The Tales of Two Terriers
Word count : 43,000
For James and Cara, the joy bringers
And for dogs everywhere with tails to wag.
Where do you go in your dream time?
Dearest Terrier mine.
Do you find your heart's desire
When you lay dreaming by the fire?
Perhaps you dream that you have wings
And do the most amazing things.
Do you fly and sit on clouds?
Are you a lion, fierce and proud?
Do you sail across the sea
And talk to parrots up a tree?
Do you see fishes in great lakes
and feed them fat on Jaffa cakes?
Do you tell jokes to tall giraffes
And do they bend their necks and laugh?
Or do you dream of things you know –
meat and biscuits, Bonio?
Am I with you in the lane
Plodding homeward in the rain?
Do we walk in sun and shade
Through the leafy woodland glade?
Oh Terrier! I shall never know
What you dream or where you go.
Two dogs lay dozing by the Rayburn in the warm kitchen.
FLASH! RUMBLE! BASH! CRASH!
Thunder and lightning filling the sky, the dogs awoke.
'Oh dear! What's that?' asked the little Jack Russell pup.
'It's nothing to bother about, just a thunderstorm,' the old Cocker Spaniel dog told the pup. 'Why don't you think about something nice. We are warm and comfortable here so think about where Boots has gone and what she might bring back for us!' Macy, the Cocker Spaniel suggested.
'Oh, yes. Tell me again what you think,' said Willow, the Jack Russell pup.
'Dearie me! How many more times do I have to tell you?' Macy sighed and stretched in his chair. 'I think, well actually I'm fairly sure, she has gone to get a new pup to be your playmate, and I shall be very glad. You need a pup to play with, I am much too old for all your games, but I shall be keeping an eye on you to make sure you are not too naughty.'
FLASH! RUMBLE! BASH! CRASH!
'Sorry I didn't hear that last bit,' Willow said, smiling.
'Hmm…' said Macy.
Willow looked up at Macy, 'I do hope you are right. I would love a pup to play with. You are very good to me, but I know you get tired. Let's keep our paws crossed. I feel very excited, I think its time for a song, let me have a think.'
'Oh no! Not a song! Your voice is worse than those squeaky toys you have!'
Macy raised his eyes and laid his head between his paws covering his ears.
'Well, I like a little song now and again, and I think I have one.' Willow pointed her nose and up and sang in a high squeaky voice:-
'Hurry up Boots, don't be late
Please bring me a new playmate
A nice little pup who will stay
And play with me everyday.'
'Do you like that?' she asked.
'Yes. Have you noticed? I think you have frightened the storm away.'
'Golly gosh! Yes, all the noise has gone. I'll sing it again just to make sure.' Willow was about to start when the door opened and Boots came in carrying a box.
'Hello dogs,' said Boots.
The dogs ran to greet her. They wagged their tails. Boots put the box on the table and smoothed their heads. They were pleased she was back.
'What a storm. Were you both O.K.? We had an awful journey but it's cleared now and just look what I have brought for you.'
Willow wagged, and wagged, and wagged her tail as Boots gently took a sleepy gold and white coloured pup from the box. The pup yawned an enormous yawn and looked around.
'Come along little pup.' Boots knelt with the pup on her lap. 'Be gentle you two. Don't frighten her.' The two dogs came forward softly to see the pup. 'This is your new home, and these will be your special friends, little pup.' The pup was a bit nervous and wobbly but tried to be brave.
'Hello pup. I am Macy, and this is my young friend, Willow.'
'Hhhhello Mmmmacy and Wwwwillow.'
'Hello. What's your name?' asked Willow.
'I am Pup, I'm a Jack Russell.'
'Yes, you are a JR, like me. Oh, that rhymes. I must remember that in case I need it for a song!'
Macy sniffed Pup's ears and along her back. 'Steady, you are a big dog, I am a small pup, don't blow me away!' the pup said bravely.
Macy and Willow smiled, so Pup smiled and felt much happier.
'You're a very brave pup,' Willow said, giving Pup's face a little lick.
'My Mum told us, my brothers and sisters and I, to try and be brave when we went to our new homes. I am trying very hard,' Pup gulped. 'You two smell nice and friendly.'
Boots put Pup on the floor. Pup rolled on her back under the noses of the two dogs. Young dogs do this when they know other dogs are older and wiser. Pups just want to be friendly and have fun.
Macy and Willow sniffed Pup from her nose, along her tummy, to her toes.
Hmm, that's nice! thought Pup.
Good, they are getting along nicely. I don't think we shall have many problems. She is a dear little pup, she will be good company for Willow, thought Boots. 'Right, let's put you out for a tinkle,' Boots said as she opened the door into the porch. 'Be quick!'
Macy and Willow ran out into the porch and through the pop hole. Boots picked up Pup and put her outside.
'Come along Pup, down here,' Macy called from the garden. 'You're supposed to do a tinkle now.' Macy cocked his leg by the compost heap.
'Oh, I see,' Pup said and popping her leg up – whoops! SPLAT! She fell down, 'Ah lovely'. She rolled, and rolled, and rolled in the wet grass. 'This is fun,' she laughed.
Macy and Willow came to look and they all laughed.
Then Willow said, 'Girls don't cock their legs, they just squat like this.'
Pup watched, 'Yes, I have done it before you know. Ah, that's better.'
'Well done. Now, let's get back indoors, you are soaking wet,' Macy told her.
They all ran back in through the pop hole and the porch, into the warm kitchen. A lovely smell of meat and things filled Pup's nose and a warm towel was wrapped around her. Boots gently rubbed her dry. Pup had a good shake and her coat fluffed up like a fluffy ball.
'It's time for your dinner Pup.' Boots placed an old nursery fireguard across a warm corner, with Pup in it, then a little bowl of chopped meat and puppy meal.
'Hmm, what a lovely smell.' Pup put her nose in the bowl and didn't stop eating until every crumb was gone and the bowl was clean. How lovely. Very, very yummy tummy she thought and did a big burp!
Macy and Willow had a small piece of meat each. It was not their dinnertime, they had eaten earlier before Boots went to fetch the pup. They had this so that they did not feel jealous or left out. Boots gave Pup a small bowl of water. Pup had a drink and did another burp! Boots moved the fireguard away.
'Come along, sit with us here by our Rayburn,' Macy invited Pup.
'Did you enjoy your dinner?' asked Willow.
'Oh yes, yes, yes. It was delicious. Very yummy tummy. I had a whole bowl for myself. I had to eat very quickly with my brothers and sisters, we had a bowl each but the boys were very greedy and bossy and sometimes took some of my dinner. It wasn't fair, but they pushed too much.'
'Hmm. That's not good, but you are safe here, we stick to our own bowl. I don't eat Willow's dinner and she doesn't eat my dinner, ever! We are not going to eat yours. You can take as long as you like and enjoy every mouthful.' Macy reassured the little pup.
'Good, I do like a nice yummy tummy. I will not be trying to eat yours, or Willow's. Mine was just right, it filled me up. A good yummy tummy.' Pup replied.
'I do like your words, "yummy tummy", they rhyme,' Willow said.
'Come along Pup, out for a tinkle,' Boots called as she opened the door. She picked up Pup and put her out through the pop hole. Willow followed. Pup looked at Willow, 'I've just done one, I don't need another.'
'You'll just have to try one. It's what humans call a routine - D.D.T. – Dinner, Drink, and Tinkle. If you do that it becomes a habit and we don't get puddles indoors,' Willow told Pup.
'A rabbit! Where is a rabbit? I can't see a rabbit!' Pup was getting very excited.
'No, not rabbit. I didn't say rabbit, I said habit.'
Pup laughed, then Willow laughed. 'I think you like jokes,' Willow said, as Pup trotted off to tinkle by the compost heap.
'Good girl,' called Boots, watching her from the porch.
I think she likes me, Pup thought as she flicked her hind legs and scratched very quickly, making grass and mud fly high in the air. She could not resist another good roll in the wet grass; roly-poly, poly-roly, roly-poly. She flicked her four legs in the air and got very wet.
Boots laughed. 'Come along Pup, time for a rest,' she called.
Pup ran under the lavender bushes to hide. Willow followed. They chased around, in and out of the bushes, having a very good time and getting very wet, until they were tired.
'Let's go in, Boots is waiting. I did enjoy that. I don't usually like to get wet, but that was such fun. I'm so pleased you have come here to be my friend,' panted Willow to Pup as they ran indoors.
'Yes,' agreed Pup, 'I think I shall like being your friend. You like fun and games like me, and we are going to have some.'
'What a wet pair,' Boots said. Taking the towel, she gave both pups a good rub to dry them. 'You must be tired by now, settle down and have a little rest.'
'Boots put a piece of blanket she had brought from Pup's home down by the Rayburn. She placed Pup on it, 'There, you have a sleep. Young pups need rest,' she said.
'This smells of my family. I wonder what they are doing. I miss them.' Big tears rolled down Pup's face. She was suddenly so sad.
'Oh dear. Please don't cry.' Willow sat beside Pup and licked her face. 'Don't cry. We will be best friends, and Macy will take care of us, won't you Macy?'
'Yes, I most certainly will. You are luckier than most pups. You have come to your new home and found new friends. Lots of pups go to new homes where there are no other dogs to play with. They have to rely on humans for games. That's not half as much fun as dogs, so cheer up little Pup, you have been very brave so far,' Macy spoke kindly to the pup.
'You see Willow and I were born here. We did not have to go to a strange new home. We would have been upset if we had done that. If you think about it, you are much braver than us.'
'You are a kind dog, Macy.' Pup gulped.
Meanwhile, Willow had been thinking of a song to cheer Pup. 'Listen Pup, I have a little song for you…'
'Don't be sad, please be glad
I'll be the best friend you ever had
Boots is kind, Boots is good
You'll have the best fun that you ever could.'
…Willow sang in her high squeaky voice.
'Hmm, sorry about that, I just can't stop her,' Macy apologised.
Pup smiled and said, 'Oh Willow, that was so nice. I liked it very much. Thank you. And now I think I shall have my sleep, and thanks for the licks, very comforting, just like my Mum used to do.' She yawned a big yawn and fell asleep on the blanket.
'There, you see, someone likes my songs,' Willow said to Macy.
'Yep, I have to admit, it did the trick. She was just overtired,' Macy answered wisely.
'Come dogs, let's go out and check the stock. We'll leave Pup to have a quiet rest.' Boots said softly.
Off they went, out into the dark night, up to the stable. Two goats were eating hay.
'Hello Dorcas and Dulcimer. Did you get wet in the storm?' Willow greeted them.
'No, we ran in. We don't like rain. Now we are eating our supper,' Dorcas and Dulcimer said together.
'Everything is OK here. Good night goats. Now, let's go and check the sheep,' Boots said.
They set off across the paddock to the barn. Five black sheep were resting in the straw and chatting.
'Hello sheep,' Willow called.
'Baa. Hello dogs,' the sheep replied.
It was dark in the barn, Boots could just see five black shapes, 'Right, all OK. Just the hens and ducks now.'
Boots set off with Macy and Willow back through the paddock to the orchard. Six ducks sat on straw in a little house. Boots shut the door. Six hens sat on perches in a tree house with a little ladder. Boots reached up and shut that door.
'All safe, let's go and see how Pup is, shall we dogs? Come along Willow.' But Willow was gazing up at the little tree house. She loved to look at it and wanted one for herself, which was rather silly as she couldn't climb the ladder, and didn't like being up high.
'Come along Willow, it's raining again.'
They all ran indoors.
Pup woke and looked around. 'Oh good, it's you,' she said yawning. 'You smell of fresh air and a lot of new smells.'
'Yes, we've been out with Boots. We've checked the stock and shut the hens and ducks in their houses for the night. Soon you will be able to come with us. It's nice out at night. Now, do you feel like having a game? I've waited ages for a friend to play with.'
'Oh yes, I'd love to play. I've had a nice rest and I am ready for some fun.' Pup was excited.
'Come along Pup, out for a tinkle. Be quick!' said Boots opening the door.
'Oh no, not again!' Pup muttered.
'Go on, be quick, then we can play,' said Willow.
'Oh very well.' She popped out into the rain and was soon back.
'Good girl,' said Boots.
Willow was waiting by the toy box. 'Choose a toy.'
'Ah, let me see.' Pup put her nose in the box and sniffed. The toys smelt lovely. At last she found a squeaky Father Christmas toy. Willow chose her favourite spiky green ball. The kitchen was full of noise as they chewed…PEEP, PEEP, SQUEAK, SQUEAK, PEEP, PEEEP, SQUEEEAK, PEEP, PEEP! PEEEEP!
Macy put his front paws over his long ears. He settled down for a nap.
Boots did not seem to notice the noise, she sat at the table writing.
'Pup,' PEEP PEEP.
'Yes Willow?' SQUEAK SQUEAK.
'My jaws are aching. Let's stop this and play chase, shall we?' Willow asked.
'Yes please. My teeth are very tired,' Pup replied.
Willow laughed. 'You are a funny pup. Look out, I'm coming to catch you.'
Pup ran as fast as she could round the table, under Boots' chair. Round and round they went, past the Rayburn. Pup knocked over a pile of logs, 'Oops.'
Willow jumped them and caught Pup. They rolled and tussled all around the kitchen, having the greatest fun, until Pup rolled against Boots' foot. Boots stroked Pup with her toes. Pup gave her big toe a little nip with her tiny sharp teeth.
'Ouch. Hell's teeth, that hurt,' Boots squealed.
'No. Not Hell's teeth, Pup's teeth,' said Pup running under Macy's chair.
'You shouldn't do that, toys are for chewing, not toes,' Willow told her.
'Yuck! That was horrible. The toys taste much better than the toe, I don't think I want to do that again. You run now and I'll chase you… one…two…three…go.'
Willow set off, racing around the table, under chairs, and jumping over the logs.
Macy opened one eye, 'Oh Sirius! What a carry on,' he muttered, 'But Willow is having fun now. They will be good together and I shall have a bit of peace.' He shut his eye.
The two pups had the greatest fun racing and chasing.
'Let's get a drink, I'm very hot,' puffed Willow.
'So am I, and my legs are tired,' Pup answered.
They put their noses in the water bowl and had a big drink together.
'Shall we stop and have a chat?' Willow asked.
'Yes please. Come and share my blanket,' invited Pup. She kicked and scrabbled the blanket into a heap under the table. 'That's better, it's much too hot by that big thing.'
'That's kind of you,' Willow said as she settled herself down.
Pup lay beside Willow, close to Boots' feet.
'You are not to nip Boots' toes again.'
'I most certainly will not, they taste awful. Now, I have some questions.' Pup looked at Willow.
'Right, go ahead. What is the first question please?' Willow asked.
'Why is Boots called "Boots"? My humans had real names.' Pup was puzzled.
'Ah, I can tell you that,' said Macy, waking and stretching, 'Hat is her human name.'
'Hat? Well, that is odd – hat and boots – the top and bottom of a human. How strange.' Pup laughed.
Willow and Macy looked at each other.
'Do you know, I've never thought of it like that. It is funny,' said Macy. 'This is what happened. "Boots" was "Hat" until Willow was a small pup, then she became "Boots". Willow was so small, she could only see Boots' boots, if you see what I mean, so Willow called her "Boots". Boots wears boots most days, sometimes all day, she couldn't be "Hat" and "Boots", so, to save a lot of confusion, we call her "Boots."
'Excuse me,' Willow said, 'You said she wears boots all day. I think you are wrong, she doesn't wear them in bed. I know that because she leaves them by the Rayburn to warm at night.'
'Well of course,' Macy sighed and went back to sleep.
'Question two?' asked Willow.
'What is that big hot thing? It's nice and cosy.'
'That's a Rayburn. A stove with ovens. It makes the kitchen warm. Boots feeds it with logs, cooks in it, and once, last Spring, she put a sickly lamb in the bottom oven, (she left the door open). The lamb soon warmed up and felt better. I had a chat with him. I was looking for a friend, as you know, but just as we were getting friendly, Boots took him back to the barn with his Mum. I saw him later in the paddock, but I think he had forgotten me,' Willow said sadly.
'That's sad, but you have me for your friend now. It's probably better for a dog to have a dog friend, don't you think?' Pup said, hopefully.
'Willow smiled, 'Yes, of course you are right. Much, much better.'
'You said the hot thing is called "Ray Burn" – even your stove has a name. I don't have a name, I must go to look for one, maybe in the toy box, or perhaps in Macy's chair, or tomorrow I could look in the garden. I would like a name just for me. Ahem, excuse me Macy, can I have a quick look in your chair please?' Pup went to stand by Macy's chair.
'Whatever for? There's nothing here but me,' said Macy, reaching down towards Pup.
'I'd like to look for my name please.'
'Oh, you are such a funny little pup. Boots will choose your name soon. You won't find it here, or anywhere else,' Macy said. He tried very hard not to laugh.
'I hope I get a good one. Yours is nice, Willow, it's a tree isn't it?'
'Yes, I'm glad you like it. I've been Willow since I was just born, long before I opened my eyes. My Mum, Henrietta, loved to have adventures by the pond. As willow trees grow there, and I am lean and slender, Boots chose "Willow" for my name. You may get a tree name.'
'I just hope Boots chooses carefully, I want a nice name. Macy is not a tree name, is it?' asked Pup.
Willow replied, 'I don't think it is, I don't know how he got his name. He's been here for years and years, long before me, even before my Mum was born. He's been good to me, trying to play games, looking after me, but he's very, very old. He needs to put his paws up, relax, have a bit of rest.' Willow smiled fondly at Macy.
'How old are you?' Pup asked Macy.
'That's a cheeky question. I am as old as my tongue, but a bit older than my teeth.'
'What does that mean?' Pup looked at Willow.
'I have no idea,' Willow answered after a bit of thought, 'But it must mean something. Macy is wise and clever.'
'Thank you,' said Macy.
'How old are you, Willow?'
'I am one.'
'When were you one?' Pup asked.
'I was one on my birthday. We had a good meaty pie for a treat. That's when I got my favourite spiky green ball,' Willow replied.
'Oh Sirius!' Macy groaned, 'She was one on 16th September. Not long ago. You will have a birthday next year.'
'With a good meaty pie?' Pup asked.
'Yes, I expect so,' Macy answered.
'Good, good, good. I do like a good yummy tummy.' Pup licked her lips.
Boots picked up the scattered logs; she put them in the Rayburn.
'Time for supper, dogs.' She gave Macy and Willow a chewy biscuit. Pup got a little bowl of milky puppy porage and a small chewy biscuit. She licked the bowl quite clean, then chewed and chewed on the biscuit until it was all gone.
'That was delicious. So yummy tummy. I do like food,' she told Macy and Willow as Boots opened the door. The dogs ran out into the garden. Pup looked for a good place to tinkle, suddenly Macy barked loudly.
'Oh dear. You made me jump, I nearly fell over again,' she called to Macy.
'Sorry. I usually have a bark before bed, just to let the foxes know we are guarding the hens and ducks. Did you tinkle?'
'Yes, I did a wobbly one,' Pup replied as they all ran back indoors.
'Look,' said Willow, 'Boots has put your bed ready for you.'
'For me, just for me, my very own bed?' Pup stared in disbelief. A plastic baby bath with Pup's blanket was tucked under the table. 'Is it really mine?' she asked.
'Oh yes, it's just for you. Willow has her bed, I have my chair, this is yours.' Macy could see that the pup was delighted.
'Hop in and try it,' suggested Willow.
Pup did just that. She flicked and scrabbled with her nose and toes until it was just right. This is wonderful, she thought, remembering the old bed she had shared. No more shoves for more room, no more paws digging in ribs or kicking the bum, this is bliss. All mine. She fell asleep with a big smile on her face.
Boots sat with Macy, 'You are a good old boy. Willow and Pup will have lots of fun and games together. You can keep an eye on them, but it's time you had a bit of peace and quiet. Sleep well.' She stroked Macy's head and shoulders, then she bent over Willow's bed. Willow jumped up quickly. She gave Boots lots of licks on her face and neck.
'Ah! You are pleased with the pup, you're not the baby anymore. Sleep well.'
Boots put some newspapers near Pup's bed. 'Sleep well little pup.' Pup was sound asleep.
The next morning Willow awoke early. She went to the water bowl for a drink.
'Good morning.' A bright little voice came from under the table.
'Oh, gosh!' Willow jumped, 'You really are here. I'm so glad. I thought that you were just a dream I had,' she said.
'No. I'm really here, not a dream, and I'm ready for some fun,' Pup replied as she had a drink beside Willow. Then she saw the newspaper, 'What's that for? I can't read.'
Willow laughed, 'That's in case you need a tinkle in the night. You have to do it on that.'
'Well, I didn't need one and it's morning now.'
'Good morning dogs, did you all sleep well?' Boots came into the kitchen. 'Oh, good Pup, dry paper. Well done. Now, outside.' She opened the door.
'Come along Macy,' called Willow, as the pups ran out for a big tinkle.
Macy stretched, yawned, then followed the pups out into the garden. He walked around slowly, sniffing the fence, paths and plants.
'What are you doing?' asked Pup.
'I'm checking the scents. A squirrel has been here amongst the raspberries. Can you smell the scent?' asked Macy.
Pup put her nose down. She took a big, big sniff. Bits of leaves, grass and dust flew up her nose, 'AHH-CHOOO, AHH-CHOOO! Oh dear. Hmm, yes, I think I can smell a dinkum stinkum. Can you smell any fox?'
'No, not here. Foxes cannot get into the garden. I will show you fox scent when you are older and walk with us. Now I shall go to say good morning to Dorcas and Dulcimer.' Macy trotted off down the path toward the fence, but Pup ran at great speed past Macy, to the fence where… Oh dear. Pup opened her eyes very wide, her ears lay flat. She stared, then raced as hard as she could back towards Macy.
'Oh, Mmmacy. Hhhhelp. Quick. There are two monsters, they might eat me.'
Macy stopped, 'Oh Pup, they are not monsters, they are our goats, come and say hello. They are gentle and friendly.'
Pup whispered, 'No, no, no. I don't think I will, they might eat me.' She ran off and hid behind a cabbage, where she met Willow.
'Hello Pup, what's up?' Willow asked kindly.
'I've had an awful fright. Macy wants me to say hello to some ghosts. They are enormous!'
'What ghosts?' asked Willow, looking all around.
'Over there by Macy. He is chatting to them. He must be so brave.' Pup's voice was a bit wobbly.
'Oh Pup! You funny little thing. They are goats, not ghosts. They are nice. They give us milk. They live here. I expect Macy is telling them that you came here last night to be my friend. Come with me.' Pup slowly followed Willow back down the path.
'Good morning Dorcas and Dulcimer,' said Willow.
'Good gracious!' said Pup.
'This is my new friend.' Willow told the goats. 'Pup, this is Dorcas and Dulcimer. Say hello Pup.'
'Only if you promise not to eat me,' Pup told them bravely.
'We only eat brambles, hay and grass, and maybe a few vegetables. We most certainly don't eat dogs,' replied the goats.
'Very well. HHello Pup.' Pup called in a wobbly voice.
Macy, Willow, Dorcas and Dulcimer all looked at each other in amazement. Finally Macy said, 'You are Pup. They are Dorcas and Dulcimer. You are probably a bit nervous and got mixed up.'
'No, Willow said "say hello Pup", so that's what I did.' Pup smiled, then said 'Hello Dorcas and Dulcimer. Have you had your breakfast?'
'No, not yet. We will have it at milking time, quite soon.'
'I'm starving, my tummy is talking. I shall have to go indoors now to see if Boots has something for me. Nice to meet you. Excuse me.' Off she trotted. Sure enough, another good smell of food. Macy and Willow followed. Pup sat by the table waiting for her breakfast, she saw the newspaper, Now, what was that for? Let me think. Um, um. Oh yes, tinkle.' She did a small one on the paper.
'Pup, why did you do that? You've just been outside.' Willow was astonished.
'Dear me, those ghosts must have frightened me more than I thought.'
Boots brought a bowl of warm puppy porage, 'There you are Pup, tuck in.' Pup did just that, enjoying every bit. Lick, lick, lick. The bowl was shiny clean. Pup carried it to her bed. 'Good girl. Now I'm off to do the milking,' Boots said putting on her boots.
Pup settled in her bed with her head resting in the bowl.
'Why are you wearing that bowl on your head?' Willow asked.
'Why not?' Pup said sleepily.
'Never mind the bowl, Boots has forgotten something important. Can you think what it is?' Macy asked Pup.
Pup scratched her head in the bowl. 'No. She didn't forget my breakfast, so it's not that – ah, did she forget yours?'
'No, we don't get breakfast as we are older,' Macy replied.
'Aren't you hungry?' Pup asked.
'As I said, we are older. We get two meals a day and a supper biscuit. A pup needs four small meals a day, two with meat. Your tummy is small, so you need small meals to make you strong and fit. Boots is good, we get a good variety – tripe, chicken, beef, fish, liver, heart, and sometimes we get a tin of dog meat.'
'Good, I think I shall be a pup for a long, long time, then I can have lots of food. I like eating.'
'Yes, I think you do,' Macy said smiling.
'So what is it that Boots forgot?
'She forgot to send you out for a tinkle,' Macy told Pup. 'Why don't you go now?'
'I don't really need one. I'll just have a little rest after that lovely breakfast.' Pup yawned, then slept.
Macy and Willow went out into the garden again. 'That squirrel came back in the raspberries again,' Willow told Macy.
'Yes, Pup and I came along here earlier. She was quite interested in the scents, she will learn quickly. We will show her more later,' Macy said.
Then they heard Boots' voice talking to Pup, so they hurried back into the kitchen.
'I think I've found you a good name. I've been in the orchard for apples, when I passed the medlar tree, a medlar fell on my head, plop. What a lovely little golden round fruit, I thought, then I remembered another little golden round thing – you! So you will be Medlar. It's just right for you and it's another tree name. Yes, it suits you beautifully. You are Medlar.' Boots smiled at Pup…sorry, Boots smiled at Medlar.
'Guess what you two, I have a name. A nice name. I am so happy Boots found my name in the orchard.' Pup was so pleased.
'That's good. We can't be calling you Pup forever, what is your name?' Willow was as pleased as Pup.
'It's, um, Melon, um, Medal. No, that's not right, um – Medlar! That's it, like the tree. Do you like it?'
'Oh yes, what a splendid name,' Macy said.
'Yes, Meddler is a good name,' agreed Willow.
'Not "Meddler", said Macy, "Medlar". Meddler is someone who pokes their nose in and interferes,' he explained.
'That is exactly what she will do whilst she is a pup.' Willow said laughing.
'No. Medlar, not Pup anymore. I'm so pleased.' She ran off out for a tinkle.
Willow followed, 'I will try to think of a little song for your name, I'll have a think on the compost heap – now, let me see, Medlar, pedlar, hedlar. Oh dear! There's nothing to rhyme with Medlar, what can I do?' She began to hum softly.
