Dog Called Kittyby Bill Wallace, Jim L. Comstock (Joint Author)
No wonder, since he was attacked by a dog when he was just a baby. So when a stray puppy comes sniffling around the farm, Ricky tells it to get lost.
But the puppy keeps trying to play with Ricky. And every time Ricky's Mom feeds the cats, the little dog comes
The puppy was small and fuzzy, with a friendly, wagging tail -- and Ricky was afraid of him!
No wonder, since he was attacked by a dog when he was just a baby. So when a stray puppy comes sniffling around the farm, Ricky tells it to get lost.
But the puppy keeps trying to play with Ricky. And every time Ricky's Mom feeds the cats, the little dog comes running. The cats aren't sharing their food, however, and the poor pup is slowly starving.
If Ricky doesn't overcome his fear, the little puppy may die -- but if he lets himself get close enough to feed it, he may find the best friend he's ever had!
Winner of the Texas Bluebonnet, the Oklahoma Sequoyah and the Nebraska Golden Sower Awards.
Read an Excerpt
The barn was partly dark inside. The last few bales were over in a corner. I grabbed hold of the wire on one and started dragging it toward the stack. When I did, I thought I heard a sound from behind one of the other bales.
I froze. Stood real still, listening. But when the sound didn't come again, I decided it was only my imagination and went on about what I was doing.
When I got hold of another bale, I heard the sound again. This time, I was sure it wasn't just my imagination. Real careful, I leaned over and pulled another bale out of the way. Then another, trying to see what it was I heard.
The last bale was leaning up against the corner. I tipped it over and that's when I saw him.
It was the pup.
I'd forgotten about him coming down with our cats this morning. When I saw him hiding under the hay bale, it scared me.
I jumped so hard, my head hit the side of the barn. Tin rattled all over the place. And so did my head.
The little pup just lay there for a second. He tilted his head to the side and cocked his floppy ears, like he was trying to figure what I was.
Then, 'fore I knew what was happening, his face sorta lit up. All of a sudden, he was on his feet. His tail was wagging so hard that it shook his whole back end.
He yapped a couple of times, then started toward me.
Like always, the old fear took hold. I backed away from him. He only came toward me faster.
In a flash, I turned and started running. When I did that, the pup took in after me. He kept wagging and yapping. Chased me all over the barn.
I tried to get out the door once. But he got there before I did.
Finally, I got away from him by climbing up the bales of hay that I'd just stacked. He couldn't follow me up the bales. But he stood there at the bottom. He'd bounce around, wiggling all over the place. Then, he'd stop and yap at me.
"Get," I screamed. "Get away from me! Leave me alone!"
He tilted his head to the side and cocked his ears, giving me that dumb look again. His teeth weren't very big, least they didn't seem like it from up top of the haystack, but his tongue kinda flopped out the side of his mouth. It was probably long enough to drag the ground. And I was sure with all the jumping around he was doing, he was bound to trip over it. Only he never did.
I don't know how long he kept me up there. Mama called dinner again. I was scared to yell for help. As it was, I was in enough trouble with Dad and, if he had to come up and rescue me from this little pup, I knew sure he'd be mad as blazes.
I didn't know what to do.
"Get," I screamed again. I raised my fist. Shook it at him. ' Get, or I'll beat your head off."
He just lolled that long, sticky tongue out and cocked his ears again.
Next, I got my feet behind one of the hay bales and rolled it off the stack. It hit with a thud. Dust and old dry hay belched up around it.
For a second, I felt sorta bad, figuring I'd squashed the stuffing out of him.
But when the dust cleared, there he was. He was still bouncing around, wagging that bushy tail.
When I rolled a second bale off at him, he started yapping again. Acted like it was a game or something.
I felt ashamed of myself. The pup wasn't much bigger than a cottontail rabbit, and I reckon he was about as vicious, too. Only being scared of dogs like I was, I was scared to come down. Even if he was little and scrawny, he was still a dog. And I had good reason to be scared of dogs.
He could have kept me up there for the rest of the night if it hadn't been for Mama.
About the time I was fixin' to yell for help, I heard her open the back screen down at the house. She rattled the pans together and yelled, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."
