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The Runaway Dog by Catherine Peterson

It was a beautiful day outside; the wind was blowing slightly in the trees and there were birds singing outside my window. It was the perfect Saturday to be laying on the bed, reading my favorite book, “The lightning thief” while my wonderful dog, Libby, lay at my feet. The wind blew through the open window on the other side of the room. It was a Saturday, and I was reading my favorite book, “The Lightning Thief”. My name is Catherine Peterson, and I am ten years old and in the fourth grade. I live in a small city, Annandale, in Virginia. I had lots of homework to do, like play my violin, but I thought that it was the perfect day to do what I love most. Read. My little brothers were playing with their toys, and my older brother, Connor, was in his room working on his Lego base. I am glad that I have something useful to do, I thought to myself. My thoughts were interrupted by my mom’s voice. “Catherine! Come downstairs!” She called. I raced down, and nearly ran into my older brother, who had his arms full of Lego’s. “Watch where you’re going, klutz.” He said, loud enough so I could hear him, but quiet enough that my parents and grandparents couldn’t hear him in the kitchen. With that, I raced into the kitchen, to find my parents having a conversation with my Nana. “There you are. We have been waiting for you for five minutes.” My dad said. “I was finishing my chapter.” I replied. “In my defense, it is a really good book.” “Well, you need to practice your violin, now.” My dad said to me. “But I don’t know where it is.” I complained, even though I knew very well, becauseI really wanted to finish my book. “Trunk of the van.” He said immediately right after I had said my lie. It was like he knew what I was going to say. As I was going out, my dad called out to me, “Take Libby with you, will ya?” I whistled for my hyper chocolate lab, and she came bolting down the stairs. I didn’t put her leash on her, becauseI thought she was being pretty obedient that day. I opened the door, let her do her business, and then I went to the car. My friend, Emily, from across the street, patted Libby on the head, and then spoke to me. “Whatcha doin’?” She asked in a sing-songy voice. “I have to get my violin.” I said back. “Do ya wanna play?” She asked. “Sure. Wanna hear me practice my violin for a few minutes?”I asked her. “I’ll come inside.” We walked up to my house, and then walked in. I practiced for about ten minutes, and then got bored. I went up to play with Emily in my room. We played my favorite game, marbles. I had invented it myself. We loved playing it. We were playing it when she suddenly blurted out a comment that was on my mind for a while after. “Where’s Libby?” She asked. “Whenever I come over, she usually jumps all over me. I started to get nervous, when she didn’t.” “Oh, she is probably just tired.” I said, thinking of the real possibilities that could have happened. I knew she hadn’t come in with us, but maybe by herself. Or maybe she is just lying on the grass outside, like she always does. I didn’t want to tell my parents becauseI was afraid that I would get into trouble for not keeping an eye on her. My conscience told me to worry about it later.

I finally let it take control over what I should do. After a little while, the thought slipped my mind, only to return later. I felt much more relaxed. We continued our game in peace. After playing for about fifteen minutes, and five games, she then had to go home. “Catherine, come down here!” My mom called. “Coming!” I yelled back, nervously. After finally getting downstairs. I went into the kitchen. My mom was waiting with my Nana. “Do you want to go to the store with Nana and I?” She asked. “Sure. Why are we going?” “Your father wants to make a good dinner, but he doesn’t have the ingredients.” She said. Minutes later, we were in the car and on our way to the store. We were going to split up, my mom going to the department store, and Nana and me to the grocery store. “I’ll come into the grocery store when I am done, and just start looking for you guys.” She said. She handed the grocery list to my grandmother, and off we went. There wasn’t much on the list, and it went by pretty fast. My mom met up with us about ten minutes in, and then we got a phone call that would change our mellow day forever. My mom answered it, and her face turned pale after about fifteen seconds. I could tell something was wrong. I got a tugging feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew what had happened, and that it was my entire fault. We paid for all of our stuff, and then we raced home as fast as the law would allow and as fast as our minivan would go. When we got home, I heard my dad calling Libby’s name. He was out in the backyard, calling in the woods. She could be anywhere, I thought to myself. I started to cry right after he called 11 times. Not the balling your eyes out kind of cry, but the silent type. The type you use at a funeral. I thought that I would never see her again. As we started to look, I remembered Emily’s words. Where’s Libby? Why isn’t she here? The words echoed in my head. I decided that I would call her to help look. A few minutes later, she came over, and didn’t even knock. She just walked right in and asked to start looking. My little brothers helped look for the first fifteen minutes, and then my Nana took them inside and kept them occupied. I could see that they were really sad. We looked for hours on end. Watching for anything that might lead us to where she might be. It had snowed a lot lately, and the ground was covered in three inches of snow. It helped us at first, becausethere were tracks, but then my mom told us that there were dozens of dogs in our neighborhood, and the tracks could belong to any one of them. We looked up and down our streets, and even went down to the school. I yelled her name, and Emily used her dog whistle, but nothing worked. There were acres of woods in our neighborhood, and she could have been hit by a speeding car. I tried to push those thoughts out of my head. I was so angry with myself at this point; I wanted to scream at myself. Then, after four and a half excruciating hours, my mom called the local pound. We all hoped that she had been rescued and not hurt bad, but we could only hope for the best. I tried to listen onto her conversation, but it was hard. “Hi, yes, my name is Andrea Peterson, I live at 8013 Garlot Drive, and our dog has gotten lost…Yes…A chocolate lab retriever…She is micro chipped…Yes…MmHmmm…About a year and a half old…Very hyper…Okay…Thank you.” And then she hung up. “Well?” I asked. “They had many dogs with our description come in, but they haven’t checked any for microchips. They said that they would call us back.” She replied. Twenty five minutes later we were eating dinner as a family. All of our voices were hoarse from calling to Libby so much. We had chili, but we all ate halfheartedly and picked at our food. Right before dinner was over, the phone rang.

“Hello? Yes, this is she…MmHmmm…Okay…Thank you so much.” She said into the phone. “She’s coming home. They scanned her, and she is ours.” She said to the family. We all cheered. We finished our dinners, and then went off to bed. We could all sleep peacefully that night, knowing that she would be all right. We woke up the next morning, and went to school. My mom would be going to get Libby while we were at school. We were pretty bummed out, but we knew that we would be seeing her real soon. After school was over, we ran home to greet Libby and shower her in hugs and treats. We played with her all afternoon. That night, I was thinking about last Saturday. I was so glad to have Libby back home. I knew that the next time I took her out, I would be more careful, and put her leash on. Looking back, I thought that that experience was a good lesson for me.

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