About the Author
Jeremy Tugeau has a degree in illustration from Syracuse University and has illustrated many books for children. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.
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The Buddy Files, #1 The Case of the Lost Boy
By Dori Hillestad Butler
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2010 Dori Hillestad Butler
All rights reserved.
My name is King. I'm a dog.
I'm also a detective. I solve mysteries here in Four Lakes, Minnesota, with my human, Kayla.
Right now I have a mystery to solve by myself. It's about Kayla and her family.
I know where Kayla's mom is. She is in a place called the National Guard. That means she's far away. Kayla and Dad aren't worried about her, so I'm not worried about her, either.
The people I'm worried about are Kayla and Dad. They've gone missing! It's up to me to find them.
"I have news for you, King," says Sam. Sam is a basset hound. He's locked inside the cage next door.
"Your people aren't missing. They just don't want you anymore. That's why they left you here."
"Here" is the P-O-U-N-D. We don't say it. We spell it.
Sam doesn't know what he's talking about. "My people didn't leave me here," I say. "They would never leave me here. They left me at Barker Bob's."
Barker Bob's is where I go for vacation. They have a big yard and a pool, and everyone is very relaxed. It's nothing like the P-O-U-N-D.
"My people said they were coming back," I tell Sam.
"They all say they're coming back," George mutters from the cage across from mine. George is an old bulldog. He is probably the oldest dog I've ever met.
"If my people say they're coming back, then they're coming back," I say.
But my people have been gone a long time. A very long time.
They've been gone so long that the alpha human at Barker Bob's said I couldn't stay there anymore. She called my neighbor, Mr. Sanchez, and he came and got me.
I stayed at the Sanchezes' house for eleventy-three days. But then Kayla's Uncle Marty came. I thought Uncle Marty was going to take me home, but he put me in his car. He unbuckled my collar and tossed it in the back seat. Then he drove me to the P-O-U-N-D. He told the people here that I did not have a home. And then he left.
I have never been crazy about Uncle Marty.
When you are at the P-O-U-N-D, you're supposed to choose new people.
I don't want new people; I want my old people.
But dogs who don't choose new people disappear from the P-O-U-N-D. Poof! Just like that. They are never seen or heard from again.
That's what happened to Ginger ... and Kiki ... and just yesterday, Oliver.
I would like to find out what happened to those dogs, but first I have to find out what happened to my people.
If you want to solve a mystery, you should start by making some lists. That's what Kayla and I did when we solved the Case of the Lost Frisbee, the Case of the Strange Footprints, and the Case of the Ghostly Presence.
Kayla wrote her lists in her detective's notebook. I kept my lists inside my head.
First we made a list of all the things we already knew about our case.
Here is what I know about the Case of the Missing Family:
* My people's names are Kayla, Mom, and Dad.
* Kayla and Dad were last seen in the lobby of Barker Bob's.
* Mom is not missing.
* Kayla and Dad said they were going to visit Grandma in Springtown. They said they would come back in one week.
* Kayla and Dad never came back.
The second list Kayla and I made when we solved a mystery was a list of things we didn't know.
Here is what I don't know about the Case of the Missing Family:
* Did Kayla and Dad ever arrive at Grandma's house?
* How long is one week?
* Did Kayla and Dad ever leave Grandma's house?
* Do Kayla and Dad know that I am at the P-O-U-N-D?
* Where are Kayla and Dad?
* Does Mom know that Kayla and Dad are missing?
The third list Kayla and I made was a list of things we were going to do to find out what we didn't know. We called this the Plan.
Here is my plan right now:
* Escape from the P-O-U-N-D.
* Go back to my house and look for clues.
* Find Grandma's house.
* Find Kayla and Dad.
I am stuck at Escape from the P-O-U-N-D. How can I escape when I'm locked in this cage?
While I am thinking about this, a human boy and his mother come to visit. They stop in front of me.
"What do you think of this dog, Connor?" the human mother asks the human boy. I bet her name is Mom, too.
The boy doesn't look at me. And he doesn't answer his mother. His arms are folded tight across his chest. He smells sad.
I wonder why he is so sad. I haul myself up onto my legs and go over to the mother and the boy. I sniff the mother's shoes. They smell like new carpet, pizza, a sweaty gym, other dogs, and ... Mole? Not just any mole ... this mother's shoes smell like the mole I keep chasing out of Kayla's backyard.
I look up at the mother, and she scratches my ears through the bars. Actually, it's not just Mole that I smell on this lady. If I take in a deep breath, I can smell my whole neighborhood: the Gormans' cat, the Sanchezes' plum tree, flowers, bushes, humans, and animals I know.
Why does this stranger smell like my neighborhood?
I sniff at the boy's shoes and up his pant leg. I can smell my neighborhood on him, too.
"Excuse me?" the mother says to the guy who cleans our cages every morning. We call him Hose Guy because he always carries a hose over his shoulder.
"Could we see this dog, please?" the mother asks Hose Guy.
Hose Guy comes over and unlocks my cage. He snaps a leash to my collar and hands it to the mother. I sniff her all over.
"Down, boy," Hose Guy says, pulling me off the mother.
