As one writer wrote, what exists between a boy and his dog is a bond of love and trust. This week writers explored rescue dogs, service dogs and dogs in general in relationship with their human companions.
There’s a reason for this week’s challenge prompt: to honor a real-life boy and his real-life service dog. “Four Paws for Noah” is a fundraiser for Noah Ainslie, a nine-year-old boy with Autism who is in the process of receiving a service dog.
These stories are a show of support for Noah and his dog partner, Appa. They are also stories to remind us that animals do hold a special bond with us. The following are based on the January 20, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a boy and his dog, showing the value or benefit of such a relationship.
A Special Bond of Love and Trust by Kate Spencer
Jimmy plopped himself beside the dog cage where the little golden mutt sat with her head hanging down.
“Daddy says you won’t come out to play ‘cause you hurt inside,” he said quietly. “I hurt too.”
He took a deep breath. “Y’see… I lost my Mommy. Did you lose your Mommy?” he asked, as tears streamed down his chubby cheeks.
Daddy stood spellbound at the doorway, listening to his son pour out his heart to his new found friend. He gasped when the bundle of fur crawled out of the crate. She nuzzled beside Jimmy and licked his face.
His Buddy by Ann Edall-Robson
His folks were away for the day.
He was allowed to use the old truck. His reward for good grades. He and his buddy were going fishing. Leave the truck at the campground and hike into the lake.
Stars twinkled without a moon. Night noises surrounded them.
Unable to walk, the leg pain reminded him of how stupid he had been trying to climb the wet rocks.
It was going to be a long, cold night.
They were found at morning light. The two of them asleep; the teenage boy with his dog across his chest keeping him warm.
Sometimes a Dog’s the Best Listener by Geoff Le Pard
‘How old was grandpa’s dog when he died.’
‘Milton? 77 in dog years.’
‘Same as Grandpa.’
‘And Peter’s my age in dog years.’
Mary looked at her daughter’s worried face. ‘And you’re both young and healthy.’
‘That’s a coincidence isn’t it?’
‘I don’t want him to die.’
Mary watched Penny draw another circle. She wondered what had brought this on. Finally Penny stood and sat in the dog’s basket.
‘Listen Pete. If you die then I’ll be sad but we have to try and be happy.’ She looked at her mother. ‘That’s right, mum, isn’t it?’
Oliver and Trip by Luccia Gray
An Undertaker’s Cellar. London, 1837.
The undertaker’s wife pushed me down the stairs into the coal-cellar, where I almost tripped over a shaggy dog.
‘Oliver, you can ‘ave what Trip’s left on his plate. Probably found himself a big fat rat last night, so ‘e ain’t hungry this morning.’
She kicked the animal viciously. ‘Don’t be greedy and let the little beggar eat some o’ them bits o’ meat!’
Trip backed away and growled, but I was so hungry I decided to risk it and put my fingers on his food.
‘We’ll get out of here together,’ I whispered as he licked my hand.
Partners by Carol Campbell
He kept trying to inhale. It was like his lungs were going to burst. Lionel had asthma. Although used to this, it never got easier. “Mom, where is Franklin?”, he whispered laboriously. The Dalmation came bounding into his bedroom but upon seeing the boy, he stopped. He gently approached his suffering friend and laid his head on that well-known lap. The youngster gazed into those canine brown eyes. The dog had been there for every asthma attack and knew that calm loving was what was needed. Franklin was the perfect dog to give him that medicine. Dog spelled backwards.
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
Collecting them from the waiting room, it’s clear his biggest problem is his mother. Anxious, overindulgent; but here, I make the rules.
Once he sees the needle, he screams. Red-faced, the mother does her best. I try the talking puppet, the Donald Duck voice. His wailing ricochets off the walls. The whole department’s quaking now.
Okay, I say. Bring her in! The mutt trails muddy pawprints across the floor. I hate to think where those feet have been.
The kid goes quiet, even smiles. Not a murmur as I draw the blood. Maybe I’ll get an assistance dog myself.
The Firmament #4 by Sach Black
Twenty huskies laid down. Paws out, jaws resting on their legs. A final salute to their comrade.
I swallowed hard. Hot tears already painted on my cheeks.
Luke’s sobs filled the ice shaft. Each one tearing through my ribcage like a surgeons knife.
I reached out and gripped his shoulder, “There’s no greater honour, Luke. He saved your life.”
He shook beneath my hand. I knew. I knew because if it was Axle lying dead instead of Grey, I couldn’t have carried on.
I dug my hands into Axle’s fur. He nudged my thigh and whined.
“I know, boy.”
Flash Fiction by Norah Colvin
The two young males sat on the step. They couldn’t see over the hedge to the park across the road but, from squeals and barks, they knew the neighbourhood children and their pets were at play. Each, with visions of their own participation, smiled as if the reality had come to be. Another life perhaps, but not this one, not now anyway. To an outsider both appeared damaged, confined more by mobility than garden walls. On the inside their hearts were filled with love, acceptance and compassion, happy with who they were, and with each other. Boy, dog; friends.
