The dog walker

2018-09-20 06:02
ILLUSTRATION: Jiggs Snaddon-wood

ILLUSTRATION: Jiggs Snaddon-wood

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My aunty is a dog walker! I know that might sound strange, but that’s what she does for a living! She walks other people’s dogs!

Sometimes, when I finish school early, Mamma lets me help Aunty Vanessa. There are five dogs that she walks every afternoon. Princess, the French poodle, is white. She is very big and walks with her nose stuck up in the air, and she has a diamond collar. Her owner, Ziyanda, is the poshest lady I know. Pepper is a small, black, grumpy dog. He bites my heels sometimes if I don’t watch out. Lucky is a rescue dog and is full of tricks. His owner got him from an animal shelter. Nobody knows for sure what kind of dog he is, but he is friendly and he’s the one I like the most. Dash and Lady are brother and sister. They are quite big dogs with light brown coats. They are a real handful because they love chasing balls – and squirrels.

Sometimes when Aunty Vanessa and I walk down the street with all five dogs, people stop and stare at us. “You have quite a few dogs!” some of them say.

I just smile and say, “Don’t worry – they’re not ours!”

One day I was helping Aunty
Vanessa. I was holding the leads for Princess and Lucky. Aunty Vanessa was having a hard time keeping Dash and Lady under control while avoiding Pepper’s nips. On our way to the park, a cat streaked past and Dash and Lady went bounding after it, barking their heads off. Pepper, Princess and Lucky followed them and all the dogs’ leads got tangled and I fell flat on the pavement. Ouch!

“Are you okay?” asked Aunty Vanessa.

I got up. “My knee hurts, but I’m fine,” I said, dusting myself off. We unravelled the leads and that’s when Aunty Vanessa noticed
something.

“Princess’s collar is missing!” she said. My aunty and I searched high and low for the diamond collar, but we couldn’t find it anywhere.
“Ooooh, what will Princess’s owner say?” moaned my aunty. “Ziyanda likes her dog to look smart at all times!”

The dogs were growing impatient, tugging at their leads. We gave up the search for the missing collar and walked to the park. Aunty Vanessa threw a ball for Dash and Lady. They sprinted across the park, fighting each other to see who would get to it first. Pepper made a huge poo which my aunty made me clean up with a plastic bag and stick. Yuck! Lucky made a friend and they spent the rest of the afternoon running
after each other and sniffing each other. But Princess refused to join in the fun. Her ears drooped and she lay down under a tree. I knew she was sad because she’d lost her
special collar.

At five o’clock, it was time to go. We dropped the dogs off at their homes one by one – first Pepper, who tried to bite me as we opened his gate, then naughty Dash and Lady. Aunty Vanessa wasn’t sad to drop them off. We only had Lucky and Princess left. Aunty Vanessa was dreading telling Ziyanda that we had lost the expensive collar.

Just then Lucky started barking and refused to walk any further. He jumped up and down at a lamp post. Aunty Vanessa was cross with him. “Stop that, Lucky!” she shouted.

I looked up. Something was fastened to the lamp post and it was
glittering. “Princess’s collar!” I shouted pointing at it. “Somebody must have found it and hung it up there.” Hurriedly, I took it down and put it back around Princess’s neck.

By the time we opened Princess’s gate, the poodle was looking much smarter and happier than before. Aunty Vanessa told Ziyanda the
story of how we had found the
missing collar. “Oh, that thing!” laughed Ziyanda. “Those aren’t real diamonds! They’re just shiny plastic stones!” she said.

Aunty Vanessa laughed too. She was relieved. We waved goodbye and went on our way to take Lucky home.

“Good dog,” I said to Lucky as I patted his head. His tongue hung out of his mouth, which made it look as if he was smiling. His tail wagged all the way home. And he never did
understand why my aunty gave him two dog biscuits when we got to the front door of his home that day!

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