The pup stopped looking at me and turned toward the door of the barn. When Mama called the cats again, he lit out for the house like somebody'd set his shaggy tail on fire with a match.
I waited for a second, then climbed off the haystack. At the door of the barn, I looked to make sure he was headed for the house. Then I lit out in a big circle so I could come up in front of the house instead of in the back where the dog was.
Just about the time I got to the front door, that pup must have got to the feed bowl where the cats were eating. You never heard such a commotion in your life.
Even from the other side of the house, I could hear the cats squalling and spitting. The pup yapped a couple of times, then yelped real good. He kept right on yelping as his voice trailed off toward the barn. I felt proud of the cats for running him off again.
Mama and Dad were standing by the back screen, watching. I scooted into my place at the table and waited' like I'd been there all along.
Mama shook her head. Turned back toward the table.
"Poor little thing. He'll starve if those cats don't let him eat with them."
"Somebody probably dumped him up the road, and he wandered here. Hard tellin' how long he's been without food. If it wasn't for Ricky being afraid of dogs, I'd..."
He stopped suddenly when he saw me sitting at the table.
"Where'd you come from?"
I shrugged and kinda smiled.
"Came in the front. This sure looks good, Mama," I said, trying to change the subject. "What is it?"
"Tuna casserole," she answered. She sat down in her chair beside me. "You usually don't like it."
I gave a half-grin and shrugged.
"Guess I'm extra hungry today. Stacking hay's hard work."
We all started eating then. I didn't much like tuna casserole but, the way things had been going, I didn't dare complain. Dad and Mama visited some about going to town and the weather. I figured maybe Dad had forgot about my fight. And I ate all hunkered down in my chair, trying not to bring anybody's attention to me.
Chuckie was the one who messed things up, though. Everybody was busy talking and eating. Nobody asked me anything, and I just pretended I wasn't there.
Right about then, Chuckie gave me that "little brother" sneer. That look that says "I'm gonna get you."
"Look what Ricky got on his foot, Mama."
"What?" she asked, not really paying much attention.
"Ricky stepped in the cow stuff," he announced.
I glanced down at my foot. Sure enough, I guess I'd been in such a hurry getting away from the pup, I didn't notice where I was stepping. Along with being on my shoe, there were big, green spots trailing through the living room to the front door.
Mama leaned around to where she could see what I was looking at.
"Oh, Ricky." She sighed. "And I just swept that carpet this morning."
"I'm sorry. I didn't..." "You get outside, right now," she said. "Go get that off your feet."
I eased up from the table. Chuckie sneered again. Then, sure nobody was looking except me, he stuck his tongue out.
One of these days, I thought, I'm gonna tie a knot in that tongue of his. Now wasn't the time, though. I was in enough trouble as it was. Besides, if I so much as looked mean at him, he'd yell and I'd catch it.
Without a word, I went on outside like Mama said.
Just as I feared, Dad started asking me about the fight when I got back. I told him as best I could that it wasn't my fault. Only that didn't seem to make him any happier.
He made me tell every bit of it. Even though I didn't want to, I knew by looking at him he was in no mood for me to fool around and not answer.
"How did it end?" he asked.
I kinda bit down on my lip.
"Well, I was whoppin' him good and...and...and..."
"And," he snapped. "Go on."
"And then Sammy's dog came running up and started barking at us. I got scared and ran."
"'Round back of the stadium. I climbed up on the fence."
Dad looked away. Shook his head.
I slammed my fork down in my plate.
"I couldn't help it," I said. "I can't help being scared of dogs. And I couldn't help getting in that fight, either. It wasn't my idea."
Dad whirled around in his chair.
"I'm not worried about the fight," he snapped. He blew a short blast of air up his forehead. Held his breath, like he was trying to calm himself. "Sometimes a man has to stand up for what he thinks is right. Fightin' never solved anything, never does anybody any good, but it happens sometimes. I can understand that. What I can't understand is why you act like a blamed idiot every time you get near a dog."
I glared across the table at him.
"What'd you want me to do? Stay there and get chewed up, like when I was little?"
I was shaking all over. Worse than that, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I was mad at Dad for gettin' onto me for something I couldn't help.