Meanwhile, Medlar was exploring. She went to check the raspberries where the squirrel had been. Hmm, yes I think I shall remember that scent, but what's this? Hmm, little holes. I think some mice live here. She put her nose close to a hole and sniffed; again dusty bits went up her nose. 'AHH…CHOOO! AHH…CHOOO! Piff! That certainly is mouse scent, she thought, and went off indoors to tell Macy.
'Ahem! Excuse me, Macy, are you asleep?' Medlar stretched up, putting her front feet on Macy's chair.
'No, just dozing. What is it?'
'Do you know there are mice in the garden. I'm sure there are. I sniffed and sneezed, but it wasn't squirrel scent. I saw little holes!' Medlar told him excitedly.
'You are quite right. You are learning fast. There are mice and lots of other things as well, shrews, toads, frogs, sometimes a hedgehog comes to sleep for the winter. We have lots of visitors.'
Medlar was amazed. 'Shoes! Do they walk here?'
'No little Pup, sorry, I mean Medlar, not "shoes", "shrews", a sort of mouse.' Pup laughed.
Just then Willow called in a singy sort of voice,
I've made your song
It isn't long.'
'Oh dear. What a noise.' Macy frowned.
'Well I like it.' Medlar hurried down to the compost heap.
'Ah, there you are Medlar. Now listen to this, it's just for you.' Willow pointed her nose to the sky and sang in her high squeaky voice.
'Sing a song of Medlar, sing, sing, sing
Sing it in the winter, sing it in the spring
Sing it in the sunshine, sing it in the rain
Sing it in the garden, sing it in the lane
Sing a song of Medlar, sing, sing, sing.'
'That is quite lovely Willow. You are clever. I like it, thank you.'
'You're welcome,' Willow replied.
'Two nice new things for me today – a name and a song,' said Medlar.
'Actually it was quite hard. I could find nothing to rhyme with Medlar, that's the best I could do. Now it must be almost time for our walk, you will enjoy that.' Willow ran into the porch, Medlar followed.
Boots was putting on her coat, 'Oh, I forgot the bag,' she said. Taking a big shoulder bag from a hook, she went to the door and gave it a good shake. Out flew dust, cobwebs, and lots and lots of little white Willow hairs. She hung the bag around her neck, picked up Medlar and popped her in.
'Willow. Help! What is going on?' Medlar cried.
'Oh gosh, sorry. I forgot to tell you about the bag. You have to have your walk in the bag until you get your jabs. It keeps you safe from germs. I had to do that. It's quite nice, you are high up and can see much more,' Willow called up to Medlar.
'I don't like it. Climb up and help me please!' The pup wriggled and squirmed. She tried to climb out.
'It's OK little one, just settle down.' Boots gently stroked her. 'You are too young to walk a long way, so relax and enjoy your first walk. Look, here are our friends.'
Medlar peeped out. She saw a lady with a black and white Collie dog and another Jack Russell!
'Morning Hat. What a lovely day. What's in your bag? Oh my word, you got her. I didn't think you'd go in all that rain,' Dar said, putting her hand in the bag, she tickled Medlar's tummy, 'Hello pup. You are a pretty little thing.' Medlar licked Dar's hand. 'What's her name?'
'It's Medlar, like the tree,' Boots said.
'Oh,' said Dar.
'Good morning Patch and Midget. This is our new friend,' Macy greeted the two dogs.
Patch stood on her back legs. She looked in the bag, 'Hello.'
'Hhhhello,' Medlar squeaked as a big black and white face peered in.
Dar picked up Midget. She held her so that she could see the pup.
'Hello Medlar. Oh! Another Jack Russell, and you have the same colour coat as me, tan and white with black tips. We shall have fun when you are out of that bag. Now I must go to hunt with the others,' said Midget. She ran off.
On they all went, down Dar's field, onto the footpath. Dar and Boots chatted. The dogs hunted in the long grass, and in the hedges and ditches.
Suddenly Medlar heard the noise of water and splashing. She peeped out. The dogs were standing in a stream having a drink. Boots and Dar sat on the bridge for a rest. Boots reached down, cupped her hand. She got a little drink of water for Medlar. Medlar dipped her nose into Boots' hand and drank.
Hmm, very cold and tasty, she thought as she drank. She looked around. All the dogs were sniffing along the bank, except Macy. He was laying on the bridge having a rest by a big sign. 'Macy, what does that say?' Medlar asked.
'That,' said Macy looking up, 'Says, "Footbridge only. Horses use the ford".'
'Can horses read?' asked Medlar.
'I think their riders can. The horse has to walk through the water and the rider walks on the bridge leading the horse. The bridge is for humans,' Macy said.
'I see. What about dogs?'
'Dogs, I suppose, can please themselves,' answered Macy.
'That's good. I might like a swim one day,' Medlar said, as Patch, Midget and Willow came back.
'Can you swim?' asked Willow.
'In the water, probably, yes,' Medlar said firmly. The dogs all laughed.
It was time to go home. The bag bumped gently as Boots walked. Medlar had a little doze. Then they were home. Medlar went into the garden for a tinkle.
'Good girl, you're learning fast,' said Boots as Medlar returned.
Ah, she's pleased with me, thought Medlar. Looking up she saw Macy stood on the porch table, 'Whatever are you doing up there?'
'I'm having a groom. It feels good. Boots is brushing all the bits out of my coat. Burrs, sticky buds, bits of grass and leaves all get stuck in there. It makes a dog itch, so Boots makes me comfortable.'
Boots carefully lifted Macy down. 'Your turn Willow,' she called.
Willow made a great leap onto the table.
'My word, you jump very high,' Medlar said admiringly.
'I'm good at jumping,' Willow said, as Boots brushed her. She was easy, her short little coat was soon done.
'Good girl,' said Boots, as Willow jumped down. 'Now, your turn, Medlar.' Boots put Medlar on the table, she began to brush gently. Then, oh dear, Medlar hopped and skipped; she chased the brush; she rolled on her back. Boots brushed her tummy. Medlar tried to eat the brush. Boots held her firmly, she quickly brushed her ears and back, 'What a good girl. That will do for today, you will soon get used to it,' Boots said, putting her down on the floor. She gave each dog a chocolate drop.
'Oh, that was delicious, small but delicious.' Medlar licked her lips.
'I don't think you were good at all,' said Willow. 'You just messed about.'
'Perhaps I did, but Boots said I was good, and I got the chocolate drop. Anyway, I didn't walk, so I couldn't get bits on me.' Which was true.
'Dinnertime,' called Boots.
The dogs hurried in. 'Ah good, tripe today,' Macy said.
'Mmm, yes. I like that,' Willow agreed. The dogs ate. They licked their bowls clean.
'What did you think of that?' Macy asked Medlar.
'The very bestest, yummyestest tummy yet,' replied Medlar with a big burp as she went out for a tinkle.
One evening, all was quiet in the kitchen, Willow and Medlar had squeaked and peeped their toys. They had raced and chased. Now, all three dogs lay on the mat by the Rayburn.
'What is Boots doing with all that paper?' Willow asked Macy.
'I'm not sure, but I think she is writing about us,' Macy replied.
'Gosh, do you think so. Really? We must make sure to do some good things to make it interesting,' said Willow.
'Yes, I'll help,' Medlar piped up.
'I bet you will,' murmured Macy.
'I'll try not to be too naughty, but I might be a bit naughty now and again.'
Macy smiled at Medlar, 'I expect you will. We were all pups once so we know how it feels. Willow was a real pawful. I coped with her, so I think I shall cope with you.'
'No I wasn't,' Willow said a bit crossly.
'Oh yes you were, you've just forgotten. Anyway, I enjoyed keeping an eye on you, I expect I shall enjoy Medlar's puppytime just as much. Now, I'll have a doze before supper,' said Macy laying his head on his paws.
'Come Medlar, let's try a bit of training,' called Boots. They went into the porch, Boots put a small slip lead around Medlar's neck.
Oh no, what's this nonsense? thought Medlar. She rolled on her back; she began chewing the lead.
'No!' said Boots as she put Medlar back on her feet, 'Come, follow me. Good girl.'
Medlar ran forward. The lead pulled tight. Medlar ran back, jumped, lay down, then pounced on the lead and shook it. She was having quite a game.
Willow came into the porch, 'Medlar. Please try. We all had to learn when we were pups, it's easy. I'll walk with you until you get used to it,' offered Willow kindly.
'What's the lead for? I don't need a lead. You don't wear one. I think it's silly,' said Medlar, stamping her foot.
'It is not silly. We do wear leads. When we go out they keep us safe from cars and things. Quite soon we will go out, as soon as you've had your jabs.'
'Out? Out where?' Medlar pricked up her ears.
'We go to lots of places, we have lots of fun. Often Boots has to use the leads. If you don't learn, you will not be able to come, so we shall all have to stay home,' Willow said, sadly.
'Oh dear. I want some fun. OK, I'll try again. You walk with me so I can see what I must do.'
'Right, come here. Stand by Boots' left leg. I'll be beside you, just walk. Don't mess about,' Willow said, firmly.
Off they went, up and down the porch.
'Now, do it on your own,' said Willow, sitting by the door.
Medlar walked very well. 'What a good girl,' Boots said, taking the lead. She gave Medlar and Willow two chocolate drops each.
'How did it go?' asked Macy, as they went back to the kitchen.
'Easy,' said Medlar, smiling.
'Hmm,' said Willow.
Later, after Medlar had eaten her supper and they were all chewing on their biscuits… 'Macy, what are jabs?' Medlar asked.
'Oh, nothing much, but we need to go out to get them, so do the training well and you will soon be going out with us,' Macy said.
Medlar thought that was a good idea.
The days became colder. The dogs spent longer indoors in the evenings. Boots took Medlar to the porch for a few minutes each night for training. Medlar did "Sit", "Stay", "Down"and"Come". It was not the best of fun, but she thought of the "going out" and had choc drops for a reward after each lesson. She learnt very well. She enjoyed being praised. She ate her four meals a day and grew strong, and played many games with Willow.
One fine morning, Boots lifted Macy and Medlar into the back of the car. Willow jumped in. The dogs wore their leads.
'Are we going out?' Medlar asked. She was very excited.
'Yes, indeed we are. We are going to visit our vet. I saw Boots with our cards, it must be time for your jab, Medlar.'
'Oh, what good news. When I've had my jab, I can walk with you. No more bag!'
'Not jabs. Please not jabs,' whispered Willow to Macy.
'Hush, don't make a fuss, you will upset Medlar,' Macy hissed softly.
'I don't like jabs. I hate them.' Willow spoke close to Macy's ear.
'Just relax. You are making a fuss over nothing. A tiny prick on your neck. Show Medlar you are brave.'
'OK, I will.' Willow gulped, then smiled at Medlar, who was stood on her back legs looking out of the window.
'This is such fun, going out in the car. I've seen sheep, cows and horses in their fields. I love whizzing along in the car. By the way, Willow, I have seen a vet before. I can't really remember, I was so young, but I know we all went in a big box. My Mum came with us. All us pups had a jab.'
'Ooooh!' said Willow.
Boots stopped the car. She lifted Macy down. Willow jumped down. Boots held their leads. Medlar tried to jump. 'No! Wait!' Boots picked her up.
'Macy, I want to walk. I am wearing my lead. That's for going out, you told me.'
'Not quite yet. You need your last jab, then you will be ready,' Macy told Medlar.
'So this is the new pup. Another Jack Russell,' said Mr. Coleman, the vet, as Boots put Medlar on the table. Willow and Macy sat quietly on the floor. The vet wore a green jacket. He looked at Medlar's eyes, teeth and ears. He listened to her heart with a stethoscope. He gently felt along her back, and ribs, then under her tummy. Medlar liked all this, she quickly flopped over onto her back. She wagged her tail. Mr. Coleman tickled her tummy, then checked her feet.
'Yes, a fine little pup. Up you come. Hold her still for a moment, I will give her the jab,' he said. He held a fold of skin on Medlar's shoulder. 'There. All done. Good girl,' he said, giving Medlar a tiny meaty treat.
Boots put Medlar on the floor. 'Did you feel the prick?' whispered Willow.
'No. Nothing. The treat was small but good, very yummy tummy. He's a nice man,' said Medlar, as she sat by Macy.
Boots picked up Willow. Willow was shaking.
'No need to be afraid, it won't hurt,' Mr. Coleman told her gently. 'Now let's give you your check and your jab, then we'll see Macy.' Willow took a deep breath and stood quietly. She hoped to get a treat like Medlar. Suddenly, there it was, the treat, right under her nose. Willow ate it. The jab was done, she hadn't felt a thing. She was so pleased with herself, she wagged her tail.
'Well done,' said Boots, putting her on the floor.
'Now for the old chap. How has he been?' asked the vet, as Boots put Macy carefully on the table.
'He seems fine, a bit slower, a bit deaf, but he enjoys his life, I think,' Boots answered.
Mr. Coleman checked Macy and gave him a jab. 'Yes, he is slowing down but nothing wrong. He's not fat, that's good. His teeth are quite good. Yes, very good for a thirteen year old Cocker.'
'Hell's teeth!' Medlar exclaimed, as Boots stood Macy back on the floor. 'Are you really thirteen? That's really old, isn't it Willow?'
'Yes indeed it is. You never told me that Macy,' Willow said, staring at Macy.
'No, I didn't. I wish Mr. Coleman had not said it. Now I don't have a secret, and, by the way Medlar, pups are not supposed to say "Hell's teeth",' Macy said as they went back to the car.
Boots drove to some shops near the vets. 'Now be good dogs, I won't be long,' Boots said as she opened a window a tiny bit and locked the car.
Medlar stood on her back legs, she reached up to see out the window. She saw humans walking past. Some stopped to look at the dogs. Medlar wagged her tail. Macy lay on the floor watching. 'Come and say hello to these humans, they are nice.'
'Yes, they probably are nice, but I am guarding you. Sometimes, very rarely, nice humans are not nice at all. They pretend to be nice to make a dog like them, then they steal dogs, so you must always think before you trust them. If you sniff well, you can tell by their scent that they are not nice; so be prepared and remember this. It hardly happens at all, but it can happen. We don't want to lose you.'
Medlar was quite worried. So was Willow. 'Oh, do listen, and remember Medlar, I don't want to lose my new friend,' she said.
'Yes, I will remember. I don't want to leave you two, I like being with you. Anyway, Macy is guarding us so we are safe. Oh, here comes Boots,' Medlar said, wagging her tail.
'Hello dogs.' Boots brought a big bag with a beautiful smell. The dogs were excited.
'Oh my word, what's that lovely smell?' asked Medlar.
'Boots has been to get bones and tripe for us. What a treat, I can hardly wait. Aren't we lucky.' Macy said.
'Yes we are,' piped up Medlar.
Later, after they had all had a bowl of tripe and dog meal for lunch, and Medlar had rested, Boots took the bones from the fridge.
'What is a bone?' asked Medlar, as they stood wagging their tails waiting.
'Oh, you'll love it. It's a hard, juicy thing with bits of meat on. You can chew it, bite it, lick it, bury it, dig it up, bury it again. Absolute bliss,' Willow said, licking her lips. They all licked their lips.
Boots gave Macy his bone, then Willow had hers; she ran off to the compost heap with it. Then it was Medlar's turn – the bone was so big Medlar could hardly lift it, so Boots put it in the porch. Medlar followed. 'Hello my beauty,' she said. Placing her front feet firmly on the bone, she began nibbling and gnawing. Oh the very bestest thing! she thought.
Willow sat on the compost heap. She gnawed and chewed, Oh bliss, she thought. Then she saw the big black birds flying around. Oh blast! Those crows are back again. She was very cross and quickly dug a deep hole with her feet and nose. She pushed the bone in the hole with her nose. Her nose and the bone became muddy and dirty, but Willow didn't mind; she covered the bone carefully with compost and sat on it. The crows had gone, so she dug it up again for another chewing.
Macy had taken his onto the lawn. He had chewed and gnawed until he grew tired, so he brought his bone into the porch and settled down near Medlar. 'How do you like your bone?' he asked.
'It's just the bestest, mostest delicious thing, but my teeth are tired.'
Macy laughed, 'Why don't you have a little rest?' he asked.
'Oh no, I can't stop, it's too good. I'll just go a bit slower. Where is Willow?' Medlar asked.
'On her favourite spot, the compost heap. She likes that it's soft so she can bury her bones easily,' Macy mumbled as he chewed.
'Tomorrow I may go to look for it there.'
'No! Don't do that. Willow will get extremely cross. Willow's bone is Willow's bone. That bone is your bone. This bone is my bone. We each have our own. We don't take each others. Don't go trying to dig up Willow's bone. Don't take my bone. Keep your own bone. Do you understand?' Macy asked sternly.
'Yes, of course I do. This is my bone. It is enormous and glorious. I shall not need any other bone, thank you very much, and I don't want you or Willow taking it, OK?'
'You are such a cheeky pup,' said Macy.
'Quick. Come and look. The garden has gone silver in the night!' Medlar called to Macy and Willow as she went out for a tinkle. 'It's all crispy, crunchy.' She scampered around the lawn, 'Oh, this is such good fun,' she said laughing and rolling.
'Yes, look Macy,' Willow called, 'It's frosty.' She joined Medlar to roll and play in the crispy grass.
Macy did not roll or play. He had a quick look around. Checked the scents, then went back indoors to sit by the Rayburn.
After Medlar had eaten a good breakfast, Boots said, 'This is a big day for you Medlar. You don't need the bag anymore, your jabs will work now, you can run with all the other dogs.'
'Yippee!' shouted Medlar. As she ran into the kitchen, she met Macy wearing a warm fleecy coat. 'Gosh Macy, you look like a parcel. Are you a birthday present?'
Willow and Macy laughed.
'No. This is my winter coat to keep my old bones warm,' said Macy.
'Surely you are not taking your old bones for a walk! There's no room in there for them.' Medlar was puzzled. Macy was puzzled. Then, after a bit of thought…
'Ah, I see. I mean my old bones in my body, not old chewing bones.'
Medlar was not listening. She was running out to meet Dar and dogs for her first real walk.
'How nice to see you out of that bag and on your own four feet,' Patch said.
'Yes, it is wonderful. Isn't the crunchy crispy nice?' said Medlar as she ran with Willow and Midget. Patch walked with Macy.
They had great fun sniffing and exploring in the hedges, ditches, and long shiny grass.
'Here is a squirrel scent, a dinkum stinkum,' Medlar called, as she sniffed at a tree trunk.
'Yes,' Macy said, 'You have remembered well. Now look up into the branches. What do you see?'
Suddenly the twigs moved. A squirrel jumped from branch to branch, silver frosty bits fell onto Medlar's head as she looked up. 'I see him. Hello squirrel,' Medlar called. The squirrel jumped quickly into another tree, so Medlar ran, passing Macy and Patch, to catch up with Willow and Midget on the footpath. Oh dear me. As she reached the path, four deer were eating ivy and brambles. 'Hell's teeth.! Monsters!' Medlar cried, her eyes wide with fright. She turned and raced as fast as her little legs could carry her back to Patch and Macy. 'Macy. Help! Help! Monsters! They might eat me!'
'Where? What?' Macy asked, gazing around. 'They are just deer. They live here in the wood,' he said, but Medlar was gone, back to Boots, where she jumped on her leg.
'What's up, little one?' Boots asked, picking her up. Medlar was shaking. 'Whatever is the matter? I'll carry you for a while.' Boots tucked Medlar under her arm.
I wish I had that bag to hide in, thought Medlar, hiding her face in Boots' sleeve.
Boots and Dar walked on. They met Patch and Macy sniffing the deer scent. The deer had gone.
'Medlar,' Macy called up. 'They are deer, a bit like goats. They don't hurt anyone, or eat you, they eat things like the goats eat – grass, brambles, ivy and stuff. Do come down, you are quite safe. Look, Midget and Willow aren't bothered. Come down please. You can enjoy your first walk.'
Medlar looked around. She saw Midget and Willow trotting along, tails wagging.
'Come along with us,' Patch said. 'There are no monsters. You'll be quite safe.'
So Medlar wriggled, she pushed her nose into Boots' neck.
'Feeling better? Do you want to go down?' Boots put Medlar down on the path. She trotted along between Macy and Patch, and enjoyed a very good walk.
One chilly winter night, the three dogs were chatting on the rug by the Rayburn. Boots had made some more biscuits for the dogs, the kitchen smelt of baking. The dogs were looking forward to their supper.
BRRR! BRRR! The phone rang. Boots left the kitchen to answer it. Boots had left the sticky mixing bowl on the table. Medlar could smell it's lovely smell. Suddenly she jumped very high; she managed to scramble onto a chair close to the table. In a second, she had jumped on the table, put her head and front feet into the bowl. Lick, lick, lick, lick, lick, 'Oh what yum tum! Mmmm.' She got a very sticky face and paws.
'Oh, you little rascal.' Boots returned, saw the pup, and laughed. She put Medlar on the floor.
'You were so quick, I didn't realise what you were doing. What a naughty pup,' Macy said sternly.
'I expect it will go in Boots' story. That will be funny,' said Medlar, laughing.
'Come here, let me help you clean up.' Willow began to lick Medlar's ears and face.
'I think you are getting a good taste of the biscuit mix for yourself, not helping me! I don't mind sharing, this left paw is very tasty.' Medlar licked her paw. Willow licked Medlar's ear.
Boots quickly cleaned the table, packing away the flour and the things she had used for the baking.
Knock! Knock! The door opened. Macy barked. In ran two Jack Russells.
'Gosh, it's my Mum and Sophie. Hello,' said Willow, very pleased to see them.
'This is our new pup,' Macy tried to introduce Medlar.
'Yes. Excuse me just a moment, I must attend to Willow,' Henri said hurriedly. 'Your face is a sticky mess. I knew you wouldn't keep yourself clean when I was away. You mucky pup.' Henri flipped Willow onto her back, she placed a front paw on Willow's neck and began to give her a thorough licking and cleaning.
'Please stop Mum, this is so embarrassing. Medlar will think I am a baby,' Willow pleaded.
Henri took no notice, but continued until she was satisfied that Willow was quite clean.
Two humans had followed the dogs in; they were chatting to Boots. 'Who are they?' Medlar asked Macy.
'That is Boots' pup. Sorry, I mean daughter, Louise, with her husband, Barry. They are Henri and Sophie's humans. They have been working in Scotland. I expect they will go somewhere else soon. Sometimes they leave Henri and Sophie here with us. We have lots of fun.'
'So this is the new pup. Isn't she lovely.' Louise picked up the pup, 'Don't they smell nice.' She put her face to Medlar's. Medlar burped! They all laughed. 'Pooh! Biscuit mix and tripe.' Louise put Medlar on the floor.
'I think its time they all went outside. Medlar is too excited. They can get to know one another in the garden.' Boots opened the door. The dogs ran out yipping and yapping. They had a fine time and Macy managed to introduce Medlar to Henri and Sophie. She liked them, they liked her, so all was well.
'Let's go back in, we can hear about your adventures,' Macy suggested to Henri and Sophie. They went to sit by the Rayburn. The humans were drinking tea and eating cake and chatting.
'Tell us your news,' Macy said.
'We had a cottage by a loch. That's like a giant pond. We had long walks, then we would swim in the loch. We had such fun – walks, swims, good dinners. What more could a dog want?'
'Ah, you like food, so do I,' Medlar told Sophie.
The dogs chatted. Macy told Henri and Sophie some of Medlar's adventures. They had a good evening by the fire.
'Time to go home,' Barry said, standing.
'It's good to see you both. I expect you will be here for Christmas, won't you?' Macy asked.
'Will it be Christmas soon?' asked Sophie.
'It must be fairly soon, Boots made a cake and a big pudding a while ago. They certainly smelt Christmassy.'
'I'm sure we'll be here. We always come here. We can't miss the fun. We'll have turkey for dinner and, of course, the presents.'
Medlars ears pricked up. They all became very happy as Sophie reminded them of Christmas.
'I like your Mum and your Aunt,' Medlar told Willow.
'I just wish my Mum would realise that I am grown up. I don't need a good cleaning every time she sees me,' Willow said grumpily as they went out for the last tinkle before bed.
One afternoon, Boots put Medlar's tea down for her. Medlar looked, sniffed, walked around the bowl a few times but did not eat it. 'So, you don't want it? You're grown up Medlar, you don't need four meals, three will be enough,' Boots told her.
Medlar wanted to eat, but there was no room in her tummy. She just couldn't manage it. 'What a waste. A bowl of yum tum and I can't eat it,' she thought.
'Let's go to milk the goats and shut the hens and ducks in,' Boots said, putting on her boots and coat.
The pups went into the paddock. They had a good look around and a sniff while Boots was milking. Then she went to collect the eggs. 'Ah good, three eggs. You dogs can have some of those later.' Boots closed the hen house door. 'Now we need some logs.' Boots went back to the stable where Dorcas and Dulcimer were eating hay. Boots put the three eggs in a bowl on the milking stand, then filled a wheelbarrow with logs.
The dogs stayed in the stable looking for mice in the log pile.
'Have you found any mice?' Dorcas called over the wall.
'No, there are plenty here, but they are hiding,' Willow answered, as she poked her nose amongst the logs, being very busy.
Medlar climbed to the top of the pile. It was getting dark, but she could just see the eggs on the goat stand. Hmm, let's smell those, she thought, and did a big jump from the logs right onto the goat stand. SNIFF. SNIFF. I'll just try one. She picked up a big brown egg in her teeth.
'Hey. No!' Willow shouted.
This made Medlar jump. Her teeth broke the eggshell, the egg ran out into her mouth and round her face. Hmm, nice, she thought, licking her lips.
'That is naughty. Boots will be cross. Look at your face, it's yellow.' Willow left the log pile, she came to Medlar, 'Let me see.' She began licking Medlar's face. Lick, lick, lick, lick, lick, lick, lick. 'There, that's better,' she said, standing back to examine Medlar's face.
'Yes, and you had a good taste of egg, didn't you? Boots said the eggs were for us,' replied Medlar.
'You couldn't manage your tea, but you ate that egg!'
'Eggs.. actly,' said Medlar 'That's a joke. You were just as naughty, you ate most of the egg on my face. You cleaned me up just like my Mum.'
Boots returned with the wheelbarrow. 'Hmm. That's funny, I thought there were three eggs,' she said.
Willow and Medlar smiled and followed her indoors.
'Did you have a nice snooze?' Medlar asked, as they went into the kitchen.
'Yes, very pleasant, thank you. Did you have a good time outside?' Macy asked.
'Oh yes thanks.'
'Medlar was naughty again, she took an egg,' Willow told Macy.
'Oh dear,' sighed Macy.
'Just a bit more fun for Boots' story that she is writing,' said Medlar, smiling.
That night, after the dogs had eaten their dinner (with scrambled eggs), and Boots had eaten her dinner, Boots brought bags, boxes, and shiny red, green and gold coloured paper into the kitchen. She was very busy wrapping things, making nice exciting parcels.
'What is all that for?' Medlar asked, as they lay by the Rayburn.
'I think it will soon be Christmas. This is what usually happens. All those things get wrapped up, then someone else unwraps them. What a waste of paper. Humans are so funny sometimes!' Macy explained.
