On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a word challenge meme which she calls “Words for Wednesday”.
She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.
I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.
It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?
Our words today come from Elephant’s Child again, Delores is still experiencing computing problems.
This week's words are:
well, as soon as I read leg and hydrant, my mind said 'woof!' and I just had to write something with dogs in it :)
Here is my not-so-short story:
A piercing whistle followed by a strong voice rang out across the field. Max! Shelby! Jacko! A few seconds later happy barking preceded a blur of furry colour as the three dogs raced toward Alex. He sat on the grass and allowed them to jump all over him in greeting, tails wagging furiously, tongues licking at face and hands. He laughed at their exuberance while checking them over and noting the shiny coats and eyes, the white teeth. At two years old they were fully grown physically, yet still puppies at heart and in manner. Today was Vet day, time for their annual booster shots and a general check up.
Once the initial greeting was over, Alex rose to his feet and quietly said, "sit boys" and each dog immediately settled on the grass to wait as Alex used the garden tap to wash off his face and hands. He rinsed and refilled the large enamel wash basin and called the dogs to drink. when they'd each drank he lowered the tailgate on the ute and a soft double hand clap "up!" had them leaping into the back of the old Holden.
Alex climbed into the driver's seat and they were off along the dusty track to town. Malcolm's Vet practice was on the corner of Acacia Avenue and Peppercorn Street, both named for the trees that lined them, the first corner that signified the beginning of Town. He'd bought and converted the old Gillespie place and retained the small field next to it, transforming it over time to a playground training area for puppies and dogs, with one large corner fenced off as an exercise yard for dogs recuperating from illness or surgery.
Set back a little from the corner was an antique fire hydrant, placed there especially for the town's dogs and Alex let his boys visit there before entering the clinic. Each dog jostled for space as he excitedly sniffed, then lifted his leg to leave his own message for any other dogs that might come along.
Inside the clinic, Malcolm was ready and waiting. He'd been looking forward to this appointment for days. It was Malcolm who had sent Alex to the pound on the outskirts of Sydney. Alex had been wanting a puppy for company, but once at the pound he'd discovered three puppies recently rescued from various dumpsters; Christmas puppies they were, bought as "gifts" then discarded when they became too big; too boisterous; too expensive; more often because the owners hadn’t realised the constant care needed and just couldn’t be bothered anymore.
Jessy, the girl in charge of these shivering, frightened little puppies was fiercely angry at the treatment these babies had been subjected to. Alex had decided instantly to buy all of them. Each was roughly three months old. A German Shepherd, so thin his ribs were clearly visible, a Golden Retriever who had been found with a red scarf tied too tightly around his neck, and a Border Collie who had been barely breathing tied inside a plastic garbage bag.
Alex had named them immediately; Max, the Shepherd; Shelby, the Golden Retriever and Jacko, the Border Collie.
They'd been at the pound only a couple of days and would have to remain at least a month to be sure they were fully recovered before Alex could take them home.
Jessy had taken out her calculator to add up the cost of purchase, collars & leads, cans and bags of food and registration papers for each puppy and told Alex he could pay now or when he collected the puppies. They would be removed from the sales list immediately.
She could see by the way Alex handled each puppy, these boys would be going to a loving home.
Now here they all were, 20 months later, ready to greet Malcolm with paw shakes and tail wags as he called them into the treatment room. The dogs were weighed, quickly checked over, then vaccinated against various doggy ailments and finally each was given a special chewy treat containing a heartworm tablet. Mal and Alex spent some time chatting, discussing the dogs, Mal's practice, the town in general and Mrs Gillespie, who now resided in an assisted living unit a block away from the nursing home.
At almost 90, she still took enormous interest in things around her, enjoying a weekly visit to her old home and watching the animals as they played in the yard. Mal was a little worried about her, last week he'd noticed a large bruise on her arm; Alice had fallen against her coffee table; she'd been resolute in her determination to not use one of those walkers to steady her, "they're for old people!" she'd said. But after the fall, her assistant had managed to change her mind and Alice Gillespie now had a shiny new walker to help her get around.
When the next patient was due, an overweight, fluffy white Persian cat, not at all happy about being on a diet, Alex said his goodbyes and clipped leashes onto his boys for the walk to the butcher shop.
For the dogs, this was the best part of the trip to town; they knew what was coming!
Sam, the butcher, always gave treats to every dog he met, chunks of beef, sometimes a sausage. Today was beef day, he'd butchered two steers for the MacDonalds and the scraps were kept for visiting dogs to enjoy. "What can I do for you Alex", he asked now while dropping beef pieces into the bowls lined up against the wall.
"I want three beef shin bones sliced lengthways for the boys here, two kilos of mince, four Porterhouse steaks and five kilos of sausages, please Sam".
"Five kilos? said Sam. "Guess I know what you're bringing to the barbecue then."
Alex smiled, "yep, sausages."
The barbecue was to be held in the park across from Mal's practice, to celebrate Alice Gillespie's 90th birthday on Saturday.
The whole town loved the old dear; the last descendant of the town’s original founders, she hadn't been stingy sharing her wealth and knowledge, even giving large donations to enable the local primary school to rebuild their tired old playground and basketball courts. Three generations of Gillespies had attended that school, with the newest, youngest member already being on the enrolment list.
With his meat packaged and ready to go, Alex walked the dogs back to his ute and loaded them in the back. The box of meat was placed on the passenger seat, safely away from nosy doggy noses. He checked under the seat and found three rubber balls.
"Good," he thought, "I'll stop at the pond and give the boys a swim."
Halfway home, he stopped by the pond on MacDonald's farm and threw the balls into the water for the dogs. 'Max fetch" he called, "Shelby, Jacko, fetch" and the dogs raced toward the water to retrieve the balls floating on the surface.
For several minutes this game was played, then it was time to be getting home. The meat needed to be in the fridge! And Alex had somewhere else to be right after lunch.
He had an appointment with Felix, the photographer living on the other side of town, out near the old gorge. Alex would be asking Felix to photograph Max, Shelby and Jacko.