“I was confused. I looked up in the sky and… Uh oh.”
This is a true story based on my grandma’s dog Cody. He did live with an owner but ended up on the street. I made up what happened in his life but some things are true. This story is written from Cody’s perspective.
My name is Cody. I am one year old and live in Missouri on the street. I lived with an owner but, one day, she let me out and never back in. She taught me how to eat my food when she said it was okay, and to slow down when I ran too fast down the stairs. But, now I am alone. I have no one to care for me.
One stormy Saturday, I needed to find food. All that was close to me was a half-eaten can of black beans. I gobbled that down so fast, but still had to find other things to eat. As I ran down the block, a flash of lightning struck near by. I desperately needed somewhere to hide.
Luckily, I lived in a mostly nice neighborhood. It could get lonely and sad sometimes, though. The wind picked up speed. It started howling. Trees swayed. By now, I was shivering. My teeth started to chatter. I walked for a while, not sure where I was going. I made a right then travelled north for a few minutes. Before my eyes was a huge garbage dump. I walked up to the fence and slowly headed in.
Wow! I thought to myself, There is so much garbage! I bet there will be a lot of food too!
I stepped onto the garbage. It smelled really bad. Cautiously, I climbed up the garbage that towered over me. I found a piece of fish. It was rotting, but I ate it anyway. I searched some more without luck. It was getting late. Stars lit up the sky around the crescent-shaped moon. I retraced my steps back home by sniffing. I peed on a fire hydrant. Something smelled peculiar. It smelled like another dog. That might not seem funny to you but there are no dogs where I live. Even if there were dogs in Missouri, there wouldn’t be any near here. It’s a mostly deserted town.
In the 1860’s, there was a legend that said a big bulldozer came through this town. It knocked down a house that had seven dogs and three humans in it. That was just the beginning. The man driving the bulldozer was named Wrecking Ransacker. He’d lived in the house that he knocked down and –– get ready, this is the creepy part –– it was his ghost who made the town deserted. After he died, his son and daughter took over his house. They were very poor, and the house cost a lot of money. They sold it to three nine-year-old girls. Of course, the girls had seven dogs named Petula, Petunia, Rosy, Daisy, Sunflower, Daffodil and Buttercup who were all King Charles Cavaliers. They were black, grey, and a dirty white.
One stormy night, Wrecking Ransacker was so mad at his kids that he knocked down everyone’s homes on the block. All the houses had dogs because there was a dog park nearby, only one block away from Deserted Dessert street, and these dogs were in their homes alone with their owners when the bulldozer came through.
The sky turned pitch black. I decided to come back to this garbage dump tomorrow. I slept on a small cotton blanket I had picked up at the dump. The storm calmed down and, soon, I fell asleep.
After a good long rest, I had lots of energy. I headed to the mysterious fire hydrant. Along the way, I passed an opened can of raspberry jelly. I took a nibble of it, but it was too sweet for me. I went on my way. By the time I reached the fire hydrant, I was sweaty from the sun. The storm had cleared and it was bright out. Just in case you ever go to Missouri, let me tell you what this fire hydrant looks like. It was green with polka dots–no other hydrants are green so it will be easy to spot. The hydrant is on Deserted Dessert street. Finally, I reached the hydrant. I decided to be careful in that area – who knows what crazy things or people would be around.
Before I knew it, I had jinxed myself.
Crap, I thought to myself.
An old lady appeared at a window in a long black cloak. She sat down, knitting needles in her wrinkly fingers. I ducked behind a garbage can that held a pink, blue, and white striped umbrella along with one brown shoe. The rest, I didn’t care about. As I peered out from behind the garbage, the lady’s eyes shifted to me. I jumped back behind the can in a flash. Her eyes blinked in disbelief. The next thing I knew, she had disappeared into her stone room.
I headed to another block on Deserted Dessert street. As I walked, I gulped down a bite of avocado.
“Ccrreeeekk!!” A noisy door opened from a house. Paint peeled from the sides of the house. It was painted brown with lumps. It looked like the painter wanted to make it look ugly.
Like a spy, I rolled onto my back and flipped over. I tried doing a cartwheel but failed.
