Meet the students at Puppy Academya team of plucky puppies learning to be working dogs.
Scout wants nothing more than to be a police dog, just like her mom and dad. But when she fails her test, Scout isn't sure she'll ever earn her badgeuntil, that is, a sausage thief strikes. It's up to Scout to catch the culprit and save the day.
About the Author
Gill Lewis spent much of her childhood in the garden. When she grew up, she became a vet and a children's author. She lives in Somerset, England, with her husband and three children and writes from a tree house in the company of squirrels.
Sarah Horne is a versatile illustrator whose work has appeared in children's books, advertisements, and newspapers throughout the UK. She is also the writer and illustrator of the original series Molly & Mimi. Sarah lives in London.
Read an Excerpt
Scout and the Sausage Thief
By Gill Lewis, Sarah Horne
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2015 Gill Lewis
All rights reserved.
Scout hid behind the stack of baked-bean cans and waited. The supermarket was busy with Saturday morning shoppers. She knew this was the moment when Frank Furter, the notorious sausage thief, would strike again. He could steal a salami from a sandwich or a hot dog from a hot-dog stand without ever being seen. No police dog had caught him in action yet.
No one knew just how Frank Furter stole the sausages. But Scout thought she knew. She'd worked it out and now she was ready. She looked up at the ceiling of the supermarket and waited for Frank's next move.
High above people's heads, one white ceiling tile slid slowly sideways. Frank's face appeared in the gap, spying down on the fresh-meat counter. Scout could see the bungee cord tied around his chest. She'd have to be quick on her feet to catch him.
Down came Frank.
"Gotcha!" shouted Scout.
She pounced, wrapping the string of sausages around and around him, tying him up in a big sausage knot.
Everyone cheered. Frank Furter had been caught at last, and Scout was their hero.
* * *
Scout woke up from her daydream.
"Come on, Scout," said her mom. "Finish your breakfast. You can't be late for school today."
"Do you think Frank Furter will ever be caught?" said Scout.
Scout's dad put down his paper. "He's very clever. No one has worked out just how he steals the sausages."
"But how do you know it's him?" asked Scout.
"Frank's pawprints are found all over the crime scenes," said Scout's dad. He shook his head. "Your mom and I have been working on this investigation for months. If we don't catch him before the weekend, the village sausage festival will have to be canceled."
"Canceled?" said Scout. "But it's the most famous sausage festival in the world."
"I know," said Mom. "But unless Frank is caught, no one's sausages are safe. These are dark times. There hasn't been a case like this since Peppa Roni the Italian Spinoni hijacked Burt the Butcher's truck."
Scout frowned. "If anyone can catch Frank, you and Dad can."
Scout's mom sighed. "I hope so, Scout. I hope so."
Scout's mom and dad were well-known police dogs. They were loved by the villagers and feared by burglars. Until the recent spate of sausage robberies, there hadn't been a crime in Little Barking for three years.
"Frank trained to be a police dog with us when we were at Puppy Academy," said Scout's mom. "He had a thing about sausages even back then."
"Frank Furter was a police dog?!" said Scout. "But he should know not to break the law."
Scout's dad looked across at her. "There have been a few police dogs who have forgotten their vows."
Scout put her paw to her chest. "I vow to be honest, brave, and true, and to serve my fellow dogs and humans too."
"And above all else, be kind." Scout's mom smiled. "I'm sure you will make a great police dog one day."
Scout puffed out her chest in pride. She was a German shepherd. She wanted to be a police dog like her mom and dad. She wanted to catch burglars, find lost children, and keep everyone in Little Barking safe.
"You look sharp in your new collar," said Scout's dad.
"I have to look my best today," said Scout. "Our first test for our Care in the Community badge is to present ourselves to Major Bones."
Scout went to the Sausage Dreams Puppy Academy for working dogs, where she was training to become a police dog. There were all sorts of puppies at the academy. Some were training to be sheepdogs. Others were training for water rescue or mountain rescue. And others wanted to assist humans who were blind or hard of hearing. There were so many different jobs for the puppies to choose from.