"Now don't start that clanged bawlin'," he barked. "You're gettin' too big for that foolishness. You're not a little baby anymore, Rick. It's time you started growin' up. Started takin' on some responsibility."
Mama reached over and touched Dad lightly on the arm
"Now, honey. Don't be too hard on him. You know he can't help how he is about dogs. After what happened to him when he was a baby, I don't blame him a..."
"That was a long time ago," Dad cut her off. Then he turned back to me. "You can't let something that happened that long back keep gnawing at you, son."
With Dad yelling and Mom taking up for me, I felt like I was trapped in the middle. A single tear rolled down my cheek, and I tried to wipe it away before Dad could see.
"I can't help being scared of dogs." I sniffed. "I just can't help it."
Dad shook his head.
"It's one thing to be scared of something. But you can't let fear run your life. You can't let it stampede you, make you do crazy things that you can't even remember. It's something you got to overcome. Fear is something you got to control. Somethin' you got to beat before it beats you."
"What do you want me to do?" I yelled. "You're always pickin' at me, but you never tell me what you want me to do!"
The knots in my stomach were so tight, I was shaking all over.
"Ricky," Mama scolded. "Don't talk to your father in that tone of voice."
I didn't realize I was almost screaming until Mama stopped me.
Dad's eyes got real tight. I bit down on my lip. Wished I hadn't lost my temper and yelled like I did.
I figured any second Dad'd stand up from his chair and start taking his belt off. And I reckon I deserved it, too. Only he just sat there. His voice was real calm when he said, "Go up to your room. Now."
Copyright © 1980 by Bill Wallace
Meet the Author
Award-winning author Bill Wallace started writing after a tough year of teaching fourth graders. As he says, “Trying to read to a class of 25 kids who aren't listening is downright MISERABLE. Finally, students asked me to tell stories about when I was growing up. I soon ran out of these, so they decided I should make up new stories. I became a writer so I could survive my first year as a teacher. The class loved the stories I wrote for them and persuaded me to get somebody to make us a real book.” Shadow on the Snow, Trapped in Death Cave, and A Dog Called Kitty all started out as books for his students. However, it took ten long years for his first book (A Dog Called Kitty) to be accepted for publication. Since then, this former elementary-school teacher has written over 25 books and won numerous awards. Other favorites include: Red Dog, Buffalo Gal, Danger in Quicksand Swamp, Beauty, Aloha Summer, Watchdog and the Coyotes, and Coyote Autumn.
Wallace was born on August 1, 1947 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. He is married to Carol Ann Priddle (who also taught elementary school) and has three children, Laurie Beth, Amanda Nicole, and Justin Keith. He attended university and graduate school in Oklahoma.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Two years ago Ricky, now going into fifth grade, along with his father, mother, and younger brother Chuckie, moved from their apartment house in St. Louis, MO, to a 160-acre farm near Chickasha, OK. He likes to play football, and his best friend at school is Brad McNeil. One summer day a stray puppy comes to the farm. But Ricky is afraid of it; in fact, he is scared of all dogs because he was attacked by a rabid dog when he was just a toddler and had to get painful rabies shots. However, Ricky feels sorry for the new puppy because it comes to eat when his mom calls “here kitty” to feed the cats, but they run it off, so it never gets any food. As a result of this, the dog gets the name of Kitty. Ricky then musters all his courage, begins to feed the pup, and gradually overcomes his fear of dogs. One freezing evening the following winter, while his father is out of town, Ricky and Kitty are out looking for a heifer with a newborn calf when they are savagely attacked by a group of wild dogs who are stalking the two cows. What will happen to them? Will they even survive? And if so, will Ricky have to have rabies shots again? Before I read this book, I looked at some reviews, and the main complaints about it were too much violence, cruelty, and sadness at the ending, so I was prepared not to like the book, but I actually did like it. Especially sensitive children might want to avoid it, but I think that most middle school age kids would enjoy it. As to violence, yes, some fighting occurs. A bully picks on Ricky, and he stands up for himself. Cruelty? Local farmers are baiting coyotes and wild dogs to protect their livestock. Animal rights activists may not like it, and even Ricky says that it is awful, but something has to be done for the farmers to make a living. Many children’s dog stories traditionally have sad endings, such as Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows, but there is usually a ray of hope. I must admit that the conclusion here seemed a little abrupt and maybe somewhat forced. Yet, there is still that ray of hope. Aside from a few common euphemisms and some childish slang (danged, darn, peed), the only language issue about which parents might be concerned is that when their truck gets stuck in the field, Ricky says, “I never dreamed Mama knew the words she let out then. Daddy said things like that when he was special mad at one of the cows or when the tractor wouldn’t start….When she saw me listening, she slapped a hand over her mouth” and said, “I ever hear you repeating any of those words, I’ll blister your behind.” However, no actual words of cursing or profanity are found. The book has won the Texas Bluebonnet, the Oklahoma Sequoyah, and the Nebraska Golden Sower Awards.