The lady headed out with a big sack. It was full. Full of stuff. I couldn’t tell exactly what was in it because it was black and sealed shut with a piece of red ribbon. The lady looked left, then right, and crossed the street. The bag gleamed in the sunshine. She threw the bag onto the street and said: “¡Uf esto es manera de pesada!” (Meaning: Ugh, this is way too heavy.)
Luckily for me, I could understand spanish from my old owner.
“¿Por qué siempre tengo que hacer el trabajo duro?” the lady asked. “¡No es justo! ¿Por que mi marido dosis no haga el mismo trabajo?” (Meaning: Why do I always have to do the hard work? It’s not fair! Why doesn’t my husband do the work himself?)
The old lady kept on muttering under her breath. It scared me to think that the creepy old lady had a husband. I left. On my way home, something terrifying got in my way.
“Hey look! I just scared that wimpy dog!” A boy in a ragged ripped shirt said, laughing hysterically.
His friends joined with him.
“Hahaha!” a boy giggled wildly.
“Let’s chase him!” another boy joked.
As I said, he was joking. But his friends didn’t realize that. They started to chase me.
“Wait, guys…” the boy’s voice trailed off until it was barely there. “… I was just joking …”
I ran for my life, growing and barking at the boys. They ignored me. When I couldn’t run anymore, I dived into a shallow pool. The boys dived in after me.
“Brjkde wfhdhcvqbe!!!” A a boy yelped in terror. After being in the freezing pool for a few seconds, he hopped out.
I paddled with my front paws and tried not to drown. Gasping for breath, I made my way to the edge of the pool. I jumped out, shook myself off, and started running again.
Good. A house. Maybe they will let me in!
I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I headed down the cracked sidewalks that were made in 1913. My long fur flew with the breeze. Every once in awhile I took a peek back to see where the boys were. Their hands were sticking out as they tried grabbing my tail.
“Woof, Woof!” I barked loudly as possible.
A person started walking to the door. She peered out and as she realized that I, a dirty dog, was at the door. She turned around. The house was made of stone and had two chimneys. The door was painted a bright red which popped out from the dull, grey stone.
“Skedaddle!” screeched the lady.
I leapt off the ramp leading to her house.
Wait a minute, I thought, I smell something familiar…
I raced back to the boys and wagged my tail so hard that it almost fell off. This was a risk. This time, they didn’t start chasing me. They were actually nice! They pet me and I did a soft, nice, quiet growl.
I think I’m starting to like these boys, I thought with a lot of enthusiasm.
I did a little woof as my way of saying goodbye.
“Bye!” The boys said in unison.
I gave one last bark goodbye. They were my new favorite humans!
I headed off now, not worried about anything.
I walked down the hot pavement. My feet burned like they were on fire. In front of me was that green fire hydrant! I almost went blind. This was the most unexpected thing to ever happen on earth. Just then, a big fireball came down from the ski and landed in front of my face.
What? The? Wha?
I was confused.
I looked up in the sky and…
1,001 fireballs were coming down! They could land on me!
I had to think fast. I unscrewed the lid of the fire hydrant.
Woosh!!! The fire hydrant sprayed water everywhere!
The fireballs went out!
Yippie!!! I thought happily.
The fireballs left a burned spot on the ground. Now I could get to business. I sniffed the fire hydrant. Sniffed and sniffed. It smelled different.
Huh? I thought.
This was strange. I couldn’t smell it as well as I could a few days ago. It seemed … dull.
Wait a minute … I realized. Ah ha! I got it! When the water sprayed it cleared away the pee smell. I am so smart!
It was disappointing because I was intrigued by that doggy smell. I wandered to a nearby garbage can and ate a sunnyside-up egg. Yum. That type of egg was delicious. I left the garbage can and returned to the fire hydrant. Dreadfully, the strange lady was there but wasn’t wearing her black cloak. She had on a pretty skirt with flowers and a red crop top. She was wearing a lot of makeup and her hair was done in a neat bun. Her long pointy fingers were painted with black and white, zig zag stripes. Her pair of black heels matched her outfit perfectly. That was when it hit me.
“Miranda?” The lady in the flowered skirt called.
Just then, the lady in the black coat came through the door! This hit me by surprise. I hid behind the garbage can.
