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Piper Tales: The Adventures of a Lucky Black-and-White Dog (Part 2)

Piper Tales: The Adventures of a Lucky Black-and-White Dog (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you chapters from Piper Tales that you can read with your children. Tune in each Monday for the next installment.

Click here for last week’s installment (Chapters 1-4).

Chapter 5:  Abandoned                                    

No one saw or heard the paint-worn, rusty red pickup come to a stop at the side of the road in front of the school yard. Its driver, in a shirt too thin for the night, shivered as he stepped from the truck and walked around to the other side. He listened for any sound that would signal he was being watched. Confident he was alone and unseen, he quietly opened the car door and lifted a peach crate from the floor.

Inside the crate three tiny puppies huddled in a sleepy pile of black, white and gray. As the cold and damp of night creeped into the slotted crate, they yelped, calling for the warmth and comfort of their mother and the sweet milk she gave them.

“Shhh, shhh,” he whispered, then gently lowered the crate to a patch of grass near the fence. Patting and rubbing the pups for what would be the last time, he spoke more to himself than them. “You’ll be alright. There’s lots of youngins come here every day. You’ll see. You won’t be alone long. It’ll be alright.”

He started to leave and the puppies cried. With a deep sigh he turned back to the truck, cracked open the door and pulled a blue beach towel from under the seat. He squatted next to the crate, covered it with the towel, carefully tucked in the edges along the sides and stood to leave.

With a shrug of his shoulders and a shake of his head, he tugged an old, oil-stained handkerchief from the pocket of his overalls and wiped away the tears that had come to his eyes.

Without looking back, he climbed into his truck and slowly began to drive away. The glow of his tail lights began to fade in the dark of the moonless night, and as he rounded the corner at the end of the block, his turn signal blinked a final red farewell.

Chapter 6:  A Hard Decision                                     

“What?” Tyler croaked, in wide-eyed shock and unbelief. What the vet, Dr. Bagton, was telling him just couldn’t be true.

“You have to remove her leg—her whole leg? No! That’s not right. It was just a snake bite. You gave her the anti-venom. She lived, she’s gonna be okay now.”

Tyler’s shoulders tensed as he bit his bottom lip and looked past Dr. Bagton to the kennel where Chincha rested. A large, white plastic cone had been attached to the collar that circled her face and went up past her ears. He pointed toward the contraption.

“What’s that thing for?”

“That is an E-cone designed to keep her from chewing off her bandage and licking the place where she was bitten. It doesn’t hurt her. It just looks funny.”

Tyler’s eyes moved to the plastic bag attached to a pole that hung above Chincha’s head. The medicine inside dripped down the tube and into her leg.

“You said that medicine would make her well—that the worst was behind us now.”

“No, Tyler. I said it would probably make her well, but that I needed her to stay with me for a few days to see how things went. That’s why you left her here, remember?”

With an unsure shake of his head, Tyler sighed and looked down at the uneven laces of his Converse high-tops. “Yeah, I guess so, but…”

At the sound of Tyler’s voice, Chincha wagged her fluffy white tail, drumming it against the floor of her kennel—but she did not get up.

Tyler started toward her, but with a gentle hand on his shoulder, Dr. Bagton stopped him. “I am so sorry, but the infection in her leg is stronger than the medicine we are giving her.”

“But there’s gotta be something else you can do. There’s gotta be!”

“I wish there were, Tyler, but I am already using the strongest antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs available. They simply are not working. I know this is a hard decision to make, Tyler, but if we don’t do something now, Chincha will die.”

Chapter 7: A New Way of Life    

Surgery can be scary for pets and owners and Tyler was really scared the day he went to bring Chincha home. He didn’t know what to expect—and never expected what he saw.

Chincha was already up and moving! The moment she saw him, her eyes lit up, her fluffy white tail began to wag, and she walked to greet him with all her usual love and enthusiasm.

Tyler squatted in front of her and cupped her little face in his hands.  Tears of relief dripped from his chin as he rubbed her head in the spot she liked best, just behind her ears. He gently pressed his nose to hers.

“Aren’t you something?” he said. “This is amazing! Absolutely amazing!”

“Amazing, yes, but not completely unusual,” Dr. Bagton said. “When a pet loses a limb, though it certainly is a life-changing event, it’s not nearly as debilitating as it is in humans. Like many of my patients, Chincha stood and began to walk as soon as her anesthesia wore off.”

“Do you think she’s gonna, well, you know, feel bad about looking weird and having only three legs instead of four?”

“I’ve never seen it make much of a difference. Dogs have no preconceived ideas of how they should or should not look. Once the stitches are removed and healing is complete, they quickly adjust to their new way of life. You may have to help her on the stairs. We don’t want her slipping or falling. Keep an eye out for slippery surfaces too. While she is strengthening different muscles than those she used before, she may be a little sore. A gentle message is something she will enjoy. I’ve put the instructions for how to do that in her bag along with some pain pills for the first few days.”

“Pain pills? How am I going to get her to take those?”

“That’s easy. Bury them in a little peanut butter and she’ll swallow them with no trouble. Try not to worry Tyler.  You and Chincha will be just fine.”

(To be continued next Monday…)

By: Penny Hunt

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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