THIS BOOK WAS GREAT I READ IT 3RD THREW 6TH EVERY YEAR IT WAS SO GOOD BUT SAD AT THE SAME TIME :)
My daughter had to read this book for school, so I'll let her write the review. "I liked some of this book, but I thought they put the dog into too many dangerous situations. I thought the dog died because the owner didn't pay enough attention to him. If you love your dog, this story might make you sad."
Bill Wallace is a great writer. My daughter was having reading issues in school until we found Mr. Wallace. She (and I) rave about his books, and her classmates are enjoying his books as well. Thank you for the wonderful stories!
I am a 12 year old who read this book in 4th or 5th grade. this is a book that if you love dogs you should read this book. i felt like a nerd because i was reading the book and just sitting there crying so hard because this is a sad book for people like me, an animal lover.
Its a dog lover book with a bit of mystery in it.
This is a great book! It is about a boy who fears dogs and find a stray and decides to take care of the stray. They called the dog Kitty because he always tried to eat the cat food. There are many adventures so read this book.
I was a really good book. It made me cry sometimes. This is one of my favorite books I've ever read!
The cover is cute and the description leads you to believe it is a cute story of a boy and his dog. DO NOT buy this book if you have a sensitive child! The dog dies cruelly, and there is a lot of tough talk throughout the book. My 8-year-old cried for hours at the ending. DO NOT buy this book if your kids are even slightly afraid of dogs. Dogs are portrayed as dangerous often in the book.
I new I would love this book when I saw it because I have always loved dogs and puppys. I checked it out at my school libray, read it loved it, and bought my own. After I read it I loved it more! Bethy
In my book A Dog Called Kitty a boy named Ricky lives in St.Louis, but not for long. Ricky¿s dad bought a house in Oklahoma and forgot to tell his family. After a few weeks on the farm Ricky got use to the chores that he had to do and he found a dog on the way to the barn. He named it Kitty. The book¿s theme is easy to tell bravery from Kitty and Ricky. The message is easy as well. No matter how you look you can always be sweet on the inside. The author made it very clear that Ricky will do any thing to save his dog Kitty. I love the amazing way the author put his words into sentences. I also love the way the author did so many beautiful pictures in his book. I highly recommend this book to all ages. I really loved reading this book I know you will to!!!
it was a great book i couldnt stop reading it, I didn't want to go to sleep when I had to. BUT when i finished the book i didn't like the ending, i felt that the dog shouldnt have of died. T_T
I got this book because my mom and i saw it and thought it looked like a good book.I started reading it and it seemed good until the ending part.Usually stories end with a happy anding but this one could make you cry.I wouldn't read this unless you are ready to be depressed while reading it.
I bought this book thinking it would be a good, happy book, it wasn't. It was good reading, but it was very sad. I have read other Wallace books, and it seemes each one was sad and against animals. I won't be reading any more Wallace books!
A dog called Kitty is a very sad story that has a huge impact on your heart.Ricky is a great role model and makes you feel like you can do anything.
The book Dog Called Kitty was a major dissapointment. Some sad books are enjoyable to read, such as, Where the Red Fern Grows, but this book was a disaster! Not only was the ending a letdown, the author used no litery devices to spruce things up. I felt sick to my stomach after reading this book, but you can make your own decions regarding, Dog Called Kitty
oh, man where do I begin?! This is BY FAR THE BEST BOOK EVER!! i have read this book several times and EVERY time it has made me cry. No book can compare. Bill Wallace is THE best author EVER! even, the thought of this book makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.