'Will we get a parcel?' asked Medlar.
'Yes we will. Something nice, a chew or a toy. We go into the sitting room with a nice log fire and a Christmas tree. We open our presents, the humans eat a lot and drink sloe gin.'
'I might like that, it would be a change from water,' Medlar said thoughtfully.
'Oh no, no, no. It's just for humans. Sophie tried it last year, Boots put her glass on the hearth, Sophie had a few drops when Boots wasn't looking. She was very silly all the evening,' said Macy.
'Who? Boots?' asked Medlar.
'Oh dear! No. Sophie, not Boots,' Macy groaned.
'Medlar was a naughty pup
Took an egg and ate it up,'
'Oh, don't keep on about that. I'm a pup, I have to learn things. Macy said I might be naughty,' Medlar said crossly.
Just then the phone rang, BRRR! BRRR! Boots put the cup of coffee she was drinking on the table amongst the parcels. She went to answer the phone.
Medlar went to stand by a chair. 'I think I'll just have a look,' she said jumping onto the chair.
'No! no! That's naughty!' Macy called sternly.
'Just a quick look, I won't be long,' Medlar said, as she jumped onto the table amongst the parcels. SNIFF! SNIFF! 'It all smells funny. I can't find any food here.' Sniff! Sniff! Then she found the coffee. SNIFF! SNIFF! She dipped her tongue in the cup, 'Hmm, not bad,' she thought, tasting the coffee.
'Oh, please come down. You'll be in awful trouble. You must not drink from Boots' cup, that is just for her. We have our water bowl, that is just for us. I have never seen Boots drink from our bowl, so leave her cup alone.' Willow was very worried.
'Come down at once!' Macy said very crossly.
'OK,' said Medlar. Having a final look around the parcels, she jumped onto the chair, then from the chair down on the floor.
'You are such a naughty pup, a real pawful. Go and sit in your bed!' Macy stamped his foot.
Boots returned to the kitchen. 'Good news dogs, Glenn will be here later. I'll clear this up, then check the stock,' she said, putting the parcels and things into a box and taking it away. She returned to put on her coat and boots. 'I won't be long,' she said, picking up the cup and drinking. 'Yuck, it's cold.' Off she went.
'There, all that fuss you made. Boots didn't mind at all. Now tell me, who is Glenn?'
'Glenn is the pup, sorry, son of Boots' sister. He lives at a catering school. He sometimes comes here for his holidays as his parents live abroad. He's good fun. He plays games with Willow,' Macy told Medlar.
'What school? Will he get a present?' Medlar was very interested.
'Steady on. You want to know a lot. First, catering school – he is learning to be a chef, cooking and making good food.'
'Good, I think I shall like him,' Medlar replied, licking her lips.
Macy and Willow laughed.
'You think about food all the time,' Willow said.
'He will be here tonight,' said Macy. 'The school is a long way off. He will ride on a train with his bike, then ride his bike here from the station.'
'His what? What's a bike?' asked Medlar.
'Oh, you tell her Willow, my brain aches,' said Macy, sighing and putting his head on his paws.
'It's hard to tell you. A bike is, umm… oh dear, I don't know… a bike is a metal thing with two wheels and a seat. Humans sit on it, move their legs and travel along quite fast.' Willow tried so hard to describe a bike.
Medlar looked at Willow in amazement. Then she laughed, and laughed, and laughed. She rolled around on the floor, 'Ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho! Oh you silly thing, Willow. I don't believe you. You must be joking. It's a good joke. Ha, ha. I'm glad we have a car!'
Willow looked at Macy, 'I did my best to explain. She thinks I'm joking.'
'Never mind, she will see the bike soon. Sometimes pups are hard work,' said Macy.
'Yes, I agree,' sighed Willow.
Boots returned. 'It's a lovely bright moonlit night, Glenn will be able to see quite well,' she told the dogs, 'And the sky is full of stars. Now, it's time for your supper biscuits,' she said.
'Ahh, I do like these,' said Medlar, chewing on the tasty biscuit, 'Do you think Glenn will make some?'
'Maybe. He can cook most things. Boots likes him being here as he makes nice things for them to eat,' said Macy, finishing his biscuit.
'Come along, outside.' Boots opened the door. The dogs ran out.
Willow hurried to the compost heap. It was hard and frosty. 'Good. Those crows can't get my bones,' she thought as she tinkled.
Macy and Medlar looked at the sky. 'Look at all those stars, so bright and twinkly,' said Medlar.
'Yes, it's a lovely night. There is Orion, the Hunter. See the three stars, that's his belt. Following him is Canis Major, and Minor. Then there is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, where the spirits of all dogs go when they die. I shall be there long before you and Willow,' Macy said thoughtfully.
'Oh dear. Don't go yet. We will miss you, and you will miss Christmas,' Medlar said, gazing at the stars.
Macy laughed, then had a bark and a quick look round. Then he saw a light coming up the drive, Oh good, here's Glenn, he thought, and trotted indoors to greet him.
Medlar sniffed, Nothing about tonight. They are all tucked up warm in their beds. I think I shall go to mine, my paws are cold, she thought.
Just then, a loud bumpety bump noise sounded on the drive. Medlar stared, then ran as fast as her little cold paws would carry her. BANG! Through the door. CRASH! Into her bed. She hid under her blanket and lay shaking.
'Whatever is the matter?' Macy asked.
'Oh, Mmmmacy, a mmmmonster with one eye came racing up the drive. Quick, hide me, it might be looking for a little pup to eat. Save me, please. I'll never be naughty again.
'Medlar,' said Macy firmly. 'What you saw was not a monster. It was Glenn on his bike. The eye is his light. I saw him, that's why I came in. He's probably putting his "monster", I mean bike, in the garage now.'
Willow tried hard not to laugh.
Medlar poked her head out from the blanket. 'Are you sure?' she asked in a small shaky voice.
The door opened. In came Glenn, bringing cold frosty air.
'Yes, absolutely sure,' Willow replied, as she ran to greet Glenn.
After Boots and the dogs had greeted Glenn, and Medlar had been introduced, the humans sat and chatted and drank tea whilst Glenn warmed himself by the Rayburn. Then he took his things up to the attic room, where it was warm over the Rayburn.
Late in the night the moon shone in the window on the sleeping dogs.
T-WIT, T-WIT. A loud noise wakened Medlar. She sprang up in fright. She looked for Macy. He opened one eye, 'It's OK Medlar, just an owl out hunting. Go to sleep.'
But Medlar didn't go to sleep. She reached up and put her two front paws on Macy's chair. She stood looking at him, 'I have had two big frights tonight, that's two too many, I need a cuddle.'
'Very well, come up,' Macy said softly, 'It's lucky I have a big chair,' he said as Medlar tucked herself in beside him.
'Don't go to Sirius yet, Macy,' she said, and fell sound asleep.
Good morning dogs, Happy Christmas.' Glenn came into the kitchen, 'Off you go,' he said, opening the door, 'I'm going to make tea for Hat.' The dogs ran into the garden.
When they came back, Boots was drinking tea and talking to Glenn. 'I'll just make Medlar's breakfast, then I'll go to milk the goats.'
'I can make her breakfast, then I'll do ours,' Glenn offered.
'Oh that's good, yes. Puppy porage and a half teaspoon of vitamin powder. Half fill the bowl please, not too hot, just warm,' said Boots, going off outside.
Glenn was busy mixing the food. Soon a bowl of warm food was put on the floor.
'Gosh, Macy. Did you see how much Glenn gave her?' Willow asked.
'Yes. Far too much. She will be fat if he goes on like that. Tut! Tut!' Macy shook his head.
'Well, I think it's lovely, a very good portion and very yummy tummy indeed!' said Medlar, licking the bowl clean. She did a great big burp which made Glenn jump.
Boots came back with the milk. 'The sheep have enjoyed their Christmas treats, chopped apples and carrots,' she said.
'I hope I get something better than that,' said Glenn, laughing, 'Now, eat your breakfast, Hat.'
'What a nice treat for me,' said Boots, sitting at the table, 'Thank you. Will you come walking with us?'
'No, I will stay to prepare lunch. The turkey is in the oven, but I have a lot more to do,' said Glenn, putting more logs on the Rayburn.
At the stile, they met Dar with Patch and Midget. 'Happy Christmas,' they all called to each other. They had a very good walk in the crispy, frosty grass. They sniffed the hedges and ditches, they smelt deer, squirrel, mice, and something new for Medlar… 'What's this scent?' she asked Willow.
'Ah, that's fox. A fox has been hunting here. It's a lovely smell, isn't it?' she asked Medlar.
'Oh yes,' agreed Medlar, 'Look, there are three deer. I'm not frightened anymore. HAPPY CHRISTMAS DEER,' she shouted. The deer jumped and ran off into the wood. 'Ah, I frightened them. Perhaps they think I'm a monster.'
'Hmm. Perhaps,' Willow said, laughing.
'That was a good walk,' said Boots, as she groomed the dogs in the porch. She opened the kitchen door.
'Oh good, I can smell my Mum's scent.' Willow was pleased.
Sure enough, Henri and Sophie came running to meet them.
'Happy Christmas,' they greeted each other, then went into the garden.
'We had a splendid walk,' Willow told her.
'Good. We had ours earlier at home,' answered Henri.
The dogs explored the garden for ages, then Louise called them in.
Glenn was chopping and peeling things, the dogs sat by the Rayburn.
'I'll guard the turkey,' said Medlar. They all laughed.
The humans drank coffee.
'Will we go to the beach tomorrow? We usually go on the day after Christmas Day, don't we?' Henri asked Macy.
'Yes, I expect we will go, if the weather is nice. It's good fun, isn't it?'
'Oh yes,' agreed Sophie. 'We can go rock climbing. I like that.'
'What's a beach?' asked Medlar.
'Well. It's like the biggest pond you ever saw, but it's not quiet like our pond. Water comes crashing and roaring, or sometimes gently, up over the shingle. We run fast to race the sea up the beach.' Sophie was excited thinking about it.
'Can you run fast? You look quite chubby.' Medlar said.
'I am not chubby at all, just well built. You are the same shape as me. Henri and Willow are different, they are slender, and they have longer legs. I can run fast, not as fast as Henri and Willow, but I can still race the sea, you'll see.'
'Ha! Ha!' said Medlar.
Glenn opened the oven door. A glorious smell filled the kitchen. The dogs licked their lips, 'Ahh, turkey.'
'This is very heavy,' said Glenn, putting the turkey on the table. After lots of stirring, and rattling, and banging of saucepan lids; much later, everything was ready.
Glenn carved some turkey, Louise chopped it up into five bowls, Barry added some vegetables and dog meal. Each dog had a delicious dinner. 'Wonderful,' they all agreed, as they settled for a rest.
The humans took ages eating theirs, but at last they were finished.
'Well done Glenn, a splendid lunch,' the humans agreed.
'I expect Glenn gave them big portions. They all look very full and stuffed,' Medlar said to Willow.
'You are just greedy,' said Willow.
'No, I am well built' said Medlar, remembering what Sophie had said, 'Now, is it time for the presents?'
But just then Glenn brought a big dark pudding to the table and lit it.
'Hell's teeth! Quick Macy, FIRE! Get our water bowl, throw it over the fire. QUICK!' Medlar shouted. The dogs laughed.
'It's OK, Medlar. That's what humans do every Christmas. There, look. The fire is gone,' Macy reassured Medlar, 'You were clever though. It was a good idea, very quick thinking for a pup. Well done.'
'That is a stupid thing to do, making a fire on a pudding. Now look! I don't believe it! They are eating it! Are they mad? I thought they had finished eating. Now they are starting again - you said I was greedy! When ever will we get our presents? I am fed up,' said Medlar, laying her head on her paws.
'Oh dear. I think I ate too much,' said Boots, making coffee. All the humans thanked Glenn for the splendid lunch.
'Hmm, it couldn't have been that good, they didn't lick their plates clean, did they?' said Medlar.
'Oh dear. Humans don't do that,' said Macy.
'Shall we take the coffee into the sitting room?' suggested Boots.
'Get ready Medlar, we're off for the presents,' said Willow, as the dogs gathered by the door. They rushed into the sitting room. What a sight met their eyes. A big tree with bright coloured lights, lots of parcels underneath, and a hot, glowing fire of big logs in the fireplace.
Medlar raced at the parcels, kicking them all around. WHOOPS!
'Steady Medlar. Boots will give us ours in just a minute.'
But all the Terriers got too excited, they all rushed in amongst the parcels.
'NO! SIT!' Boots shouted. The dogs reluctantly stopped and sat.
'Now, Macy, one for you.' Then Louise gave one each to Henri and Sophie, then Willow and Medlar. 'One each for you.'
The dogs took the parcels and tore at the paper with teeth and paws. Medlar watched Willow, and soon understood what to do. In a few seconds Medlar had the parcel open and found a hard bone shaped chew. Yum tum. It smells good, she thought, as she settled by the fire. All the Terriers had the same sort of chew. Macy's was a bit bigger as he was a bigger dog.
The dogs chewed and chewed until their jaws ached, whilst the humans unwrapped their presents and drank the coffee.
'We ought to go out for some fresh air. Let's take the dogs along the lane,' suggested Louise.
'Hmm, yes. I suppose we should,' Hat agreed.
Barry stayed to do the washing up and look after the fire.
The dogs set off, wearing their leads. Macy also wore his coat. Medlar walked well on her lead with Willow. 'You are doing well,' Macy told Medlar.
'Yes, I liked the chocolate drops, so I did the lessons, as Willow told me. I'm glad I did, I like walking with you all.' Medlar was very pleased with herself.
As they returned home, Boots removed the leads to let the dogs have a hunt around the pond. Medlar was delighted, she had not been to the pond before. She rushed around, hunting here and there, sniffing all the new scents.
'Don't frighten the ducks,' called Macy.
'OK. Don't worry ducks, I'm not a monster,' she called toward the island.
They all had a good search under the upturned boat and in the reeds and rushes until it was almost dark. 'Come along dogs, it will soon be dinnertime,' called boots.
As they walked up the drive, Macy said, 'Medlar. A quick lesson.'
'Oh, not today,' Medlar said.
'Yes, today. Now listen. Don't ever, ever, go out of the gate onto the road will you? It is very dangerous, a car might squash you, or you might be stolen. Just remember, don't go out of the gate. In fact, don't come to the pond on your own. Willow or I will come with you if you ask. Now, did you understand?' Macy was very serious.
'Yes, I did. I'll remember. Now, let's get back to our chews,' said Medlar.
'I think it will soon be dinnertime ,' said Sophie, as they went indoors.
Ah, I think she likes her food as much as I do, Medlar thought.
All the dogs enjoyed another turkey dinner and Boots went to milk the goats and feed them and the sheep. On her way back, she shut the hens and ducks in their houses.
Everyone went into the sitting room. The humans ate mince pies and Christmas cake and drank sloe gin.
The dogs chewed and chatted by the fire.
'That chew will help your new teeth. Your puppy teeth will fall out and you will get some new, bigger ones,' Macy told Medlar.
'That's good. If my teeth are bigger, I can eat bigger dinners,' said Medlar.
'The humans didn't eat much dinner,' said Willow.
'Oh, I expect it was quite enough for them, they ate so much at lunchtime, I thought they would burst. So greedy!' said Medlar. The dogs laughed.
'I must go out to steck the chock,' said Boots, getting up from her chair. The humans laughed.
'I think you have had too much sloe gin,' said Barry, 'Shall I come with you?'
'No, I'll be fine thanks.' Boots went to get her coat and boots.
'Look,' whispered Sophie to Medlar.
'Boots has left some sloe gin. Would you like to try it?'
'OK. Be quiet now, walk slowly and don't make a noise when you drink, follow me.' Sophie led the way behind the armchair. She dipped her nose in the glass, sniffing deeply. 'Ah, just as a I remember, very pleasant. I'm getting pixie shoes and butterflies,' she said, stepping back to let Medlar drink.
'Gosh, it's very strong. It burns my mouth. Ahh-chooo! Ahh-chooo! Thanks, but I don't like that, you have it.'
So Sophie did. She licked the glass clean.
'I don't want my breakfast. I am still full of turkey,' said Medlar, when Glenn put her porage down for her.
'I'll eat it,' said Sophie.
'No you don't,' said Louise, as Sophie was about to eat. 'We're going in the car, I don't want you being sick.' Louise picked up the bowl.
Glenn and Barry were packing a box with a picnic for the humans, a bottle of water and a bowl for the dogs, and some old towels.
'I hope my lunch is in there,' said Medlar, as they settled in behind the dog guard.
'Yes. I expect it is, you greedy pup. You didn't eat your breakfast,' Macy replied.
'I didn't want it, but I shall be hungry for my lunch.'
The sun shone. The car sped along.
'Hey, Boots has forgotten a very important thing,' Medlar said suddenly.
'I've just told you, your lunch is in the box!' Macy said, sighing.
'No, not that. We haven't had our walk. Boots has forgotten it,' Medlar said in a worried voice.
'Oh Medlar, we will have a lovely walk on the beach. You'll love it. Great new scents, lots of fun and games,' said Macy, laying on the rug.
'Yes, I can't wait. Last year I was very small, I had to ride in the bag. This year I can run and run,' said an excited Willow.
'Look Medlar, there is the sea,' Sophie called.
'Where? Where is the sea?' asked Medlar.
'There, that shiny blue between those big green hills. That's the sea.'
'Oh my goodness, it's enormous. Much bigger than the pond. I have never seen so much water. What's it called?' Medlar was eager to get out and explore.
'Abbotsbury,' said Macy, stretching and looking out of the window.
'Rabbitsbury! Oh great!' shouted Medlar.
The car stopped. Boots opened the rear door; the Terriers jumped out, they raced around the beach, yipping and yipping. Boots lifted Macy down and put his coat on. Macy did a few barks and hurried after the Terriers.
The humans wore their coats and boots. They set off along the beach.
The Terriers ran up and down the rocks, then down to the water. They raced the sea as it rushed up the beach, then back again. The shingle made a great noise. They chased seagulls and examined little pools. They dug holes and rolled in big heaps of seaweed, and lots of smelly stuff. Oh, what fun they all had.
'It's time we turned back, I'm getting hungry,' said Glenn. So they set off back to the car.
'What is Medlar carrying?' asked Henri, as they explored among the pools.
'Hmm, looks like an old shoe,' said Sophie.
'Look what I've got,' Medlar called.
'What is it?'
'I don't actually know, but it tastes like Boots' boots,' said Medlar, as she stood on a rock. 'Any fish fingers in there?' She peered down. She dropped the shoe, SPLASH! in the water. Water splashed over Medlar and made her jump, then WHOOPS!, she slipped and fell in the pool.
'Gosh, it's very cold,' she said jumping quickly out and having a good shake.
'Hey, you are making us all wet, we must run fast to keep warm,' said Henri. So they ran back to the car and waited for the humans, who were much slower.
'What were you looking for in the pool?' Willow asked Medlar.
'Fish fingers,' said Medlar.
When the humans returned, Boots and Louise gave all the dogs a good rub with the towels. They were soon dry. Then out of the box came five bowls of good food. All the dogs licked their bowls clean, they were very hungry after the fun and games. After a drink from the water bowl, they jumped into the car for a rest. Boots lifted Macy in. Medlar curled up beside Macy. 'You were right, Boots did bring our food,' she said, with a yawn.
The humans leaned on the car and ate turkey sandwiches and cake.
'What a lovely day we've had,' Macy said as they lay by the fire that night.
The four Terriers agreed it had been a splendid day.
'It's time for a little song,' said Willow. She had been thinking.
Macy sighed softly.
'We've all been to the beach today
We sat in the car and Boots drove away
We all had such great fun
Raced and played 'til lunch at one
Now we're here by the hot logs
Happy, tired, and sleepy dogs.'
That night, Henri and Sophie went home with their humans.
'Will you come walking with us, Glenn?' Boots asked.
'No, I will mend the tyre on my bike and prepare stir fired rice for lunch,' said Glenn, turning his bike upside down.
'Will you come to the stable and help me catch some mice?' asked Medlar.
'I'm not very good at this. I can smell the mice, but they are clever and hide down in the logs,' Willow said as she searched and sniffed.
'Just keep trying. It's important,' Medlar said.
They spent a long time sniffing and digging.
'I'm sorry, I can't find any,' Willow said at last. 'Why is it so important?'
A tremendous BANG! echoed around the stable. Both dogs were frightened.
'Ah, I thought you were here. Are you OK?' came Macy's voice.
'Yyyyes, wwwwhat was that?' asked Willow nervously.
'That was Glenn's tyre exploding. What a noise. I think he pumped it too much. I thought you would be frightened, so I came looking for you. What are you doing? You've been here ages.'
'We are looking for mice,' said Willow.
'What for?' Macy asked.
'Well, I don't really know. Medlar wants them for something, but they must all be far away after that great bang has frightened them.'
'Oh dear, no mice. I wanted a few for Glenn. I am very disappointed,' Medlar said with a sad little face.
'For Glenn? Why would he want them?' asked Willow.
'Didn't you hear him? He said he was cooking stir fried mice for lunch.'
Willow and Macy tried very hard not to laugh. 'Oh Medlar, you were kind to try for mice, but what Glenn said was "rice".'
'Oh dear, all that work for nothing. Why do humans eat such funny things?' Medlar was not pleased.
'They eat things with strange names; ratatouille - that's just vegetables, no rat; toad in the hole – that's sausages and stuff, no toad; shepherds pie, but no shepherd, just potato and meat.'
'Aren't they silly?' said Medlar. 'And talking of meat, I think it's time for lunch,' she said, running off to the house.
'Poor little pup. She did try hard to please Glenn,' said Macy.
'Yes, and I worked hard searching with her!' said Willow. They both laughed.
After lunch, boots took Glenn, with his bike, to the station. The dogs had to stay home as there was no room for dogs and bike in the car.
'Goodbye, see you at Easter,' said Glenn to the dogs. Off he went back to school.
'It's quiet now the guests have gone,' Boots said as she came in. She had been busy since Glenn left. She had spread lots of bright shiny straw in the barn and filled the hay nets and the water troughs. Then she put more straw in the stable for the goats. It rustled and crackled as Medlar and Willow dug their noses in looking for mice. But, of course, the mice were hiding somewhere else.
'I don't like these long winter nights,' said Willow to Macy, as they lay by the Rayburn after dinner.
'I expect it seems a long time to you. I don't mind now I'm older, I can doze. Why don't you play a game with Medlar?' suggested Macy.
'What I would really enjoy is a story. Tell us a story. Please Macy.'
'That's a good idea. You know lots of stories,' said Willow.
'A story? Now? What story?' Macy thought, and thought.
'Tell us about Margo,' suggested Willow.
'Who is Margo?' asked Medlar, 'Where is she?'
'Margo was my Aunt, my Mum's sister. They are buried in the orchard. They died a long time ago,' Macy replied.
'Oh, I wanted a happy story, not a sad one,' said Medlar.
'No, it's not sad, they had lovely lives and lots of fun and joy, until they grew old and tired, then their spirits soared up, high in the sky to the dog star, Sirius. They are happy there and don't feel old. The bodies in the orchard are just like old coats, just empty shells. The spirits are happy on Sirius, riding behind Orion, the Hunter. I shall go there. In fact we all will,' Macy said.
'Oh please don't go yet,' Willow cried.
'Is that true? Is that what happens?' asked Medlar, with wide eyes.
'That's the story the ancestors told us, handed down for hundreds of years. I think it's comforting. We can remember them with happiness and joy, and talk of old times. And now I have thought of a story about Margo.'
Willow and Medlar lay each side of Macy. Boots sat at the table writing.
'Margo, as I said, was my Aunt. She liked to collect things. She picked up anything she found lying around – stones, sticks, bones, toys, shoes – anything she could carry, she took and hid. Boots had a new pair of shoes, one went missing. Boots has never seen it again,' Macy told them.
'She could have hopped and worn the shoe that was left,' said Medlar.
'Well, one hot summer day, a farmer brought a load of hay for Boots. They unloaded it in the barn, then came in for a cup of tea. The farmer put his hat on a chair whilst he was drinking his tea. Margo ran off with it and hid it. Boots was embarrassed. She searched high and low. Finally, she saw it sticking out of the compost heap, squashed and smelly. Boots gave it a good brush and the farmer went home wearing it. And that's the end,' said Macy going for a drink.
'That's a funny story. What a naughty dog she was,' said Medlar, 'Are there lots of Margo's things hidden in the compost heap?'
'Most of her treasures, that's what she called them, are under the playhouse. That was her favourite hiding place. You could have a look one day, take Willow with you, you're both small, you will crawl under easily. I'm much too big and old for that,' said Macy, hoping to enjoy a good long doze when the pups went looking.
Boots sat writing.
'I wonder if Boots will write about your Margo story,' Willow said thoughtfully.
'Probably,' said Medlar.
'Time to check the stock,' said Boots, tidying all the papers. 'I won't be long.'
Boots went out wearing her coat and boots. She was soon back. 'Right, come on dogs. Out for a tinkle. Hurry up,' she said opening the door.
The dogs ran out into the cold, starry night. Macy barked to scare the foxes, then they ran back to the warm kitchen for their supper biscuits. Boots was still wearing her coat and boots. She put logs in the Rayburn and filled the water bowl.
'Be good dogs. I'm going back to the barn, I think lambs will be arriving soon. I'll see you later. Goodnight.'
The dogs chewed their supper biscuits, then slept. Medlar dreamt of shoes and treasures; Willow dreamt of lambs; Macy dreamt that he was a young dog, running fast. In his sleep his feet made quick running movements and he barked. The barking woke him, and Willow, and Medlar.
'What's the matter?' asked Willow.
'Oh sorry. I just had a lovely dream. I was with Boots at a dog show, I was winning a rosette for "Best Pup",' Macy sighed.
'Well it was a nice dream, wasn't it?' said Medlar.
'Yes it was, but sadly only a dream. I didn't win a rosette. I should have been a show dog, but I grew a bit too big. We just do shows for fun now,' said Macy, going to get a drink.
'Ah, I expect you ate too much, that's why you grew big,' Medlar said, smiling.
'You are such a cheeky pup,' Macy said, going back to his chair, where he dozed.
Willow and Medlar slept again. Ages later the dogs heard Boots opening the door. she came into the kitchen and scrubbed her hands.
'Hello dogs. All OK? Goodness, two fifteen a.m., that's late. Now, guess what we have in the barn – three newborn lambs, fit and frisky,' she said, making a drink and warming herself by the Rayburn.
'I wonder where they came from?' said Medlar.
Macy and Willow smiled.
One fine winter day, Boots took some bricks and garden canes to the lawn and made jumps for Willow and Macy.
Boots threw a ball over the first jump. Willow ran after it; then Medlar. Soon, the ball was forgotten, the two dogs raced around, jumping nicely until they were tired. Macy watched from the porch.
'Did you see us?' panted Medlar.
'Yes. Like two racehorses!' said Macy.
During the cold days, Willow and Medlar often raced and jumped on the lawn. Macy sat in the porch; sometimes he watched, sometimes he dozed.
