A dog's life is more than just tail-wagging, treat-begging and squirrel-chasing. In The Butterflies Above My Bed, Mya Mia Happy Michael (as told to her beloved human companion Samantha Michael), chronicles the joys, frustrations and general puzzlement's of a dog's life. And though a glass window separates Mya's sunny perch inside from the wild, untamed world of the forest into which she gazes daily with full attention, the boundary between nature and civilization can be torn at any moment, as Mya learns when her world collides unexpectedly with that of a wandering monarch butterfly. She'll soon be endearingly duped into "punishment" for her unintentional error but even that trick offers a few treats of its own.
Mya navigates a human-dominated landscape filled with inexplicable gadgets, simple pleasures and strange holidays, unafraid to assert her "dogness" at every turn. The friendly beagle reminds her human audience that the length of a leash is an oh-so-surmountable limitation for a well-meaning dog with an appetite for adventure.
Samantha's own experience writing her memoir The Beauty of my Shadow aided Mya in composing hers. Together, they've helped each other power through the ups and downs of a world with a propensity for unexpected happenings, reminding each other that beauty is fleeting and fragile but it is nonetheless everywhere, ready to reveal itself to those willing to look.
A percentage of author royalties from the sale of this book are donated to charity of Mya's choice. Please see www.anaid.org for details. Donated royalties are net of commissions.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.07(d)|
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The Butterflies Above My Bed
By Mya Mia Happy, S.D. Michael
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2014 Mya Mia Happy and S.D. Michael
All rights reserved.
SUMMER: The Butterfly
The sunlight warms my fur. It is the hottest time of the year and I am lying outside looking into the forest behind my house. Every day I work inside as a watchdog for Samantha. My bed in the house is the best spot to see all the action but today I feel like being outside. I usually bark at most dogs I see walking not too far away on a path in the woods. Who I bark at depends on my mood and what time of the day it is. But when I am outside, I am only allowed to bark once; otherwise I get in trouble. I usually try to be a good dog.
This summer has been exciting so far because a small furry animal with pointy ears and a white and fluffy short tail moved underneath the wood I am lying on, the one Samantha calls a deck. Now I want to be outside all the time to catch it. I am always ringing a bell that hangs from the door handle and scratching the glass which makes Samantha say "no" really loud. One day she spoke loud to a black box, about the size of one of my toys, while she held it up to her head.
"The bunny is out and running into the forest! I have to block him from getting back under! Bye!" she said.
She quickly ran outside and put some pieces of wood at the bottom of the porch, yet the scent of the animal called Bunny did not disappear. So I still hunt for it daily. I hope that it will come again. I often scratch the wood and try to get underneath to see what Bunny did down there because I heard it being busy moving around and building something. Samantha got mad at me for scratching so much. One day as I was digging she spoke loud to me. She then removed some of the wood to let me inspect where Bunny had been. I did not find it there and I looked everywhere I could! I still have not given up though and I will keep on looking. After that day I heard Samantha talking into that black box again, saying, "Mya is a beagle and they love hunting bunnies and foxes."
I love hunting foxes too? Wow, I have no idea what a fox looks like. I can only dream of one day seeing one and following its scent. Bunnies I have known about since I was a puppy but I did not know they were called that until this summer. I can smell them everywhere. I love my nose!
As a puppy I remember hunting for one while walking through the forest one day, holding the stuffed orange carrot in my mouth, the one that makes noise when I bite it. Samantha only let me do this a few times until she learned that I would strategically drop the carrot somewhere by the trees where I thought I could trap the bunny. She seemed to not want me to do this and she spoke loud to me but I only understood a few words of what she said, like walk, carrot and no. After that she would not help me hunt for Bunny anymore. I was only allowed to play with my carrot inside!
