Hello, friends! My name is Juneberry. I used to have no name, but that changed. Let me tell you my story…
It was a dark and stormy night. The rain poured down on the blacktop as I chewed on my stolen hot dog in the big, broken building. I did not like living in the city. Too many people, not enough food. Thunder rolled and lightning flashed, and the wind howled in my ears. Wait…. that’s not the wind! Three dogs ran down the road and scrambled into the house. One of them approached me. I wagged my tail and smiled. It was one of my many, many companions and pack mates. “How was your dinner?” he asked in a rumbling voice. He was a Xoloitzcuintli (show-loh-etts-KWEENT-lee) from Mexico. “I got a hot dog with mustard, ketchup, and relish!” I replied. His stomach rumbled. He was a powerfully built dog, with bronze fur and deep brown eyes. “I got a roast chicken. It was coated in olive oil,” he told me. A squeaky voice interrupted us. It was the Peruvian Hairless dog, who had mottled white and reddish-pink skin and a little bit of hair on his head which reminded me of some humans I’d seen. “And I got a nice steak.” he said. The Peruvian Inca Orchid ran over and said, in her soft voice, “I could not find a thing.” Her skin was dark silvery-gray, and she had not one speck of fur on her body. “Aussies are always lucky,” the Xolo said with a little grin. “Well, you got a chicken,” I retorted. The Inca Orchid laughed in her slow way while the Hairless began to giggle uncontrollably, which sounded like hiccups. I retreated to a corner where I lay down to sleep, drifting off into a dream about a laughing epidemic.
I woke up at the first light of dawn and resolved to take a journey to find more food. After walking for hours, and the landscape changed. Soon I came to a wood, at the other end of which was a yard that I went through, eventually crossing a wide road. There was a long gravel driveway with a white mobile home at the end of it. A small stoop let to the front door. Now, I was hungry and very, very tired, so I dragged myself up the steps and pawed on the door. The door unlocked and was opened by a little girl aged nine or so with a smiling face sprinkled with freckles, bright blue eyes, and brown hair tied back in a ponytail. I did my biggest puppy eyes at her. “Aww! It’s so cute!” she cried. “What is?” came a voice from the house. “This!” she cried. I heard the sound of running feet and paws. The door was opened wide, and there stood a man, a woman, and two more girls as well as a white German Shepherd and another Aussie. “Howwwwl!” cried the Aussie, and the brown-haired girl said, “Shh, Funsky Nub!” I raced in and jumped on the tall blond girl and began licking her face. She spluttered when I licked her. I did the same to everyone else. Suddenly, I heard a muffled voice “What in the name of The Food Lady’s Supreme Dog Food is going on here?” I jumped into a narrow hallway and the door closed. An old black Labrador Retriever with cloudy brown eyes stood behind the door. “Hi!” she said, and I was suddenly surrounded by wagging tales and curious noses. “I’m Freki,” the Shepherd said. “I’m Daisy,” said the Lab. “And I’m Gimli,” said the little Aussie. “Pleased to meet you,” I replied, and held out my paw. They each shook it in turn. Suddenly, I heard the voices of the five people. “Can we keep it, Mama?” asked the little darker brown haired one. “Yes, I am sure we should keep it,” the lady replied. I ran over to them. The girls introduced themselves to me. The tall, blond one said, “Hi, little one! I’m Abigail.” I licked her hand. The brown-haired one said, “I’m called Rebekah.” I nuzzled her leg. “And I’m Sarah,” said the little, darker- brown-haired one. I jumped up and licked her ear. These people were great! Then they went to the living room where they sat down. “I propose we name her Juneberry!” said Rebekah. “How do we know it’s a girl?” asked Abigail. “She looks like a girl,” said Rebekah. I licked her face. “See, she knows I’m right!” Rebekah beamed. “Well, she needs a bath, brushing, and then dinner,” said Mama.
First came bath. Mama put me into the tub which was filled with hot water and soap, and covered me in shampoo. It was glorious to be so clean! Next, the girls brushed me, which was quite the effort since my coat was very knotted. And finally came dinner. Mama brought out a big pot and ladle, and the others went wild. Gimli jumped up and barked and ran around like crazy and the others whined. “What’s wrong with him?” I whispered to Freki. “He’s a spaz,” he whispered back. A “spaz” appears to be a very nervous wreck. Dinner was chicken soup with rice and some sort of leftovers in it also. It was gone in two seconds flat. Then the people had dinner, which smelled really good, and we even got a bit of cheese! I think it was mild cheddar, judging from the taste. Then the girls played with me, and the Daddy also. Finally, after a long day of play, I was ready for bed. I lay around a bit until the girls lay down, and then I fell asleep on top of their sheets.
The next day dawned bright and cold, and they took us for a walk. But I thought about all my poor friends back in the city, especially those hairless ones. So I broke my leash and ran back to the city. I yelled at the top of my lungs. “Hey! Xotol! Hairless! Orchid! Come here!” They came to me. “There is a house in the country with three nice girls, lots of food, and three other dogs! Plus, their yard is HUGE!” I yelled, though it was not really necessary. “Lets go!” they cried in chorus. We ran back, and I sat on the stoop and barked. The door was flung open, and there they stood again. “THREE MORE?” cried Abigail. Xotol apparently liked Rebekah since he ran up and licked her. Orchid jumped in and licked Abigail’s face. Hairless yipped and nuzzled Sarah. “We can have three more dogs,” said Mama. They repeated yesterday’s process with my three pals, as well as naming them. “The Xoloitzcuintli will be called Ginger!” cried Rebekah, who hugged him. “Squeaky!” said Sarah, and Hairless licked her. “She’s a Peruvian Inca Orchid, so I’ll call her Orchid,” said Abigail.
The next day I could not find the other three until noon, when a chorus of howling sounded. There stood the whole pack, more than 350 dogs. As Rebekah stepped out, a tiny brown and white Chihuahua boy jumped into her arms. A red and white Papillon barked at Sarah, and twin Huskies ran to Abigail. A bath fest and naming ceremony commenced, and all the dogs’ names were written down along with information about them. The Chihuahua was christened Tippy, the Papillon Butterfly, and the twins Snowy (the boy) and Crystal (the girl). That night, the dogs slept all over the house, and some on the beds. It was a peaceful night, surprisingly enough, for we all slept soundly.