They all walked with Boots, Dar, Patch and Midget, usually each day, but if the rain was heavy, they had a quick trip around the paddock.
After lunch on a nice sunny winter day, Boots took the dogs down behind the wood to a cottage.
'Oh, this is where Kim lives,' said Macy, as they walked along the path.
'Who is Kim?' asked Medlar.
'Kim is another Jack Russell. He lives here with Rene, his human,' Macy told Medlar.
As they opened Rene's gate, Kim came running to meet them. 'Hello,' they called to each other.
'Hello pup,' Kim said to Medlar.
'I'm Medlar, not Pup,' said Medlar.
'This is my friend,' Willow told Kim.
'Oh, I expect you two have some fun don't you?'
Boots put leads on the dogs and shouted, 'HELLO' at Rene's open door.
'Come in, I saw you coming, come in,' called Rene.
Boots picked up Medlar, 'This is our new pup,' she said.
'What a fine little dog,' said Rene, coming to see Medlar.
'HELLO! HELLO!' screeched a strange voice.
Oh, horrors! Medlar laid her ears back; her eyes opened wide; she trembled. Sat on Rene's shoulders was a big, red and green parrot. It looked at Medlar with bright, beady eyes.
'CUP OF TEA,' it screeched.
'Help!' called Medlar. But Willow and Macy were chatting to Kim.
'It's alright, it won't eat you,' Boots said, stroking Medlar.
Medlar stared and stared. What was this thing that talked like a human?
'I'll put Coco back in his cage, then we can trim Fairy's feet,' said Rene, taking the parrot into the kitchen.
That's better, thought Medlar, as Rene shut Coco in his cage, Phew! Medlar relaxed a bit. She looked at Rene. She saw a very old, thin lady who wore boots just like Boots, so Medlar thought she was OK.
Boots tied the dogs on their leads to a fence. She went with Rene to the goat house.
'Sit quietly,' said Macy to Medlar, 'Boots won't be long.'
Kim came to sit with them and chat. Medlar began to quietly chew on her lead, she sat and chewed, and chewed. Suddenly she was free. Off she ran toward the goat house to look for Boots.
'MEDLAR!' shouted Macy.
Medlar did not know that three geese were drinking from a trough by the goat house. They saw Medlar and chased her with a great hissing and honking. Medlar ran as fast as she could, but one goose pecked her bottom. 'YIP, YIP, YIP,' she cried. Running into the goat house, she met Boots coming to see what all the noise was about.
Boots picked up Medlar, 'You are a naughty scamp. Luckily I had finished trimming Fairy's feet, or we might have had a nasty accident with the shears.'
'Poor pup. What a fright for you.'
Boots and Rene walked back to the fence where the dogs waited.
'Oh dear, what a fright I had. I thought those geese would eat me. One bit my bum!' Medlar told the other dogs. 'I want to go home, I've had enough frights today. Quite enough frights.'
'You should not have chewed your lead, then you would not have got in all that trouble,' Macy said, 'I was just chatting to Kim, then you were gone.'
'I know,' sighed Medlar, 'But I felt a bit naughty.'
She had just settled down in Boots' arms, with her head on her shoulder, when Oh horror! they were on the way back to the kitchen and the parrot! Medlar's ears went flat on her head again, and her eyes grew wide.
'CUP OF TEA,' came the screechy voice.
Boots and Rene laughed. 'I'll make some tea,' said Rene.
'Thank you,' said Boots. 'I'll wait out here with the dogs.' Boots sat on a bench. Medlar was so pleased she didn't have to go in and see that parrot again. She jumped down from Boots' lap and went for a sniff around. She met Kim.
'Don't let Coco upset you. He's just a parrot with not much sense. He got on my nerves so much one day with his screeching, I shouted "OVEN" at him. That shut him up. Now, when he annoys me, I shout "OVEN". It usually works,' Kim said.
'How does that work?' asked Medlar.
'I don't know, but it does,' said Kim, with a big smile.
Boots untied the dogs. 'Do you need a drink before we go?' she asked the dogs. They all drank from Kim's bowl by the door.
'COLD, ISN'T IT,' the screechy voice came from the kitchen.
'OVEN,' shouted Medlar.
'Thanks for trimming my goats' feet,' said Rene.
'No trouble,' said Boots, 'Well, not until Medlar got loose. Thanks for the tea.' They both laughed.
'Goodbye,' called Rene and Kim, as they went through the gate.
On the way home, Medlar rolled in some lovely smelly stuff she found in a ditch.
'Let's give you all a quick groom,' said Boots, as they went into the porch. 'Pooh! You stink!' she said, as she bent to pick up Medlar. She fetched warm water and sponged Medlar's shoulder clean. 'That's better,' she said, then brushed Medlar. Medlar squealed as Boots brushed her bottom. 'Sorry, is that where the goose pecked you? Poor pup.' Boots put Medlar on the floor, then brushed Macy and Willow.
Medlar went out into the garden. Willow followed her.
'I don't think we had any visitors when we were out,' said Willow, as she sniffed among the cabbages with Medlar. Medlar came out from under a cabbage.
'You have a snail on your shoulder. Let me push it off,' Willow said.
'No. That's my pet. Like Rene's parrot,' said Medlar.
Willow laughed, 'Boots will not want that indoors.' Just then she saw the crows. 'Quick. Help me chase those crows away. They are after my bones.'
Willow ran to the compost heap, she barked and barked. Medlar ran and yipped. The birds flew away. Medlar's snail fell off.
'You've lost your pet,' said Willow, as they went to look for their dinner.
'It doesn't matter. Rene's parrot shouted a lot. If my snail shouted like that I think I would have a headache, so it can stay here,' Medlar replied.
'A good idea,' Willow agreed.
Later that night, as they sat by the Rayburn, Macy said, 'I suppose you are tired after your adventure?'
'Was that an adventure?' asked Medlar, liking the sound of the word.
'Most definitely. You met Coco and the geese, I would say that was an adventure.'
'Good. Perhaps Boots will write about it, but my bum hurts where the goose pecked me,' Medlar said sleepily.
Later that night, the dogs chatted about their visit. Boots stopped writing, put on her coat and boots and went to check the stock. She was soon back. 'I had a nice surprise. Two more new lambs, safe and well.'
'Willow! Quick! Quick! Come and look. Everything is white outside,' Medlar whispered loudly to Willow.
'Oh yes, how beautiful.' Willow stood and gazed through the window with Medlar. 'That's snow. Macy told me about it. We had a little sprinkle last year, but this is better. We can have games later. Don't wake Macy, he will not like it. It's too cold for him.'
'OK,' hissed Medlar.
'Look Terriers, snow,' said Boots, opening the door. The two Terriers ran out to play in the snow. Roly poly, roly poly, race and chase. They had great fun and became very wet from nose to tail.
'I'm glad you are my friend,' Willow puffed.
'I'm glad I'm your friend,' Medlar huffed.
'Come along you two. You have been out here long enough, you'll get cold,' Macy called as he popped out for a tinkle.
They followed him indoors. Boots rubbed them dry with a warm towel. They sat by the Rayburn.
'My feet are zinging,' Medlar told Willow.
'Yes, so are mine. They are getting warm after being cold. Zinging is a good word,' Willow replied.
'Will we go for our walk?' asked Willow.
'Yes, I expect so, but I won't come today as it is so cold,' Macy said from his chair.
'Don't you feel well?' asked Medlar.
'I'm fine. I just don't want my old bones getting chilled,' said Macy, smiling.
The Terriers met Dar, with Patch and Midget, by the stile.
'Hey, what fun. Isn't it?' called Patch, as they raced down the field to the path.
'Where is Macy?'
'He's staying home in the warm today,' Medlar answered.
They had a fine walk. The sun came out and melted a lot of the snow. Medlar tasted a bit. 'Ooh, that's cold in my tum,' she giggled.
'Hello Macy. Did you have a nice rest?' asked Willow, as they went back into the kitchen after being groomed.
'Yes thank you. Did you have a good walk?' asked Macy, stretching and yawning.
'Lovely. We had fun. We got quite hot. Patch asked where you were,' replied Willow.
'I think today I shall stay indoors for a while,' said Boots, sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and lots of paper.
'Tell us another story, please,' Medlar asked Macy, as they lay by the Rayburn.
'Now, let me think. Umm… Ah, yes… Henrietta's trip,' said Macy.
'Henri, my Mum?' asked Willow.
'Yes, Henri. She was a bad scamp when she was a pup. She listened to the lessons, but forgot and gave us all a big fright.'
'Go on, tell us the story,' said Medlar, rolling over to look at Macy.
'Well,' continued Macy, 'We were hunting by the pond, in the reeds and rushes. All very busy. Suddenly I noticed Henri was missing. We raced to tell Boots. We barked and barked. Boots called, and whistled, but no Henri. She ran to the pond, no Henri. She ran back and shut us dogs in the kitchen and drove off.'
'She was gone for ages. Long past lunchtime.'
'Oh dear, you must have been hungry,' said Medlar.
'You and your tummy. All you think of is food,' said Macy.
'Eventually, we heard the car come back. Boots carried Henri in and put her to bed. She slept until dinnertime.'
'Did you get your lunch,' asked Medlar.
Macy laughed. 'Yes, we did, but Henri was too tired to eat hers. Much later that night she did tell us a bit about it. "I'm so sorry, I forgot the lesson". She said she followed some running feet a long, long way. Met some boys and played ball with them. They gave her something nice to eat, fish and chips I think,' said Macy.
'Hmm. That sounds good,' Medlar said, 'Whatever it is.'
'You don't know, it might be horrible,' Willow suggested.
'Anyway, a lot later we heard the car and, as I said, Boots brought Henri back. One day you can ask her about it. Now, that's THE END,' said Macy, settling down for a doze.
'I wonder what fish and chips are,' Medlar said to Willow.
Just then Boots took a steaming hot dish from the oven. 'We'll let that cool, then you can have your lunch,' she told the dogs.
'Oh, just smell that! What a super smell. Delicious,' cried Medlar.
'Yes, it is good. It smells like beef,' Willow replied, licking her lips.
When the meat was cool, Boots mixed it with dog meal and carrots. The dogs enjoyed a good dinner.
'What a scrumptious feast!' said Medlar, licking her bowl clean.
Willow and Macy agreed it was a very good feast. They had a little rest, then went out into the garden. Macy checked the scents and wandered around the cabbages and bushes. Willow and Medlar raced around over the jumps. Little bits of snow still sat on the bushes and cabbages, even though the sun was shining. Then more snow began to fall.
'Come along, let's go in,' Macy called. But Willow was digging in the compost heap again.
'I'll just cover up my bones,' she said. Digging very quickly, she flicked compost over the bones and ran indoors with Macy and Willow.
Boots packed away the papers. 'Time to milk the goats. You stay here today, I won't be long,' she said, putting on her coat and boots.
The dogs lay by the Rayburn. They waited and waited. Boots was a very long time. The kitchen became dark.
'I hope Boots is alright, she has been gone a very long time,' Macy said, worriedly.
'Yes, I should like my dinner, I'm so hungry,' Medlar piped up.
'You and your tummy. It won't hurt you to wait,' Macy sighed.
'It might not hurt, but my tummy is talking to me and telling me I need my dinner,' Medlar complained.
'Yes,' said Willow, 'We did lots of jumping this afternoon, now we are hungry.'
Still they waited. At last the door opened, the light came on, a very cold Boots came in. She scrubbed her hands, put logs in the Rayburn and stood by it to get warm.
'Another surprise dogs, two more lambs. They took ages to arrive, they are quite big, but all is well. They are feeding nicely. I'll check them later. Now, let's get your dinner ready,' Boots said, sounding pleased.
'Ah!' thought Medlar, 'All these new lambs, I'm not the baby any more,' as she tucked into another bowl of yummy tummy.
After the dogs had walked and been groomed, Boots went out to the garden. The dogs followed, out into the sun.
'What a lovely Spring day. Time for some gardening,' said Boots, as she began to rake a big patch of soil.
Willow went to the compost heap. Macy and Medlar checked the scents.
'Hmm,' Macy said, 'I can smell rabbit, just outside the fence. 'Do you see where they have been eating the dandelion leaves, here, by the wire?'
'Yes, I can see, and I can smell them,' Medlar said, pushing her head against the wire.
'Careful, the wire is old and rusty just there. Don't make a hole to let the rabbits come in. Boots won't want them eating the vegetables,' said Macy.
Just then, a robin flew into the thick ivy growing on the fence.
'Look Medlar, the robin is building a nest. We'll try to keep away from this corner. Oh, there it is again with some sheep's wool. Did you see it?'
'Yes, and there it goes again,' Medlar said, watching the robin fly off.
Macy turned away. 'Come along, let's go. The robin will need some peace and quiet to lay it's eggs.'
'Oh, that's a bit like you. You like peace and quiet, but I haven't seen you lay any eggs,' Medlar said cheekily.
Macy laughed. They went to find their bones, then lay on the lawn in the sun, chewing and gnawing, and scrunching. Willow brought one of her bones from the compost heap and lay with them.
'Will the crows come for your bones if you leave them in the compost heap?' Medlar asked her.
'No. The crows will not come whilst Boots is in the garden. My bones are safe,' said Willow, chewing hard. 'These are so good for your teeth. Bones keep teeth clean and shiny,' Willow mumbled as she chewed.
'I see, but they are a tasty treat. Can I see your teeth please?' Medlar asked.
'Too busy,' mumbled Willow.
'Can I see your teeth please?' Medlar asked Macy.
'Whatever for?' asked Macy.
'Just to see how well the bones work. Look, you can see mine.' Medlar opened her mouth wide, two rows of little pearly white teeth gleamed in the sun.
'Very smart,' said Macy.
'Now, let's see yours,' Medlar asked again.
'Oh, very well,' Macy said, opening his mouth very wide.
Medlar jumped back. 'Gosh, your teeth are enormous. Your mouth is so big, I nearly fell in. Don't eat me. Pooh! Your breath smells a bit.'
'You cheeky pup. You shouldn't be so nosy.' Macy closed his mouth, SNAP!
Medlar jumped again. 'Sorry. Actually, your teeth are quite good. Will mine grow that big? I could do a lot of chewing and eating with big teeth like that,' said Medlar, hopefully.
'No, you are a small dog, so you have small teeth, and speaking of eating, I think Boots has gone in to prepare our lunch,' Macy said, as he strolled to the porch.
'Oh bother. I shall have to bury my bone again,' said Willow, carrying it off to the compost heap.
Boots put the three bowls on the floor as the dogs came into the kitchen. 'Now, what shall I have for my lunch today?' she said.
'Fish and chips,' came a voice from the door. They all jumped. Glenn came in.
'Sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you. Hello Hat, hello dogs,' Glenn said, putting a lovely smelling parcel on the table. 'I have a holiday for Easter. I did phone you this morning, but you were out. Now let's eat before it gets cold.'
Boots and Glenn ate the fish and chips.
'Delicious! What a good idea to bring them. I was thinking about things for lunch and you arrived with that. Thank you,' said Boots.
'Yes, I heard you thinking, and I made you jump,' said Glenn, laughing.
'Is that what Henri ate on her adventure?' asked Medlar, 'It certainly smelt quite lovely.'
'You and your food!' Macy said. 'Yes, I think that must be what she had.'
After lunch, Glenn went to the garage. Then the dogs heard noises. They went to investigate. Glenn was sawing big sheets of wood. The dogs watched for a while, then went into the stable to look for mice. Macy had a quick sniff, then went back to watch Glenn.
Boots was in the garden sowing seeds. She did several little rows across the soil. The noise from the garage stopped.
'I've brought you a cup of tea,' said Glenn, coming into the garden, followed by Macy. Willow and Medlar came trotting along.
'Macy, what is Glenn making?' Willow asked.
'I'm not sure. It looks a lot like that gypsy caravan we saw at the country fair last year, but it's much smaller. Do you remember, Willow? You were just a young pup,' Macy said.
'Oh yes, it was a lovely thing. You know how I like little houses. Yes I do remember, it was pretty, it had a kettle and a bucket hung on the back. A black and white pony pulled it along,' Willow said, getting rather excited.
'Excuse me. What is a caravan?' asked Medlar, after waiting patiently.
'A caravan is a little house on wheels. Just lovely,' answered Willow.
'Oh Ho! Another joke is it?' Medlar was not sure.
'No. I'm fairly sure it will be a caravan, but I don't know why it is so small. He's used that old churn trolley. I wondered why Boots was painting it the other day,' Macy said, scratching his head.
'Perhaps it's for us,' said Medlar, hopefully.
'Oh gosh, yes. What an idea. You are clever. It must be for us, it's much too small for humans.' Willow was so excited.
'You are a smart pup. I think you are right. It must be for dogs,' Macy told Medlar.
'Perhaps Glenn will pull it for us,' Willow said dreamily.
Macy and Willow laughed.
'Don't forget, Glenn, I'm going to the smallholders' meeting tonight. Will you shut in the hens and ducks later please?' said Boots, as she drank her tea.
'Yes, of course. Now I'm going back to work on the caravan,' said Glenn.
Later, after the dogs had eaten their dinner, and Boots had milked and fed the stock, she came into the kitchen. She petted the dogs, 'Be good dogs. I won't be long. Goodbye Glenn. Don't forget the hens and ducks. I will stop in town and get a takeaway for us on my way home.'
'Good. That will be nice. Drive carefully,' said Glenn.
'Did you notice, Boots didn't wear her boots?' Medlar asked Willow.
Macy dozed in his chair.
'I don't like it here now that Boots has gone,' Medlar said sadly to Willow.
'Don't worry, she always comes back. She said she wouldn't be long. Let's go and see what Glenn is doing,' suggested Willow.
They trotted off into the garage. 'Oh, gosh. How lovely! He has been busy, he's got the box on the wheels. It's a bit like the henhouse, but better, not so high. I could easily jump into that.'
They could hear Glenn inside the caravan hammering and whistling. Willow jumped in. BANG! The whistling stopped.
'OUCH!' shouted Glenn. Willow popped back out. 'You scamp. You made me jump and I banged my head,' said Glenn, crawling out and rubbing his head.
'That was rather naughty, Willow. You made Glenn hurt his head. You are just as naughty as me,' Medlar said, laughing.
'He frightened me just as much as I frightened him. I didn't mean that to happen,' Willow said nervously.
'I don't think you did any damage, humans have hard heads,' said Medlar as they went to the lawn to do some jumping.
They grew tired and went into the kitchen to see Macy. Glenn came in, 'Ah, good dogs. I'll shut the door now, it will be dark soon.' He switched on the light and went back to the garage.
Much later he came back and made a cup of coffee. He was still whistling.
'He seems very pleased with himself,' Willow said.
'Yes, he's making a good job of that caravan. He's pleased. You're pleased. We're all pleased, and I expect Boots will be pleased when she sees it,' Medlar said, happily.
'I am not pleased. He's forgotten to shut the doors for the hens and ducks. A fox might get them,' Macy said, worriedly.
He left his chair and stood beside Glenn. He pushed against Glenn's leg.
'Hello old boy. It's not time for supper yet,' said Glenn, smoothing Macy's head and ears.
'Oh dear,' groaned Macy, 'What can I do?'
'Make a noise like a duck,' Willow said brightly.
'You're quackers,' said Medlar, laughing.
'He wouldn't understand. Have a good think you two.' They all thought hard.
'I have an idea,' said Medlar, scratching her head. 'Why don't you go out and do your "FOXES KEEP OFF" bark. That might remind him.'
'That is a splendid idea. It will probably work. Let's all go and try,' Macy said in a very pleased voice.
So they did. Macy did big, strong, barks. The Terriers yipped and yipped. WOOF, WOOF, WOOF. YIP, YIP, YIP, YIP, YIP, YIP.
'Whatever is all that noise for?' asked Glenn, coming out onto the lawn. That's Macy's fox bark, he thought. 'Oh, my gosh! The hens and ducks! What good dogs. Thanks,' he said, running off to the paddock. All was well. He quickly shut the doors.
Boots came in carrying a box. It smelt lovely. Medlar licked her lips.
'I've brought a takeaway pizza for us. Hello dogs. Have you been good?' she said, bending to pet them.
'Hello Hat. Yes, they have been good, but I haven't. I forgot the hens and ducks. I think Macy tried to tell me, but I didn't understand what he meant, I thought he wanted his supper biscuit. Then they all went out. I heard a terrific barking and yipping, then I remembered and ran to shut the doors, so all is well. Macy is a clever dog, isn't he?' Glenn said.
'Oh yes, he's a very smart boy,' Boots said, smoothing Macy's head.
'Come and see the caravan. I've done lots, it's looking good,' Glenn said.
They went out to look at the caravan.
Delicious smells came from the pizza box. Medlar sniffed and sniffed, then jumped onto the chair, then onto the table.
'NO, Medlar. Don't touch that,' Macy shouted, stamping his foot.
Medlar jumped. Her feet slipped and knocked the box onto the floor. SPLAT!
Boots came running in. 'You naughty scamp. I saw you through the window,' she said, lifting Medlar down onto the floor. 'I think we should eat this now, then I'll go to check the stock.'
Glenn made her a cup of coffee. Boots told Glenn about the meeting, and Glenn told Boots about banging his head. Willow and Medlar hid their faces in their paws and laughed.
'That's enough for me, you finish the pizza. I shall check the stock,' Boots said, putting on her boots. Off she went.
I wonder what pizza tastes like. It does smell good, thought Medlar, watching Glenn eating.
'Here dogs, a small treat for you.' He gave each dog a good piece of pizza. 'Thanks for reminding me of the hens and ducks. Don't tell Hat,' he said, laughing.
'You don't deserve that. You were naughty again!' Macy told Medlar. He was still quite cross.
'Oh really! We all heard Boots say it was a takeaway, so I tried to do just that, take it away! You should be glad. We all had a tasty snack. I saw you enjoying yours. You did, didn't you?' said Medlar, with a cheeky smile.
'Well yes, it was good,' agreed Macy.
'I thought so, and soon it will be suppertime', said Medlar, getting a drink.
As the dogs returned from their walk, Willow said, 'I can smell my Mum's scent.' She ran happily to the stile and, sure enough, Henri and Sophie and their humans were talking to Glenn by the gypsy caravan.
Boots opened the gate, 'Hello!'
'Hello!' they all called.
Henri came to check Willow. 'Ah, you're quite clean and tidy today. I shall not need to groom you,' said Henri.
'Oh good. I'm a big dog now, you don't need to clean me up anymore,' said Willow. So Henri never did.
Boots groomed Macy, Willow and Medlar, then made coffee for the humans.
All the dogs went out onto the lawn.
'Our humans are going away again,' Sophie told Macy.
'Where are they going this time?' Macy asked.
'Yewsa, I think. That's what the luggage label said,' said Sophie.
Macy thought a bit, 'That's a long way,' he said, smiling.
'We shall be here for a long time. Plenty of time for some fun,' Henri said happily.
'What do you think of the caravan?' Willow asked Henri, 'Let's all go and have a look, shall we?'
They all went to the garage where the humans were drinking coffee. Willow and Henri hopped in the caravan, but it was too high for Sophie and Medlar.
'I shall have to make a little ladder for you two,' Glenn told them.
Barry and Louise told Boots and Glenn that they were going to America the next day and would be away quite a long time.
They all helped Glenn with the caravan until it was lunchtime. Boots and Louise went to the kitchen. They mixed five bowls of food for the dogs.
'Hmm. What's this?' asked Medlar. The dogs had heard the bowls rattling and had come in.
'Ah, that's pilchard. We sometimes get fish. You'll like it. You like everything,' Macy said with a smile.
'I don't like goose or parrot!' Medlar replied.
They all laughed. Sophie laughed so much she almost choked. She had to get a drink.
The humans ate their lunch, then it was time for Louise and Barry to go. Louise gave Henri and Sophie a big cuddle. 'Be good girls,' she said, kissing their heads. She was quite upset to be leaving them. Henri and Sophie licked her face, they were not upset. They were excited, they were planning a lot of adventures.
Boots and Glenn waved as Louise and Barry drove away.
Glenn went to the garage to work on the caravan, Boots went to wash up. The sky became black. Big spots of rain plopped down. The dogs ran into the porch.
'That caravan will be so nice when it's finished. We can shelter in it when it rains. Much more fun that the porch,' Henri said, thoughtfully.
'Yes, indeed. I expect you will have great fun,' said Macy, laying on the rug.
'Do you remember that piebald pony with the caravan at the show last year?' asked Sophie.
'I remember. A rather nice Jack Russell boy was riding on the caravan steps,' Henri answered dreamily.
'I had a good idea, but Macy and Willow laughed. I thought Glenn could pull us along in the caravan. He could pretend to be a pony,' Medlar said brightly.
'It's a good idea, but I don't think he would be a good pony,' Willow answered.
'No, that's the problem. If only humans used all their legs not just the back two, Glenn would be able to take us for a good gallop around the lawn,' said Medlar, smiling at the thought.
They all laughed thinking of Glenn galloping around the lawn.
The rain stopped. The dogs ran out and had a good game with the jumps.
'My legs are tired. Let's go to look under the playhouse,' Medlar suggested.
'That's a good idea. You Terriers go have some fun. I'll stay in the porch and have a…'
'…doze?' said Medlar.
'Quite right,' said Macy.
The Terriers trotted off to the playhouse. They found a big gap that Margo had dug out years ago. They all slid under the floor easily. It was almost dark there, but their noses were working well and they soon started digging.
'This is a delicious smell. It is like Boots' boots,' said Medlar, digging very hard and flicking dry mud and dust everywhere. 'Ahh-chooo! Ahh-chooo! Gosh, I must go and get some fresh air,' she said, dragging out her find.
Sophie followed with a red sandal, then came Willow with a glove. Henri came out tail first dragging her find. It was quite heavy, but she pulled and pulled. Out came an old hot water bottle shaped like a duck.
'This is good fun, let's all have a chew. What's that you have Medlar?' Sophie asked.
'I think it's a snake,' said Medlar, giving it a tug. It jumped and wriggled; the Terriers jumped.
'Oh, that's one of Glenn's old inner tubes from his bike,' said Henri, coming for a closer look.
'Whatever it is, it smells just like Boots' boots, and it tastes lovely,' Medlar said, settling down for a good chew.
They stayed by the playhouse chewing until they heard Glenn's voice.
'Whatever are you dogs doing? Oh my word! Hat!' he called, 'Come and have a look here.'
Boots came by on her way to milk the goats. 'Ha, ha, ha!' she laughed, when she saw what the Terriers had found. 'Those were all Margo's treasures. I never had a chance to wear those sandals, Margo took one the day I bought them, and that hot water bottle was Louise's when she was small. My goodness! I had forgotten about it,' she said, laughing again.
'Time for dinner,' said Glenn, as Boots went to milk the goats.
The Terriers followed Glenn to the kitchen, where five bowls of tasty food were awaiting.
After dinner, Glenn went back to the garage to finish painting the caravan. Medlar was on her way back to the playhouse, but she stopped to see what Glenn was doing. He was busy painting.