"Don't forget your coat," said Scout's mom. "There's more rain forecast for today."
Scout's dad looked at the water pooling outside the kennel. "The river is rising and the duck brigade is on standby for any flooding. The new houses by the river are at risk if it keeps raining like this."
Scout put on her coat and looked at the row of badges she'd earned so far. She hoped she could add the Care in the Community badge by the end of the day.
* * *
Scout set off for the Puppy Academy. Despite the rain, she was feeling happy. She trotted through the main street of Little Barking. The village was busy with humans on their way to work and to school. Ahead, a crowd had gathered outside the butcher's shop. Scout pushed her way through to find out what the fuss was about.
Burt the Butcher was standing in the doorway, red-faced and shaking his fist in the air. The meat trays in his shop window were sausage-less.
"The sausage thief has struck again!" shouted Burt.
There were gasps of horror from the crowd.
"The sausage festival will be canceled," wailed one woman.
Scout looked around at the shocked faces, but she knew it was too late to do anything. Frank Furter, the master cold-meats criminal, would be far away already.
Scout set off again. She was weaving her way in and out of parents with strollers and children on their way to school when she stumbled upon something on the ground.
It was a threadbare teddy with a missing eye and a bandage on its paw. It lay in a puddle with a big, muddy footprint on its tummy.
It looked sad and lonely. Scout sniffed it. Beneath the mud and water, it smelled of strawberry shampoo and cheese-and-pickle sandwiches.
Scout knew that someone loved this teddy. She looked around to see if anyone was looking for it, but everyone was hurrying to get out of the rain.
A human child must have dropped this on the way to school, she thought. Maybe she should take it to the school, but she knew that would make her late for her test. Maybe she should leave it here. Whoever lost it might find it on the way home.
Scout sat the teddy on a bench and walked on, but deep inside she just knew that someone wanted this teddy back. She couldn't leave it. Scout turned around, picked up the teddy, and trotted to the school. She followed the long line of children to the school gates. A small girl smelling of strawberry shampoo was sobbing in her mother's arms.
Scout trotted up and pushed the teddy into the girl's hands.
"Eddie!" cried the girl. "You're alive!" She hugged her teddy tight against her.
"Clever pup," said the girl's mother, patting Scout on the head. "However did you find him?"
Scout wanted to tell her where she'd found the teddy, but she knew humans didn't understand woofs and barks, so she just wagged her tail instead.
The girl reached into her bag and offered Scout a cheese-and-pickle sandwich, but at that moment the school bell rang. It was time for Scout to go to school too.
She turned and ran. She couldn't be late. She had to make it to Puppy Academy on time.CHAPTER 2
Scout ran out of the school gates. If she took the shortcut through the park, she might be able to get to the academy in time for the first test. She squeezed through the hedge, the brambles catching and sticking in her fur. Her feet raced across the field, mud flying up from her paws.
As she ran through the academy gates, she could see her class lining up in the hall. She rushed in to join them, mud and rain dripping from her coat, brambles stuck in her fur and collar.
"Where have you been?" whispered Lulu.
"We've been waiting for you," said Murphy.
"You're late!" Major Bones glared at her. Major Bones was one of the teachers at Puppy Academy, and he was known for being strict.
"I'm sorry," panted Scout, "but —"
"No buts," woofed Major Bones. He looked Scout up and down. "You look like you've been dragged through a hedge!"
"I have —" began Scout.
Major Bones tutted. "You do realize good presentation is one of your Care in the Community tests today?"
"Yes," said Scout. "I —"
"No excuses, Scout. I can't pass you looking like that. Now go and get yourself cleaned up and join us for the crosswalk test."
Scout ran off, her tail between her legs. She tried to brush the mud from her fur, but it stuck in thick clumps and she couldn't remove it all. It would have to do.
She rejoined Major Bones and the other pups in the hall. Rain hammered on the roof above.
"Normally, we would do the crosswalk test outside," said Major Bones, "but as it's raining, we'll take the test in the hall today."