Oops. Humans don't like it when you put your paws on them. But I can't help it. I love the smell of my neighborhood!
We all walk to the meet-and-greet room. I've never been here before. But I've heard about it. This is where they bring you to meet new families. Families you can adopt.
I've also heard that sometimes there are treats hidden around the meet-and-greet room. I press my nose to the ground and search for goodies.
Jackpot! There are dog biscuit crumbs under a chair. And one ... two ... nine ... five ... THREE Cheerios. I LOVE Cheerios. They're my favorite food!
"I'm going to be the new principal at Four Lakes Elementary," the mother tells Hose Guy. "I'm starting in just a few weeks, and I'm looking for a dog that I can bring to school every day. It's good to have a dog around a school."
"This guy would make a fine dog for a school," Hose Guy says. "He's very calm and laid back for a golden retriever."
What do you mean "for a golden retriever?" We are all calm and laid back!
"He's also completely housebroken," Hose Guy says.
I don't know what that means.
But the mother does. And whatever it is, it makes her happy.
I want to make her happy because she smells like my neighborhood. Maybe she knows my humans. Maybe she can help me find them.
That's why when she asks me to sit, I sit. When she asks me to lie down, I lie down. And when she asks me to shake, I hold up my paw.
Now she is extra-happy. She is so happy that she turns to the boy and says, "What do you think, Connor? Should we adopt this fella?"
Wait a minute! Humans do not adopt dogs. Dogs adopt humans!
The boy, Connor, must know this because he does not answer his mother. He just hangs back by the corner.
He smells even sadder than he smelled before. I go over to him and lick his hand because it's not his fault I can't adopt him. He and his mother are the kind of humans I would adopt if I didn't already have a family.
"We'll take him," the mother tells Hose Guy.
"What? No, you can't take me ... I already have a family. Didn't you know? A DOG CAN ONLY HAVE ONE FAMILY!!!" I say this extra loud because it's important.
"I think he knows we're adopting him," Mom says. "Look how happy he is."
"HAPPY? YOU CALL THIS HAPPY?"
Everything happens really fast after that. The alpha human at the P-O-U-N-D comes in and gives Mom some papers to write on. He gives me a new collar and Mom and Connor a new leash. Then they take me out of the meet-and-greet room ... down the hall ... and out to the parking lot. They don't even let me say goodbye to all my new friends.
But then it hits me: I have just escaped from the P-O-U-N-D!
And I wasn't even trying to.
Maybe adopting these people is not such a bad idea. I have crossed off this part of my plan: Escape from the P-O-U-N-D. Now I am one step closer to finding Kayla and Dad.CHAPTER 2
My Name Is King
"What's the matter, honey?" Mom asks the boy on the way to their house.
I am in the back seat, and they are in the front. I spot a French fry on the floor. I LOVE French fries. They're my favorite food!
"I thought you wanted a dog," Mom says.
"I just want to go home," Connor grumbles. "Back to our real house in California."
Mom grips the steering wheel extra-tight. "I know you miss your dad and your friends," she says. "But we're going to be happy here in Minnesota, Connor. You'll see. Your dad and I will watch for sales on airplane tickets. We'll send you back to California for a visit as often as we can afford to."
Connor stares out the window.
I don't know where California is, but it must be far away if you have to fly there in an airplane. Connor must miss his dad as much as I miss Kayla. I put my paws up on his seat and lick his ear to show him I understand.
Mom pushes me down. "You stay in the backseat, boy," she says.
"I will," I tell her with my eyes. But she is driving, so she doesn't notice. She probably wouldn't understand even if she did notice. Most humans her age don't understand Dog at all.
"We need to come up with a name for him," Mom tells Connor.
I already have a name. But Mom and Connor don't know that.
"What do you think of Buddy?" Mom asks.
Buddy? That's a wimp's name! My name is King. K-I-N-G. I am the King of Crime-solving. That's what Kayla says. And she is my queen.
"Don't you think Buddy is a good name for a dog that's going to go to school?" Mom asks. "We want him to be everyone's buddy."
I put my paws back up on the front seat. "Tell her no," I say to Connor. "Tell her you want to call me 'King.'"
Connor shrugs. "Whatever," he says. Then he turns around and looks at me. I think he wants to pet me.
"Go ahead," I tell him. I stretch my neck closer to him. "You can pet me."
But he just sits there. I can't tell whether he understands me or not.
We drive a little farther, and then my nose starts to twitch. Something smells familiar.
I can see it through the front window. It's the park! The park where Kayla takes me to play detective. You'd be surprised how many mysteries there are to solve in a park.
I stare out the side window. I check out the kids who are playing ball ... and the kids who are playing on the climbing toy ... and the kid who is reading on the bench.
None of them is Kayla.
Mom turns at the corner. We are close to my house. Very close.
Mom pulls into a driveway, and I am going crazy inside myself. Kayla, the other Mom, and Dad live in the Carrs' old house, just behind this one. What luck! I can to go back to my house and look for clues.
"Look," Mom says as she opens the door for me. "He knows this is his house already."
No. My house is the one behind this one.