One day, goofing around in the house, I destroyed my carrot. Ripping it apart felt great. Pulling and spitting out all the fluffy stuff inside with my teeth as I hunted for the squeaky was so much fun! I would stick my nose and mouth inside and then shake my head quickly side to side as I tried to find it here, there and everywhere! After doing that a couple of times with other new stuffed carrots Samantha stopped bringing them home for me to play with and that was the end of my dream to catch Bunny. So this summer when the real bunny moved under the wood floor out back, I could not believe it because he came without me having my carrot!
Today one of the small black furry animals with a long tail grabs my attention as it climbs up the trunk of a tree. Sometimes I bark at them but because I can hear in the distance a dog and person walking in the forest I stay quiet because Samantha doesn't like it when I bark outside. Soon I see a dog that lives on my street walking out from behind a hill that blocks my view. I bark loudly once and then under my breath, trying to "whisper", as Samantha calls it, so that she does not get upset and make me go back inside. The big brown dog is running free without that rope called a leash attached to the collar thing around her neck. I am not allowed to be like that. I have gotten out a few times when Samantha was not paying attention and I was able to run around the forest without a leash. She chased after me, so it was really fun and since then I've always been looking for new opportunities to be free like that again!
As I watch the forest I notice a small orange object flying above the lawn. I have seen it before in one of the boxes on the wall above my bed. The orange parts of its body are shaped like the pigs ears I used to love eating as a puppy. I still don't know what a pig is but it tasted so good! Samantha won't let me eat them anymore because she says that we do not know where they are from. I don't understand what is wrong with that! I have never seen one moving before, or outside the box. They only sit above my bed staring at me.
I have many beds inside the house but that one is where I wait for Samantha to come home every day. Sometimes she takes too long. Those things in the boxes keep me company. Today somehow one of them has gotten out!
As it flies around, I cannot take my eyes off it. I can tell it is a girl because of how pretty it is. I think she should go back in her box. I am going to get her!
Moving slowly I step on the lawn to walk towards her. I am trying not to scare her away. All of a sudden I jump into the air and lunge at her. Yes! I catch a bit of the orange part of her with my teeth and she flutters rapidly, tickling my nose with her feet and orange pig's ear-like thing, trying to break free. I clamp my mouth to hold her but she is able to fly away and I am left with part of her in my mouth. The little piece falls to the ground as I walk back to the porch. Lying down again, I wait to see if she comes back.
The patio door opens behind me. As I turn my head I see Samantha, who is carrying those toys she likes to play with in the dirt around the rock. She walks over to the rock but midway she stops. Looking down at the lawn, she gasps.
"Oh my goodness, it's a monarch butterfly!" she says.
Gently, she picks something up. I recognize immediately the orange thing that I was trying to catch just now! I watch how easily Samantha captured her.
"What happened to your wing? You look thirsty," she says.
In Samantha's hand I can see what she just called butterfly, slowly moving back and forth the pig's ear-like things that I think are called wings, from what she just said. The butterfly is not trying to fly away like she was when she was being held between my teeth. Samantha holds the butterfly up close and examines it almost like she examines my feet sometimes after I come in from running across the lawn barking at a dog in the forest. I am always called back inside after doing this, kind of like a punishment because I am not "whispering". As Samantha examines my feet, she says she is looking to see that I did not run through poop. Sometimes she calls it another name.
"You look like you just fell from the sky or are suffering from some wing-eating disease! I wish I knew how to save you—you look like you need CPR! I am going to call Mom—you stay here," she says as she sets the butterfly down on a table.
As Samantha walks back inside she looks over at me as I get up to inspect where she found the orange butterfly on the lawn. If she could read my mind, she would know what really happened to her!
While I inspect the grass, I can hear Samantha talking behind the door which has lots and lots of little holes for me to smell through.
"Mom, a monarch butterfly just fell from the sky! It looks like it is sick and struggling to breathe! What should I do with it?" she asks.
She looks outside at the table while holding the black box to her ear. I still have not figured out why she does this! Sometimes Samantha puts it up to my ear and I can hear Mom talking. It is so weird because she is not in the house! Maybe one day I will understand. Unless I see Mom, though, I will not believe it is her.
