Ever since Princess Penelope had been hit by that truck, Bobby had had bad dreams. He saw the crash in his mind over and over. He wished that there was something he could have done to stop that truck, but he was just a boy. Each time he heard the brakes squeal and the grill of that pickup coming toward him, his heart began to race and he couldn’t breathe.
The worst part had been how everyone had ignored Princess Penelope. She had pulled him out of the way, but now she was hurt and out there alone. She needed help, and Bobby knew that since he was the only one who could see her, it was his responsibility. His mother had refused to help him look. Every time that he mentioned Princess Penelope, she would tell him that she wasn’t real and he should forget about her. He didn’t know what else to do.
Finding the new dog had helped his anxiety though. Although she had been here for less than a day, even he could tell that she was different from other dogs. She wasn’t like Precious, who yapped all the time and ate her own poop. The new dog was smart and would look at you when you talked to her, like she understood what you were saying. Bobby wanted to keep her, but his mom was doing everything she could to get rid of her.
She had even left the dog out in the yard and had forbidden Bobby to go out and play with her. His brain churned with ideas about how to change her mind and let him see the dog, but in the end, it was a sudden downpour that did the job for him. Sneaking upstairs from basement playroom, he crept close and listened as Mom and Dad talked about her in the kitchen.
“She must belong to someone,” said Mom. “She’s so tame and healthy looking.”
“You’re probably right,” said his Dad, “but with no tags it’s going to be hard to find them. What did the pound say?”
“They’re full up, and most of the staff has already left for the weekend. There’s some big music festival that they’re all going to. The woman said they’d take her if it’s an emergency, which it’s not.”
“Can’t they just scan her chip, and tell us who she belongs to?” he asked.
“They don’t give out that kind of information to the public. Besides, I checked, and I couldn’t find one,” said Mom. “Usually there’s a little bump between the shoulder blades.”
“She must have one,” said Dad. “It’s been mandatory for…what, five years now?”
“True,” said Mom, “but not everyone follows the law. They could be health nuts or religious extremists for all we know. I think the best bet is take her out for a walk and put up some flyers. See if anyone knows where she belongs.”
“I’ve already missed one day of work because of Hurricane Bobby,” said Dad, “so you’re going to have to take her down on Monday if that doesn’t work.”
“Don’t call it that,” said Mom. “It’s not his fault what happened. It must have been some freak gust of wind or something.”
“So what do we do with her now? We can’t leave her locked up in the garage all weekend.”
“I dunno,” said Mom. “Precious seems okay with her now. I think it would be okay if she stayed with us in the house until we get her settled.”
“What about Bobby?” asked Dad.
“Honestly, I think it would be good for him. It would give him something to think about besides his lost princess and exploding bedroom. It’s the first thing he shown an interest in since the accident.”
“And what about when we have to give her up?” he asked. “How is he going to feel then?”
“Terrible,” she said, “but he’ll get over it. At this point the damage is done, so we can either keep her with us or toss her back out on the street now.”
“No!” Bobby rushed into the kitchen. The dog was sitting on the floor between his Mom and Dad, listening intently to the conversation. He ran up and put his arms around her. “I want her to stay with us.”
“Bobby, we talked about this, remember?” His Mom was calm but firm. “She doesn’t belong to us. There’s probably someone out there who misses her and is looking for her.”
“Yeah, but if we can’t find them, then we can keep her, right?”
Mom looked at Dad, but he just shrugged. “We’ll see,” she said, “but now it’s time for a nap.”
“Aww,” said Bobby. “I’m not tired.”
“You can take the dog with you,” said Mom, “but don’t make a mess up there. We just got everything back where it’s supposed to be.”
“Okay,” said Bobby. “C’mon girl. I’ll show you my room.” He headed off with the dog following closely behind him.
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” said Dad.
“Trust me,” she said. “I can’t explain it, but I’ve got a good feeling about that mutt.”
To be continued…