“Juro por mi corazón que acabo de ver el más lindo pequeño perrito derecho imaginables lado de la calle.” (Meaning: I swear to my heart that I just saw the cutest little pup imaginable right across the street.)
“¿Qué? ¿Cómo es eso posible? Tengo el perrito más lindo en este mundo. Por el amor de Dios. El perrito más lindo en el mundo!” (Meaning: What? How is that possible? I have the cutest pup on this world. For crying out loud. The cutest puppy on the world!)
Miranda, the lady in black, walked out of the room with a humph. Her head was tilted high. The next second, Miranda came back into the room with a puppy named Maya who was a big golden doodle who loved to play. She rolled onto her stomach for a belly rub. I got a bit jealous because I have always wanted an owner who would take me for walks. It made me feel sad, but also more determined to get an owner to care for me.
The lady in the flowered skirt went to get a glass of red wine, came back, and walked to her car. She crossed the street and looked around. She saw me. I growled, even though I knew that she didn’t want to harm me. She got out her blackberry phone and dialed: (324) 802-9672. That was the number of an animal rescue truck. She waited patiently with me for exactly 13 minutes and 43 seconds. She counted. She also was humming Row, Row, Row, Your Boat. I quietly hummed along with her. She turned and looked at me. I quickly stopped humming and looked up at her with big eyes. She bent down and pet me.
A big, white van pulled up across the street from where the lady and I were. Two men hopped out in tan uniforms with pins on them. The pins had pictures of dogs, cats, birds and every animal you can imagine. Even a donkey!! They picked me up –– Mr. Stan and Mr. Louis. They also had name tags on along with all those cool pins. The van had big bumper stickers that had their phone number, with a dog on them. They held me high in the air for photos for a new bumper sticker!! Inside the van, they had metal bars. I couldn’t go to the front of the van. It seemed like jail. I got to sit on a big, fluffy, soft, white cushion. Of course, in jail they wouldn’t have a cushion in the police car. At least from what I know.
By this time, the lady was gone. Dust flew from behind the car. Do you want to hear something terrible? Here, you know what? I’ll tell you. They were taking me to the vet! My old owner took me once and I bit the vet. Let’s do a quick addition problem: Me plus vet equals mad. The lady at the desk, talked to Mr. Stan and Mr. Louis.
“We’ll be back in 30 minutes,” concluded Mr. Louis.
“Yes we will,” confirmed Mr. Stan.
“That will work just fine,” said the lady at the desk, Molly.
And that was that. I waited in a dog pen that had a husky and a beagle.
“Dog?” A sweet looking nurse called me.
I growled. Molly got me out of the pen which was unfortunate because I wanted to stay, play with some toys, and sleep on the cushion. I growled and growled. I hated the vet. I sat up on a table that had a matting on the bottom. Since I knew that I hated the vet, I peed on the table. The vet wasn’t in the room yet but Molly was. She didn’t know how to handle this bad-for-her situation.
“Um … Janitor Jake? Can you come and … clean this mat? Cody peed on it.” Molly asked through her walkie talkie.
“Sure.” Jake replied crackly through the walkie talkie.
A minute later, Jake appeared with a garbage bag and and new mat for me to sit on. Just then, Dr. Sanders came in.
I looked through the door as the vet came in. He was wearing a long white jacket with name a tag that read ‘Dr. Sanders.’
“Hi Jake, Molly,” Dr. Sanders said casually.
Then, he turned his attention to me.
“Hi!” Sander said cheerfully!
He gave me a light pat on the head. I growled at him and tried to bite him. Luckily for him, he was able to pull his finger away a millisecond before I was going to bite him.
“Ready to get started?” questioned Sanders.
I gave a low, mean bark.
He got out a stethoscope and put it on my heart. The assistant who I haven’t yet mentioned sat in the corner of the room to check off if things were looking good or bad.
“Heartbeat is fine. Yes it is, cutie. Yes it is!” Sanders said.
This went on and on. Even after Mr. Stan and Mr. Louis came back.
I couldn’t sit on the table anymore. They were in the middle of giving me a tick and flea medication when I hopped off the table. Dr. Louis, who was quite large, started chasing me around the room. He started to break a sweat after I made him run around the table once. Once!! Mr. Stan got mad and started yelling. He had lost his temper.