'Gosh, he has done well. Two windows, a shiny black roof, a smart little ladder. Hmm, green and yellow, charming,' she thought as she walked quietly between the wheels and popped out just as Glenn dipped his brush in the paint pot.
'Ooh!' He jumped and flicked the paint right into his hair. Oh dear.
Medlar ran to the playhouse, where she met the Terriers with Macy.
'Quick, come and look. Glenn has painted his hair,' she squealed.
'He's what?' Macy asked, sniffing the red sandal.
'He's painted his hair. It's green.'
'Why ever did he do that?' asked Henri.
'He's a student, they often put colour on their hair,' Macy told them wisely.
The Terriers picked up the treasures and followed Macy into the kitchen, where they found Glenn scrubbing at this hair.
'What a mess. Thanks Medlar!' he said.
'He obviously doesn't like that colour,' said Willow, putting her "glove" treasure in her bed. Medlar said nothing.
'What a great day we've had,' said Sophie, taking the red sandal to her bed.
'Yes, it was a good day. I feel like a song. I'll just have a think. I haven't done a song for ages,' Willow said, laying in her bed for a think.
'Oh dear.' Macy laid his head on his paws and sighed.
'Yes, I have it. Listen you dogs.' Willow pointed her nose up and sang in her high, squeaky voice,
'Four Terriers and Macy had some fun
Playing in the rain and sun
Found the treasures one by one
Happy dogs now day is done
Every dog should have some fun.'
'What a noise,' said Macy.
'Yes,' agreed Henri, 'I don't know where she gets it from, certainly not from my side of the family.'
'I thought it was rather nice,' said Medlar, chewing on the inner tube.
'Hello,' said Glenn, as Boots groomed the dogs after their walk. 'Rene phoned, she has lost Coco. Apparently she had him on her shoulder in the kitchen, Kim pushed the door open and Coco flew off. She's very upset. She wants us to look out for him.'
'Oh poor Rene. If he is around here we would soon spot him. A big red and green bird like that is easy to see,' Boots said, looking at the trees in the orchard.
Glenn had almost finished the caravan. That looks rather good, he thought as he began to pack away the tools.
The dogs talked about Coco.
'I bet it is quiet in Rene's kitchen today,' Medlar said.
'Yes, I expect it is. Shall we go out and look for him?' Sophie suggested.
'No fear!' Medlar sat up quickly. 'Do you think he will come here? I don't like him.' Medlar looked around nervously. 'You go if you want to, I'll stay here,' she said, running into her bed.
The four dogs had a look around the garden, the orchard, and the stable. They could not see Coco anywhere. They returned to the garage and met Glenn.
'Hello dogs. I'm hungry. I think it is almost lunchtime,' he said, as he shut the shiny painted caravan door.
'CUP OF TEA! COLD ISN'T IT!' screeched a voice from inside.
Glenn and the four dogs jumped.
'Oh my gosh!' gasped Glenn, 'That's Coco. How lucky that I shut the door.' He ran to tell Boots.
Boots came, she looked through the caravan window.
'Yes, I see him perched on a paint pot handle. Let's think what to do.'
Willow ran to tell Medlar.
'Are you sure he's safely shut in?' she asked.
'Oh yes, Glenn shut the door. Boots peeped in the window.'
'What a cheek. That's our caravan, not a parrot cage!' Medlar said crossly.
'Come and look,' suggested Willow. 'It's quite safe. He can't get out.'
'Hmm, I expect that's what Rene thought before he escaped. No thank you. I'll stay here.'
Willow went back to the caravan just in time to see Boots pull a wooden fruit crate through the little shiny door. She quickly wrapped an old sheet over it.
'That's got him. Let's put him in my car. I'll drive him home.' said Boots.
'CUP OF TEA'
Boots and Glenn laughed.
'He sounds just like Rene,' said Glenn, as they put Coco in the crate in Boots' car.
Boots went to phone Rene.
'Come on Medlar, Boots is taking him home. Come out and show him you are not afraid,' Willow called.
'Right, I will.' She ran out past the open car door. 'OVEN!' she shouted and stuck her tongue out.
'What a rude pup,' sighed Macy, as they went in for lunch.
'Boots has been gone for ages. I hope that parrot is safely back in his cage. Why is Boots taking so long? It's not far. It didn't take long to walk there that day the goose bit my bum,' said Medlar, after lunch.
'I expect Boots is having a cup of tea, and Rene is talking about her great-grandfather,' Macy said from his chair.
'Cup of tea, cup of tea
I like parrots in the springtime,'
'Oh don't sing that, please!' said Medlar.
'Don't tease her Willow. That's not kind,' said Macy. 'Now, as I was saying, Rene's great-grandfather was a pioneer.'
'Oh delicious,' sighed Medlar, licking her lips.
'Whatever do you mean?' Macy looked puzzled.
'A pie on an ear. Delicious,' repeated Medlar. 'I bet Boots would like one. She must be hungry.'
'Oh you crazy pup. "Pioneer" means a sort of leader, or someone who is first to invent something. Not a pie. I think that was one of your silly jokes,' Macy said crossly.
The Terriers all laughed.
'Go on,' Sophie said, 'What did he do?'
'Oh very well, I'll continue now you have all stopped laughing,' said Macy, settling into his chair.
'His name was Stringfellow. He made lots of things, including the first powered flight.'
'What's that?' asked Sophie.
'He made the first plane with an engine that could fly, I think. Rene goes to a museum near here to look at his things.'
'Is he an ancestor?' asked Henri.
'Exactly so,' said Macy.
Boots returned. ' I am so hungry. Rene was talking about the aircraft again. My tum was rumbling, but I don't think she heard it. She was so pleased to have Coco back.' said Boots, sitting down to eat.
'Will you come
Will you, will you
Will you come out a-hunting?'
The Terriers and Macy set off for the pond.
'Now remember. Do not go out of the gate,' Macy said sternly to Medlar.
'Oh no, no, no, I won't. Not even for a big juicy bone. I want some fun with you,' Medlar said, as they crossed the bridge onto the island.
The Terriers hunted in the reeds and long grass. They had great fun. Macy lay on the old upturned boat in the sun.
After a while Sophie came to sit with Macy. 'I've come for a rest,' she said.
Then Willow and Henri joined them. Last came Medlar, pushing her way in amongst them.
'Steady on, Medlar. There's not much room,' called Sophie, as she slipped, SPLASH! into the water.
'Dog overboard!' shouted Macy.
'S.O.S.' shouted Medlar.
'S.O.S.? What's that?' Willow asked.
'Save Our Sausage,' Medlar said, giggling.
They all laughed so much they fell in the water. SPLASH! went Henri. SPLASH! went Willow. SPLASH! went Medlar. Still laughing, they enjoyed a cool swim. Even Willow, who didn't really like water, enjoyed the swimming.
Macy lay on the boat.
The Terriers swam to the bridge, ran across the island, jumped on the boat, then dived off into the water, back to the bridge.
'You Terriers are making me very wet,' said Macy.
'Come on in. Have a swim. You'll love it,' said Sophie. Swimming was Sophie's favourite thing to do.
'I think I will,' said Macy. He didn't dive off the boat, he paddled in from the bank.
'Isn't that lovely?' Sophie asked, swimming by.
'Yes, it is most refreshing,' Macy agreed. He had a fine time with the Terriers.
'This is the best fun I've ever had,' panted Medlar as they all lay in the sun having another rest.
Later, when the dogs were eating their dinner, Boots and Glenn pulled the caravan onto the lawn.
'Oh! Look, look, look!' Medlar cried, running to the caravan. She ran up the steps easily.
Henri jumped in, followed by Willow. Sophie used the steps. Even Macy managed to climb the steps.
'Isn't it splendid? Two windows and a stable door,' Sophie said, looking all around.
'Yes, and I saw a bucket and a kettle hanging on the back,' said Macy. 'Just like the caravan you saw at the fair.'
All the dogs were so pleased with the caravan. They settled down and lay on a thick warm rug on the floor.
'Glenn has done a marvellous job. Let's stay for a while. Tell us a story, please,' Henri said to Macy.
'I'm much too tired after that swimming. You tell a story, Sophie. Tell one of your food stories,' Macy replied.
'That's a good idea, a food story. I'm not actually hungry after my dinner, but I like food stories. Come on Sophie,' said Medlar.
'Umm… Ah, the sausage story. Yes, that's it.' Sophie sat by the door and began…
'Ages ago, Henri and I were walking on Ham Hill with our humans. Of course we were a long way in front of them as they only have two legs and don't run very fast. Henri and I smelt a delicious, meaty smell. There on the path were two warm sausages, just waiting to be eaten. So we did. They were so good, I can taste them now,' said Sophie, licking her lips.
'It was, indeed, a lovely surprise,' agreed Henri.
'We had almost finished when the humans came along. They were not pleased.'
'I expect they wished that they had found them first,' Medlar laughed.
'The humans said they had probably fallen from someone's sandwiches. Unlucky for them, but very lucky for us,' said Sophie, smiling.
'Do you remember that lovely ice cream on the beach?' Henri asked Sophie.
'Ah, yes. That was another lucky thing. You like food, Medlar, always think lucky, keep your toes crossed. Lucky things happen out of the blue,' said Sophie, smiling at Medlar.
'Actually, ages and ages ago, I nearly was lucky. I almost got a take-away pizza, but Boots caught me. We did get a bit each from Glenn later, which was good, but rather small, if I remember,' Medlar said to Sophie. 'Now, tell us about the ice cream please.'
'I had just had a lovely swim in a rock pool. Henri was sniffing some seaweed. I saw a human laid on the beach. His chest was very red, he looked so hot. I jumped on him and had a good shake to cool him.'
'He screamed and rose quite high in the air,' added Henri.
'Yes, I fell off. He was silly. I wasn't going to hurt him. I'm a very friendly dog. His girlfriend was bringing ice creams. She laughed so much, she dropped them on a rock. Henri and I had a super feast.'
'Oh, you are lucky. We don't get things like that here. What is "ice cream"?' Medlar said, wistfully.
'Cool, creamy stuff, with a pointy, tasty, biscuity thing. Remember Medlar, think lucky. Snacks and things turn up in the most unexpected places. That's all for now. I need a drink,' said Sophie.
'Thanks. Lovely stories,' said Medlar dreamily.
When the sun had gone behind the wood, the dogs went into the kitchen. Glenn's bags from his bike and his rucksack were on the floor.
'Oh, Glenn must be going back to college,' said Macy, sniffing at the bags.
'That's a shame. I will miss him,' said Medlar.
'Yes, we will,' agreed Sophie.
'He will be back in the summer. He usually stays a long time then. Plenty of time for fun. I expect he will come to the country fair with us again,' Macy said, climbing into his chair.
'He did make us some nice meals,' said Medlar.
'You and your food,' muttered Macy as he went to sleep.
'Medlar was strolling by the garden gate, sniffing for new smells to explore, when a Land Rover came up the drive. Medlar barked.
Macy came hurrying out. He barked, 'Well done Medlar. Always bark when visitors come. Now let's see who it is,' Macy said peering through the gate. 'Oh, hello Bess,' he said, as a Sheepdog trotted up.
'Hello Macy. You're looking well. Who is your new friend?'
'I'm not new. I've been here a long time. I'm Medlar,' piped up Medlar.
Macy and Bess smiled.
'Hello Medlar,' said Bess.
'Hello Bess,' said Medlar.
'She is company for Willow. They have a lot of fun,' Macy said.
They heard a whistle.
'Must go. Work to do,' said Bess, running off.
Henri, Sophie and Willow came running from the compost heap when they heard the whistle.
'What's going on?' asked Henri.
'Bess and Derek are here to shear the sheep,' Macy told them.
'That's good. We haven't seen Bess since last year. Perhaps we can have a chat later,' Sophie said, hopefully.
'What is "shearing"?' asked Medlar.
'Ah, that's when the sheep have their coats off. Come and look. You must be quiet. Look, there is Bess gathering the sheep into the barn. Can you see?' asked Macy.
'Yes, that's quite clever, but you said dogs must never, ever, chase sheep. So how can Bess do that?' Medlar asked, as the barn door closed.
'Bess is a Sheepdog. That is her job. She works very hard for Derek. We are not Sheepdogs, so we don't herd sheep.' Macy explained.
The barn door opened, out came the lambs, then a whirring noise began.
'What's that?' asked Medlar.
'That's the shears cutting off the fleece. Derek lays the sheep against his legs and shears off the fleece.'
'Ha! Ha! Ha! That's a joke, isn't it. Why would he do that and leave the poor sheep with no coat?'
'No, it's true. If you promise to be quiet, we can go and look.'
They set off around the side of the barn where they found Henri, Sophie and Willow peeping through holes in the barn wall.
'Hello, what are you doing?' called Medlar.
'Shh, shh, shh. Quiet Medlar!' they hissed.
'Sorry,' hissed Medlar. 'Can I have a look?'
'Yes, find a hole, but be quiet. Here's one by me,' said Willow.
'Thanks. Yes, I can see.' Medlar peeped into the barn.
'Why do they do that?' she asked.
'A sheep's coat, fleece is the correct word, grows very, very, thick. It is heavy and much too hot for summer, so someone comes and shears it off,' Macy told Medlar.
'Does it hurt?'
'No. not at all. She will be so pleased to be rid of it. Humans use the wool for clothes and carpets, and stuff,' said Macy.
The shears stopped. The dogs saw Boots open the door. The sheared ewe came running out to look for her lambs, 'Baa. Baa. Baa!'
'My gosh, she's thin. She needs some good dinners,' Medlar said worriedly.
'She's just the same size as she was with her coat on. The coat made her look big,' Macy said.
'I'm glad I'm a dog, not a sheep. I like my coat. I don't want a human whizzing it off,' said Medlar thoughtfully.
'Some dogs do have their coats trimmed. Cocker Spaniels like me are trimmed,' Macy told her.
'Yes, I've seen Boots trimming your ears and feet, but only bits come off, not a great heap like a blanket,' Medlar replied, laughing.
'Shh! Shh! Shh!'
'It's quite windy here suddenly. All that shushing almost blew me off my feet!' Medlar joked.
'It's time to go. That's the last one,' whispered Macy. 'Let's go and have a chat with Bess.'
All the dogs crept quietly back to the lawn.
'Hello again. We were watching you work. Would you like a drink?' Macy took Bess to the water bowl.
'Thank you,' said Bess, after a big drink from the bowl.
'Sit for a while,' Macy suggested. 'Boots and Derek are drinking tea. Have you had a busy time?'
'Oh yes, very busy. Your little flock is quick and easy. This morning we were on the moors, herding two hundred, ready for shearing.' Bess replied.
'Did you have to run a long way? asked Medlar.
'Yes, I did. But I love it. It's my job. My ancestors have done it for hundreds of years,' Bess told Medlar proudly.
'Gosh. Who are your ancestors? I bet they are tired.' Medlar said.
All the dogs laughed and laughed.
'Oh Willow. Your new friend is a real joker, isn't she?' chuckled Bess.
Medlar stamped her foot. 'Why do you all laugh? I was going to offer to help Bess with her job, but now you laugh at me.' Medlar sounded quite upset.
'Don't you remember? I told you of ancestors. Dogs who had lived long ago,' asked Macy, kindly.
'Oh dear, yes, I do remember. I feel silly now.' Medlar said shyly.
'You are a kind pup to offer your help, but you are the wrong breed. Your legs are just not long enough, and you are much too young.' Bess said gently. 'To be honest, I did have a lot of help this morning. The farmer had two Sheepdogs. They ran just as much as I did.
'Ah good,' Medlar smiled. 'I have a lot to do here; sniffing, digging, and exploring. I probably wouldn't have a lot of time to help you.'
'Yes, you get on with your growing up and enjoy puppy-time, and I will see you next year,' said Bess, as Derek whistled.
Bess ran out. She jumped into the back of the Land Rover with the fleeces.
'Goodbye,' they all called, 'Goodbye.'
On a warm, sunny afternoon, the ninth of June, the dogs sat on the lawn. They sang "Happy Birthday" to Macy as Boots brought a warm steak pie from the kitchen.
'Here we are, Macy's birthday cake. A nice slice each.' She put the pie on the garden table.
Medlar sniffed, What a splendid smell, she thought, running towards the table as Boots was cutting five slices. CRASH! The table wobbled. PLOP! A slice fell on Medlar's head.
'Oh you naughty scamp! That will have to be your piece,' said Boots, picking bits of meat and pastry from Medlar's head.
'Did you see that? Pie-on-ear!' shouted Medlar, laughing.
All the dogs enjoyed a slice of pie.
'I'm glad it's your birthday, we had a nice treat. Do you feel very old today? Older than yesterday?' Medlar asked.
'You are so funny. How could I feel old when you make me laugh. Pioneer indeed!' Macy chuckled.
'Oh, you must agree that's just what it was,' said Sophie, licking her lips.
All the dogs agreed, a very tasty treat.
'Where did you go with Boots in the car this morning?' asked Henri.
'Yes, tell us where you went. You came back in a very happy mood, didn't you?' Sophie said.
'I thought you had forgotten that,' Macy sighed. 'Boots took me for a massage, quite a lovely experience.'
'A what?' asked Medlar. 'Did you eat it?'
'No Medlar. I did not. Can't you forget your tum just for a minute?' Macy said.
'Tell us about it,' said Henri, licking a spot of gravy from her paw.
'I'm not sure where we went, it wasn't far. Boots took me into a house, I laid on a table, a man stroked my muscles very softly. I think I fell asleep. It was so nice and relaxing. I felt like a young dog when we left.'
'Yes, we noticed,' said Willow.
'That's quite interesting, but I like the pie best,' said Medlar with a burp. 'When I'm very, very old, I might like a massage. Why enHendid Rene have a pie on her lawn? I remember seeing one there with some salad that day the goose bit my bum.'
'What are you talking about?' asked Willow.
All the dogs were puzzled.
'It was in that big plastic ring by the gate, don't you remember?'
Macy thought, and thought; then he began to laugh and laugh, 'Rene's tortoise!' he gasped, rolling on his back.
'Tortoise?' said Henri, Willow and Sophie, as they all rolled around the lawn laughing until they were tired.
'That's the best birthday ever. What a splendid joke. How do you think of them? So funny. Oh Medlar, you are a real tonic,' Macy spluttered. 'What a joy to have you here. You are such a funny dog.'
Medlar did not understand the tortoise joke at all but she was delighted that Macy thought she was a joy!
Boots was busy writing. The dogs lay in their beds.
'Tell us another food story, Sophie. Please.' said Medlar.
'I don't remember a food story at the moment, but I can tell you a funny story,' replied Sophie.
'Is it the yoga story?' asked Henri, laughing.
'Yoga? I had that when I had an upset tum, when I ate a lot of rotten rubbish I found,' pipes up Medlar.
'No you didn't. That was yogurt, to calm your tum,' Macy said.
'Oh,' said Medlar.
'Do you want to hear the story?' asked Sophie.
'Yes, yes, please go on,' said Medlar quickly.
Sophie looked around. All the dogs were listening. 'We were on our way home from our walk. We had to pass the village hall. It was hot and sunny, the doors were open. A lot of humans were laid in a row on the floor without their socks. I ran in one door, gave all the feet a quick lick all along the line, and I ran out of the other door. They all squealed and sat up. I don't think they saw me,' said Sophie laughing.
'That's very amusing. What a happy day I am having,' Macy said dozily. 'And, by the way Medlar, you will have your first birthday quite soon.'
'Me?' Medlar asked, amazed.
'Yes, you, Medlar. On the twenty ninth of July.'
'Is that true? How do you know? You are not joking, are you?'
'Absolutely not. It's true. I am old and I know things. I expect you will get a nice warm tortoise, (sorry, I mean pie!) to share,' said Macy.
All the dogs laughed.
One morning, Medlar came running in from the garden. 'Macy, the robin is taking worms to the nest,' she called.
'You must be quiet. She is feeding her babies. Why don't you find somewhere else to dig?' Macy said.
'Right. Willow, Sophie and Henri are in that compost heap again. Come out with me for a while, will you?' said Medlar, going back outside.
As they passed the compost heap, she heard a noise.
'What's that?' she called to the Terriers on the compost heap.
Willow stopped digging and listened. 'Oh, that's Boots mowing the grass around the pond,' she said.
Hmm, said Medlar, inspecting the fence. She found a small hole in the wire. SNIFF! SNIFF! That's a good smell, she thought, pushing her nose into the wire. PING! PING! the wire broke. The small hole became bigger. Medlar pushed again; she wriggled and wriggled, then POP! she was free. She ran along the drive.
'MEDLAR! MEDLAR! COME BACK AT ONCE!' Macy called loudly. He barked and barked. So did Sophie, Henri and Willow, but because of the noise from the mower, Boots could not hear them.
She did see a little streak of gold and white racing down the drive as fast as her little legs could carry her. 'MEDLAR! WAIT! STAY!' she shouted. Medlar raced on.
Boots switched off the mower and began to run after her. The dogs watched. They saw a van stop as Medlar reached the road.
'Thank Sirius! They stopped. They didn't squash her,' Macy said, breathing a sigh of relief.
The dogs saw the van drive away. They saw Boots run onto the road. They heard her shout. Just then a Land Rover came along. They saw Boots getting into it, then it roared off.
'That's Holly's human, from the farm. What are they doing?' Macy was worried.
The dogs stayed by the fence, waiting.
'What can we do?' asked Henri.
'I don't know. Just wait I suppose. If only that pup had listened when I called her, instead of racing off. She is a naughty dog,' Macy said crossly.
'We're all alone here,' Willow said nervously.
'That's alright. I will look after you, as long as you behave yourselves. Look at the trouble Medlar has caused. It's all so worrying. So you must be good. Let's just wait quietly,' said Macy. 'I'll sit here and keep watch.'
They waited, and waited.
Suddenly, a cyclist turned in at the gate.
'Oh thank Sirius! That's Glenn,' Macy cried.
The dogs ran into the kitchen as Glenn opened the door.
'Hello dogs. Summer holiday for me,' he greeted the dogs, petting and stroking them. 'Where is Medlar? And where is Hat?' he asked. He went out, 'HAT,' he called. 'HAT.' He looked in the stable. He looked in the barn. He looked in the orchard. He went back to the kitchen. That's very odd. Where can they be? Hat's car is here, so she hasn't gone off in that. The back door was open. It's very odd, Glenn thought. He was as worried as the dogs were.
Then they heard Boots' voice, 'Thank you so much. Goodbye.'
Glenn rushed out just in time to see the Land Rover drive off. He met Boots carrying Medlar.
'Hello Hat. Whatever has happened?' he asked as they went into the kitchen.
The dogs were so pleased to see that Medlar was safe with Boots.
'Oh Glenn, it was awful,' said Boots. She put Medlar in her bed, then sat at the table and cried.
'Whatever is it?' Glenn asked, patting her back.
'Mmmmedlar was dognapped,' she sobbed.
'Alright. You calm down. I'll make you a coffee, you can tell me later,' said Glenn.
'Where have you been? You were so naughty. I called and called you, but you wouldn't stop. Such a naughty pup,' Macy said crossly, although he was really pleased to see Medlar safely home.
'I'm sssorry. I forgot the lesson,' Medlar whispered nervously.
'We were all so worried. I thought I had lost my friend,' said Willow, licking Medlar's face.
'We saw Boots running after you, then you were both gone. Such a worry,' said Sophie.
'I know I was naughty. I just forgot. I shall never do that again, I was very frightened. I'm sorry,' said Medlar, tearfully.
'Hush. You are safe now. It could have been much worse. I had an adventure like that when I was a pup. I was naughty just like you,' Henri said, kindly.
'I think the fright has taught her a lesson,' Macy said.
'We were all pups once and all naughty sometimes. It's just part of growing up,' said Sophie.
'Yes,' the dogs agreed. They had all been naughty pups at some time, including Macy!
Glenn gave Boots the cup of coffee. He went to the larder and found a drop of sloe gin left from Christmas. 'Here, drink this,' he said, giving Boots a tiny glass.
'Thanks Glenn.' Boots blew her nose and drank. 'Ah, that's better. What a terrible time. I was mowing round the pond when I saw Medlar running down the drive. I called and shouted, but she took no notice. Someone in a van picked her up. Then Clive came along, he said they had taken Holly, so we chased after them. By great good luck the van was stuck behind a tractor towing a big trailer full of straw bales. The van could not get past. Clive stopped. He ran to the van, I followed. He opened the back doors – out jumped Holly and I lifted Medlar out. The men ran off across the field. Clive pushed the van into the hedge and phoned the Police. How lucky I was that Clive came along,' Boots said in a great rush of words.
'How lucky that you saw Medlar running, or you would never know where she had gone,' said Glenn, as he made some sandwiches for lunch. Then he made the dogs' lunches.
'You didn't eat all your lunch,' said Sophie to Medlar.
'No, I couldn't. I feel too wobbly,' said Medlar, sadly.
'Come on little one, let's have a nap together in the caravan,' said Macy, leading the way.
'Yes, that would be nice.' Medlar followed Macy to the caravan. She lay close to him.
'That's right, snuggle in by me and have a little sleep. You'll feel better after,' Macy said sleepily.
Henri, Sophie and Willow went to the compost heap for another dig and a chew on the bones and toys.
Boots went back to the pond to finish the mowing. Then she mended the hole in the fence. Glenn unpacked his things and did lots of writing for his exams.
That evening the sky became dark. FLASH! RUMBLE! BANG! CRASH! Thunder and lightning filled the sky. Rain poured. The dogs ran into the kitchen.
'Do you remember? You arrived on a stormy night like this,' Macy said to Medlar.
'Not really, I think I was asleep most of the time,' replied Medlar.
'I remember,' said Willow. 'Macy and I waited by the Rayburn. I did a song, then Boots brought you. I was so pleased, I had a friend at last,' Willow said, smiling at Medlar. 'Don't go running off again,' she added.
'Oh, no, no, no. I won't. Tell us about your adventure, Henri. Tell us about the day you ran off,' said Medlar, laying close to Willow.
Macy lay in his chair.
'Well, as I said, all pups are naughty sometimes. We were on the island playing when I saw a human running up the road. I liked the pat, pat, pat, of the running feet, so I crept off and followed them a long, long way. I heard lots of cars. I remembered not to go near them, so I looked around and saw some boys in a park. They were eating fish and chips, I think they said. I went to sit with them, they gave me some of the fish and chips. It was so tasty but I was very tired, I fell asleep. When I woke up I was frightened. No Macy, no Sophie, no Boots. The boys were kind. They played ball games with me, but I was not happy. I went back to the road to try to remember my way home. Suddenly, I heard Boots' car. The door opened. I heard Boots asking the boys if they had seen a little pup. I ran. I was so happy, I jumped right in the door onto Boots' lap, and licked, and licked her face. I was trembling. I was so pleased to see her. The boys were pleased too. Boots thanked them and we came home. Macy was quite cross with me,' said Henri, finishing her story.
'Yes,' said Sophie, 'When Boots brought you back, you wouldn't tell us anything about your trip. You slept and slept. You didn't wake up until dinnertime.'
'I expect she smelt the food,' said Medlar. They all laughed.
