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