* * *
Now I know why I smelled my neighborhood on Connor and Mom. They live in my neighborhood. I can tell they haven't lived here very long, though. There are boxes piled everywhere. I sniff at a couple of them. Laundry soap. Electric stuff. And ... something else I can't quite make out.
"Are you hungry, Buddy?" Mom asks. She shakes some dry food into a bowl.
Oh, boy! FOOD!!!
And it's good food, too. Big colorful pellets. A blend of wonderful things like chicken, fish, and liver. Much better than those little brown pellets they had at Barker Bob's. And way better than the mushy stuff at the P-O-U-N-D.
They also have a nice big bed for me. Oops. Maybe not.
Mom grabs me by my brand-new collar and pulls me off the bed. "No dogs on the furniture!"
But wait! They have another bed for me. It's in Connor's room, and it's just my size. I can reach it without jumping. Mom points to it and says, "Lie down."
I lie down. This bed is like Kayla's pillow except it's for my whole body, not just my head.
They also have a really cool bird toy. It's soft and squishy. You can tug it. You can carry it around. You can even make it squeak. I think I could live here ... if I didn't already have a family.
Mom leaves Connor and me alone. As soon as she's gone, Connor gets down on the floor and starts petting me. Ha! I knew he wanted to pet me. He's very good at it, too. He doesn't just rub my head a little bit like some humans do. He runs his hand down my whole back. Mmm. Heaven. He must really like me.
Hey, I wonder if he likes me enough to let me be on his bed when his mom isn't looking? I hop up. He does not push me off.
I can see out his window from here. I can see over the tall wood fence into my backyard. I see the big tree where I chase the squirrels. I see Kayla's swing set. I see my house. There are no lights on inside.
Connor plops down on the bed beside me. He wraps his arms around me and buries his head in my fur. Kayla used to do that.
"It's not that I don't want you, Buddy," he says.
"King," I tell him. "My name is King."
Connor sits back up. "I used to want a dog really bad. But my dad is allergic to dogs so we couldn't ever have one."
I've heard of dogs who are allergic to people, but I never knew people could be allergic to dogs.
"But my mom and dad just got divorced," Connor goes on. "So now we can have a dog. My mom says she wants you for school, but I know she really got you for me. To make up for having to move so far away from Dad and all my friends."
I'm not sure anything can make up for having to leave part of your family.
"The thing is ..." Connor leans closer to me. "This might be Mom's new home, but it isn't mine. I'll probably go back to California someday. And I won't be able to take you with me."CHAPTER 3
Connor lets me sleep in his bed with him all night long. What Mom doesn't know won't hurt her.
The next morning, Mom pours some more of that yummy food into a bowl and sets it on the floor for me. Then Connor slips me pieces of bacon under the table. Mmm! I LOVE bacon. It's my favorite food!
After breakfast, Mom says, "Connor? Please take Buddy for a walk."
I sit up. Walk? I LOVE walks. They're my favorite thing!
"Okay. In a minute," Connor says.
He gets up from the table and goes to his room.
I follow him. "We are going for a walk, aren't we?" I ask him with my eyes.
He doesn't answer. He grabs some papers and coins from the top of his dresser and stuffs them in his pocket.
Papers and coins! When Kayla brings papers and coins on our walks, we stop for ice cream. I LOVE ice cream. It's my favorite food!
We go back out to the kitchen and Connor snaps the leash to my collar. Then we are on our way.
Oh, boy! Birds. Squirrels. Rabbits. Fresh air.
"Slow down, boy," Connor says, tugging on my leash.
Oops. I forget that humans can't walk as fast as dogs.
I try to walk slower. I try to walk right next to Connor. Humans like it when you walk right next to them.
"KING?" I hear a loud, familiar voice. "KING, IS IT REALLY YOU?"
"Mouse!" I cry. Mouse is my friend—my best friend who is not human. He lives two houses down from Connor.
"Slow down, Buddy!" Connor says again.
But I am so excited to see Mouse that I can't slow down. Maybe Mouse knows what happened to my people?
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?" Mouse yells even though I am standing right in front of him. He can't help yelling. He is just a loud dog. He is the biggest, loudest dog on our block.
It's been so long since we've seen each other that we are sniffing each other like crazy through the fence.
"WHERE'S KAYLA?" Mouse asks. "AND WHO'S THAT KID WITH YOU?"
"This is Connor," I tell Mouse.
There's something that happens to humans when they get scared. They look different. They sound different. They smell different. It's hard to describe unless you're a dog. But trust me. My new friend Connor is scared to death of my old friend Mouse.
Lots of humans are scared of Mouse. It's weird because Mouse is probably the friendliest dog on the whole block. I don't think he would even hurt a flea.
Excerpted from The Buddy Files, #1 The Case of the Lost Boy 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. The P-O-U-N-D,
2. My Name Is King,
3. Stranger Danger,
4. Nose to the Ground,
5. Jelly Donut and Plain Donut,
6. Smells Like a Kidnapping,
7. What Do I Know?,
8. Smells Scary,
9. How to Talk Human,
10. At the Top of the Moving Stairs,