Boots and Glenn sat at the table. They were both busy writing.
'Do you think Boots is writing about my adventure?' asked Medlar.
'Yes, I think she probably is,' Macy replied. 'Now, do you feel like telling us about it?' he asked.
'Well, yes, OK. I will,' began Medlar. 'I feel safe again with you. I was naughty, I ran onto the road.'
'Yes, we all saw you. Tell us what happened after that,' said Willow.
'A van came along; a hand came out with a nice piece of meat. I grabbed the meat and the hand grabbed me. He smelt awful, but it was too late, the door shut and we were off. The human tossed me in the back. I landed on some sacks and saw Holly, the dog from the farm. "Don't worry," she said, "my human is chasing us. He saw me being caught"' "So did mine" I said. The driver was going quite fast, then he braked. Holly and I slid along in the back as the van stopped. Then the back doors opened. There were Holly's human and Boots, come to rescue us. We were so pleased to see them. Oh dear, I need a drink after that long story, my tongue is dry,' Medlar said, going to the water bowl.
'I think the humans were just as glad to see you,' Sophie told her.
'Yes, I expect so, and Boots has something good to write about,' Willow added.
'Stop chattering. We all need our sleep after an exhausting day,' Macy muttered. 'Perhaps we can have a few quiet days now.'
'Oh Macy, you do look smart. Very clean and shiny. But you do smell funny,' Medlar giggled as Boots rubbed Macy with a towel.
'Yes, I'm afraid I do. It's the shampoo Boots uses. I prefer the pond smell. Humans prefer this stinky perfume. I can't think why. I was perfectly clean before she put me in the shower, now I just smell,' Macy sighed.
'Oh dear, poor Macy. Why did Boots put you in the shower?' asked Medlar.
'It's show day tomorrow. We're all being spruced up,' Macy told her.
'I think I'll go and hide in the caravan, then I won't get a shower.' As Medlar ran, she met Sophie and Henri coming out of the bathroom, shaking, and shaking. Water flew everywhere.
'Glenn is nearly as wet as you two,' Medlar said to them.
'Yes, he gave Henri and I a shampoo. He said he was hot, so we gave him a good shower. We shook so hard our tails almost fell off,' said Sophie, laughing, as they trotted out to the lawn to dry.
'MEDLAR! MEDLAR!' called Boots' voice from the garden. 'Have you seen seen Medlar?' Boots asked Glenn, as he pegged the wet towels on the line.
'No. Henri, Sophie and Willow are drying on the lawn with Macy. I'll have a look for her.' He looked in the stable. He looked in the garage. No Medlar. Where could she be?
Boots was beginning to worry again. 'Oh dear, she can't be lost again, can she?'
Willow hurried to the caravan. 'Medlar, please come out. Boots is worried. She thinks you have been dognapped again,' she whispered.
'Oh dear no!' Medlar said, jumping out of the door just as Boots was looking in. Oops!
'You scamp!' said Boots, scooping her up and taking her to the bathroom. Medlar licked Boots' face and neck. She was sorry she had worried Boots.
She stood quietly whilst Boots poured the smelly shampoo, rubbed it gently into Medlar's coat, then rinsed it clean with the shower.
'Come along, little one. Let's dry you, then you can go out with the others.' Boots gently rubbed her. 'Oh my word, you do look smart,' she said as Medlar had a big shake and ran out.
'Ha! Ha! Ha!' laughed the dogs.
'You look like a fluffy toy,' Willow told Medlar.
'No I don't.'
'Yes you do. Your coat is longer than ours. You do look nice though. Very pretty,' Willow added.
'Your coat is different from Willow's, Sophie's and Henri's. They are smooth- coated, you are broken-coated,' Macy explained.
'Broken? My coat is not broken, it is perfectly fine. It is certainly not broken.' Medlar said indignantly, with a big shake.
'No, no, no. Nothing is broken. It's just a word humans use to describe a longer coat. It's rather silly, but that's how it is, and yours looks splendid,' Macy said admiringly.
'Yes.' All the dogs agreed Medlar was looking extremely smart.
'Thank you,' said Medlar.
Later, when they were in the porch, Glenn held each dog whilst Boots trimmed their nails. Then she groomed them.
'How smart you look,' said Glenn, as they all went into the kitchen.
Glenn did lots of writing for his homework. Boots chopped up an old pair of jeans, then she brought out a sewing machine. It made lots of whirring noises as the bits of jeans went up and down. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Up and down.
'Look Glenn. What do you think of these?'
Glenn stopped writing and looked. 'Oh my word! Shorts. Very smart,' he said, smiling.
'Shall we try them?' asked Boots.
'Yes. Let's do that,' said Glenn, picking up Medlar and putting her on the table. Boots lifted her back legs and pulled the shorts up. Medlar's tail popped through a slit in the back.
'Oh splendid. A good fit.' Boots was very pleased.
Willow laughed, and laughed. 'Ha! Ha! Ha!'
'Don't laugh Willow. I think you have some too. They look about your size,' Medlar said.
'Oh no. Not me. Whatever is Boots doing?' gasped Willow.
'Actually, I rather like them,' said Medlar, strolling around the table. 'What do you think Sophie and Henri?'
'Great,' said Henri and Sophie. 'Let's hope you win a prize.'
'Win a prize? How?' Medlar asked.
'Last year at the show, there was a fancy dress class. I think Boots has made the shorts for that.' Henri said.
'Oh, no! We don't have to wear them at the show, do we? I feel really silly here with you. I don't want lots of dogs and their humans seeing me in these,' Willow said. She was most upset.
'You might win a prize. It's usually food or treats. Wouldn't you like that?' asked Macy.
'Really?' asked Medlar.
'Oh, yes. We did quite well last year. We had lots of stuff. It lasted for ages. Why don't you try Willow. Last year you were in the bag, you were too small.'
'Please Willow. Let's try,' pleaded Medlar. 'We may get something good. It's just fun. Let's do it pleeease.'
'Oh, very well. I don't suppose they are too bad. Does my bum look big?' Willow asked.
'No, it doesn't. My bum is enormous, but I like it. I think it helps my tail to wag more,' Medlar said. She was delighted Willow had agreed to wear the shorts.
'Now, let's try these,' said Boots. Small straw hats with flowers and ribbons were placed on Willow and Medlar's heads.
'Oh, yes. That does look good,' Glenn said.
Medlar was pleased. 'Does this suit me?' she asked Macy.
'You look very cute. You're sure to win something.'
Medlar strolled around the table again, showing off.
'If we have to do it, at least I can hide my face under this hat and no-one will recognise me,' Willow said quietly.
The dogs watched Glenn as he made a big pile of sandwiches.
'Hmm. Those smell very meaty and tasty,' Medlar said to Sophie.
'Yes, quite delightful,' said Sophie, closing her eyes and sniffing deeply.
Glenn went to the larder to find a box for the food. Medlar jumped onto the chair, then onto the table and sniffed the packet of sandwiches.
'GET DOWN AT ONCE!' Macy called crossly.
'Push it off,' hissed Sophie. 'I told you, think lucky, toes crossed.'
'Don't you dare!' Macy said, stamping his foot. He was extremely cross!
Medlar jumped. Her feet slipped, and she slipped from the table onto the chair. CRASH! then PLOP! onto the floor.
'You naughty scamp. Have you hurt yourself?' Glenn came hurrying from the larder. Medlar stood up and shook herself.
'That was your fault, Sophie. You said keep your toes crossed. When I tried to do that my feet slipped and I fell.'
'Sorry,' said Sophie. 'Are you hurt?'
'No. I'm fine,' said Medlar, running into the garden.
Glenn watched her. That pup is so cheeky, he thought as he packed the dogs' food and humans' food into the box.
Boots and Glenn packed the car with lots of stuff – water bowls and bottles, towels, brushes for grooming – all went on the back seat with the box of food; safe in front of the dog guard; safe from Medlar's sniffing nose.
'What a lot of cars and trailers,' said Macy, as Boots drove into the car park. 'Much more than last year.'
Boots parked the car under a tree. 'We'll leave the picnic here for later. Let's have a look around,' she said.
Glenn took Henri and Sophie on their leads. Boots took Macy, Willow and Medlar.
'Good. Boots has forgotten the shorts and hats,' said Willow, trotting happily along.
'COO-EEE. HAT!' came a loud shout. They all stopped. It was Barry's voice. He came running up with Louise. Oh, what a surprise. They were all excited, Boots and Glenn, Barry and Louise. Macy's, Sophie's, Henri's, Willow's and Medlar's tails wagged very hard. Louise and Barry hugged Sophie and Henri.
'How did you find us here?' asked Hat.
'We knew you would be here so we drove straight from home this morning. We arrived in England yesterday. I phoned Glenn and we decided to keep it secret to surprise you Hat,' said Barry.
'You have certainly done that,' Hat replied, smiling.
Barry and Louise took Henri and Sophie's leads. Glenn took Willow and Medlar's, and Boots took Macy's.
'I thought that was far too many sandwiches for two humans. He knew Barry and Louise would be here so made more for them, how kind,' Medlar said as they set off for a look around the show.
They walked with lots of other humans and dogs, looking at pens of ducks, hens and geese. Medlar pretended not to see the geese – she walked quickly past looking up at the sky.
'Not going to rain, is it? asked Macy, with a big smile.
'No, just clear blue sky,' Medlar replied with a wink.
'Oh, there are sheep like ours,' Willow said.
'Yes, Black Welsh Mountain,' Macy said, studying them. 'No better than ours, and I think our lambs are bigger.'
'Most definitely,' agreed Willow.
'What a lot of lovely smells.' Sophie sniffed the air as they walked. 'Hmm, goats. Yes, I thought I smelt goats.' They stood by the pens of goats.
'These belong to Derek,' Boots said, reading a label on the pen. 'I hope he wins a prize.'
Medlar sniffed, 'Pooh! What a smell,' she cried. 'That poor goat has had a shampoo like we had. How on earth did she get into the shower?'
The dogs laughed so much they had to stop for a drink of water.
Hmm! That's a very dinkum stinkum smell, Medlar thought, raising her nose. Oh goodness me! Monsters! She stopped and stared and thought, They can't eat me, they are safely in their pens. I must be brave. 'Hhhhello big goats' she called, bravely.
'Hello, you cheeky pup. We are llamas not goats.' One llama bent down and spoke to Medlar.
'Oh not you're not! Lambs are much smaller. You're not lambs. I know what lambs look like, we have some at home,' Medlar told them, feeling quite safe with the dogs and humans near her.
'Sorry. Please excuse our pup,' Macy spoke to the llamas, then to Medlar, 'Medlar, they are llamas, not lambs. Now say you are sorry. You were quite rude.'
'Llamas? I've never heard of them, but their smell is truly dinkum stinkum. Sorry,' she said, raising her nose and taking great big sniffs. 'Isn't that the best smell ever?' she asked the dogs. They agreed it was.
On they went to the pets corner. They saw rabbits, guinea pigs and mice.
'Look,' said Willow, 'Plenty of mice for a stir fry.'
'Don't be silly. It's rice not mice, I shall not make that mistake again.' That was a waste of time. She smiled as she trotted on, then, 'Oh! Look, look, look. There is a caravan like ours,' she cried excitedly.
Sure enough there was. Much bigger, with a real pony trotting along pulling it. They all stopped to see the caravan go by. A man sat in the doorway with a Jack Russell beside him. The dog saw Henri and barked. Henri barked back at him.
'That's the dog I met last year,' she said, gazing after him in a dreamy way.
'He's a nice looking dog,' said Sophie, 'He was very pleased to see you.'
Boots and Louise went into a tent to book the dogs' classes. Barry and Glenn waited outside with the dogs.
'Can you smell those chews and biscuits? They must be the prizes. We must try hard for some, they smell delicious. Do your best Willow, we can get a fine treat,' Medlar told Willow.
'Very well, I will. They did smell good,' Willow agreed.
Back in the car, Glenn unwrapped the big box and took out five bowls of dinner.
'Just a small one for Henri, please,' said Louise. 'She doesn't want a big meal if she is racing later.'
Henri was pleased to hear about the racing. She might meet the Jack Russell boy again.
The dogs ate a tasty meal in the shade of a tree. Boots tied their leads to a long rope and gave them all a drink. 'You all relax here, have a rest whilst we eat our lunch,' she said.
Glenn handed round the sandwiches to the humans. He was just on his way to sit down when, TRIP! FLOP! he tripped over the rope. The ham in his sandwich flew out, straight onto Medlar's head. FLICK! SNAP! Medlar flicked her head and caught the ham in her mouth, GULP! It was gone. The humans laughed so.
'I told you, think lucky and you will be,' called Sophie.
Medlar licked her lips and lay under the tree with the dogs. She was very happy. 'I wonder what we will have to do for the prizes?' she said, thoughtfully.
'It's not difficult. You just have to stand nicely on a table and let a judge look at your teeth and eyes, and feel your ribs. Then you have to walk a bit.' Sophie explained.
'Oh, is that all?' Medlar was relieved. 'We can do that, can't we Willow?'
'Yes, I'll do my best,' said Willow. 'It's just those silly shorts and hats.'
'It won't take ten minutes. Think of the prize,' suggested Sophie.
The humans packed up all the picnic things. They took a bowl and a bottle of water, and the dogs, to the show ring, where the humans sat on bales of straw. They were still chatting about Louise and Barry's last trip. Boots brushed Medlar. Her clean gold and white coat shone in the sun.
'PUPPY CLASS TO RING,' came a loud voice.
'Good luck,' called the humans and dogs as Boots and Medlar walked into the ring.
There were other pups there; big pups, small pups, good pups, naughty pups, quiet pups, noisy pups. Some jumped and skipped, some rolled in the grass. Some were very well behaved.
Medlar stood on the table. The judge looked at her eyes, teeth and ears, then felt her ribs. Medlar wagged her tail, then rolled on her back for a tummy tickle.
'Thank you,' said the judge.
'Good girl, but I think you spoilt your chance when you rolled. Never mind, you've done well for your first time,' Boots told her as they lined up for the final.
The judge pointed to a yellow Labrador pup. All the humans clapped. Then he chose a black and white Collie pup. Then, would you believe it, he pointed at Medlar. Boots was delighted. All the humans clapped as the three dogs stood waiting for the prizes. A human came along and gave Boots a rosette and a bag of meaty chews.
'Thank you very much,' said Boots, as Medlar wagged her tail.
They went back to the straw bales. 'Well done,' said the dogs to Medlar.
Boots tied the rosette on Medlar's lead.
'I'm so pleased I've got some chews for us to share. That judge liked me,' Medlar said, as her tail wagged and wagged.
'Of course he did. You're a charming little pup when you aren't naughty!' Macy told her.
'Your turn now Sophie,' said Louise, as she led Sophie into the ring.
Sophie did all the things Medlar had done, except rolling on her back! The humans and dogs watched as the judge chose a fluffy Alsatian, then they saw Sophie and Louise walk up to collect second prize. Soon they were back with a blue rosette and a bag of biscuits.
The humans clapped loudly, 'Well done Sophie.'
'Good work,' said the dogs to Sophie, as Louise tied the rosette on her lead.
'Thank you. I was nearly the dog the judge most wanted to take home,' Sophie said happily, looking at the biscuits.
'I'm glad the judge didn't choose you first. I want you to come home with us not him!' Medlar said, thankfully.
'VETERAN DOGS OVER SEVEN,' came the loud voice again.
Boots gave Macy a quick brush.
'Oh dear, I didn't think Boots would put me in again this year. I think I am a bit too old,' Macy said worriedly.
'Rubbish. You look splendid. Don't forget to show him your good teeth!' called Medlar.
This made Macy smile.
'Good luck,' they called.
The Terriers pushed and shoved trying to see Macy. Medlar jumped on the straw bale. 'He's looking at Macy now,' she told the others.
Willow jumped on; Medlar fell off; then Sophie jumped on, and fell off.
'Stop that nonsense,' said Louise to the Terriers just as the humans started clapping again.
'Macy's got a prize,' said Willow, jumping down.
Boots and Macy returned. Boots carried a big packet, six tins of dog meat and a red rosette.
'Oh you are clever. Well done Macy. First prize; lots of lovely meat.' The Terriers were so pleased.
So was Macy. 'Thank you. I was the oldest, and it will probably be my last show. Last year I had second,' he said.
'You must have improved with age,' said Medlar, smiling.
Out of the bag came the shorts and hats.
'Oh good. It's our turn. You haven't won anything yet Willow, so now's your chance,' Medlar said.
Off they went in their shorts and hats. Medlar trotted along wiggling her bum. Willow kept her head down.
'Ha. Ha. Ha! Look at him, a dog in pyjamas and a nightcap,' said Medlar. Even Willow had to laugh.
Then they saw a Collie in a frilly skirt, like a ballet dancer; a Labrador wearing football shorts and four socks came along, then a Greyhound with a long dark wig and a mini skirt. The humans were chuckling and smiling.
Willow felt a lot happier. She peeped out from under her hat.
'FIRST PRIZE TO THE GREYHOUND, CHER,' called the judge. The humans clapped and cheered.
'SECOND, THE JACK RUSSELLS, BEACH BUMS.' Lots more clapping and cheering.
'Hooray,' shouted Medlar, 'That's us Willow. Wake up!' she added.
'Oh my gosh.' Willow peeped out as the Labrador won third prize.
They waited with Boots as the prizes came along.
'Thank you,' said Boots, as a bag of doggy chocs was handed to her.
'She does know those chocs are for us not her, I hope,' said Medlar as they trotted back to the others.
'Well done you two,' said the dogs.
'It was quite good fun after all,' Willow said, as Boots removed the shorts and hats. 'Where is my mum?' she asked, looking around for Henri.
'Louise has taken her to the Terrier racing. We are going there now, come along,' said Macy, as they all hurried to the racecourse.
They saw a long row of boxes with little doors on the front. Louise put Henri in one, next to the Terrier from the gypsy caravan. Then they saw Louise talking to his human. A fluffy toy on a wire raced off toward some straw bales. All the doors on the boxes popped up and the Terriers raced as fast as they could, yipping, yapping and barking, after the fluffy toy. The Terrier from the gypsy caravan won the race, Henri was second.
'Clever girl,' said Louise, as she brought Henri back. 'Have a rest now and another go later. Let's give the other dogs a chance.'
Henri was puffing and panting. She had a drink.
'You were very fast. We could hardly see you,' Macy said, admiringly.
'Was the winner the dog from the gypsy caravan?' asked Sophie. 'It looked like him.'
'Actually, yes it was. I lost my concentration. I suddenly realised he was running beside me and I had a quick look at him. I think that lost me the race.'
'He is rather nice,' Henri replied, dreamily.
'Ah, so you do like him. He certainly likes you,' Sophie said with a smile.
'Ahem. Excuse me. Do you think I could have a go at this racing? It's exciting,' piped up Medlar.
'Sorry, no. You are too young. You can try next year. I'll give you some lessons at home,' Henri replied kindly.
They heard lots of yipping and yapping as another race was run.
'Let's try again,' Louise said, taking Henri to the boxes.
Now, I must concentrate. I mustn't look at him, I must run my fastest ever, Henri told herself as the doors popped up.
The dogs followed the fluffy toy. Henri ran with all her heart… WHOOSH! She finished way ahead of the other runners.
'Good girl,' said Louise, tying a red ribbon on Henri's lead. They went to sit on the straw bales with the dogs and humans.
'Clever girl,' said Barry.
'Clever girl,' said all the dogs. 'You beat that boy.'
'Thank you,' said Henri with a happy smile. Then she had another drink.
The humans laughed at all the yipping and yapping as another race started. Henri puffed and panted, so they all sat and had a rest. Barry and Glenn decided to go and look at the parade of old tractors. Louise and Boots stayed to watch more races.
'I want another go,' said Henri, standing and wagging her tail.
'Shhh. Settle down. You can have another race later,' said Louise.
'Aren't you too tired to race again?' asked Medlar.
'Oh no, my legs are strong and long. I love it. When you're older you can have a try. Willow doesn't like racing at all. It's a pity, but she just doesn't want to do it, even though she has long legs. Your legs are not long, but that doesn't mean you can't run fast. We'll do some training later,' said Henri.
Medlar was pleased to hear this. She was even more pleased when Barry and Glenn returned carrying ice creams. One each for the humans and one for the dogs to share. Glenn passed the ice cream round… lick, lick, lick, Macy. Lick, lick, lick, Henri. Lick, lick, lick, Sophie. Then Willow, then Medlar. Round it went until only the cone was left. Glenn broke it into five pieces, the dogs had a piece each.
'So that was ice cream. What a truly yum tum,' sighed Medlar, licking her lips.
'Yes, that was a real treat,' Macy said, and they all agreed. 'Delicious.'
Henri set off with Louise for her last race.
'I hope that ice cream doesn't slow you down!' said Sophie.
'It's just what I needed for an extra bit of energy. It won't slow me down,' Henri reassured her.
It didn't. Henri won the race just ahead of the gypsy caravan dog.
'What did you win?' called Medlar. 'Something good to eat?'
'No, sorry. I won a grooming brush. Not for eating or chewing. I know you like rubbery things to chew, but this is not for chewing, it's for keeping my coat smart,' said Henri, laughing.
'Huh! That's not a good thing to win. We all won tasty yum tums, you get a silly rubber brush,' said Medlar, crossly.
'We can all share the food we won. Henri will get just as much as you or me. That's only fair,' Macy said firmly.
'Yes, OK. It was good fun watching you race,' agreed Medlar.
As they all walked back towards the car, they met the human and the dog from the gypsy caravan. Henri's tail wagged and wagged. Louise and Barry stopped to talk to him, Henri had a chat with the dog. Glenn and Boots took the rest of the dogs, and all the prizes, back to the car.
'Gosh, this is so heavy,' said Glenn, as he put it all on the back seat. The Terriers jumped in the back. Glenn lifted Macy in, then they waited for Henri.
'Here she comes,' Willow said, as Henri came trotting along with Barry and Louise. Henri hopped in with the dogs.
'Did you have a nice chat with that dog?' asked Sophie.
'Oh yes, indeed. He is charming. His name is Florin. I may go to see him again one day,' Henri said with a big smile.
Louise and Barry went to their car. Boots and Glenn drove home with the dogs and the prizes.
Boots did not see Macy fall over and lay still behind the dog guard.
'Macy! What's wrong?' asked Henri anxiously.
'Oh dear, whatever is the matter?' asked Medlar.
'Stand back, give him some air,' said Sophie, taking charge.
They all stood back. Macy twitched his legs, then stood up and shook himself.
'Oh Macy, you did frighten us. Whatever happened to you?' said Willow gently.
'I don't know. I felt a bit giddy, then I can't remember anything. I'm fine now,' said Macy, smiling at the Terriers.
'I think you were over excited,' said a relieved Medlar.
'Yes, I expect that was it,' agreed Macy, although he wasn't sure.
That night, after the dogs and humans had eaten their dinner, Louise and Barry took Henri and Sophie, and some of the prizes, to their own home.
'We'll be back soon,' they called as they drove off.
'I think its time for a little song,' said Willow.
'Yes, you could sing about the prizes – chews, biscuits, meat and chocs,' suggested Medlar.
'Hmm. Food! Food! Food! That's all you think about,' said Macy, as he lay in his chair.
'We all went to the show,'
…began Willow in her high, squeaky voice.
'All of us had a go
Biscuits, chocs, chews and meat
We all won some lovely treats
I had to wear my shorts and hat
I wasn't very keen on that
We were very pleased to see
The judge give biscuits to Sophie
Macy won the tins of meat
He was first, he's hard to beat
Then our Henri won the race
Great big smile on her face.'
'Oh very good. You sang about the food,' said Medlar.
'Hmm. I think Henri's smile was for the dog she met, not for the races!' Macy said sleepily.
'No. I wouldn't be smiling if I won a silly rubber brush, I expect it was for the dog. He was rather nice. What was his name?' said Medlar.
'Florin,' said Willow.
'This writing makes my eyes ache,' said Boots, as she left the table to go and check the stock.
'Perhaps you need glasses,' suggested Glenn.
'Hmm, maybe,' said Boots.
When she returned, Glenn said, 'We could go to the opticians tomorrow after going to M.V.F.'
'Oh, very well, we will,' Boots said, as she gave the dogs their supper biscuits.
Next morning, after their walk, they set off in the car. They went to Mole Valley Farmers and bought a sack of goat mix.
'That smells good,' said Medlar, as they drove toward the town.
Boots stopped the car, 'We'll be OK to park the car here for half an hour,' she said. Leaving Glenn and the dogs in the car, she crossed the road and went into a Building Society. Glenn began to laugh. He laughed and laughed. Boots came out of the Building Society with a very pink face and went into the opticians next door!
'OK, you were right,' she said to Glenn when she returned to the car. 'Now, let's go for some bones and tripe for the dogs.'
Oh, goody, goody, goody, thought the dogs.
As they lay on the lawn chewing their bones after lunch, they saw a tractor with a trailer load of hay coming up the drive.
'Ah, that's for the sheep and goats for the winter,' Macy told Medlar.
Willow came running from the compost heap. 'Let's go and watch,' she said to Medlar.
'Well, just for a little while, I really want to chew my bone,' Medlar said, trotting off with her.
They saw Glenn crossing the paddock, then they saw the tractor driver and Glenn carrying the bales of hay into the barn. They worked very hard and got very hot. Medlar and Willow had gone back to their bones. Glenn took the tractor driver into the kitchen for a drink.
'Did Margo take that man's hat to the compost heap?' asked Medlar.
'Oh no. That's his pup, sorry, son. The man is quite old now, he doesn't work on the farm any more. That was a long, long time ago. Don't go taking that man's hat, will you?'
'I don't think he has a hat,' Medlar replied, giving her bone a good chew. I'm glad hay is not my winter food, she thought.
One bright, sunny morning, Medlar came running in from the garden, 'Guess what I saw in the lavender bush,' she said.
'I don't know. What was it?' asked Willow.
'A little green man peeped out at me,' replied Medlar.
'Oh ha! Ha! You were day-dreaming,' Willow told her with a laugh.
'No, no, no!' Medlar stamped her foot. 'I really did see him.'
'In that case, you are a lucky pup. Not many get to see fairies, only young pups see them if the fairies want to be seen. Most of the time they like to stay hidden. You saw Robin Goodfellow. I hope you had a good look. Only small pups can see them, not grown-ups. You are so lucky. I'm very pleased for you.' Macy was almost as happy as Medlar.
'Oh, I saw him a long time ago, but I thought I was dreaming. I remember now, there were big cobwebs on the plants, sparkling in the dew and sunshine. So it was true. I'm so pleased I saw him, like you,' Willow said, skipping around the porch.
'Yes, it's a happy thing to see fairies. You are lucky pups. I'm much too old for that,' Macy said, sadly.
'But you did see him long, long ago, when you were a pup, didn't you?' asked Medlar.
'Oh yes, indeed, I did. Long, long ago,' Macy said, smiling.
'You had a special treat today, seeing the fairy, and I think I know why. Today is your birthday, Medlar.'
