky is the winner of our hamster derby,” The pet store employee announced excitedly, as he held Bucky and his ball over his head for all to see.

A cheer echoed through the store, as Henry and his mom wove through the crowd.  

Henry grabbed Bucky and his ball from the store associate, “You did so good, Bucky.  I am so proud of you!”

“Here is the trophy for Bucky’s owner, Henry,” the pet store employee announced.

Henry held Bucky in one hand, and the trophy in the other.  He smiled proudly, as camera flashes came from every direction.

Another round of applause echoed through the store.  

In a blur, Henry answered several questions about Bucky.  All too soon, Henry was following his mom to the car.

“Thank you, Mom,” Henry said as he climbed into the backseat, with Bucky and his trophy.

As soon as they got to the house, Henry raced to his room.  He rewarded Bucky with several yogurt drops as he place Bucky in his cage.

Bucky stuffed the yogurt drops in his cheeks and climbed down and under the bedding.   He poked his head out, as he heard Henry say, “You were so fast today, Bucky. I am so proud of you.  Your trophy will stay right here by your cage. Sleep well, Bucky, you earned it.”

Henry smiled at Bucky, as Bucky ducked his head back under the bedding.

I have the best hamster in the world, Henry thought as he tiptoed from the room.

The End

Benny Bunny’s Party

Benny Bunny loves to hop around the house and play with his dog and cat friends.  Usually when Mom goes upstairs for bed, his cage door is shut. One night, the door to his cage was left open.

 With the house dark and still, Benny tentatively hopped out of his cage. He sat on the floor, his nose twitching, and his ears listening for footsteps on the stairs.  When the house remained still, Benny hopped across the floor to the living room area rug. After frisking across the rug several time, he moved into the guest bedroom. He hopped under the futon, and raced across the rug.  He explored the kitty scratching post, and cat litter box. Then he frisked across the room again. It was nice to be able to hop and run without anyone else around.

Benny stretched out on the cool wood floor for a short break, enjoying the silence.  The rest of the night, Benny frisked and explored. The night went quickly, and soon Mom came downstairs. Mom was very surprised to see him hopping toward her.

“What are you doing, Benny?” she asked. “Have you been hopping all night?”

Benny sat in front of Mom twitching his nose. He then gave a little frisk and hopped around the carpet.

Mom laughed and shook her head. “You’re so cute, Benny.”

She guided Benny back to his cage and secured the door behind him.

Mom disappeared to the kitchen and returned with veggies, and more hay.

“Eat your food, Benny,” she said, placing the food in his cage.

Benny glanced up at Mom as she locked the cage door again. He watched her walk away to care for the others, as he took a bite of his food. It tasted so good! He took another big bite. He hadn’t realize how hungry and tired he was, until he now. He could hardly keep his eyes open as he finished his breakfast.  I hope my cage door gets left open again, Benny thought, as he fell asleep to dream about his night of partying.

The end.

Teddy and the Cats

I don’t really remember my first owners now, however, I do remember the day they took me for a car ride and left me in this strange place.  The room was filled with new people and these creatures that hissed and swatted at me whenever I approached. My leash got passed from person to person, and I had no choice but to trail after them as they walked through the corridors of the hissing creatures.  

Thankfully, after a few hours of dodging claws and teeth, I got to go home with a nice lady.  She had a gentle basset hound that I got to play with. Now, being a shih tzu mix puppy, a dog that was my height made me feel good.

I looked up at the lady,  When are my owners coming back?

The lady ignored my question, “You are such a cutie, we will find you a good home.  I promise.”

New home?  What is she talking about? I have a home.  

“Come lay on the bed next to Buddy.” The lady patted the extra doggie bed at the foot of her bed.  She then patted the basset hounds’ head, “Take care of our guest, tonight.”

I collapsed on the bed next to Buddy, too exhausted from confusion to figure anything else out.

It will look better in the morning.  Maybe this is all a bad dream.

The next morning, I woke up to Buddy howling.  I glanced around with a start, before remembering my new surroundings, and realizing I had to find Buddy and his mom.

I scampered down the hall, following the sound of Buddy’s howl.  I found the back door just in time to follow Buddy into the yard.  

