Every day, for as long as Buddy could remember, Allie had rubbed his head and said, “Be good, Buddy,” just before she disappeared through the gate, yelling, “I’ll see you after school.”
After school! That was Allie’s polite way of saying after a very long time. When Allie was young, she would be gone for a long time in the morning. As she got older, it grew longer and longer, leaving Buddy to sit by the fence and wait … and worry.
What if something happened to Allie, and I wasn’t there to help? He would never forgive himself. This time, when Allie went back to school after the warm time, Buddy started working on the fence. Every day, after Allie left, Buddy would press himself against the big board in the corner trying to break it loose. Sometimes he would use his head, or his paws, but the board didn’t move.
But Buddy wasn’t about to give up. He pushed and dug a little every day while Allie was gone, until one day the board moved, just a little. Then the next day, it moved a little bit more. Day by day, Buddy worked on the fence, and then one day he was able to stick his nose under the board.
Buddy knew he was close, so after Allie left for school, and her smell was gone, he ran at the fence and hit the board with both his paws as hard as he could, and the board came loose. Buddy was so excited he howled and ran in circles.
When he calmed down, he realized he needed to go through the fence to find Allie. He hunched down and squeezed through the hole created by moving the board, until he was free.
Buddy looked around and smelled the air, trying to pick up Allie’s scent. He headed down the sidewalk that Allie walked on, but there were so many scents he wasn’t sure if Allie’s was one of them.
He heard a bunch of children and followed the noise but couldn’t smell Allie. All of the children looked too small – Allie hadn’t been that small for a long time.
Buddy kept walking until he got to the corner and he picked up Allie’s scent. He followed it until he reached a large fence, but he couldn’t find a way in. All the gates seemed to be closed. He started to follow the fence around to see if he could find a hole to go through. Allie was inside and he wanted to go see her.
By the time he got to the big green grass, a bell rang and kids came from everywhere. Buddy knew he wasn’t supposed to be out, but now there were too many kids for him to get back home without being seen. So, he stood as still as he could behind a bush and stuck his tongue out so kids would think he was a flower.
“Hey, Allie, isn’t that your dog?”
“Buddy?” Allie saw her dog hiding behind a bush, looking guilty. “What are you doing here, Buddy? You know you aren’t supposed to be at school.”
Buddy hung his head and walked around the bush, and then when he saw Allie, he dashed for her. He put his paws up on her chest and wagged his tail to let her know how happy he was to see her safe.
“Come on, boy. Let’s get you home before mom gets there. If she finds out you escaped, she will put you in your kennel.”
All Buddy heard was “Home” and he was happy to be walking home with Allie. Today was a great day, only next time he would have to get there earlier because all the kids on the big green grass were playing with balls, and that looked like fun.