'What?' said Medlar.
'Today is your birthday,' Macy said again.
'My birthday. Really? Truly?' Medlar asked.
'Is it Medlar's birthday?' asked Willow.
'Yes, most certainly it is.'
'Oh yippee!' Medlar shouted, as she ran into the kitchen.
'Happy birthday Medlar,' said Boots, giving Medlar a little parcel.
Medlar took it and, as Macy and Willow watched, she held it between her paws and tore at the paper with her teeth. Out popped a brightly coloured, wriggly, rubber snake. Medlar pounced on it and tossed it; grabbed it and chewed it.
'I think she likes that,' said Macy, with a smile.
'Yes,' agreed Willow.
They set off later for a walk with Dar, Patch and Midget.
'Happy birthday Medlar,' said Patch and Midget, as they walked along the footpath to the stream.
'Thank you,' said Medlar, running happily into the cool water. 'Oh look at me. I can swim in the stream. What fun. It's easy, just sort of walk in the water. Very refreshing. What a super day I am having.' She swam up and down under the bridge. Willow and Midget paddled. Macy and Patch sat on the bridge with Dar and Boots.
When they returned home, they had a big surprise. Henri and Sophie were waiting by the stile. 'Hello.' 'Hello,' they all called to each other.
'Come and see my birthday present,' Medlar said, leading Sophie and Henri to the lawn.
'That's a lovely rubbery snake. What fun for you, and we'll get a nice tasty tortoise,' said Sophie, laughing.
Medlar laughed too. 'I made a mistake. I know it's a pie we get, but Rene's tortoise looked like a pie with a salad,' she said, flicking the new snake up into the air and catching it.
Boots was grooming Macy and talking to Glenn. 'Will they be gone a long time?' she asked.
'Yes, a few weeks. They couldn't wait to see you, they had to catch a plane,' Glenn told her.
Aah, goody, a few weeks. That means we will be here a long time. We can have lots of fun and games while our humans are away, thought Sophie, as she listened to Glenn. Then she ran out to tell Henri. All the Terriers were pleased.
'What a nice day. A fairy; a present; then you and Henri arrive, and I expect we'll get a tasty pie,' Medlar said happily, licking her lips.
'You and your tummy,' Macy said with a chuckle, as he came to sit beside Medlar.
'Happy birthday to you,' sang the dogs to Medlar, as they sat by the gypsy caravan, waiting for Boots to bring out the pie.
'Go gently Medlar. No more pie on ear!' Macy said, smiling at Medlar.
Boots gave Medlar a slice of warm pie, then all the other dogs had a tasty slice.
'Hmm. Quite delicious.'
That night, as the dogs sat chatting, and Boots and Glenn wrote, the phone rang. Boots had a long chat with Louise and Barry.
'I think they will be away for the rest of the summer,' Boots told Glenn.
'Ah, good. We can have lots of fun,' Henri told the other dogs; and they did. They had walks with Patch and Midget; they jumped the jumps on the lawn until they were tired; they played around the pond; chewed their bones; and did all the things dogs like to do. Macy always sat close by, watching and guarding them.
Late one afternoon, Boots called the dogs in for their dinner. 'It's a bit early but we are going out later and I don't want you being sick in the car,' she told them. Then she went to milk the goats.
Glenn put a long thin bag in the car, and a box.
'Hmm. I think that's food,' said Medlar, giving it a sniff.
Glenn lifted Macy into the car, the Terriers jumped in, and they set off.
'Where are we going?' asked Medlar.
'That long bag holds a fishing rod. The last time we took that with us, we went to the beach and Glenn caught a lot of fish,' Macy told her.
'The beach? Where we went at Christmas?' asked Medlar, excitedly.
'Oh yes. That's right, but you will have to be good. There are lots of fishermen, they like to be quiet. You mustn't disturb them.'
'No, I won't do that. I shall explore the pools and the seaweed with Willow, Henri and Sophie,' Medlar said, stretching up to look out of the window. 'Oh, we'll have some fun, won't we?'
The Terriers all agreed they certainly would.
'Can you smell the sea?' asked Macy after a while.
Four Terriers noses twitched and sniffed. 'Oh yes, yes, yes, yes,' they cried.
Soon, Boots stopped the car. The Terriers jumped out. 'WAIT!' said Boots. She put the leads on them. Glenn lifted Macy down.
A man was waiting by a small boat. 'There's Jim,' said Glenn, waving. 'See you later.' He took the fishing rod and set off toward the boat.
'Good luck,' called Boots, as she took the dogs along a footpath. 'We'll have a little stroll along here,' she said, taking the leads from the dogs. She waved to Glenn as the boat went out to sea. The Terriers scampered through the rock pools and the seaweed. Macy walked with Boots. The sun was warm. They had a fine time.
'I think this is far enough for you, old chap. We'll turn back now and meet Glenn later,' Boots said to Macy. She called the Terriers. They came trotting to join Boots and Macy on the return journey.
'Look. There's Glenn,' said Willow, as they got near the car. The dogs all looked. They saw the boat coming back to the beach.
'I wonder if he has caught any fish?' said Sophie.
'I'll look,' said Medlar. She raced down the beach to the sea and began swimming toward the boat.
'MEDLAR! NO!' shouted Boots.
'Oh dear. That naughty pup. Will she never listen?' Macy muttered.
Medlar swam on. Luckily Glenn saw her. When she got close to the boat, he reached out and scooped her up.
'Steady. Don't turn the boat over,' said Jim. He and Glenn jumped into the water and pulled the boat onto the beach, just as Boots arrived.
'You naughty dog!' said Boots, taking Medlar from the boat.
'Did you see me having a ride in the boat?' Medlar asked the dogs.
'Yes we did. You were silly. You could have drowned. Will you please behave yourself. You are not a pup any more, you are a dog, so please try and be a bit grownup,' Macy said crossly.
'Oh sorry. I forgot I was one a while ago,' Medlar said with a smile
'What a brave little dog,' said Jim, tickling Medlar's chin.
'Silly little dog,' said Macy quietly.
Glenn and Jim made a fire with dry sticks and driftwood from the beach. Boots gave the dogs a drink. 'You will have to go in the shower later to get the salt out of your coat,' she told Medlar.
'Oh bother. Another smelly shower,' said Medlar. Then she smelt a delicious smell. Glenn and Jim were cooking some of the fish on the fire. The humans sat down and ate the cooked fish with slices of bread from the box. Glenn and Jim had a beer each, Boots had apple juice. The dogs had a small taste of fish each.
'Hmm. That's good, and there are plenty more left, I see,' Medlar said happily.
When they arrived home, it was dark. Boots went to check the stock. Glenn gave Medlar a rinse under the shower. Medlar was very pleased he didn't use any smelly shampoo.
'What a scamp you are,' he said, as he dried Medlar in a towel. 'You made me wet with sea water, now I'm wet from your shower.'
Boots and Glenn prepared ten fish for the freezer.
'You did rather well. We ate six; we have ten here; and Jim took ten. Twenty six mackerel, a good catch,' Boots said as she took the fish to the freezer.
'Have you ever been in a boat?' Medlar asked Willow.
'No. Never. And you should not have been in that boat. Boots called you, but you ran on. You didn't listen,' Willow said crossly.
'Yes, I was a bit naughty, but the boat was fun,' said Medlar as she chewed her supper biscuit. 'And I didn't disturb the fishermen. I was good then,' she added.
The dogs ran out into the garden. Macy barked his 'FOXES KEEP OUT' bark, then fell on his side and lay in the grass.
'Quick. Quick. Macy has fallen again,' called Medlar. All the Terriers ran to him.
'Don't crowd him. Give him some breathing space,' said Sophie, taking charge again. She leaned over Macy. 'Macy, old chap. Wake up,' she said gently.
Macy blinked his eyes and sat up. 'Oh dear. Did I fall again?' he asked, standing and having a shake.
'Steady. Not too hard or you will fall again,' said Willow in a worried voice.
Macy smiled at Willow. 'I can't remember what happened. I felt a bit whoozy, then I heard Sophie's voice and smelt her hot supper biscuit breath on my face. I'm fine now,' he said, going back into the kitchen.
'I don't think he's fine. I think there is something wrong with him. I just wish Boots or Glenn had seen him fall. He's an old dog, perhaps he needs a vet,' said Henri, thoughtfully.
'I expect Sophie's hot supper biscuit breath revived him,' said Medlar.
Next morning, Macy did not walk with Boots and the Terriers. He stood by the stile for a moment, then turned back to the kitchen.
'Macy is not coming walking. I think we overdid it last night. I took him too far,' said Boots to Glenn.
They met Patch and Midget and told them of Macy's fall.
'Oh dear. He is very old, perhaps his legs are tired,' suggested Patch.
'Yes,' they all agreed Macy had done a lot of walking and running in his fourteen years, perhaps it was just that, tired legs.
The Terriers enjoyed a good walk. When they returned, they found Macy resting in the gypsy caravan.
'Hello. How are you feeling?' asked Willow, as she jumped in beside him.
'I'm fine, thank you, but I don't think I shall come with you on the walks anymore. I'll just stroll around here. I can walk in the paddock or the stable, that will be quite enough for me,' Macy said, with a sigh.
'We spoke to Patch about you. She thinks you have tired legs because you have used them for such a long time,' said Willow.
'Yes. I expect that's what it is,' said Macy with a smile. 'Now, let me see you all racing over the jumps.'
The Terriers all ran and jumped.
'Come on Medlar. This is good practice for the show next year,' called Henri, running very fast.
'Is it?' puffed Medlar. 'I think I'll stop for a rest, my legs are tired. I don't want to wear them out, I'm only one.' She went to lay by Macy.
Willow came puffing in, 'Did you see us?' she asked.
'Oh yes, like racehorses. Very good and fast,' Macy said, admiringly, 'Which reminds me of a little story.'
'Oh good. We haven't had a story for ages. Let's hear it please,' said Willow. She called Henri and Sophie. They came and lay, puffing, by the steps.
'I'll begin,' said Macy. 'One One was a racehorse. One Two was one too. One One won one race and One Two won one too.'
'That's a very odd story. It's hard to follow, but I think I can understand it,' said Sophie, scratching her head.
'It's about two horses and two races,' said Medlar.
'Oh! You are a smarty pants!' said Willow crossly, as she went off for a drink. Henri and Sophie laughed.
After lunch, the dogs watched Boots and Glenn moving the sheep from the barn paddock into the front paddock close to the pond.
'Hmm. That's funny. There is quite a bit of grass left. Usually, Boots waits until it is almost bare before she moves them,' Macy said thoughtfully.
Willow lay on the compost heap chewing a very old bone. She could see Glenn scrubbing and brushing inside the barn.
Medlar came along. 'What's that awful smell? Pooh! It's worse than the shower stuff,' she said, wrinkling her nose.
'That is disinfectant, to kill germs,' said Willow. 'Something is happening today. I heard Boots and Glenn talking about a lorry at two thirty.'
'Ah. Chinese dentist,' said Medlar with a laugh.
'Whatever are you talking about?' mumbled Willow with her bone.
'You know. Chinese dentist – tooth hurty,' Medlar giggled.
'Oh. Ha, ha, ha. That's quite funny,' said Willow.
Just then, a large horsebox pulled into the drive. Boots and Glenn went to meet it. Macy and the Terriers hurried to the garden fence to see what was going on. Out of the horsebox came the saddest sight, four thin, ragged little donkeys, with feet curled up like clowns' shoes, and sad eyes.
'Oh, the poor things,' cried Macy.
'Oh dear. They need some good food,' said Medlar.
'What has happened to them?' asked Willow.
'Some dreadful humans have neglected them. They have been shut in with very little food or water. They are here to recover. We must let them rest and enjoy the sunshine. They need some peace and quiet,' said Macy wisely.
The four little donkeys hobbled slowly up the paddock into the barn. They could not walk properly as their feet were much too long and curled.
'Poor little girls,' said Boots, as the donkeys began munching on a rack of sweet hay.
'Shall I put a bit more hay in there?' asked Glenn, as the donkeys finished the hay.
'No. we'll wait for an hour, then they can have a bit more. They have been starved, they can't manage a big feed. We shall make lots of small feeds for them and they can eat the grass when they go outside. Let's leave them to settle down. They have fresh water in the trough,' Boots said as she crept away with Glenn.
The dogs stayed by the fence, hoping that the donkeys would come out, but they didn't. They were much too frightened and tired after their long journey.
'We must be quiet and let them rest. Boots had some ponies once before. They soon grew sleek and shiny, and their eyes were not sad anymore. They just need kindness and good food,' said Macy.
'We are lucky. Those poor donkeys, no food, no grooming; no toe trimmings; no games; no warm bed. Why do humans have them and not care for them?' Medlar asked, tearfully.
'Some humans are not nice. Animals know them, but other humans don't. They don't have the senses that we animals have,' Macy told Medlar.
'Perhaps Boots could give them some goats' milk and eggs. They make pups grow,' Medlar suggested.
'No. That is not suitable for donkeys. I expect the vet will come soon and give them some vitamin jabs.'
'Oooh!' said Willow.
That night, when Boots went out to check the stock, she came back in a happy mood. 'The donkeys are out eating grass. I expect they feel safe in the dark. They seem to look brighter already. Now, you dogs must be gentle with them. Don't startle them. They've had enough trouble. They won't be here long, just until they are fit and well again. Then they will go to Devon with lots of other donkeys, on a farm. They will never be hungry or frightened again.' Boots told the dogs as they ate their supper biscuits.
Later, Medlar dreamt that she was hungry. Sophie dreamt about warm sausages. Willow dreamt about jabs, and Henri dreamt about the dog called Florin. Macy slept very soundly and did not dream.
When the dogs went out in the morning, the donkeys had returned to the barn for a rest on the deep, crackly straw, so the dogs could not see them.
The Terriers set off for their walk with Boots and Dar, Patch and Midget. Glenn was busy in the kitchen, so Macy crept down to the barn and peeped through a hole in the wall.
'Hello donkeys,' he said softly, 'Don't be frightened, I'm a very old dog just come to say hello and tell you that you will be quite safe here. My name is Macy. What are your names?'
'Hello Macy,' said a donkey with a ragged coat and long, curled feet. 'My name is Polly. This is Dolly, this is Daisy, and the smallest is Clover.'
'Hello Macy,' they said, nervously.
'We have been shut in a shed for ages. We didn't get enough food and water. When we came out of the dark shed, the sun hurt our eyes,' said Dolly.
'We like sun on our backs sometimes. This barn is nice. The door is open, we can go in and out as we please,' said Daisy.
'The hay is delicious, and we had a little treat of pony pellets last night. We never had enough to eat. We like this place. We've had several little feeds since we arrived. I'm feeling stronger already,' said Clover.
'That's good. When you all feel better, I'll bring four friends to visit. They are Jack Russell Terriers; kind little dogs. They will be pleased to meet you. I'll go now and you can rest. Don't forget, you are safe here, so relax and enjoy yourselves. Bye bye,' said Macy.
He returned to the kitchen just as Mr. Coleman, the vet, arrived. Glenn and the vet went to the barn. Glenn held the donkeys whilst Mr. Coleman examined them. Each donkey had a jab of vitamins and a worm dose.
'Hmm. Macy said relax and enjoy. I didn't enjoy that!' said Clover, shaking her head.
'Have a drink from the trough. That will clear the taste,' said Dolly.
'Ah yes. That's better,' Clover said, taking a drink.
Glenn took the vet back to the kitchen just as Boots and the Terriers returned from their walk. Macy ran to greet them and tell of his chat with the donkeys. He wobbled and fell on his side.
'Oh dear, Macy was fallen again,' said Sophie in a very worried voice. Then she saw Mr. Coleman bending over Macy.
'Oh, what perfect luck, our vet is here. He will help Macy,' she said, very relieved indeed.
Boots came in just as Macy sat up. 'Whatever has happened?' she asked.
'The old boy had a fall,' said Mr. Coleman, putting his stethoscope on Macy's chest. 'Hmm. I think you should bring him to the surgery for some tests,' he said, as Macy shook himself.
'Did I fall again?' Macy asked Henri.
'Yes. Thank goodness the humans saw you this time,' Henri replied. 'You really need some help. How lucky we were that our vet was here.'
'I don't think he had supper biscuit warm breath like Sophie's, did he?' asked Medlar with a smile.
The Terriers and Macy all laughed.
After lunch, Boots took Macy to the surgery. The Terriers went to the lawn. Willow went to the compost heap and dug a big hole. Henri took Medlar for a run around the jumps.
'I don't think I want to be a champion racing Terrier any more,' Medlar puffed. 'I think I'll just wear the shorts and hat for the show next year. This racing is exhausting,' she said, going to the porch for a long drink. She met Sophie, 'I wonder how those donkeys are?' she said.
'Now don't disturb them. Let them rest and get well,' said Sophie firmly.
'Oh, I will. I'm sad they have not had a happy time like me. When Macy returns we can ask him what he was coming to tell us when he fell,' Medlar said running to the fence to watch for Boots' car to return.
She didn't have to wait long, but just as the car turned into the driveway, Medlar spotted the four donkeys stood under the big fir tree in the paddock. 'COO-EE,' she called quite softly. The donkeys took no notice, so Medlar ran to meet Boots and Macy.
'Good news,' Boots was telling Glenn, 'Just some tablets for Macy. These will stop him falling over, but they are not magic, they can't make him young again. He won't be walking with us, he can just potter around here,' she said, drinking the tea Glenn had made.
'Hello Macy. We're pleased to see you home,' greeted the Terriers.
'Hello Terriers, thank you. I'm glad to be home. I have some tablets, I shall not be falling again, but I shall not be walking with you. I shall go for a chat with the donkeys when you are walking. I spoke to them earlier, they are a bit nervous, but quite friendly,' Macy told them.
'Can we come to see them?' asked Henri.
'No, not yet. I told them I would bring four friends to visit but we'll let them settle down first. Give them a few days to relax,' Macy explained.
'Who are your four friends?' asked Medlar.
'Oh, just four little Terrier friends of mine,' Macy said, smiling.
Medlar scratched her head.
'He means us!' Willow told Medlar.
'Of course,' said Medlar brightly.
SNIP! SNIP! SNIP! Went the blacksmith's shears as he trimmed the donkeys' feet. The dogs watched through the holes in the barn wall.
'Look at those great bits flying off,' cried Medlar.
'Hush,' Macy called. 'Do be quiet.'
Boots and Glenn held the donkeys. They talked to them and fed them little bits of pony pellets and carrots. Clover was the last donkey to have her feet trimmed. She did not like it, she rolled her eyes and laid her ears back.
'Alright little one,' said the blacksmith, straightening up and patting her rump. 'All done. Good girl.'
'That went well,' said Boots, sounding very relieved.
'Yes, much easier than I thought it would be,' said the blacksmith, picking up his tools.
Glenn opened the barn door. The dogs ran round to the fence just in time to see the four donkeys come bouncing out. They kicked, jumped, bucked, and raced round the paddock, having great fun. They were so happy.
'That is so wonderful ,' Macy said. 'When they came, they could barely walk, now they are frisking and jumping, they can enjoy life again.' All the Terriers agreed it was a joy to see the donkeys playing so happily.
Boots and Glenn stayed by the fence a long time watching the donkeys play. They were pleased to see how much better the donkeys were with their feet trimmed.
Medlar crept under the gate, she could smell a delicious new scent. SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! On she went into the barn. There she found the bits of hoof the blacksmith had snipped off. Ahh. Quite magically the most tasty chew I've ever had, she thought, as she ran back into the garden with a big piece between her teeth.
Willow was on the compost heap. 'What's that gorgeous smell?' she asked, as Medlar ran by.
'Isn't it lovely? I found it in the stable. It's bits of donkey feet, there's plenty there. MAACY!' she called. 'Come and have a treat.'
Macy poked his head out of the gypsy caravan door. 'Oh goodness me. I haven't smelt that scent for years,' he said. 'I'd forgotten all about the hoof trimmings. Let's go and get some.' He set off with Medlar.
Sophie, Henri and Willow saw them going to the barn, so they followed. Medlar crept under the gate, Willow, Henri and Sophie followed, but Macy was much too big.
'Wait there Macy. Don't get excited, we will bring you lots of bits,' said Sophie, hurrying off into the barn.
The donkeys were still out in the paddock, eating grass. The Terriers ran back and forth with lots of hoof trimmings.
'That's enough. We can't carry all this,' said Macy, with a big mouthful.
'Pardon?' said Medlar, with a laugh.
'We'll take what we can. Willow and I will bury the rest for later,' said Henri, starting to dig under the fir tree. They dug furiously and soon had a big hole.
Sophie and Medlar ran quickly to the gypsy caravan and stored the hoof trimmings in there. Macy brought his, then came Willow and Henri. They soon had a big pile.
'I'll just pop back and check that you have buried out treats nicely,' Medlar said, running back to the gate.
'Of course we buried them nicely. What a cheeky dog she is!' Henri said crossly.
Medlar sniffed by the gate. SNIFF! SNIFF! SNIFF! She looked up and saw the four donkeys watching her over the gate. 'Hello,' she said in a surprised voice.
'Eee-aaw' said Clover.
The noise sounded like thunder to Medlar. She turned and ran as fast as she could over the lawn, up the steps, CRASH! BANG! into the gypsy caravan.
'Mmmmacy. I've had a fright,' she said in a trembling voice.
'Yes, we heard Clover talking to you. You should be pleased. She feels safe here now and she chose you to talk to. You're lucky,' Macy told her.
'Do you think she likes me? I certainly like those hoof bits,' said Medlar.
The Terriers agreed they were very tasty.
'When you were small, you used to call animals bigger than you, monsters,' said Sophie to Medlar.
'Yes, I almost did it again then. I was just running to Macy when I remembered I'm a grown up dog now,' Medlar said, laughing as she chose a tasty bit of hoof to gnaw on.
Late that night, when the dogs were asleep, the donkeys were in the paddock eating grass. Clover stood by the gate where she had met Medlar, she began to rub her itchy tail on it. RUB! RUB! RUB! The more she rubbed, the harder she pushed the gate until, suddenly… POP! the gate flew open. Clover almost sat on her bottom. 'Ooops!' she laughed. 'This is fun.'
The other three donkeys came to look. 'Let's explore,' said Polly.
'Yes, let's,' said Dolly.
'This way,' said Daisy. 'Let's go to see the sheep.'
They trotted along the drive to the sheep paddock. 'EEE-AAW,' they called. The sheep had been sleeping, they were not very pleased to be woken.
'Whatever are you doing out at this time of night?' they asked. 'You should be in your paddock, not trotting around here. Go back or you will get lost,' they said.
The donkeys turned and trotted back along the drive. They stopped on the lawn and nibbled some plants, then they went to the vegetable plot, they found a row of sweet young carrots. They ate every one!
'I think we should go back now,' said Polly. 'We've had a nice little adventure.'
'There is a stable up there. I'd like to go and look in there before we go back,' Clover said, trotting past the playhouse. The others followed.
'EEE-AAW,' called Clover.
Out from the stable came Dorcas and Dulcimer. 'Hello. How nice to see you,' they said. 'Are you feeling better? Your feet look nice and your coats are getting shiny.'
'Oh yes, thank you. We are so pleased to be here. Nice food, and nice animals, and nice humans. We are having a little adventure. It's great fun. We haven't had fun for a long time,' said Clover, trotting off.
Polly, Dolly and Daisy followed. TRIT, TROT, TRIT, TROT, back down the drive, past the sheep they went. They nibbled bits of the willow trees by the pond. OOPS! SPLASH! Dolly's feet slid down the bank, into the pond. 'Oh that is lovely,' she said.
All the donkeys came to paddle in the pond. SPLISH! SPLOSH! SPLISH! SPLOSH! They had such fun, until Polly said, 'The sky is getting light, it will soon be morning. We must go back to our paddock.'
'This way,' said Daisy, trotting back past the sheep.
'Tut. Tut. Tut!' said the sheep. 'What a noise!'
Daisy led the way. The donkeys were soon back in their paddock.
'That's odd,' said Boots when she found the gate open. 'We'll have to put a chain around that gate.'
Later, Glenn went to the garden to fetch carrots for lunch. 'HAT! HAT!' he called. 'Come and look at this.'
There wasn't a carrot to be seen, but there were lots and lots of little hoof prints all over the garden. Boots and Glenn laughed.
'Those cheeky donkeys have been out in the night. We were lucky they didn't run away,' said Boots.
'Sometimes Boots issilly,' said Macy. 'The donkeys are not going to run away from a fine home like this, are they? They have all they could ever need here.'
'And plenty of fun, which we all missed last night,' Medlar said, laughing.
'I wonder what they did,' said Sophie thoughtfully.
'Their feet smelt a bit pondy,' said Henri.
'Yes, I noticed that,' said Willow.
Once again, the dogs all sat outside the gypsy caravan singing Happy Birthday. Today, 16th September, was Willow's second birthday. Five slices of tasty pie had been enjoyed. The dogs all licked their lips and paws, getting every last, tasty bit.
'We've had three birthday pies to share this year, Macy's, mine, and now Willow's, but there are five dogs here, so we've missed two. How is that?' Medlar asked as she licked her whiskers.
'Sophie and I share the same birthday as we are sisters. We had our birthday at our own house long ago,' Henri told Medlar.
'You must have had a great big piece – half a pie each. What a feast for two dogs.'
'No, our humans gave us a nice tasty sausage each for a treat. Delicious,' said Sophie.
'Well, I think I like the pie best, but I wouldn't mind a sausage, whatever that is,' said Medlar thoughtfully.
'Food! Food! Food! Tut! Tut!' said Macy with a smile.
'Where is your present, Willow?' asked Henri.
'Oh, I buried it in the compost heap to keep it safe,' Willow replied.
'Don't you want to play with it? It's a nice squeaky, plastic mouse. You like squeaky things,' said Macy.
'Yes I do, but those crows were sitting in the apple tree watching me playing, so I hid it,' said Willow.
'Dig it up and bring it indoors. Boots would want you to have some fun today with your mouse,' Medlar said.
'Yes, I think I will,' said Willow, hurrying off to the compost heap.
The dogs watched as bits of compost flew about as Willow dug. PEEP! PEEP! they heard as she picked up a rather dirty plastic mouse and hurried indoors. The dogs followed. They heard Boots talking on the telephone.
'Yes, that will be fine, thank you. Goodbye,' she said. Then she came into the kitchen. 'Well dogs, tomorrow the donkeys are going to the sanctuary, so you must say goodbye to them. They are fit and well now, and you have been really good dogs keeping them company and chatting with them. We shall all miss them. Now, I must go and milk,' she said , taking the bucket.
'Let's go and see the donkeys, shall we?' asked Medlar.
'I had a long chat with them this morning when you were walking, but we can go again if you like,' said Macy, setting off for the paddock.
'I'll take my mouse to show them,' said Willow. PEEP! PEEP! She picked up the mouse and followed the other dogs.
'Hello girls,' called Macy.
'Oh hello,' the donkeys replied. 'Nice to see you again.'
