On the Wild Side

by Torry Martin

Today my dog, Sam, turned the big O-2 (that's 14 in dog years), so I decided to throw him a belated bark-mitzvah! My neighbor Miss Willow planned to host it and make a special treat for Sam's guest--a large, bone-shaped meatloaf smothered in mashed potato frosting with Sam's name written in gravy. I planned to make a special treat for the human guests by ordering pizzas.

Hot dog! Was Sam ever gonna be surprised, especially when he saw the giant cat-shaped pinata stuffed with cheese curls!

Anyway, the party was supposed to be perfect. But it didn't quite turn out that way. . . .

Sam and I arrived home from my mail route in plenty of time for his party. But when I set my mailbag on the table, I heard a clunk. I reached inside and found a small package for Mr. Clauson hidden in the lining. It's my responsibility to deliver the mail, so I grabbed the mailbag and Sam's leash.

As soon as we stepped outside, Sam smelled the birthday meatloaf and tried to make a run for Miss Willow's. I didn't blame him 'cause I wanted to run for it, too. But I gained control of my hunger and Sam's leash. He looked up at me with sad eyes. Sometimes it's not easy to do the right thing.

After a few detours, we made it to Mr. Clauson's house.

"I'm sorry I'm late with this," I said, handing Mr. Clauson his package. "I would've gotten here sooner, but I stopped to help Mrs. Gorky with her groceries and then help a kid fix his bike chain and then rescue a kitten from a tree." I took a breath. "Of course, Sam thinks cats are made to be chased up trees, but I was trying to show him how to be a responsibile citizen and--"

"Sounds like a full day, Wooton," Mr. Clauson interrupted. "You can keep the package, though. It's for Sam."

"For Sam?" I said in surprise.

Mr. Clauson nodded. "It's a Himalayan dog chew made of 100 percent Yak milk." I couldn't help but be impressed.

As we walked away, I said, "Did 'ja catch that, Sam? We did the responsibile thing, and you were rewarded!"

We arrived at Miss Willow's just in time for the party. Things went well until Miss Willow whacked the cat pinata and spilled the cheese curl treats. At the same moment, her five cats somehow got the back bedroom door open and sauntered out to join the party.

Suddenly, the dogs were chasing the cats. The cats were tearing across the pizzas and meatloaf cake. The people were chasing the pets, and the cheese curls were getting trampled. It was a disaster, but at least Sam had a great time!

And that party taught me this: "Do not give snacks solely to dogs, or throw cheese curls before felines, or they will trample them under their feet, and tear across your pizzas."

This article first appeared in the October 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Torry Martin. Used by permission. Illustration © Gary Locke.