"Maybe I'm not the hero type. But I can dream. Sometimes I dream I'm a rescue dog, saving a child lost in the woods. Or a guide dog, helping a person who cannot see. Or a police dog, tracking sneaky robbers. But when I wake up, I must face the truth. It's mostly big dogs who do those jobs. And I'm just Barnaby, a small mutt living in an animal shelter." Barnaby has big dreams, but he finds his true calling when he's adopted into a loving home and becomes a bedbug-sniffing doghelping to find hidden bedbugs in hotels, on airplanes, in movie theaters, and even in people's homes!
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Barnaby the bedbug detective
By Catherine Stier, Karen Sapp
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2013 Catherine Stier
All rights reserved.
Maybe I'm not the hero type. But I can dream.
Sometimes I dream I'm a rescue dog, saving a child lost in the woods.
Or a guide dog, helping a person who cannot see.
Or a police dog, tracking sneaky robbers.
But when I wake up, I must face the truth. It's mostly big dogs who get those jobs. And I'm just Barnaby, a small mutt living in an animal shelter.
The shelter workers try to find me a home. But each time a family brings me to the visiting area, excitement tickles my paws. Then I begin jumping and hopping and barking.
"Too rowdy," a dad might say, shaking his head.
"Too wild," a mom might add.
No! I think. Not rowdy! Not wild! Just happy! Energetic! Ready to be brave and good and important!
But I guess the families don't see it that way. And back to the kennel I go.
One day, a lady peers in at me. "I'd like to meet this one," she says.
Me? I wonder. Does she really mean me?
"Martha," the shelter worker says, "may I introduce Barnaby?"
Here's your chance, I tell myself. Stay calm.
But that's just not me. I can't help myself! As soon as the kennel door opens, I start my happy, hoppy dance for Martha.
Martha does not shy away. Martha does not shake her head.
Martha does not say "rowdy" or "wild." Martha says, "He's perfect!"
We visit awhile. Then Martha fills out the paperwork and leads me to her van.
The next day, I visit Martha's office. "You will always have a good home with me, Barnaby," she promises. "And, if it suits you, you may have an important job."
My ears perk up. A job? Hero work?
I sniff around the office. On the walls hang charts with scary-looking bugs. I have heard about dogcatchers. Martha must be a bug-chaser!
Martha points to one picture. "This could be your specialty, Barnaby—bedbugs!"
Huh? I think.
"Bedbugs hide during the day and creep out at night," Martha explains. "Then they bite people and drink their blood, leaving red, itchy bumps on the skin."
I can't help it! I begin to scratch myself.
"And bedbugs are very sneaky stowaways!" says Martha. "They can hitch a ride on your suitcase or gym bag right to your home."
Whoa! These are some real bad guys!
"Soon we'll visit a special school. We'll see if sniffing out these pests is the job for you," says Martha.
For many happy days, Martha and I get to know each other. Together, we are explorers and adventurers!
I try to rescue Martha when she's lost.
Excerpted from Barnaby the bedbug detective by Catherine Stier, Karen Sapp. Copyright © 2013 Catherine Stier. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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