In which Riley becomes a…problem?

Who’da thunk my sweet li’l pup would be a problem? I mean, yea, Wren’s been sayin’ I  gotsta train her an’ all, an’ she outta be a good sweet pup, an’ she can’t be makin’ messes or nothin’. But mostly she doesn’t.  Make messes, that is. Mosta time, she paws atta door, or whimpers at me, an’ I pick her up an’ take her out an’ she does her thing.

Simple, right?

But Wren says she outta walk on a leash an’ sit when she been told an’ not sneak table scraps (or even ask for some!) An’ most definitely not chew no shoes.  It makes sense, I guess, but it’s hard to figure how a pup’s gonna do alla that.

Mosta time, tho, I ain’t gotta worry none, cuz Riley’s a good pup.

Th other day, tho, I forgotten bout her. Me an’ Cooper an’ Sparrow was in a bedroom, readin’ bout butterflies inna book Pip sended, an’ talkin’ bout how we was gonna go out an’ find ’em in a summer. Cooper was sayin’ we could plant flower bushes they liked an’ make a muddy puddly spot, cuz butterflies like havin’ a li’l drink too. But then he said we outta catch ’em an’ kill ’em an’ put ’em inna box with labels, an’ neither Sparrow nor me much liked the idea. Poor butterflies!


Then, outta blue, I heard Wren holler: “Kestrel!”

It weren’t no happy-Wren voice. She wasn’t gonna gimme no cookies or nothin’. Cooper looked at me, an’ I looked at he, an’ we both kinda cringed.


But he didn’t go with me or nothin’. Nope, I hadda do it all by meself.  So off I went, wonderin’ if maybe I’d forgotten to match socks or if I done left m’ sword lyin’ out an’ about or if maybe maybe maybe Wren wanna gimme somethin’ nice, like a ice cream cone or somethin’!  I kinda walked a li’l faster then, thinkin’ maybe I weren’t inna trouble after all!

But I got inna main room, an’ alla that good thought went flyin’ ‘way, cuz I took one look atta Wren’s face an’ knew for sure I done somethin’ wrong.


Uh oh.  Big wrong, too.

“Hi, Wren,” I say.  “Whatcha need?”  Alla innocent-like, like I ain’t done nothin’ bad.  Cuz I still ain’t figure it out, an’ I’m standin’ there, lookin’ at her.

“Kestre,” she said, an’ her voice was calm down a bit, “did you forget something?”

I looked down at myself.  I was wearin’ a shirt, an’ pants, an’ I’d got on clean unders that mornin’, an’ I passed a brush through m’ hair, an’ another over teeth… “Um…shoes?”  I looked back uppa at Wren, hopin’ I got it right.


She pointed, an’ I followed her finger, an’ I bust out laughin’.  I think doin’ that wasn’t right, but I couldn’ help it none!


I slapped a hand over m’ mouth right quick, but I know for sure Wren heard the laugh, cuz she just gave a big sigh.  “You have to train her better, Kestrel.  She can’t go around, stealing shoes and making messes like she’s a little hooligan.  If you’re going to keep a puppy, you need to train it right.”

“She been wearin’ her collar, though.  She ain’t even snuck outta it much.”

Wren just kept givin’ me the look.

I sighed.  I thought the collar was good enough.  Time afore, puttin’ it onna Riley’s neck’d been enough t’ make Wren happy.  Guess I gotta figure out what more t’do.  I ain’t never own a dog afore.  How’m I gona train one?  I took the shoe ‘way from Riley an’ look it over.  Weren’t in bad condition, not yet.  There was just a little spot where you could see her teeth marks inna leather.  I didn’ think that’d make Wren happy, tho, so I set it down.


I gave it one last go, tho.  “Y’know, Wren, it’s an awfu shame we gotta make her like every other dog.  She’s kinda like a free spirit an’ all…”


Yea.  No.  She didn’ budge.  In fact, she had a very firm idea bout what I needa do with Riley, an’ she made it very clear.  I looked over at m’ pup, with her tongue hangin’ outta side her mouth an’ those big brown eyes she got, an’ I just knew we was in for a mess…

To Be Continued…

(Isn’t that cool?  Cooper told me I can do stuff like that!  He showed me inna book he been readin’, that summatime, the writer’s got a spot atta end wha’ say he ain’t done writin’, but the next part ain’t writ yet!  I figgered I outta try somethin’ like it too.)


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