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