She Was the Stuff of Legend by Anthony Amore
Dennis said, “The boy needs a dog.”
I was almost two. My parents had their hands full and were not so convinced. Being ex-Navy, strong willed and forceful my uncle insisted, “A boy needs a dog.”
She was a Shepard-Collie mix and I named her Tinker. We were inseparable.
Our yard was fenced and I was not to leave. One day I jimmied the gate and escaped. Inside my mom heard frantic barking. Outside at driveway’s edge, several feet from the road, she found me pinned beneath Tinker, apprehended. Dennis was right — seems I needed that dog after all.
A Boy and His Dog by Deborah Lee
Jane watches Troubles run around the dog park. A soft voice speaks. She hadn’t felt anyone sit down on her bench.
“I like your dog. I had a dog but he ran away.”
She glances at the boy beside her. “I like him too.”
“Where’d you get him?”
She doesn’t want to say she found him, abandoned along with the house she broke into and squats in. She inspects the boy surreptitiously: healthy, expensive clothes, could afford to feed Troubles better than she can. Sadness limns his face.
This boy needs this dog as much as she does. Almost.
Conscent by Pete Fanning
Manny crouched low to the kitchen floor, a growl in his throat, his mismatched eyes pinging from Jack to his mother.
“Jack, what happened?”
“It was just a nibble, Mom. The guy’s a tool.”
“Leo is not a….tool,” Mom said. Then to the dog. “Not acceptable, Manny!”
They peeked out, finding Leo with his back to the living room mirror,
wrenched around feeling for holes in his skinny jeans.
“Stupid mutt,” he muttered, turning to fine tune his hair.
Jack looked up with a whisper.
Manny slid up beside them. Jack’s mother scratched his head.
“Good boy, Manny.”
The Boy by Ula Humienik
Until I met him, my life was filled with humiliation and loneliness. Imagine: Begging for scraps on the streets. Capture. Imprisonment. Oh, the noise, the chaos, the whimpering at night. A sad lonely affair.
Of course, things hadn’t always been so dire. At the beginning, life looked promising: the freedom and rollicking of childhood, the warmth of mother and snuggling up with my siblings.
How was I to know things would turn so badly?
The day I will remember as the best day of my life will always be the day the boy took me home from the pound.
Those Left Behind by Charli Mills
Sarah coaxed the terrier out of his hiding place beneath the barn. Sarah felt numb, disbelieving Cobb was gone. Ever the backbone of the McCanles family, Cobb’s loss was crippling.
The terrier poked his head out, recognized Sarah and snuggled into her arms, darting his tongue at her face. Despite her despair, she smiled. She lifted the dog and walked toward where Mary sat erect in the wagon, stone-faced. Her children were disheveled, an unusual oversight. Monroe ignored Sarah as she approached.
“Monroe, he’s yours now. Take care of him.” And silently, she meant the last for the dog.
Sheltered Companion by Jules Paige
The boys were ready for a new pet. And the shelter was a good place to find one. The Collie-Shepherd mix was much bigger than the teacup poodle that died. Dad had to travel for business and Mom thought it was good to have a some help with the boys. They were all lucky to have her love and trust around for about nine years. Favorite photos of the pooch where when the boys dressed her up. Both docile and protective, better than any electric alarm. She was both a member of the family and a lesson in responsibility.
Marvin by Larry LaForge
Ed sat on the front porch sipping the decaffeinated ice tea Edna made for him.
“Here comes Marvin!” he called out. Edna hurried to Ed’s side to watch the daily afternoon ritual.
The lovable Boxer rambled up the street, tail wagging with anticipation. “How does he know what time it is?” Ed asked. Edna shook her head in wonderment.
Marvin rose on his strong hind legs, sensing arrival of the large yellow vehicle. He barked with excitement when young Jeremy Watkins exited the school bus.
Ed smiled at the sheer joy on Jeremy’s face as the youngster spotted Marvin.
Desperate Love by Christina Rose
Eight years old and perpetually suspended, physical altercations a daily occurrence. The loss of his mother manifesting into something darker, threatening to overtake his young life.
He came home to the small black and white bundle curled up on his bed, dark brown eyes pleading for the love they both yearned for. Charlie took the puppy in his arms, his rage melting with every desperate lick.
“Love each other,” his father said sadly from the doorway.
And they did.
The small box of dust sat on his bedside table. Sixteen years of childhood memories forever close to his heart.
Inspired by these stories? Write one for our fundraiser! We are helping Noah and Appa with their costly yet vital service training. The Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest is between 100-500 words (not including title), open to everyone and has a $250 first place prize and new second and third place prizes. Top three entries will be published in the RoundUp. $15 fee goes to support Noah and Appa. You can enter as many stories as you are inspired to write!