The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts (Buddy Files Series #2)by Dori Hillestad Butler
Buddy was adopted from the P-O-U-N-D and he likes his new family, but he's still searching for Kayla-his first family. What has happened to them? He hopes to solve that mystery soon, but right now he's got another urgent case-two dogs, Muffin and Jazzy, have been switched! How can Buddy get poor Muffin and Jazzy back to their real owners? See more details below
Buddy was adopted from the P-O-U-N-D and he likes his new family, but he's still searching for Kayla-his first family. What has happened to them? He hopes to solve that mystery soon, but right now he's got another urgent case-two dogs, Muffin and Jazzy, have been switched! How can Buddy get poor Muffin and Jazzy back to their real owners?
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The Buddy Files, #2 The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts
By Dori Hillestad Butler
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2010 Dori Hillestad Butler
All rights reserved.
Who Am I?
Hello! My name is ...
Hmm, what is my name?
I always thought my name was King. That's what Kayla and her mom and dad call me. Kayla says I am the King of Crime-solving. I LOVE solving crimes. It's my favorite thing!
I haven't seen Kayla and her family for a long time. Kayla's mom is in a place called the National Guard. That means she's far away from home, but she's okay. I don't know where Kayla and Dad are. What happened to them is a mystery. A mystery I am still trying to solve.
Here is what I know about the Case of the Missing Family:
* Kayla and her dad went to Grandma's house in Springtown.
* They left me at Barker Bob's.
* They never came back.
* Our neighbor, Mr. Sanchez, picked me up from Barker Bob's.
* I stayed at Mr. Sanchez's for a while, then Uncle Marty came and took me to the P-O-U-N-D.
* My people would never let me go to the P-O-U-N-D.
* Something bad has happened to Kayla and Dad.
While I was at the P-O-U-N-D, I accidentally adopted some new people. Their names are Connor and Mom. They're new around here. They don't know Kayla and her mom and dad. And they don't know that Kayla, Mom, and Dad are my other people.
Here are some good things about going to live with Connor and his mom:
* They have good food and cool toys.
* They just put a doggy door in their house. Now I can go outside and come back in whenever I want to.
* When Connor's mom isn't looking, Connor lets me sleep in his bed.
* Connor and his mom live in the house behind Kayla's. That means I can keep a nose on the place. I will be the first to know if my people come back.
Here are some bad things about going to live with Connor and his mom:
* They are getting attached to me.
* I am getting attached to them.
* I don't know what will happen when Kayla and her dad come back.
Will I go back to Kayla's house or will I stay here with Connor and his mom?
While I am thinking about these things, the back door at my new house opens. Connor and Mom step outside, and Mom pats her legs. "Buddy, come!" she calls.
Buddy is the word that Connor and his mom call me. Buddy is another word for friend.
"It's time to go to obedience school," Mom says.
I LOVE obedience school. It's my favorite thing! I zoom across the yard, my tail spinning 'round and 'round behind me. Mom snaps a leash to my collar.
"Let's go to the car, Buddy," Connor says.
I LOVE riding in the car. It's my favorite thing!
No, wait. Obedience school is my favorite thing. If Mom and Connor pass obedience school, they will take me to a different kind of school. The kind Kayla went to. I wonder if it's even the exact same school that Kayla went to. If it is, maybe I'll see some of her friends there. Maybe they'll talk about what happened to her.
At the very least, I'll make new friends at that school. I LOVE new friends. They're my favorite thing!
But solving crimes is my favorite thing, too.
I'm so confused! No wonder I don't know my own name.
* * *
Here's a problem with humans: Sometimes it's hard to tell what they really want you to do. They may say "sit" with their mouths, but the rest of their bodies say "jump on me." Then they wonder why we jump on them.
I think this is why some humans go to obedience school. Obedience is a big word. It means humans learning to say what they mean.
Some humans are easier to train than others.
I don't mean to brag, but Connor and his mom are the best-trained humans in the class. When Mom says "sit," she says it with her mouth, her hands, and her whole entire body. When Connor says "down," he says it with his mouth, his hands, and his whole entire body.