'Look,' said Willow. 'This is my birthday present.' She dropped the plastic mouse by the gate. PEEP! PEEP! The donkeys all jumped and ran off.
'Oh dear. They don't like it,' Willow said sadly.
'Oh yes we do. We are just joking.' The donkeys laughed and came trotting back. 'Just a bit of fun. Humans jump and run when they see mice,' said Polly.
'Oh. I thought I had frightened you,' Willow said, smiling.
'You all look very bright and happy now. Quite different from how you looked when you came here,' said Sophie, studying the donkeys.
'Yes, we certainly are. Fit, and well, and happy. We have had a lovely time here with you. Soon we will go to another nice place, and stay forever,' Dolly said.
'How do you know that?' asked Henri.
'Oh, we have very good memories. We heard that on our journey to you. We don't forget.'
'Yes. You are right. We shall all miss you. You are going tomorrow,' Macy said.
'We shall miss you, Macy. And your four little friends. We have had a lovely time here with your kind humans,' Clover said, smiling at the dogs.
'It's sad that you are leaving, but we are pleased you will have a good home forever, like we have,' Medlar said. 'Now, excuse me, I think it's time for our dinner.' She trotted off to the kitchen.
'We will come and say goodbye tomorrow,' said Macy, as he followed Medlar with Henri, Sophie and Willow.
'Hey. Don't forget your mouse,' called Clover.
'Oh gosh, no.' Willow hurried back. She picked up the mouse, PEEP! PEEP! Clover jumped and laughed.
When they went into the kitchen, Glenn had just finished preparing their dinners. On the floor were Glenn's bags. 'There you are,' he said, giving the dogs their dinners. 'That's the last dinner I shall give you for a while. My holiday is over. I shall go back to college tomorrow.'
'Is he going with the donkeys?' asked Medlar.
The dogs all laughed. Willow spluttered on a bit of meat. 'I don't think he will go in the horsebox with the donkeys,' she giggled.
Later, they went to the lawn for a play and raced over the jumps. Macy watched from the porch. Glenn went to shut the hens and ducks in their houses, and Boots cooked a nice dinner for Glenn.
'As it's your last night, I'll do the cooking for a change,' she said, as she stirred a hot curry.
It was almost dark when the dogs came in. Boots and Glenn had been talking about Henri and looking at the calendar, but the dogs did not understand what they were talking about. Well, perhaps Henri and Macy did, but they just winked at each other and the other dogs did not see.
'Have you enjoyed your birthday?' asked Macy, as he settled into his chair.
'Oh, yes indeed.' PEEP! PEEP! said Willow, as she played with her mouse. 'I've had a lovely day. Thank you.' PEEP! PEEP!
Boots and Glenn ate the curry and drank a beer each, and chatted about the summer until it was time to check the stock. When Boots came back, Glenn gave the dogs their supper biscuits, then the dogs went out into the garden. Macy did his 'FOXES KEEP OFF' bark and they all came in to bed.
In the morning, the dogs set off with Boots for their walk. Macy stayed with Glenn, then he went to chat to the donkeys.
When the dogs came back, they found Macy under the fir tree, sound asleep.
'Shush!' said Clover. 'He fell asleep in the sun. I didn't like to wake him.'
'Macy,' called Henri softly. 'Macy.'
'Oh dear. I must have had a little doze,' said Macy, sitting up and yawning.
'Did I bore you to sleep?' asked Clover, smiling.
'No, not at all. Please excuse me, it was just so nice and warm in the sun,' said Macy with an embarrassed smile.
'Come and have your grooming. We've all been done,' said Medlar.
Macy walked slowly to the porch. Medlar stayed with the donkeys and said, 'Macy is our very bestest friend. He's kind and looks after us, but he is very old and has lots of dozes. Do you know, once, long ago, he was a frisky pup? Now he is too tired for a walk with us.'
'Yes, all of us were young once. We all played games and did naughty things. One day you and all your little friends will be old, but I expect you will still enjoy lots of fun and be happy,' Clover told Medlar.
'Oh, I do hope so. We have so much fun now, I hope it will go on forever,' said Medlar. Macy said he doesn't feel old with four young dogs for company.'
'Yes, I think he's right. You do all have fun,' said Clover, turning to eat a bit of juicy grass.
Just then Glenn came along carrying a camera, followed by Macy. 'Come on old chap,' called Glenn to Macy. 'Come and sit here with the Terriers by the gate.' He called the donkeys and gave them all a few pony pellets.
The donkeys lined up looking over the gate. The dogs lined up in front of the gate and Glenn took a few photographs. 'Lovely,' he said. 'Now Boots will have a nice reminder of you all together.'
After lunch, the dogs ran into the garden as they heard the horsebox arriving.
'Macy, wake up,' Medlar called going back into the kitchen. 'Macy, come on, the horsebox is here for the donkeys.'
Macy opened his eyes and yawned.
'Hell's teeth! Don't eat me.' Medlar said, laughing. She thought Macy was getting a bit deaf but was much too polite to say so. 'Come along, we'll go to see the donkeys off,' she said and led the way down the paddock to the gate. The horsebox was parked in the paddock. Glenn and Boots were leading the donkeys up the ramp into the box.
'GOODBYE. GOODBYE,' the donkeys called. 'Thank you for a lovely stay.'
'GOODBYE,' called all the dogs, 'And good luck in your new home.'
Glenn opened the gate and the horsebox drove through, down the drive and into the lane. Boots and Glenn waved to the driver. The driver tooted his horn and they were off.
'You will miss your morning chats to the donkeys,' said Medlar to Macy.
'Pardon?' said Macy.
'I said, you will miss your chats to the donkeys when we are walking,' said Medlar again.
'Ahh, yes I will. Sorry, I think I am getting a bit deaf,' Macy replied.
'Well, maybe a bit, but you still hear when Boots or Glenn calls you for dinner,' Medlar said.
The other dogs all laughed.
'You and your food,' said Macy with a smile. 'If I didn't hear, I expect you would soon let me know.'
'Come along dogs. It's time for Glenn to leave,' Boots called from the kitchen.
Glenn said goodbye to each dog. He smoothed their heads and stroked them. Medlar flipped over for a tummy tickle. Macy was last, he got a big cuddle. 'Keep a big eye on the Terriers, old chap, and have some fun,' said Glenn. 'See you all soon.'
Off he went with his bags and his bike in the car, with Boots, to the station.
'Gosh. It's quiet here now,' said Boots when she returned.
They all missed Glenn, and the donkeys. Boots had to make her own lunch and dinner again. The days were not as long so they spent longer indoors during the evenings.
One day, they heard Boots talking on the telephone. 'Seven p.m. Yes, that will be fine. Yes, I think she is ready. Thank you. I'll see you later.'
'What is all that about? Who is ready?' asked Medlar in a worried voice.
'Now, don't you fret. It's nothing for you to worry about, quite the opposite in fact. If all goes well, you will have a beautiful surprise,' Macy said kindly, and he winked at Henri. The dogs did not see him winking. Henri smiled.
Later, after Boots had milked the goats, fed the dogs, shut the doors for the hens and ducks, and eaten a sandwich, she came into the kitchen and called, 'Henri.'
Henri came running, followed by Medlar, Willow and Sophie.
'No. Just Henri,' said Boots gently. 'Sophie, Willow and Medlar, you must all stay with Macy. We won't be long.'
The dogs were very disappointed. They usually went everywhere together.
'That's not fair,' said Medlar, stamping her foot.
'It's my sister,' said Sophie. 'We always go together, except for once,' she said thoughtfully, 'But I can't remember what that was.' She scratched her head. 'No. I don't remember.'
'Boots said they won't be long, and they won't. If you three play a few games, or have a little chat whilst I have a doze,' said Macy, 'They will soon be back.'
'Well. I think it's strange that only Henri can go off in the car. Perhaps she's going to that vet,' suggested Willow.
'Oh, no, she's not poorly, and Boots didn't take her card. I think it's something much nicer than that,' said Macy, as he settled down in his chair for a doze, with a little smile on his face.
'Oh good. Let's play tug with your snake,' Willow said to Medlar. They each took an end of the rubbery snake. They pulled and tugged. Medlar dug her toes in the mat, she pulled her hardest. Willow's feet left the floor, she whizzed across and bumped into Sophie. Sophie pulled and tugged. Medlar slid along on the tiles, so Willow joined in again. Medlar whizzed around the kitchen with her teeth clamped to the snake.
'My turn now,' called Willow. Then it was Sophie's turn.
Medlar and Willow pulled really well, so Sophie flew around. 'Wheee… what fun,' she cried.
They played until they were tired, then each had a drink.
'Let's just chat now. I'm exhausted,' panted Sophie. Willow and Medlar agreed.
So they lay in their beds.
'Do you think the donkeys have finished their journey?' asked Medlar.
'Oh, certainly. I expect they have lots of new donkey friends already. It wasn't too far to go,' said Sophie.
'How do you know?' asked Willow.
'Well. That's a funny thing. I was thinking earlier. I remember that donkey smell from long ago. When Henri and I were pups, our humans took us to a place with hundreds of donkeys, lots of fields and stables and barns of hay. We went in the car, it didn't take long, just about as long as a walk takes if we rest on the bridge over the stream,' Sophie said.
'I think you are exaggerating! Hundreds of donkeys?' asked Medlar.
'No,' said Sophie. 'It's true. There were hundreds, and there are more places like it in England.'
'Well, I think that is lovely. All those friends for Polly, Dolly, Daisy and Clover. They will be so pleased,' Willow said with a big smile.
'Talking of donkeys, a bit of hoof would be nice to chew. Let's go and get a bit each from the gypsy caravan,' said Medlar.
The door to the porch was open, but the outside porch door was locked so they all popped out through the pop hole and were soon back with a tasty bit of hoof to chew.
Macy woke and sniffed. 'Ah. Nice smell,' he said, getting up and slowly walking for a drink.
'You have this bit, I'll go and get another piece for myself,' Medlar said. She reached up and put her bit in Macy's chair.
'You're very kind. Thank you. I shall enjoy that,' said Macy returning to sit in his chair and chew.
Medlar popped through the pop hole again. She heard Boots' car coming up the drive. She raced in. 'They're back. Boots is back. I hope she has brought Henri back as well.' She flopped into her bed. 'Bother, I forgot the hoof,' she said, as Boots opened the door and Henri trotted in looking very pleased with herself.
'Hello dogs. Have you been good?' Boots asked.
'Hello' 'Hello.' The dogs greeted Henri.
'Where have you been?' asked Medlar.
Henri looked at Macy. Macy winked and chewed the bit of hoof.
'I'm sorry, but it has to be a secret for a while, until I know for sure,' said Henri, with a big smile.
'Why? What is a secret?' Willow asked.
'I am not telling you yet. If all goes well, I shall tell you, but there is no point in getting excited about something that only might happen. When I know, I will tell you. For the moment only Macy and I know. So the secret stays a secret,' Henri said. Then she went off to get a bit of hoof to chew.
'It's no good asking. I shall not tell,' said Henri.
'I do want to know, but I'm not asking. I'm going for a bit of hoof. I gave my bit to Macy,' Medlar replied.
'That was kind of you. You are a good little girl,' Henri said.
'Yes,' said Medlar, fetching a bit of hoof with Henri. 'I am good and I'm nosy,' she hinted.
'Stop asking. The time will soon go by and you will be told,' Henri said firmly.
'Oh very well, I give up,' Medlar said crossly, and went back into the kitchen with a bit of hoof to chew.
Henri followed with her bit of hoof.
'Henri…,' said Sophie.
'Don't ask. I'm not telling yet,' Henri replied.
'No. No. it's not about your secret, it's about the donkeys,' Sophie said quickly.
'Oh sorry. I thought… well. Yes, what about the donkeys?' said Henri, chewing.
'Do you remember going to see donkeys when we were pups? I was telling Medlar and Willow about them.'
'Of course I do. Why do you ask?' answered Henri.
'Willow and Medlar were asking about them earlier,' Sophie said.
'Just being nosy,' said Medlar, laughing. The other dogs all smiled.
When it was time for walking in the morning, Medlar asked Macy what he would do now that there were no donkeys to chat to.
'I don't feel as strong as I was. I shall go into the garden and talk to Dulcie and Dulcimer through the fence, or go and have a word with the sheep. That will be enough walking for me,' Macy said, a little bit sadly.
'Oh Macy. Don't be sad. Have a little chat with the "monsters" – I mean goats and sheep, then pop back in for a doze and before you know it, we will be back from our walk,' Medlar said cheerfully.
Macy laughed. 'Yes. I remember your first morning here, when you met the "ghosts",' he said.
'Ah, you're having a little joke! That's good.' Medlar said as they set off for their walk.
When they returned, Medlar ran into the garden. 'Macy, come and see. You have some visitors,' she called.
Midget and Patch came into the porch. 'Hello Macy. How are you?' they asked.
'Quite well really, but tired,' said Macy. 'Sit down and have a chat.'
So Patch sat with Macy. Midget went to the gypsy caravan with the Terriers and talked about the donkeys. Macy and Patch, in the porch, talked about the donkeys. Boots and Dar, in the kitchen, drank coffee, talked about the donkeys and about Henri, but the dogs could not hear them.
Boots was busy bringing logs into the porch. She stacked them high against the wall. 'We shall soon be needing these,' she told the dogs.
'They will keep your old bones warm,' Medlar said to Macy.
'Yes, it will soon be time to light the Rayburn and we shall have a cosy kitchen for the winter,' Macy said.
'Now, I must make some good straw beds for the sheep and goats. You stay here Macy, I expect it's too far for you to walk,' said Boots, tucking Macy up in his chair. 'You have a little doze, the Terriers can come with me.'
She set off to the stable. The goats slept on a wooden board (an old door) on blocks, to keep it off the floor. This stopped the draughts chilling the goats. Boots fluffed up a big heap of straw, ready for Dulcie and Dulcimer.
The Terriers loved rustling about in it, and made a bit of a mess.
'No mice today,' said Willow.
'No, and Glenn is not here, so no stir fry!' said Medlar. They all laughed.
'Let's do the sheeps' beds now,' said Boots.
The dogs followed her to the barn. A big bale of straw was cut open and Boots made another fine bed for the sheep. They were just about to leave when Macy put his head around the door.
'Hello Macy, old chap. What a surprise,' said Boots.
Macy sat down heavily and panted.
'Oh dear, I think you have walked too far,' said Boots. She sat down in the straw beside Macy and he nestled against her.
'There, have a little rest.' Macy laid his head in her lap and dozed.
The Terriers hunted for mice. At last Macy sat up, then slowly stood up. He wobbled a bit, then managed to walk a little way. But he was very slow. Boots carefully picked him up and carried him back to the kitchen, to his chair. She took the water bowl and gave him a little drink.
The Terriers returned.
'Sorry Macy, we were so busy mousing, we didn't notice you were not well,' Sophie said, kindly.
'I was tired. I walked too far. Now I'll have a little rest before dinner,' Macy said quietly.
'I'm going to milk the goats. You Terriers stay with Macy,' said Boots, as she shut the door.
She milked, then tidied up the goats' bed that the Terriers had made a mess of, and went to shut in the hens and ducks. 'Oh good, four eggs,' she said, and put them in her pocket, picked up the milk bucket and hurried to the kitchen.
Macy was sound asleep.
Boots chopped carrots and meat mixed with dog meal. She filled five bowls and added a little warm gravy to Macy's bowl to tempt him to eat. Macy must have smelt the meaty smell. He got up from his chair and stood, waiting with the Terriers, for his dinner. Boots was very pleased.
'Good dog, Macy,' she said, giving him his bowl. The Terriers all had theirs and ate hungrily. Macy managed almost half of his, then stopped.
'Shall I eat that for you?' asked Medlar.
'Oh no you don't. Leave it. Macy may like it later. You are much too greedy,' said Henri sternly.
'And nosy,' said Medlar, laughing.
Macy had a drink, then went to the garden for a tinkle. He was soon back. Boots helped him into his chair
The Terriers went out later. It was almost dark.
'I think we should start helping Macy,' said Sophie.
'How will we do that?' asked Medlar.
'Oh, let's think.' Willow scratched his head.
'We could do the "FOXES KEEP OFF" bark for him.' Suggested Henri.
'Yes. That is a good idea. Let's try it, all together,' said Willow.
'YIP! YIP! YAP! YAP! YIP! YAP! YIP!' Their voices echoed around the garden. They made quite a noise, such a noise that Macy came out.
'Is there a fox about?' he asked.
'Oh hurray. It worked. You recognised the "FOXES KEEP OFF" bark. We will do it now, then you will not be so tired,' Medlar told Macy.
The Terriers were so pleased, they had a little race over the jumps. Henri was last! Willow, Medlar and Sophie beat her.
'That's a funny thing. You are usually fastest. You seem to have put on a bit of weight. You are certainly not as fast as you used to be,' said Sophie, puffing.
Henri looked at Macy, 'Do you think it's time?' she asked.
'Yes, I think it is,' Macy replied. 'Let's all go in and you can tell them your secret.'
Medlar raced in through the pop hole, she flung herself into her bed; the other Terriers followed. Boots helped Macy into his chair. The kitchen was nice and warm, Boots had lit the Rayburn, she was making dogs biscuits.
'Come on, please tell. We have waited ages,' Medlar begged.
'Very well. Do you remember when I went out with Boots that evening, a while ago?' asked Henri.
'Yes. Yes. Of course we do, I have felt nosy ever since, but didn't keep asking, did I?' Medlar said hurriedly.
'I think you went to see that boy dog called Florin. You had a bit of his scent when you came back, and you looked very pleased about something,' said Sophie, stretching in her bed.
'Yes, I did, and quite soon I shall be having some puppies,' said Henri proudly.
'Really? Oh yippee. What a splendid surprise,' squealed Medlar in an excited voice.
All the Terriers cheered.
'Did you know all the time, Macy?' asked Willow.
'Umm, well, yes, I did,' said Macy, smiling. 'I'm so old and tired now, I won't be with you for long. I shall be riding high in the sky on Sirius and I shall feel young and carefree. You may miss me for a while, but you will not be sad for long, the pups will arrive and lots of new fun will start for you. If you want to do anything for me, just think of me now and again, and smile. Don't be sad. I've had a lovely life and enjoyed being with you all here.'
The Terriers' eyes filled with tears.
'Oh our lovely, darling Macy,' Medlar gulped.
'Now, don't be sad. I told you before, something goes from your life, then something new comes along. That's how life is. Enjoy it. My Grandma died and I was sad, then Henri and Sophie came here to visit and I was happy. My Mum and Aunt Margo died and Willow arrived, and I was happy. Something nice happens and makes it hurt less. Now, do you know, Medlar, I've just thought of the time you arrived here one wet night, when I felt the warm Rayburn, I remembered. Do you know what day it is?'
Medlar sniffed and rubbed her eyes with her paws. 'It's probably a Satur, Sun, or Mon-day.' she said in a choky voice, 'I can't remember the other days.'
Macy and the Terriers laughed.
'That's better, some smiles and laughter,' Macy said. 'Today, Medlar, you have been here with us for a whole year. Do you remember, we had a big thunder storm. Willow did a song about a new friend and you came out of a box. I shall never forget how brave you were. When Willow and I sniffed your scent, you said, "Don't blow me away, I'm just a small dog". I think we loved you from then,' Macy said fondly.
'Yes, I think we did,' agreed Willow.
'You are the kindest dog, Macy,' Medlar said with a gulp, and the other Terriers agreed.
The supper biscuits were cooling. Boots sat in Macy's chair with him. She gave him a big cuddle.
'Gosh, it's hot!' she said. Taking off her jumper, she put it on Macy's chair. Then they all had their supper biscuit, but Macy did not want the rest of his dinner.
Off they went outside. The Terriers did the "FOXES KEEP OFF" bark, and this time it was much stronger. YAP! YAP! YAP!
'Thank you,' said Macy, as they went back to the kitchen.
Boots helped Macy into his chair. Macy took the jumper and scrabbled it into a nest, then lay down and slept.
The sun shone. Boots set off with the Terriers for their walk. Macy felt quite bright and happy. He went out through the pop hole into the garden and strolled around, sniffing the scents. Suddenly he smelt something he had not smelt for ages. Deer.
'Ah,' he thought, 'That is so nice.' He went to the fence and saw three deer eating brambles on the wood bank. He watched them as they moved slowly along munching the tasty leaves.
I shall tell the Terriers when they return, he thought, as he went for a little chat with Dorcas and Dulcimer.
'Did you see the deer?' they asked.
'Yes, I was so pleased to see them. I haven't seen deer since I stopped walking with Boots,' Macy replied, happily.
He stayed a while chatting to the goats, then he went back to the kitchen and managed to climb into his chair for a little doze.
'COO-EEE,' called Medlar as they all returned.
'Oh, hello girls,' Macy said brightly.
'Did you enjoy your stroll in the garden?' asked Medlar, as Boots groomed her.
'Oh, indeed I did. I was so lucky, I saw three deer eating the brambles,' Macy said happily.
'How did you find them?' asked Medlar.
'I just followed my nose,' said Macy, laughing.
'Oh, you still like a joke I see. How can you not follow your nose, it's right in front of you?' said Medlar.
'You couldn't if you walked backwards. Your nose would have to follow you,' said Willow.
Macy and the Terriers laughed.
Boots groomed Willow, Sophie and Henri, then she gave Macy a gentle brush.
'Come along, Henri,' she said later. 'Time for your check at the vet's. Sorry, just Henri. Willow, Sophie and Medlar stay with Macy, we won't be long.'
They were not long, soon they heard the car return. Boots and Henri came into the kitchen. Boots had a big smile on her face.
'Oh dogs, what good news. Henri will soon have some pups,' she said, happily.
Macy smiled at the Terriers. 'Sometimes humans are not very bright,' he said.
The Terriers agreed.
Henri had told them about the pups yesterday, but Boots had to go to see the vet to hear the news. Why hadn't she just asked Henri?
'It's nice and warm today, I shall go out and tidy the garage ready to put the car in there during the winter,' said Boots.
The Terriers followed. Macy stayed for a doze.
Boots sorted lots of old rubbish into the wheelbarrow, soon there was quite a nice space for the car. The Terriers hunted in the bushes. Macy came to see what was going on.
One bush wobbled and swayed. 'Hello,' said Medlar, as her head popped out of the bush.
'Oh!' Macy jumped. 'What are you doing in there?' he asked.
'I was following my nose. My nose told me a squirrel has been here.'
Macy laughed. 'I heard a rustle in the bush and your head popped out,' he said.
'Yes, you did hear a rustle, a Jack Russell, me!' said Medlar, giggling. 'Now I think it's time for lunch.'
The dogs had a nice play. Macy said it was the best day he had had for a long time. Boots picked apples and the dogs played in the orchard. Macy strolled to the fence, suddenly he heard a 'WOOF.' Patch and Midget had come across their field for a visit with Dar.
Boots and Dar picked apples. Midget and the Terriers looked for mice and things. Patch sat in the sun with Macy and they talked about lots of things, including Henri's pups.
Later that night, the dogs sat by the Rayburn.
'How many pups will you have?' asked Willow to Henri.
'We won't know until they arrive, but four or five would be nice,' Henri replied.
'Oh, have lots. Have ten or twenty,' said Medlar. 'That would be so exciting.'
'Oh, no. that's far too many. I couldn't manage to look after all those,' Henri sighed.
The dogs had their supper biscuits and popped out for a tinkle. As they settled down for the night, Medlar said, 'You didn't eat all of your supper biscuit, Macy.'
'No, I will keep it here. Maybe I will have a bit more later,' said Macy, tucking it into his chair with the bit of hoof from the donkeys.
The moon shone in the window, and the dogs slept.
Macy suddenly started twitching and made little barking noises. Medlar jumped up. They all woke up.
'Macy, are you alright?' Sophie reached up to Macy's chair.'
'Yes, I'm fine. I had such a lovely dream,' said Macy, yawning.
'Tell us about it,' said Willow.
'Well, I was a young pup. I was running in the garden and I met my Grandma and Margo, and my Mum. We had such a good game,' Macy said softly and dreamily.
Boots came into the kitchen in her dressing gown. 'Hello dogs. Are you OK, Macy?' she asked. She came and sat in his chair with him.
Macy laid his head on her lap.
'Your legs were running in your sleep,' Medlar said, 'And you were barking, like a pup.'
Macy closed his eyes. Boots smoothed his head and shoulders gently. Macy gave a big sigh and his kind old heart stopped beating.
'Goodbye my darling boy,' said Boots, as tears ran down her face.
The Terriers all came and sniffed Macy and whispered, 'Safe journey.'
'We have lost our dearest Macy,' Boots told the Terriers. They were all so sad. They all sat for a long time, thinking of the happy times they had enjoyed with Macy. Then Boots gently laid him in his chair.
'I think we shall all go outside for a few minutes,' she said, opening the door.
They stepped out into the garden. The sky was full of stars and a bright moon shone. As they looked up, suddenly a shooting star sped across the sky.
'There goes Macy's spirit on it's journey to Sirius,' said Medlar.
'Oh, I do hope so,' said Willow, Sophie and Henri, together.
'What a beautiful, bright star. It is just like Macy's kind heart.'
Next day, Boots dug a big hole in the orchard where all the dogs Boots had loved were buried. There was Janey, Freddy, Mijbil, Margo, and Hannah. Boots dug the hole next to Hannah's grave.
'Remember Terriers, this is just his body, like an old coat, we are burying. His spirit is soaring high in the sky,' said Boots, as she carried Macy and laid him gently in the hole.
The Terriers stood and looked in at Macy as Boots wrapped him in the jumper from his chair. Medlar reached over and dropped in a bit of hoof and the piece of supper biscuit she had brought from Macy's chair.
They stood quietly, then Willow said, 'I'd like to do a song for Macy. I haven't done a song for a very long time. This is for our dearest friend,'
She pointed her nose to the sky and sang, softly.
'Farewell to our dear friend, Macy
Always there beside us
To keep us safe and guide us
Safe journey to our Macy
Keep him safe and love him
We'll be thinking of him
Always, we'll remember
Our dear friend.'
Soon after that, Louise and Barry returned from America and came to stay with Boots.
Very early one morning, Henri's pups were born, in the blue bedroom where Willow had been born. Five beautiful, glossy pups; two girls and three boys.
A few weeks later, the boys and one of the girls went off to good new homes with Boots' friends, but one pretty little black, white and tan pup, named Russet, came to join the Terriers in the kitchen. Then the fun began all over again!
BOOTS' YUM TUM DOG BISCUITS
200gms Wholemeal flour
2 tbsp Rye flakes
2 tbsp Oat flakes
2 tbsp Barley flakes
1 tbsp Bran
1 tbsp Wheatgerm
1 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Cooking oil
2 tbsp Molasses
Mix all well. Add water to make fairly stiff dough.
Roll out ¼ inches thick. Spread on to lightly oiled shallow baking trays.
Use fingers to push into corners if required.
Cut into fingers 30cm x 100cm, or as you wish.
Bake in moderate oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and slightly crisp.
All dogs offered these biscuits have enjoyed them.
None have refused.