A dog barks in the distance. I run fast to the right corner of the lawn while whispering. I stop once I get to the end of my leash. I see nothing in the forest. Samantha, meanwhile, is still talking.
"Oh, the poor thing, it is so beautiful—I remember when I was young how thousands of them descended upon the willow trees in front of our house that one time, when they were about to migrate. Now I have heard that they are somewhat endangered and I can see why if they are just dropping from the sky in this way, poor things ... no, I do not see any milkweed plants ... yes ... okay I will do that. I want him to have everything he needs to get better ... Thanks for your suggestions. Bye."
Some doors bang inside and then Samantha comes out carrying a small bowl, like the one I normally get my food in.
"Here you go, little guy," she says as she gently picks up the butterfly again.
She is wrong calling it little guy though because I know it is a girl!
"Mom says to put you in the flowers of my vegetable garden with a bit of water in case you need it. The peas are in bloom right now."
Samantha walks over to the side of the yard and bends down to set the butterfly and bowl behind a metal fence that has big holes I can see through.
"Even if this is your last breath, little guy, I want you to die happy," she says.
She then walks over to the rock garden. I can't believe that she does not realize that I just had this so-called 'butterfly' pinned between my teeth! How can I get behind the fence to go see her? Samantha put that contraption up after the bunny surprisingly ate all her spinach earlier this summer. I watched him eat it! I wanted to stay outside for hours and hours to wait for it to return and eat some more. Sometimes I like to eat spinach too.
Gazing back into the forest, I look for another dog or butterfly to come by. Samantha sits on the lawn and in the dirt in front of her she pulls green plants to throw in a bucket. She does not look like she is having fun like me when I play with my toys. If I had a squeaky right now, I would get her to play with me instead.CHAPTER 2
SUMMER: Bye Bye
"The butterfly is dead," Samantha says, talking into the black box. "I went out today to see how he was doing and he was stiff and lifeless underneath the plant's flowers—I examined it more closely and it looks like the butterfly wing eating disease ate almost half of its wing—it looks almost like a bite mark—you have to wonder what new technology and all those signals travelling through the air as well as the decrease in the milkweed plant from the use of chemicals to get rid of weeds are doing to these beautiful insects ... impossible, Mya would not kill a butterfly! ... I am shocked! But you are right that it did look like her teeth took a swipe at it ... I am going to teach her a lesson from this ... yes, I know she is a dog ... yes, I know our old Shepherd used to snap at bumblebees ... bye Mom—love you too."
Setting down the black box, Samantha walks to the front of the house. I hear some noise and then she walks back to my bed, where I sit gazing at the forest. She sits down on the floor in front of me.
"Mya, did you kill the butterfly?" she asks.
I keep my eyes glued to the forest.
I see her out of the corner of my eye hold up one of the boxes off the wall above my bed. Slowly I pull my eyes from the forest to see the orange and yellow things called butterflies. I am surprised and happy to see they are all back in the box!
"Mya, I don't want you killing these. These ones in the box were created in an effort to increase the population of butterflies in our world."
I stare at Samantha. She looks at the back of the box, moving her eyes from left to right. I have no idea what she is doing.
"Butterfly farming now represents a multi-million dollar enterprise all across the world," she says, looking into my eyes, "they are raised in protected environments until they breed and lay eggs. A portion of the emerging adults are returned to the wild, while another portion is used for items such as this framed wall piece as well as research."
I tilt my head as she talks, trying to understand what she is saying. As she continues, I curl up and lay my head down to just stare at her blankly. She always treats me smarter than I am. I like this though because sometimes all of a sudden I will understand better what she is talking about! But what she is saying right now is difficult for me to understand.
"My purchase here," she says, "helped increase the butterfly population around the world. I am hurt that because of your biting one that there is one less now and the kids in the neighbourhood would be hurt too if they knew!"