I relaxed a little and enjoyed marking my territory in Buddy’s backyard.

As Buddy’s mom let us back into the house, she continued to talk on the phone.

I followed her.  Maybe she is talking to my owners, and they are coming to pick me up.

She talked for a long time, and was definitely talking about me, from her side of the conversation.

“Yes, he is about 4 months old.  His wavy black hair gives him such personality.”

Yep, that’s me.  

“Yes, he played with my basset hound, and slept through the night.”

I peed all over Buddy’s backyard too.

“No, he seemed kind of scared of the cats yesterday, but it was a completely new environment for him.”

She paused momentarily before continuing, “Yes, he will be with me at the rescue event tonight.  Great, we will see you then.”

I wagged my tail, as Buddy’s mom made eye contact with me.   I hope she has good news!

“You are coming with me to the cat rescue today.  Then, we will go to the adoption event tonight, and a nice woman is going to come meet you.  She sounds very interested in adopting you.”

My tail slowly stopped wagging.  My owners aren’t coming back?  

I laid on the tile floor.  My good mood was gone. I didn’t want to go back to the ‘cat rescue’.  

Cats are the hissing creatures that hated me yesterday.

I want to go home.

“Come get in the car,” Buddy’s mom called to me.  “See you tonight, Buddy,” she continued.

Bye, Buddy.  I want to live in one place again, all this moving around is confusing.

I rode in the car, stretching my neck to see out the window.  I am not sure why I wanted to see where we were going, after all, the streets looked identical to me.

When we got to the cat rescue, I made sure to stay extra close to Buddy’s mom’s heels.  I was greeted with the same hissing and spitting faces from the cats this morning. I dodged a few swatting claws, before I was stopped in front of a cage with a cat hunched in the back.

Maybe, I can make friends. This cat looks as scared as I feel.

Before I had even taken a full step towards the cat, pointy claws and teeth lunged for me.

Yikes!  I jumped backwards, before shaking myself off.

Forget it.  I just have to avoid the claws until tonight.  Then, maybe the new woman will adopt me.

The day seemed longer than any day I had every experienced.  My paws hurt from all the walking.

That evening, I was driven to a pet store, where there were crowds of people and dogs passing me.

At least, the dogs were friendly.

I ducked behind Buddy’s mom’s legs as curious hands reached out to pet me.  

When is the woman you told me about coming?  If she was my ticket out of here, I couldn’t wait to meet her.  

I had just curled up for a nap under the one table, when Buddy’s mom started talking to a woman.

The woman had a nice smile and welcoming eyes.  She kept glancing down at me, as she talked.

That’s her, this is the one I am supposed to meet, I just know it.

I got up and tiptoed over to the woman’s shoes.  I sniffed the strange scent, and then jumped as the woman bend over to pet me.

“Can I pick him up?” I heard her ask.

“Yes, of course.  He is very friendly, just a little scared from all the changes.”

The woman squatted down and talked to me, “Come here, little guy, it’s all right.”

She held her hand out for me to sniff.  I hesitated momentarily, but soon felt safe by the calm presence of this new woman and walked over to sniff her hand.

She smiled and cooed, “Look at your long curly hair.   You are so cute.”

I felt my tail wag just a little in response to the sweet tone.

I was then scooped into her arms.  I started to struggle, but her gentle hold and soft stroking made me relax.

I heard her ask several questions to Buddy’s mom.

I stretched my head up and sniffed her chin and cheek.  She giggled and cuddled me to her.

I found myself licking her cheek and my tail wagging.  Yes, I want to go home with you.

To my delight, I heard the woman ask about adopting me.

After a few more minutes of conversation, I left the store with the new woman.  I should have been scared, but I wasn’t. She had me tucked securely under her arm and spoke softly to me.  I already trusted my new mom.

As we got in her car, she told me, “I am going to name you Teddy Bear.  After all your soft coat feels like a teddy bear’s. You are going to come home and live with me, ok?”

I stared into her eyes and wagged my tail.

Alright!  I have a mom now, just like Buddy.

Then my new mom continued, “You will love your new home, Teddy.  It is a two story house, with lots of cats for you to play with.”

