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Cats Keep OutA "Sam and Friends Book"
By Vicki Diane Westling
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Vicki Diane Westling
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIn a small village on the banks of Lake Erie live three dogs that are best friends.
There is Boots who is the oldest of the three; Boots is a brown and white Bassett Hound with solid white feet and a knack for leadership. Next is Rudie. Rudie is the largest of the three. He is a gray and white English sheep dog; when he runs his furry coat shimmers across his shoulders and along his broad back. The baby, and the smallest of the group, is Sam. Sam is an American Eskimo/Chow mix; he is white and blond; Sam is extremely fast and very smart.
Everyday the three friends meet and run along the beach by the lake. They bark at the seagulls and chase the small sandpipers; they run into the woods and chase the squirrels. One day after playing, running and chasing the squirrels, they decided to run up to the ball field. They laughed as the Canadian Geese took off in flight when they saw them running in their direction. The dogs were exhausted.
"Let's take a nap over there by that creek," said Boots, "I'm really tired."
"That sounds good to me," replied Rudie, "but I'm hungry, too."
"I wish we had some treats," said Sam. "If we had a clubhouse, we could keep treats hidden there for times just like these."
"A clubhouse? Are you kidding? Whoever heard of dogs having a clubhouse?" Rudie laughed, mocking his young friend, and Boots joined in with the laughter.
Rudie and Boots were laughing so hard they didn't see Hannibal, the big yellow cat, sneak through the bushes so he could watch the three dogs.
Hannibal was jealous of the three friends, even though he was a cat, and he was curious about what they did every morning when their mommies let them out to play. He wanted to play, too. But he knew that they would never let him join them, because after all he was a cat and they were dogs.
Hannibal smiled as he watched the two dogs teasing and laughing at their little friend. He couldn't believe they didn't hear or see him.
But Sam saw him! Sam stood boldly and woofed at the fat cat. Then it was his turn to laugh as Hannibal ran away.
"You see?" he said, "that's why we need a clubhouse so we won't have to worry about Hannibal or any other cat coming around and bothering us."
"You might have something there after all," said Boots. "But how can we build a clubhouse? We don't have thumbs!"
"I know," said Rudie, "we could drag up some of that old cardboard behind your garage and put it in my backyard between the shed and mommy's mulch pile. That way we could have shelter, no one would have to know we were there, and Hannibal couldn't come sneaking around without us seeing him first."
"Yeah, and we could name our club 'The Barkers' and put up a sign that says 'Cats Keep Out' " said Sam.
"You got it! High four everybody," shouted Boots.
The three dogs jumped with glee and slapped their front paws together. They were excited and ready to get started.
"Let's go!" said Boots, who had been named president of the club by default due to his age.
The three canines could barely help themselves from jumping and rolling against each other as they ran toward Boots' house where the old cardboard was stored. They each took a large piece and drug it to Rudie's and then went back for the next piece.
It took several trips, but finally all of the cardboard was in place, and the dogs stood back and looked at their work - they were pleased.
"We need a sign," said Sam
"We can't write," said Rudie, "how are we going to make a sign?"
"Mommy has a book that she reads to little kids," said Sam, "we can use it to find the words we need and copy them."
"Okay! My mommy has a red marker that makes big letters, and I can go get it from her desk," said Boots.
"We can't read," said Rudie, "how will we know which words to write?"
"The book has pictures," said Sam, "we'll find the picture and copy the word that is written above it."
"That sounds like it could work," said Boots, "let's go."
"Wait," barked Rudie, "what about me? What should I do?"
"You go get treats and water for the clubhouse," directed Boots.
The three dogs each ran separate ways to complete their tasks.
"Here's the marker," woofed Boots as he dropped the red marker on the ground.
"I brought the treats," barked Rudie.
"And, here's the book I told you about" woofed Sam, "let's start looking for the pictures and the right words."
They looked through the entire book but couldn't find anything that looked like "barkers" when finally Boots spotted a picture of a dog with the word "Woof" above its head. "Here it is he shouted." They all looked and agreed that the word "woof" must say "barker".
"Sam you take the marker and do the writing," said Boots. "It was your idea."
Sam took the marker in his mouth and began to make the letters.
"Okay, now we need to have a sign that makes sure Hannibal and all other cats stay out," said Rudie.
The three looked through the book again and there it was - a clubhouse in a tree that had a sign "Girls Keep Out".
"That's it," said Sam, jumping up and down. "That's it!"
"Wait a minute," said Boots, "I don't think that word 'girls' is cats. Think about it, that is a little boy; he probably wants the girls to keep out."
"Yeah, you're right," said Rudie, "lets look for a picture of a cat"
They began to look through the book again, and finally they found a page with a picture of a cat.
Sam started jumping up and down again, "There it is, and it says cat."
"Okay, okay, calm down," said Boots. Then, looking over at Rudie, he shook his head and muttered "oh, to be young again."
Sam took the marker in his mouth again and began to write. "CATS KEEP OUT"
Rudie took the sign and pushed it up against the front of the new clubhouse. They put sticks and some of the mulch against the bottom so it wouldn't fall over - they were so proud they all lifted their legs and peed as a way of initiating their new digs.
But Hannibal was sad. He had watched the three dogs from the tree overlooking the mulch pile. He wanted to play with the dogs and he didn't have to be an enemy just because he was different.
And then it happened. A pinecone fell from the tree and the dogs looked up to see Hannibal perched on one of the limbs; they saw that he was crying.
"Get down out of that tree, Hannibal, and stop spying on us!" demanded Boots.
"Yeah, come on down here you sissy, we don't want your kind around our clubhouse, you're not welcome," said Rudie
"You get away from us, you stupid cat," barked Sam.
Hannibal cried and jumped from the tree and ran.
The three dogs felt bad. They hadn't meant to be unkind; and they didn't really hate Hannibal, it was just that he was a cat, and everybody knows that cats and dogs are not meant to be friends.
"Why can't we be friends with cats?" asked Sam
"Because," said Rudie
"Yeah, because," said Boots.
"Because why?" asked Sam, "Hannibal might be fun. After all, I think he was able to read the sign and it hurt his feelings."
"Cats can't read," said Rudie
"Yeah, cats can't read," agreed Boots
"I can too read," meowed Hannibal.
Hannibal had walked around the mulch pile and was listening to the dogs. "I read your sign and it says to be a member you have to bring treats and I have treats. See, I brought some cheese." Hannibal showed the dogs the small napkin and as he did so, a piece of cheese fell out.
The dogs turned their backs and whispered among themselves, and then speaking for the group Boots turned to Hannibal. "Hannibal, you can join our club, but there will be no litter box and no mice in the clubhouse."
"Okay," said Hannibal, "I promise."
The dogs and Hannibal high foured to welcome Hannibal into the club.
"Just because we're different doesn't mean we can't be friends," said Sam.
Rudie took the red marker in his mouth and crossed out the words "KEEP OUT."
Walking beneath the cardboard and into their clubhouse, Sam and his friends laughed, meowed and barked.
Character Lesson, Acceptance: Just because someone is different doesn't mean they are bad. Learning to accept our differences can be fun.
Excerpted from Cats Keep Out by Vicki Diane Westling Copyright © 2009 by Vicki Diane Westling. Excerpted by permission.
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