Okay, kids and neighbourhood I understood. Boy she is upset.
Samantha gets up and goes to the front of the house. I jump off to follow her. She hangs the box of butterflies back on the wall above my bed. I jump up and look out to the road to see what is happening. Samantha leaves me by myself.
Outside I see the old man who calls me Money walking. He occasionally looks over at me while he walks back and forth from house to house on another road that meets up with ours. I do not know why he calls me Money but he said to Samantha that in Punjabi, Mya means money. He keeps goodies in his pocket and feeds me while he calls me Good Money. I do not understand what he means because I only know that money is metal, paper and plastic that Samantha uses to get my food and treats. But if that is what money is, then yes, I am Good Money!
In the kitchen, I hear the door of the cupboard open, where all the cold food is kept. Then I hear a bag being opened. I immediately jump off my bed because I know I am going to get fed. This makes me happy because seeing the old man and thinking about getting treats from him made me hungry!
Getting to the kitchen I wait as Samantha pours something over my bowl.
"It's hot," she says.
She then adds some of my crunchy food and blows on it. After she sets the bowl down I quickly start to eat. I cannot believe it has been a couple of hours since I last ate! I usually eat four times a day. I heard Samantha say once while holding the black box up to her head that she does this to trick me into eating less because she spreads the food out into small portions like this. I have no idea what she is talking about! She calls me a pig though when I beg for food. The nice guy who sits on the floor with me when we visit him always tells her I have to lose some weight but I don't know what that means. All I know is that when my backyard is full of that cold white stuff I want to eat more than ever!
Today I devour my food and lick every last bit from the bowl. I want more!CHAPTER 3
FALL: Halloween Costume
Samantha walks in the house carrying stuff and calls for me. Running towards her I sniff the outside of a bag and smell my store. Yay! Pulling out a package she holds it up. On it I see a picture of orange pieces that look like part of a butterfly.
"This was on sale for ten dollars at the cash, hard to believe just before Halloween! I never would have gone looking for a costume for you," she says.
She quickly rips open the package and pulls out the big orange "ears". As Samantha bends down she takes my paw in her hand and steps me into one black circle in the middle of the costume. She then wraps the orange things around my back and steps me into the rest of the costume.
"It was the only costume on sale and they had your size. So I decided that this year we are going to give out treats to kids at the door and you are going to wear these. I feel it is important for you to be pro butterfly now. It will help me forgive you for killing Butty the butterfly, k?" she asks looking into my eyes.
Passively I look at her and wait for her to stop moving around what she just put on my back. I have no idea why she is doing this or what she is talking about. Opening her mouth wide and showing her teeth Samantha looks at me as she stands up.
"Good dog, Mya," she says.
She pulls something else out of the bag. I recognize it immediately. It is my favourite treat! I wag my tail frantically. Samantha steps away and walks toward the kitchen. I run after her with the pig's ear-like pieces dangling on my back. It feels weird but I don't care. Near the table I eagerly wait as she rips open the bag. She sits down on the wood floor and looks me in the eye.
"Sit," she says.
I obey her by setting my bottom on the ground.
"Good girl," Samantha says and feeds me a piece of dry chicken.
"Leave it," she says and places chicken on my head and paws.
I try to stare down at my paw and wait but if I am not careful the chicken will fall of my head!
"Watch me," she says.
I struggle to pull my eyes off the floor in front of me. It is so hard!
Samantha repeats herself. "Watch me, Mya."
Excerpted from The Butterflies Above My Bed by Mya Mia Happy, S.D. Michael. Copyright © 2014 Mya Mia Happy and S.D. Michael. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsSUMMER: The Butterfly, 1,
SUMMER: Bye Bye, 7,
FALL: Halloween Costume, 10,
FALL: Practice Time, 13,
FALL: Trick-or-Treat, 17,
WINTER: My Dream, 25,
About the Authors, 28,