“Why would you do that, dog?”
Mr. Louis was panting. That was the end of the terrible check-up. On the way out, Dr. Louis paid the check ($307 plus tax). On the way out, Molly gave me a treat.
“You want a treat for being such a good little doggy?”
I wagged my tail and barked. Just as Molly was about to put the treat in my mouth, Mr. Stan took it away. I bit his finger as hard as I could and didn’t let go. He screamed like a five-year-old girl who was in terrible pain. I finally let go and he dropped the treat on the ground. I quickly, without anyone knowing, ate the treat off the ground. Molly gave me a soft pat on the head as if she were on my side. In my ear, she whispered something.
Molly joked, “it’s okay, buddy. He was mean. And scared like a chicken from a tractor.”
I liked her. Mr. Louis took Mr. Stan to the bathroom. His finger was swollen when he came out. Mr. Stan grabbed me and, of course, I growled.
“Shut up,” Mr. Stan said, paranoid.
I went back into the car and Mr. Louis started driving again. He stopped at a gas station. He went into a tiny supermarket and came back with three large bags filled with potato chips, coca cola, gummy bears, one tiny circular dog treat, peppermint patties, two milkshakes, and two cheeseburgers. Mr. Louis tossed the dog treat to the back seat. I gave a tiny bark.
“Oh. Now the dog is nice. Why did you even get him a treat?”
“Well … maybe … I like him a little? Fine. I like Cody and all his energy.” Mr Louis was afraid to break this news.
I gave another bark, except this time louder.
“Let’s face it Louis. You can’t run. At all.” Stated Mr. Stan.
“Can I run, Cody?” I nodded my head yes because really, he was kind of nice. I also barked.
Mr. Stan got madder by the second because I like Mr. Louis more than Stan (not) The Man. My new nickname for him!
The car ride was so long. Another time, Mr. Louis got more food. He came back with one piece of gum and a bag of dog treats for me! He even sat in the back of the car with me! There was nothing for Mr. Stan. Poor him (not).
We finally got to the shelter. Mr. Louis picked me up and carried me out of the car to the door. I walked inside and saw many dogs. They all looked nice. They started howling as I walked through the door. It was painted hot pink with blue stripes. The handle was in a shape of a dog–a shih tzu, in fact. I saw big kennels with big dogs with smaller kennels with smaller dogs. The place had hard wooden floors. It seemed like a place that I wouldn’t like. I barked with my tail down and my teeth gritted. They scooped me into a kennel. Surprisingly, it was a big kennel like the ones that the big dogs got. I felt so special. I had three t-shirt rope toys, a water bowl, a food bowl, and a cushion to sleep on. Pretty lame. I sat in the corner. Louis watched me. I could tell that he felt bad for me. He knew that I liked the open.
“Rachel? Are employees allowed to adopt the dogs?” I heard Louis ask.
“Ye–” Rachel got cut off by Louis.
“Yippee!!!” shouted Louis.
“–but not until after a full year because someone else may want to adopt that little cute pup.” finished Rachel.
“What? But I really want to adopt Cody,” Louis protested.
Rachel shooed Louis off.
The next day, Louis called in sick. That was unfortunate. Early that morning –– not too early –– a visitor came to the shelter. He was wearing a pair of navy jeans with a white t-shirt. Right away, I knew who it was but I didn’t bark or do anything. It seemed as if the person had made sure that his beard was extra long.
“May I help you?” asked Rachel, sweetly.
“Yes please … I was wondering if you had any small black and white shih tzu’s?”
“Yes we do. You can go and look for yourself,” Rachel said.
The man started walking when Rachel stopped him.
“Louis? Is that you?”
“Louis. It says your name on your shirt. And your last name.”
“Okay, I admit it. I was trying to adopt the dog under disguise.”
“Let’s get to work, Louis.”
Louis walked over to me and rubbed my neck. I love neck massages. Louis took me out of my cage a cradled me like a baby. If you’re wondering where Mr. Stan was, he quit his job. I bit him too hard. He was so mean anyway. I didn’t really care.