I do whatever Connor and his mom tell me to do at obedience school. Then something strange happens: I get a liver treat. I don't know why I'm the one who gets the treat instead of Connor or Mom, but I'm not complaining. I LOVE liver treats. They're my favorite food!
I feel bad for the pug who stands beside me in the circle. I don't know the pug's name, but her human's name is Kathy. Kathy is not as smart as my humans are.
Kathy says, "Sit!" with her mouth, but the rest of her body says, "Go over there and say hello to that black Lab across the circle."
The pug doesn't know what to do. So she just stands there and looks at Kathy. She waits for Kathy to give her another signal.
"I said, sit!" Kathy says. Louder this time. But the rest of her body says, "Lie down."
The pug drops to her belly. I would do the same thing. What a human says with her body is usually more important than what she says with her mouth.
Kathy smells frustrated. But I bet the pug is even more frustrated than Kathy is.
I sniff. No, the pug isn't frustrated. She's just sad.
The alpha human at obedience school says to Kathy, "You need to make sure you have your dog's attention. Say your dog's name when you give a command."
"I can't," Kathy says with her hands on her hips. She turns away from her dog. "I don't know what this dog's real name is."
The other dogs and I shift around uncomfortably. How does a human forget her own dog's name?
I think the alpha human in this class is wondering the same thing. "What do you mean?" she asks.
Kathy looks down at the floor. "I don't expect you to believe me," she says softly. "The police didn't."
Police? "Why would your human call the police?" I ask the pug.
The pug sniffs the floor. She doesn't seem to want to talk about it.
"This isn't my dog," Kathy says. "She may look like Muffin from a distance, but she's not. My Muffin has a darker nose and a wider face. And she doesn't act anything like this dog." She makes it sound as if this dog is acting really bad.
Kathy goes on. "I think Muffin was switched with another dog."
"What?" Rosie, the Westie, sits up.
"I don't believe it." Shadow, the black Lab, shakes his head.
"Bad human," Ike, the boxer, says. "Why would she make up such a story?"
I sniff Kathy's feet. "I don't know," I tell the other dogs. "Sniff the human. She might be telling the truth." Most dogs can tell when humans are lying and when they're telling the truth.
The other dogs' noses twitch.
"I can't tell," says Rosie. "She could be telling the truth. She could also be lying."
The pug speaks up at last. "She's telling the truth. Her dog Muffin and I left the dog park with the wrong humans."CHAPTER 2
The Real Mystery
The pug's name is Jazzy.
"What happened, Jazzy?" Ike asks while the humans are busy cleaning up after class. "How did you and Muffin end up with the wrong humans?"
Jazzy sits beside us. "Owen—that's my human—saw Muffin doing a bunch of tricks at the dog park," she says with a sniff. "Muffin can roll over and dance on her hind legs; she can even play pat-a-cake." Jazzy looks at the floor. "I don't do any of that stuff. I think Owen decided he'd rather have Muffin than me. So ... he took her."
Shadow's eyes grow dark. "What do you mean, he took her?"
"He picked her up and walked out of the dog park with her," Jazzy says.
It's hard to imagine a human doing such a thing. "Maybe he didn't know he had the wrong dog," I say. "Did you just get this human?"
"No, I've had him for a long time," Jazzy says. "And Owen knew what he was doing. When no one was looking, he twisted Muffin's tag off her collar and stuck it in his pocket."
We all gasp.
"Then he took my tag off my collar and clipped it to Muffin's collar," Jazzy goes on. "And off they went. With Owen pretending Muffin was his dog."
"But that's dognapping!" Rosie cries. "Didn't anyone try to stop him? Didn't you? Didn't Muffin?"
"How could we?" Jazzy asks. "Owen is bigger than we are. I tried to follow him, but he closed the gate on me. And Muffin yelled, 'Help! Help! This isn't my human!' But no one helped."
"You and Muffin should have bitten your human," Rosie says. "That would have stopped him."
"It's not okay to bite humans," I tell Rosie.
"It is if the human tries to dognap you," Rosie argues.
"No," I growl at her. "It's never okay."
Rosie backs away from me. "Well, what about Muffin's human?" she asks Jazzy. "Why didn't she stop Owen?"
