Lost! A Dog Called Bear
By Wendy Orr, Susan Boase
Henry Holt and Company Copyright © 2011 Wendy Orr
All rights reserved.
What Bear liked, almost more than anything else in the world, was riding in the back of the pickup truck. He liked racing from side to side to see everything going past, sniffing the wind as it flapped his jowls and ruffled his fur, and barking at dogs on the ground.
The other thing Bear liked almost more than anything else in the world was bossing sheep and making them go where he wanted.
But what he liked best of all, more than anything else in the world, was Logan — because Logan was his boy.
* * *
What Logan liked, almost more than anything else in the world, was riding around the farm in the back of the pickup truck. He liked bouncing over the bumps, singing into the wind as it ruffled his hair, and watching Bear race from side to side. He liked the way his friends from town thought riding in the back with him was as cool as all the things he thought would be cool in town.
The other thing Logan liked, almost more than anything else in the world, was walking around the farm with his dad and watching Bear herd the sheep wherever they were supposed to go.
What he liked best of all, more than anything else in the world, was Bear — because Bear was his dog.
* * *
But now Logan's mother and father had sold the farm. His dad and Bear were going to work on a big ranch in the mountains, and Logan and his mom were moving to the city.
Logan felt like the turkey's wishbone being pulled apart after Thanksgiving dinner. What he wished was for everything to be the same way it always had been.
"Your dad and I are still friends," said his mom. "We just can't live together anymore."
"It doesn't change how I feel about you," said his dad. "I still love you as much as ever."
"But what about Bear?" asked Logan. "How's he supposed to understand?"
"He'll like it on the ranch," said his dad. "They've got a couple of working dogs already. Bear will get along fine with them."
"He'll hate it!" shouted Logan. "He'll miss me — he needs to come with me!"
His dad didn't tell him off for shouting. He pulled Logan close and hugged him. "Not as much as I'll miss you," he said. "But maybe you're right. Maybe Bear should go with you."
"The yard in our new house is very small," said Logan's mom.
"I'll walk him every day," said Logan. "Bear will be all right, as long as he is with me."
* * *
What Hannah liked, almost more than anything else in the world, was going to the beach. She liked splashing through the waves with her friends and running on the sand, feeling the wind flip her ponytail as if it was as happy as she was.
But what Hannah liked more than anything was dogs — and what she wanted, more than absolutely anything else in the world, was a dog of her own.
"Our yard's not big enough," said her mom.
"I'd walk it every day," said Hannah.
"Dogs stink!" said her dad.
"I'd give it a bath," said Hannah.
"You'll forget to feed it," said her mom.
"I'd never forget," said Hannah.
The moving van came early in the morning. The moving men packed up all the boxes and furniture that Logan and his mom were taking to their new house. They left behind the boxes and furniture that Logan's dad was taking to his new home.
Logan hugged his dad as tight as he could so that he'd have to get in the car with them, and his dad hugged him back so tight that Logan felt like a quivery jelly inside. But his dad still said good-bye.
Then Logan and Bear got into the back seat of the station wagon, his mom got into the driver's seat, and they drove away. Bear stuck his head out the window and barked. Logan stuck his head out the other window and waved good-bye until he couldn't see his house or his dad anymore.
It was a hot, dry day, and the dust from the driveway drifted in the windows and made his mom sneeze.
"Roll up your window," she said. "I'll turn on the air conditioner."
"I like the dust!" said Logan.
He rolled the window up, but he left a good wide crack at the top to let a little more of the farm's dirt blow in and go with them to the city.
* * *
Logan had been to the city before, but it had never been as far as it was today. The car had never been so hot, and Bear had never raced back and forth across the back seat so much. He stood on Logan's bare legs with his sharp nails.
"Ouch, Bear!" shouted Logan.
Bear leaned against him and drooled down Logan's neck.
"Yuck, Bear!" shouted Logan.
Bear licked Logan's legs, and Logan shoved him away. It wasn't nearly as much fun riding in the car with Bear as it was in the back of the pickup. "Maybe you should have gone with Dad, Bear," he snapped.
* * *
On the way to her friend Amy's house, Hannah passed a sign that said RAINBOW STREET ANIMAL SHELTER, with an arrow pointing up a narrow street.
"Could we go there?" Hannah asked her mom every time they passed the sign.
"It would just make you sad," said her mom. "And you would want to bring home a dog."
"I already want to bring home a dog," said Hannah. "And I wouldn't be sad if I could."
But her mom always sighed, "Oh, Hannah!" and drove on past.
* * *
At lunchtime, Logan and his mom stopped at Terri's Take Out. It was across the road from a wide white beach with rolling, crashing blue surf. Dogs weren't allowed on this beach, so his mom parked in the shade, and Logan walked Bear around the parking lot.
Then they put Bear back in the car and rolled the window down so he could sniff the fresh air, and they went into Terri's Take Out for lunch. Logan looked out at the ocean and for the first time since he'd learned they were moving, a sparkle of hope flickered through his black thoughts.
