By Isobel Breck
It was morning. Ralph, the Golden Retriever, opened one eye, then the other. He had been woken up by that thing his people called a telephone. What good was it? All it did was ring, ring, and ring. Didn’t his people know that it hurt his ears?
Ralph got up, ready to face the day. He raced down the stairs as fast as his old legs would take him.
“I hope the guys didn’t start without me,” he grumbled. “I’ll skip breakfast. Maybe I can pick something up along the way. I’ve got to hurry!”
Ralph bolted out the back door and ran down the path in the woods behind his house. He took a shortcut that would get him to where his best pals, George and Charlie, were waiting.
Zipping across the train tracks he ran headfirst into a beat up old fan that sat in the scrap yard.
“Yelp! That smart! Hope they get rid of that thing soon. I’m getting tired of running into it,” he growled.
He made such a racket. George and Charlie came over to see what was going on.
“Gee, Ralph,” George panted, “you look beat.”
Thanks,” Ralph said dryly, “As if I didn’t know. I am getting up there in years. Just look at my coat. It’s not as shiny and fine as it once was. I remember when I had the nicest coat in the neighborhood, all fluffy and golden.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. These jaunts aren’t as easy as they use to be. Remember when we were pups? We could run and play forever,” whimpered Charlie. “Why just the other day my person brought home one of those purebred Greyhounds. That kid can really run. You should see him running around the yard all day. Whew, he makes me tired just watching him.”
“Have you noticed,” Ralph asked, “that nobody has time for us old guys anymore? Used to be that I’d get brushed daily and a bath once a month. My person would play ball or tug with me. Sometimes we would just sit and talk. He said I was a good listener. We were the best of friends. Now, all I get is a quick pat on the head and asked how the old boy is doing. I miss the good old days, not that I’m complaining. Afterall, he did put my very own door in. Says he trusts me more now and knows I won’t stray to far. Don’t miss that leash.”
“Yeah,” woofed George in agreement. “I don’t mind so much, either. I try to stay out of the way. Since my people brought home those little people, they try to clean off my black spots on my back. I don’t mind, sometimes, but there are times I want to be left alone. I get a little aggravated.”
“I guess we’re kind of lucky, if you think about it. Ralph, with your leisurely life and your own door. And you George, having the little people to look after. I even have our new pup to train and pass on my secrets to. Best of all, we have each other. We’ve been best friends since we were pups. Yeah, we’re pretty lucky.”
“You’re right,” agreed Ralph, as he thought about his life. “We have been lucky. Remember when they took old Sam away because they didn’t want him anymore. I felt so bad for a long time. My person still loves me and treats me real good. I have my own door, dish, bed with a blanket, and I get to come and go as I please. Who could ask for anything more?”
“Okay guys,” barked George, “just because we’re getting old doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. Come on, I’ll race you to the rubble pile!”
Off they ran, barking and howling, just having a grand old time.
Old pals, forever.
Our featured author writes under the pen name Isobel Breck. She lives in upstate NY with her husband and two Jack Russels. Isobel started writing children’s stories when her first grandchild was born.