"Kathy wasn't at the dog park," Jazzy says. "She was sick that day, so she paid a neighbor boy to take Muffin for a walk. She didn't even know that the boy took Muffin to the dog park."
"Why didn't that boy stop Owen?" Ike asks.
Jazzy sadly shakes her head. "He didn't see Owen. He was talking to a female human."
Ah. We all know what happens when male and female humans start talking to each other. They don't pay any attention to the dog.
"And you know humans," Jazzy goes on. "Unless they actually know you, they think all pugs look the same. When it was time to go, the boy thought I was Muffin."
"Well, Kathy must have known you weren't her dog," Shadow says.
"Oh, yes," Jazzy says. "She told the boy to take me back to the dog park and bring Muffin home. But he said I was Muffin. And then he left."
"What did Kathy do?" Shadow asks.
"She tried to find Muffin. She went to the dog park, but Muffin wasn't there. She put up signs, but no one called. She checked the P-O-U-N-D. She even called the police. But they talked to the neighbor boy and they looked at pictures of Muffin, and finally they told Kathy they thought I was Muffin."
What a sad story! It's just as sad as Kayla and Dad not coming back for me.
"Well, you know where Muffin is," I say. "She's at your house. Why don't you take Kathy there?"
Jazzy looks at me. "Why would I do that?" she asks.
"Because Kathy isn't your human," I say. "You can't keep a human who isn't yours. Besides, Kathy misses Muffin. And Muffin probably misses her. They should be together."
"Yes, but then what will happen to me?" Jazzy asks. "Owen doesn't want me anymore."
"Well ..." I think about that for a little bit. Then all of a sudden an idea explodes inside my head. "You can come live with me and Connor and Mom!"
"I can?" Jazzy asks.
"Sure," I say.
I tell Jazzy all about Kayla and Dad and how they went missing. I tell her that I need to go look for them. And I probably need to look for them outside of Four Lakes. But it's hard to do that when I have these new humans to take care of.
"You can be Connor and Mom's dog!" I tell Jazzy. "You can take care of them. Then I can go look for Kayla and Dad. And when I find them I can stay with them. I won't have to worry about Connor and Mom."
It's the perfect plan!
"Are Connor and his mom good humans?" Jazzy asks.
"They're great," I say. In fact, they're so great that there's a little voice inside my head asking, Are you sure you want to leave such nice humans? But I have to find my other family. I'll do whatever it takes to find them.
"Let me introduce you." I lead Jazzy over to Connor and Mom.
"Hey, guys. This is Jazzy," I say.
"Hi, Buddy. Hi, Jazzy," Connor says.
Jazzy is impressed. "These humans speak Dog?" she asks.
"Not exactly," I say. "But sometimes, like right now, they'll surprise you, and you'll think maybe they do."
"Just like any humans, I guess," Jazzy says, wagging her tail.
Connor reaches into his treat bag and tosses Jazzy and me two liver treats. Like I said: I LOVE liver treats. They're my favorite food!
I think Jazzy likes them, too. "Okay," she says as she gobbles up her treat. "I could live with these humans."
"First we have to get Muffin back to Kathy," I say.
I can tell Kathy misses her dog a lot. Her eyes are all watery, and she's talking in a funny voice.
"I don't know if I'll ever see Muffin again," Kathy tells Mom. "What happened to her is a real mystery."
Not a mystery, just a problem. And it's a problem that is much easier for dogs to solve than humans. All we have to do is:
* Go to Jazzy's house.
* Help Muffin escape.
* Take Muffin back to Kathy.
* Leave Jazzy with Connor and Mom.
Then I can get back to the real mystery, which is: What happened to my people?
"So when are we going to do all this?" Jazzy asks me.
"Tonight," I say. "After our humans are asleep."
"How?" Jazzy asks. "How will we get out of our houses?"
"Doesn't Kathy have a doggy door?" I ask.
"No," Jazzy says.
Oh. That could be a problem.
"Well, why don't you just tell me how to get to your old house and I'll go get Muffin by myself," I say. "I'll bring her to Kathy's house, and we'll make a lot of noise to wake her up. When she opens the door, you run out. Then I'll bring you to Connor's house."
What could possibly go wrong?CHAPTER 3
I LOVE nighttime. It's my favorite time!