"Are we going to live near the beach?" he asked, as they walked back to the car.
"Pretty close," said his mom. "Too far to walk, but a short drive."
"Could I ride my bike?"
"When you're older," said his mom.
Logan's sparkle of hope fizzled and died. He didn't want to be older in their new house. He didn't want to have a birthday without his dad. He wanted to pretend they were just going to the beach for this last weekend of summer vacation and would be back in their old home when school started again.
His eyes blurred as he got into the car, and he squeezed them so tight shut that no tears could sneak through. His mom pulled back onto the highway toward their new home.
"How long till we get there?" he asked.
"About an hour," said his mom.
Logan opened his eyes and wiggled back in his seat. He reached over for Bear — and suddenly the hot day turned cold. He felt as if he'd been dunked in a giant bucket of ice.
"Mom," he said, in a sharp, tight voice, "where's Bear?"
Bear was not in the Terri's Take Out parking lot. Logan and his mom raced all around it, shouting Bear's name and looking everywhere a dog could possibly hide. They asked everyone in the restaurant and the playground and the gas station next door.
No one had seen a lost dog.
"Maybe he went to the beach," said Logan.
"He couldn't have crossed the highway," his mom said. "It's too busy. It's more likely he tried to follow us when we left."
She drove slowly down the road to where Logan had realized Bear was gone. Cars honked behind them, but Logan and his mom didn't care. All they cared about was finding Bear.
There was no lost dog running along the side of the highway.
"He might have tried to head for home," said his mom and turned the car around again, creeping back toward the farm until they knew they'd gone farther than Bear could have possibly run.
There was no lost dog heading toward his old home.
"We'll check the beach just in case," said Logan's mom and turned around again.
They parked right across from Terri's Take Out and ran down a path to the beach.
"Bear!" shouted Logan.
"Here, Bear!" shouted his mom.
Their voices were small against the noise of the water and the people shouting and playing. There were surfers carrying surfboards to the water or struggling out of their wetsuits; there were families setting up beach umbrellas or having picnics; there were little kids splashing in the shallows or building sand castles, kids on boogie boards or playing Frisbee, grandparents walking or taking pictures.
"BEAR!" roared Logan, like a desperate lion.
The people nearby turned to stare.
"Not a real bear," explained Logan's mom. "A dog named Bear."
"Because he looked like a bear cub when he was a puppy," said Logan. "But now he's lost. Here, Bear!"
They ran from one group of people to the next, asking if anyone had seen a shaggy black Border collie, with a white neck, three white paws, and one floppy white ear.
No one had.
"It's no good, Logan," said his mom. "I should have known he couldn't have crossed that road."
Logan followed his mom back up the beach. His stomach was swirling sickly, but however bad he felt, he knew Bear would feel worse.
Three boys jogged past. "Have you seen a lost dog?" Logan called.
"A big black-and-white dog?"
Logan felt as if he was choking. He nodded.
"He was running that way!"
"About twenty minutes ago!"
Suddenly Logan could breathe again. "Thanks!" he shouted.
Logan and his mom raced back the way they'd come, kicking through the soft white sand. They stopped at the path to the highway, doubled over to catch their breath.
There was no black-and-white dog.
They began to run again. We've got to see him soon! Logan thought, and shouted again. "Here, Bear!"
They ran on the hard wet sand where the sea had just gone out, and swerved up to ask a family spreading their towels on the high dry sand.
"Have you seen a lost dog?"
"Sorry," said the dad. "We just got here."
Logan and his mom ran on. Their faces were red, their T-shirts were wet with sweat, and their chests were hurting.
They asked two girls reading on the sand.
The girls hadn't seen a dog all morning.
Neither had a boy wading in from the surf with his board.
But a mom tidying up a picnic said, "He was here about fifteen minutes ago."
"I gave him part of my hot dog," said her little boy.
"He went that way," said the mom. She pointed back the way Logan and his mom had come.
That morning, Hannah had woken up with such a wonderful idea that her ponytail quivered.
If her parents didn't have time to help take care of a dog, there might be other people who already had a dog and didn't have time to take care of it. They might need someone to take their dog for walks and play with it.
She got out paper and markers. She printed HANNAH THE DOG WALKER on the top. She drew paw prints underneath and her phone number at the bottom.
"You can't do that!" her mom exclaimed. "It's not safe to put your phone number up on posters everywhere."
"I could take it to the Rainbow Street Animal Shelter," said Hannah. "They could give it to people who want a dog but don't have enough time to take it for walks."
"Hannah!" sighed her mother. "You are not going to the animal shelter. I don't want to talk about it anymore."
* * *
Logan and his mom ran up and down the beach for three hours. They stopped for a drink twice, but the rest of the time they ran — and asked if anyone had seen a lost black-and-white dog.
"Ten minutes ago," said someone.
"He was just here," said someone else.
