Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Rusty, the Wonder Dog," Another Middle-Grade Short Story

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

“I’m home,” Tim yelled, “anybody here?”

His twelve-year-old sister, Tess, responded, “In the living room.”

Tim joined her there, dropping his knapsack, chock full of books even though he was only in fourth grade.

“You’re home a bit late, Tim, what’s up?”

“Played touch football after school.”

“Did you walk Mrs. Kaufmann’s dog?”

“Oh, no! I forgot!”

“Better get over there, before there’s a mess.”

Tim raced the two blocks to the Kaufmanns’ house. He had their key. When he opened the door, their Beagle, Rusty, was clearly excited to see him. Rusty barked his loud Beagle bark, wagged his tail, his welcome waggin’, and excitedly jumped around as Tim put the leash on his collar.

Tim and Rusty walked down Maple Street, the trees nearly free of leaves, as this was late Fall. Rusty moved next to one of these maples, lifted his leg and gave out a little spurt.

“Is that all?”

Rusty did not reply.

The two returned, and Tim and Rusty went to the kitchen to get Rusty a treat. There was a puddle on the kitchen floor and an unwelcome smell in the air. Tim thought, Uh-oh, Rusty has had an “accident.”

Tim pulled several sheets of paper towels from the rack, and started to dry up the puddle. Yellow. Smelly. He opened a cabinet and found some Zip-loc storage bags and put the wet paper towels in there. He got some more paper towels and repeated the wiping and the storing. There was still a smell. What to do? He picked up the telephone and called Tess.


“Hello. Who is this?”


“Tim? Where are you?

“Kaufmanns’ house.”

“What’s up?”

“Rusty peed on the kitchen floor. I dried it up…but it still smells.”

“Wet a paper towel, put a few drops of dish detergent on it, wipe the spot again. Dry it with a paper towel. Then wet another one, without detergent, and wipe again. Then dry it all up with another paper towel. That should do it. I‘ll wait.”

Tim did as Tess instructed. A few minutes later, the smell was gone, and the floor looked fine.

“Thanks, Sis.”


When Tim told his mother what happened, she told him he would have to apologize to the Kaufmanns for letting them down, not walking the dog right after school as he had agreed to do, and tell them what Rusty and he had done.

Mr. Kaufmann thanked Tim, told him the floor seemed fine, “No harm, no foul.” It was not clear, however, whether they would rely on Tim to walk Rusty again until he got older and more responsible.

When Rick got home from football practice, he heard the story and said he’d call Rusty “'The Wonder Dog'…he wondered whether Tim would ever get there to take him for his walk.”

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