The pups all looked at the crosswalk chalked on the ground. Scout felt her legs shaking. She wasn't off to a good start. She had to do well in this next test. She had to.
"We're very lucky to have Mrs. Chubbs, the pet shop owner, here today," woofed Major Bones. "She has volunteered to be our human in need, and she has generously donated a large bag of Crunchie Munchies for you all to share after the test."
All the puppies barked and wagged their tails. Crunchie Munchies were everyone's favorite treats.
"Today I will be testing you on how to help someone across a busy street," woofed Major Bones.
Mrs. Chubbs shuffled onto the training ground. She walked slowly with the help of a cane. She gave all the puppies a little wave. Scout sat up straight, her feet together and her ears pricked up. She wanted Major Bones to know she could do this.
"Let's have Murphy first," said Major Bones.
Murphy trotted forward. He took Mrs. Chubbs gently by the sleeve, looked left and right and left again, and guided her over the crossing.
"Well done, well done," said Major Bones. "I hope everyone was watching Murphy, because that's how to do it."
Murphy trotted back to the line of puppies, his head held high.
"Now, let's have Scout," woofed Major Bones.
Scout felt nervous. She didn't want to mess this up. Her muscles were in tight knots.
She grabbed Mrs. Chubbs.
"Ow! Oooh! My arm!" cried Mrs. Chubbs.
Scout let go. In her rush, she'd grabbed Mrs. Chubbs's arm, not her sleeve. Scout backed away, knocking Mrs. Chubbs's cane from under her.
"SCOUT! BE CAREFUL!" bellowed Major Bones as Mrs. Chubbs clattered to the ground.
Scout looked between Mrs. Chubbs and Major Bones. "I didn't mean to! I'm sorry."
Major Bones helped Mrs. Chubbs to her feet. He shook his head. "I don't know what's gotten into you today, Scout. I think you'd better come and see me in my office. I don't think you're up to taking the rest of your Care in the Community tests today."CHAPTER 3
Scout stood and waited for Major Bones in his office. There were piles of papers everywhere, boxes stuffed with books, and drawers bursting with pens and pencils. There were agility hoops and jumps packed against the back wall. Scout couldn't even see the surface of the desk.
"Ah, Scout," said Major Bones, coming into the room. "Sit down, sit down."
Scout looked around but couldn't see a spare seat beneath the mess.
Major Bones sat down in his chair. "So, Scout. I'm here to listen. In your own words, tell me what went wrong today."
"Well," said Scout, "I —"
RING! RING! RING! RING!
"Excuse me," said Major Bones. "I'd better take that call."
Major Bones searched under boxes and piles of paper.
"Now, where did I put that phone?" he muttered.
He searched and searched until the phone stopped ringing.
"Never mind," said Major Bones. "Where were we ... Ah, yes! Well, Scout. I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to award you the Care in the Community badge today. You haven't passed the presentation test or the crosswalk test." He frowned. "Really, Scout, I'm not sure you even want this badge. Take a good look at yourself. You've come to school plastered in mud and brambles."
Scout stared down at the floor. She hadn't had a chance to tell her side of the story. "I'm sorry," she whimpered.
"Don't worry, young pup." Major Bones sighed. "No harm done. Mrs. Chubbs is fine after her fall. You'll just have to try a little harder next time." He glanced at the mud and brambles in her coat. "Maybe avoid the park next time too."
Scout nodded, but she had wanted to pass the test with her friends. She didn't want her mom and dad to know she'd failed.
"In the meantime," said Major Bones, "I'd like you to take the bag of Crunchie Munchies to the food shed. The lock has broken, so I'll put you on guard duty until the others have finished their tests."
Scout helped Major Bones carry the bag across the yard. The rain had stopped, but the clouds looked dark and swollen with more rain. Major Bones placed the Crunchie Munchies in the food shed and closed the door.
"Right, Scout," he said. "Your job is to guard the Crunchie Munchies. Can you do that for me?"