"Half an hour ago," said a third.
They all pointed in different directions.
A girl rubbing on sunscreen pointed to the path above the beach.
A mother pushing a child on a swing pointed back to the beach.
A man packing up his sailboat pointed back to the first beach.
This way and that way and back again, Logan and his mom ran, kicking through sand, pushing through people, calling and looking. It was like a nightmare that they couldn't wake out of.
Finally it was so late that the beach was not crowded anymore, and they knew that if Bear was anywhere around, they'd be able to see him, and he would see them.
"I'm sorry, Logan," said his mom. "We have to go on to the house. I'll figure out what to do when we get there."
"They must have all seen some other dog," said Logan. "A dog who liked the beach."
He felt as if an invisible monster had chewed a ragged black hole inside him where his happiness used to live. All the time they'd been running up and down the beach, poor Bear had been lost and frightened somewhere else — and now they might never find him.
But worst of all was wishing he'd never pushed Bear away and told him he should have gone with Dad after all.
* * *
Hannah had been in a grumpy mood all day, ever since her mother had said she couldn't go to the animal shelter. Her ponytail moped around her neck, and she couldn't think of anything she wanted to do.
Suddenly, the grumpiness dissolved like a Popsicle on the sidewalk.
Her dad was coming home from work. He was driving into the driveway and parking in the carport like he always did. There was just one thing different.
In the back of his pickup truck was a dog.
The dog was black and furry, with a white neck, three white paws, and one floppy white ear.
"What on earth is that dog doing there?" Hannah's mom demanded.
"How did that dog get there?" her dad echoed.
"Hannah!" they shouted together. "Get down from there!"
But Hannah was already sitting in the back of the truck with her arms around the dog. The dog was licking her face. His tongue was warm, wet, and tickly, and he was panting fast as if he was excited.
Hannah was excited too. If she'd been a balloon she'd have been ready to burst.
She jumped down from the truck and threw her arms around her father. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she squealed.
"But, Hannah," her dad began.
"We can't keep it," said her mom.
Hannah didn't hear. She ran inside to get a bowl of water for the thirsty dog. The dog jumped down after her, waiting at the front door till she came out. Hannah patted him while he drank big splashing gulps with his long red tongue.
"He's so soft," she told her parents. "And so nice and friendly. I'm going to call him Surprise, because he was the biggest surprise I ever got."
"Me too," said her dad.
"You can't call him anything," said her mom. "He's got to go back to where he came from."
"As soon as we can figure out where that is!" said her dad.
"Did you see any dogs where you were working today?" asked her mom.
"A few." Hannah's dad got out his cell phone. "He must have jumped into the wrong truck when we went home."
He phoned everyone he worked with, but the answer was always the same: no one had lost a dog. No one had even seen a stray dog.
Nobody wants him! thought Hannah. Nobody except me! She ran into the garage to find a piece of rope, and looped it through the ring on the dog's collar. There was a metal tag on the ring.
"Bear," Hannah read in a small voice. "And there's a phone number."
Her dad got out his cell phone again.
"The number's been disconnected. It's a good thing they put their last name on the tag, so we can try to find them."
"Imagine how worried they must be!" said her mom.
Hannah didn't want to imagine, but she did. She imagined them like Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear, except instead of porridge they'd be saying, "Who's been taking my dog?"
She didn't want to be Goldilocks.
"And imagine how happy they'll be when we give the dog back," said her dad. "We have to find them."
But when he phoned Information, there were no new phone numbers for Bears anywhere in the whole state.
"So we'll have to look after Surprise," said Hannah. "At least until we find the Bears."
Surprise pricked up his ears.
"He knows his new name already!" Hannah said. "He's a very smart dog."
She tugged the piece of rope. "Come on, Surprise!" and led him into the backyard.
Surprise followed happily.
"See how good he is!" Hannah told her parents. She went around to the front step for the bowl of water, shutting the gate behind her.
Surprise leapt over the fence and back onto the truck.
"No, Surprise!" Hannah whispered, and tried to push him into the yard again before her parents noticed.
It was too late.
"We can't keep him," said her mom. "He'll run away again, and this time he might get hurt."
Logan and his mom's new house was in the middle of a city. There were houses beside it, houses across the road, and houses behind it. The yard was small and the fence was tall.
All Logan cared about was that there was no dog. He looked in the yard, and he looked back down the road, because Bear was the smartest, fastest dog in the world, and Logan almost believed that he might have already found his way to their new home. But even Bear wasn't smart enough to find a house he'd never been to or fast enough to follow a car down the highway.
Inside, the house was jumbled full of furniture and boxes. The moving men had put the beds in the bedroom and the couch in the living room, but Logan's bedroom was so crammed with boxes he had to scramble from one to another to get to the window. It could have been fun if he hadn't felt like crying. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Lost! A Dog Called Bear by Wendy Orr, Susan Boase. Copyright © 2011 Wendy Orr. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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