Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm working on a submission for a children's writing competition, taking inspiration from the most lovable folks in my life...the dogs.

The story is really about Sugar, the white dog in the pic above. Sugar's resemblance to the notorious "pitbull" is the issue I wanted to tackle specifically but also the more general growing apprehension of dogs that I've observed. So I thought I'd post the work (keep in mind it's a first draft...)

Sugar – The Sweetest Dog in Town

When Sugar caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror in the hallway of her humans’ house or in the window of the living room where she sat to watch for her humans returning home from wherever it is they went without her, she was always surprised at what she saw, so surprised that sometimes she let out a big “woof” thinking that the beautiful white dog in the reflection must be a stranger on her property. But no, that pretty dog in the glass was always just her, Sugar-dog all silky white fur and soft floppy ears and smiley face. Sugar knew herself to be a beautiful animal and that’s why she was always confused when strange humans and strange dogs acted afraid of her. Sugar was the kind of dog the humans call a “Pit Bull”. This name strikes fear in the heart of humans everywhere and dogs that Sugar met along her travels were not too fond of the name either. At first Sugar thought it was kind of neat that humans and dogs saw her and thought she was tough, they acted frightened and like they respected her, dogs in the dog park went out of their way to avoid Sugar, she never was picked on the way some other dogs were. After a while though, Sugar started to find it kind of lonely and sad, many humans wouldn’t pet her, they kept their little human pups, the ones they called children, far away from her. Sometimes when they saw her out walking they would get upset and use their loud voices to express their fear. Even Sugar’s own humans, the ones whose house she lived in, who knew her sweetness and that she would never hurt anyone had started to respond to the fears of the strangers, they kept Sugar on her leash and inside the house, they never let her wander too far and they kept her away from the human pups, even though they knew that Sugar loved the pups best, loved to play with them and hug them and kiss them. All of this made Sugar very sad, she didn’t understand why all the humans and even the other dogs would be so afraid of her without even knowing her. She didn’t think it was very fair to be judged just because of a name. So, Sugar decided she was going to do something about it. She was going to prove to everyone what a good dog she really was.

Sugar was a very obedient dog most of the time. She didn’t like to have to disobey her humans in order to prove to everyone else that she was a good dog. But, Sugar was so tired of everyone being afraid of her that she was willing to risk consequences.

So, Sugar came up with a plan. She would sneak away from her humans just long enough to meet some of the neighbours and change their opinion of her. This was not very difficult for Sugar to do; the hardest thing was trying not to feel guilty about it. Sugar simply walked out of the gate in her yard one afternoon when she heard the sound of a human pup crying. She followed the sound a few houses down until she saw the little one lying on the sidewalk with their bicycle lying alongside. The child was crying so hard that he didn’t even notice Sugar until she was right next to him. Sugar very gently nudged the boy with her nose and he looked up into her soft brown eyes. He was so scared from his fall off the bike that he forgot to be afraid of Sugar. Sugar sniffed the boy all over. She was a very sensitive, smart dog and could tell if someone was hurt just by smelling them. Her nose told her that the bone in the boy’s arm was very hurt. Sugar knew where his house was and thought she could help by going to get the boy’s mother and bringing her to him. So Sugar licked the tears from the boys face, making him giggle a little through his tears and then ran as fast as she could to his house.

Of course Sugar couldn’t knock like a human and she couldn’t reach the doorbell so she used her paws to scratch at the front door until the lady opened it. “You! What are you doing at my house? Where is your leash?...” Sugar wasn’t sure if she was going to keep yelling or just shut the door in her face so she gently tugged on the woman’s pants with her mouth, being careful not to use her teeth. Still the woman was sure that Sugar was trying to bite her. Frustrated, Sugar thought the best thing to do would be to


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