Scout nodded. She watched Major Bones walk away to join the other pups in the class and continue the tests without her.
Scout shivered. A cold wind was blowing, finding its way through her thick fur to her skin. She wanted to find shelter, but she had to guard the food shed.
While she waited, Scout looked out across the academy. At the bottom of the hill she could see the new housing development where the river-meadows used to be. The river looked brown and swollen and had risen to the tops of the banks.
* * *
"Hey, Scout! It's break time. Are you okay?"
Scout looked up to see Gwen, Murphy, Scruff, and Lulu walking over to her.
"I'm okay," she said, trying to sound cheerful. "How are the tests?"
"They're all right," said Gwen. "We had to find a lost child and then rescue a cat from a tree."
Scout put her head on her paws. She wished she could have done the tests with them. She was missing all the fun.
"Come and play with us," woofed Gwen. "We've got a break until lunchtime."
Scout shook her head. "I have to guard the food shed."
"It's not as if anyone's going to steal the treats," Gwen said.
"You never know," said Scruff. "Frank Furter hasn't been caught yet."
"But he goes after sausages, not Crunchie Munchies," said Lulu.
"How do you think he steals the sausages?" said Murphy.
"Invisibility cape," said Gwen. "That's what my brother says."
"My dad thinks he's invented a sausage magnet," woofed Scruff.
"No one knows," said Scout. "That's the thing. No one knows how he does it."
"So you're not coming to play?" said Gwen.
Scout shook her head. Her duty was to guard the food shed. Even if she couldn't be a police dog, she could act like one.
"See you later then," said Murphy.
Scout stayed by the food shed. She didn't move. Her stomach rumbled all through lunchtime and into the afternoon. She watched her classmates do the rest of their Care in the Community tests. She watched them picking up litter and practicing to keep the peace at the sausage festival. Last year the festival had turned ugly when Verity's Vegan Sausages scooped first prize over Burt's Black Pudding.
Scout heard Professor Offenbach call everyone together in the hall. Professor Offenbach was the head of the Sausage Dreams Puppy Academy. She was a small dog with a big voice that boomed out across the academy.
Scout sat and waited by the food shed and listened.
"WELCOME, PUPS, TO OUR FRIDAY AWARD CEREMONY. IT'S BEEN ANOTHER BUSY WEEK AT THE ACADEMY. TODAY WE HAVE BADGES TO GIVE OUT FOR CARE IN THE COMMUNITY. THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL BADGE INDEED. I'D LIKE TO CALL MURPHY, GWEN, LULU, AND SCRUFF UP TO THE GIANT SAUSAGE PODIUM TO RECEIVE THEIR AWARDS."
Scout wished she could be up at the podium too. What would her mom and dad say when they found out she was the only pup in her class not to receive the badge?
"AND," woofed Professor Offenbach, "WE CAN NOW CELEBRATE WITH MRS. CHUBBS'S CRUNCHIE MUNCHIES!"
All the pups cheered, and Scout watched them racing toward her and the food shed. She wasn't sure she felt like Crunchie Munchies anymore.
"Hi, Scout," said Gwen.
"Well done for getting your Care in the Community badge," said Scout. She tried her best to smile.
"Now then," said Major Bones. "Who would like a Crunchie Munchie?"
The other pups all put their paws in the air.
Major Bones opened the food shed and went inside.
He didn't come out with the Crunchie Munchies. He came out with a frown on his face instead. "Scout," he said, "have you been here all this time?"
"I haven't moved a muscle, sir," said Scout.
"Has anyone been in the food shed?"
"No," said Scout.
Major Bones walked all the way around the food shed and bent down to look Scout in the eye. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," said Scout. "No one else has been here."
Major Bones looked at the crowd. "We have a problem," he said.
The puppies all glanced at one another.
Major Bones pulled himself up to his full height. "The problem is, the Crunchie Munchies ... are missing!"
Excerpted from Scout and the Sausage Thief by Gill Lewis, Sarah Horne. Copyright © 2015 Gill Lewis. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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