I hop onto Connor's bed and snuggle up against him. I watch the moon and the stars. I listen to the owls and the crickets. I rest my head on Connor's leg and wait for sleep sounds to come out of his nose.
When I hear Connor's sleep sounds, that's my signal. It's safe to leave the house.
I creep quietly down the stairs and out through the doggy door. I smell nighttime all over the grass.
I've never tried to escape from Connor's yard before. I didn't think it would be hard. But now that I'm out here, it's harder than I thought.
That fence is pretty high. It goes all around the whole yard.
"Mouse?" I call. Mouse is my friend. He's a dog, not a mouse. Maybe he can help me escape.
But he doesn't answer. Maybe he is asleep inside his doghouse?
I follow the fence with my nose. Flowers ... dirt ... worm ... grass ... rabbit hole ... wait, rabbit hole?
No! This is not a good time to chase rabbits.
The fence jiggles as something leaps onto the top. It's Cat with No Name. He glares down at me.
Cat with No Name and I are not friends.
"Hey!" I cry, lunging at him. "This is my yard. Stay out!"
"Is it really your yard?" Cat asks. "I thought that was your yard over there." He tilts his head toward Kayla's dark house.
"Well ...," I pause, not sure how to finish that sentence. "They are both my yards."
Cat slowly walks along the top of the fence. I hate that he can jump up there and I can't. I hate that he can walk along the top of the fence and I can't.
"If this is your yard, why are you trying so hard to escape?" Cat asks me. As though it's his business!
"I'm not trying to escape," I say. Lying to cats isn't really lying. "I'm ... guarding my yard. I'm making sure no one comes in who isn't supposed to."
"Right," says Cat with No Name. He arches his back and turns around. "Then I guess you don't want me to tell you where the escape is." He jumps down into the Deerbergs' yard on the other side of the fence. Where I can't see him.
"Wait! Come back!" I say, leaping against the fence. I know he can still hear me. "Tell me where the escape is. Tell me! Tell me!"
I hate myself for begging. It doesn't do any good anyway. Cat with No Name is gone.
I wonder if he even told me the truth. I wonder if there really is an escape.
I sniff deeper. Grass ... dirt ... worm ... back to the dirt. Just how soft is this dirt? I paw at it a little. It's pretty soft. I dig deeper ... and deeper ... and deeper. Now I have a nice-sized hole under the fence between Connor's yard and the Deerbergs' yard next door.
I try and shimmy my way through, but the hole isn't quite big enough. I dig some more. I push with my back paws as well as my front paws. And before I know it, I have broken through the ground on the other side of the fence.
"Ha!" I call out to Cat with No Name. Just in case he's still around. "I found my own way out!"
"BUDDY?" calls a loud voice from a few houses away. "BUDDY, IS THAT YOU?"
I would know that voice anywhere. "Mouse!"
Mouse is the biggest, loudest dog on our street. He is charging straight toward me.
I run to meet him. "It's good to see you," I say as we greet each other the dog-fashioned way. "But why did you call me Buddy? You've always called me King."
"I CALL YOU WHATEVER YOUR HUMANS CALL YOU," Mouse explains. "YOUR OTHER HUMANS CALLED YOU KING. BUT THESE HUMANS CALL YOU BUDDY. YOUR NAME IS BUDDY NOW."
After tonight, Connor and Mom won't be my humans anymore. They'll be Jazzy's humans. But Mouse doesn't know that yet.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Mouse asks. "WHY DID YOU DIG YOUR WAY OUT OF YOUR YARD?"
I tell Mouse all about Jazzy and Muffin. I tell him I am giving my humans to Jazzy. "Do you want to come with me to get Muffin?"
"SURE," Mouse says. He is always up for an adventure. "LET'S GO!"
Jazzy told me her house was next to the school. Mouse and I know the way to the school. We have both been there for Take-Your-Pet-to-School Day.
We have to go past Kayla's house to get to the school. I am happy, happy, happy about this because I can sniff Kayla's yard along the way and find out if anything has changed.
Excerpted from The Buddy Files, #2 The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts by Dori Hillestad Butler. Copyright © 2010 Dori Hillestad Butler. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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