Cats!  Oh, no.  I don’t want to be hissed and swatted at again.  I’ll take my chances with Buddy’s mom. Take me back.

I tried to squirm away, but even while driving she managed to keep me confined to her lap.

I sighed and rested my head on her leg, suddenly not wanting to get to ‘my new home’ at all.

It wasn’t too long before my new mom, parked the car and carried me into the house.

I gazed around and saw several cats coming out to greet us.

I cringed as I was set down in the middle of the floor, hearing my mom say, “This is Teddy.  Everyone be nice to him.”

As I sat on Mom’s feet waiting for the hissing and spitting to start.  I couldn’t take the tension, so I shut my eyes. Maybe, if I don’t look around, this will all go away.  Suddenly, I felt a furry body rub against mine. As I peeked out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a light grey tabby cat rubbing against me.

I stood up and sniffed at her.  There was no hissing and no signs of claws.  In fact, soon I had all five cats rubbing against me purring.

I glanced up at Mom who was watching protectively, I wagged my tail.  I returned to sniffing each cat as they rubbed against me.

These cats like me!  This is great!

I followed Mom across the room to the couch.  As I jumped up to sit next to her, the light grey tabby, put her paw around me.  She then frisked across the room. I studied her movements. She came back up to me, and then as I went to sniff her, she frisked away again.

She wants to play!

I chased after her and soon the other cats joined in our game.  When Mom called bed time that night, I was relaxed and happy with my new home.

I drifted off to sleep in the bed surrounded by my new family, a doggie smile on my face.   I had a new Mom and five cat friends to play with.  I am so happy to be home.

The end.

Kitten Olympics

“Let’s have our own Olympic events today,” Petey said one Saturday afternoon.

“Good idea,” said Gizmo.

“I want to run a 50 yard dash,” said Misty.

“Let’s get the events organized,” instructed Chip.

After a few minutes, the kittens had their backyard setup for their events.

The first event was the four legged race.  Petey and Misty teamed up against Gizmo and Chip.

Each team had one front leg and one back leg tied to their partners.  Both teams lined up on the starting line, and then took off. Both teams moved slowly as they tried to find their rhythm.  Chip and Gizmo stumble after a few steps, and had trouble getting back up.

Petey and Misty had found a steady pace and made their way across the yard without stumbling, and were the first to cross the finish line.

After untying their legs, the four decided to try a tug of war game next.  This time, Gizmo and Misty teamed up against Chip and Petey.

Getting the rope in their teeth, both teams started pulling on the rope.  Chip and Petey got a quick tug in right off, that caught Misty and Gizmo off guard.  They stumbled forward a few steps, before recovering and pulling consistently back. Despite Chip and Petey’s quick hard tugs, they still skidded forward until they crossed the centerline.

“Yeah, good game everyone,” Gizmo cheered giving Misty a high five.

After a quick water break, the four kittens lined up at the far end of the yard for the final event, the fifty yard dash.

All four kittens took off in a rush.  They stayed neck and neck for the first half of the yard.  Then Chip and Misty started pulling away from Petey and Gizmo.  In the last quarter of the yard, Chip pulled ahead of Misty, and kept his lead to the finish line.

“Yeah, that was so much fun,” Chip cheered.

“We should come up with more events next weekend,” Misty suggested.

“Yeah, it keeps me in shape,” said Gizmo.

“It was perfect weather for it today.  Thanks for playing today,” Petey said.

The four siblings cleaned up the yard and headed inside, happily exhausted from the afternoon’s events.

The end.

Sonny and the Big Move

I will never forget the day, Mom told me we were leaving my Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  This was the only home I had lived in since Mom adopted me at six months old.   

Mom was excited as she said, “On February 15th we are moving into our very own place, Sonny.” 

That’s only two weeks away.  Shih-tzus don’t like change.  Initially I was energized by Mom’s excitement, as I love to go anywhere with my mom.  But, it didn’t take long for me to decide I didn’t want to go.  As I watched all of my belongings being boxed up, and Mom shop for all sorts of supplies, I changed my mind.

  When will I hear about anything other than the move?  I don’t like all this commotion.  I like it here with Grandma, Grandpa and the Westies.  The past two years here have been great.  Why do we have to move?  I don’t want to have to stay anywhere by myself!

On the morning of February 15th, I watched as Mom loaded up the car with all of my toys and some other supplies. 

Wait what are you doing with my stuff?  No, don’t take that, I wasn’t done chewing it.

Mom then called, “Sonny, let’s go.”

The apartment complex wasn’t too far away, and soon Mom was leading me into the office.  I had to sit quietly with Mom for what felt like forever.  All we need is the key.  Let’s go.  I pulled on the end of my leash trying to explore.

 “Just hold on a second, Sonny. We will go in just a minute,” Mom soothed and pulled me up into her lap.

Finally, we left the office and got back in the car.   It was a short ride and Mom pulled the car into a garage.  I waited eagerly to be lifted from the car.  I was off leash, so I quickly took in all the strange smells that were here.  It doesn’t smell like Grandma and Grandpa’s garage.

“Come on Sonny,” Mom called, “Let’s go see our new place.”

I followed Mom through the door and up the stairs.

Wow.  Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

Mom wandered through the first floor and then disappeared up more stairs.

Wait where did you go, Mom?  I don’t want to stay here alone!

Mom did a quick walk through of the upstairs and then said, “Let’s go unload the car.”

Out in the garage, I watched as Mom unloaded box after box from the car stacking them by the garage door.  Suddenly, I saw the bag that contained my toys and bones.  Mom also had my bed in her hands.

Wait.  Where are you going?

I ran up the stairs after her.

Mom got up to the living room and quickly dumped the bag’s contents on the living room floor.

All right. I’ll take those.

 I ran to the toys and shook one in glee.  I then had to sniff and sort through the stack making sure none had been lost.

Phew, they are all here.

 I picked up my stuffed tree trunk toy and wandered around the room.

Mom had carried the rest of the boxes from the garage while I was busy, and now called, “Sonny, come on, let’s go for a car ride.”

What was the hurry to get back in the car again?  

I rode with Mom back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where we got my grandparents help as we made another trip back to the apartment.  Both cars were loaded up this time, and Mom and my grandparents worked quickly to unload the cars back at the apartment.

After following them up and down the stairs several times, I decided to just wait for them.

Those stairs are wearing me out.

I explored all the boxes and bags that were brought into the house.  

When the last of the boxes were unloaded from the car, and Mom and my grandparents were in the kitchen unloading boxes, I decided to just shut my eyes for a quick nap.

I guess, I slept longer than I thought, because when I woke up the living room and kitchen were completely set up.

Boxes were no longer stacked everywhere. My toys and bones were in a basket next to the entertainment center.

I stretched, yawned and carried a bone over to the window. Wow, this view is great. Oh, there is a dog my size, let’s go make friends.

 I turned around to find Mom, but everyone was heading upstairs.

I trotted after them, but by the time we went outside, the dog was gone.

I dosed on Mom’s futon bed, and watched Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa unpack.

It was almost dinner time, when I startled awake as everyone else heading back downstairs.  I jumped off the futon and had to admit, this room now looked like Mom’s room at her parents house.

As I caught up with everyone downstairs, I overheard Mom say, “Thanks for all your help today.  I will call you tomorrow.”

Grandma and Grandpa were heading for the door.   Wait, where are you going?

“See you later, Sonny,” Grandma said scratching my head.

“Have a good night,” Grandpa said.

I was scooped into Mom’s arms and we watched her Grandpa back the car out of the driveway.

Left on our own, Mom fixed us dinner and took me for a walk that evening.   I got to explore and mark my new territory.

Back at the apartment, Mom turned on the TV. Since I immediately fell asleep on the couch next to Mom, I was startled when Mom said, “Ok, it is time for bed, let’s go.”

Great.  I am exhausted.  Let’s not move again anytime soon ok?

Mom climbed into bed.  She patted my head good night and said,  “I love you, Sonny.”  She laid down to go to sleep.

I love you too.  I curled up at the foot of the bed.

This place is great after all.  Nothing has changed between me and Mom.  I have all my toys, bones, and a brand new window to entertain me. 

The End