Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Welcome to Dolce's Story Chair, Part 1

Dolce: Dad! We're all here!
Dad: Hi Dolce! Hi Magoo! Hi Smudge! How's my bears? Hello Miss Bella. How's my girl?
Smudge: I miss you Dad.
Dad: I miss you too. Come curl up on my lap.
Dolce: I wanted to curl up on your lap.
Dad: Dolce, Smudge has always slept on my lap. You can curl up next to Smudge, right next to me. Besides, you promised Scout that he could curl up next to you.
Bella: Haha! Dolce's blushing. I'm going to lay up here on the back of the chair.
Magoo: Good thing this chair is nice and big. I think I will just stretch out down here by Dad's feet. Phew! You would have thought he would have washed them before teleporting here.

Dad: I think I hear some of your furriends coming, Dolce. You make sure everyone has a mug of Hot Catmilk and a Catnip Cookie.
Magoo: I don't know why the story has to be about a woofie. Why can't the cat be the hero?
Dad: Magoo, Don't you dare ruin the story for Dolce and her furriends.
Magoo: I'm just saying. I don't think it's fair that the cat ...
Dad: Magoo! Stop it! Just sit and eat your Nip cookie.
Magoo: Mawrow-roohw-roohw.
Dad: Thank you.
Dad: Now let me see if I remember how this story goes...
Smudge: Dad! You know exactly how it goes. There was once a woofie named Shep. He was a woofie, great of heart and full of strength and what he knew best was how to protect those he loved...
Dad: Oh yes. To all Dolce's furriends, here is the story "Guard Well, Old Shep."

There once was a dog named Shep. He was a dog, great of heart and full of strength and what he knew best was how to protect those he loved. He patrolled his yard each morning and night and kept his eyes and nose alert for anything that did not belong.

Shep's ears perked and twitched as he heard his name being carried by the cold December wind. It distracted him from the blue wisp of scent he had been following along the snow covered hedge. There was a squirrel somewhere nearby in the hedge. His nose had followed the drifting scent from the old spruce tree to the hedge. When he had started out, the scent had been a very bright azure blue that lead like an arrow to the hedge, but now the scent floated and twisted in the air and had dimmed to a faint light blue. Shep buried his nose in the snow and tried to triangulate the source of the scent. The scent had completely faded. Shep snorted into the snow and sent a small puff of snowflakes swirling into the night air.

There was a time when he could follow a scent for hours, way past the hedge that bordered the long wide lawn. He would sometimes follow a scent past the creek and almost right through the grove of trees at the far end of his territory. Lately, Shep had found it harder and harder to venture past the far end of brambleberry hedge. He was often dejected to find that he would be forced to give up long before the scent had dissipated. Shep lifted his head and looked back towards the bright light of the doorway of his house. He looked briefly at the direction of the gently rolling scent of the squirrel. He wanted desperately wanted to keep chasing the scent. A sharp twinge in his chest and a nagging pain in his left hip reminded him that he was not as young as he thought he was. Shep heard his name called again.

"I'm coming." Shep woofed back, his deep voice boomed across the thick blanket of snow.

Shep turned away from the hedge and headed back towards his house.

There at the door stood his human, Tom, holding the door open. Shep looked up at his human.

"There was a squirrel in the hedge." Shep barked, "I almost had him. Other than that, there is nothing in the yard that doesn't belong there."

"Done with patrolling the yard, Shep?" Tom asked, not understanding what Shep has just told him. "Well, it's time to come in for the night."

Shep gave a short playful bark. Tom smiled and ruffled Shep's thickly furred neck. Tom watched as Shep headed for the kitchen. Like he had every night for the last fifteen years, Shep went to the kitchen for a evening snack after his patrol of the family yard. Tom chuckled softly at Shep's predictability. Tom went upstairs to his bedroom and left Shep to enjoy his evening nosh.

Shep walked over to the stairs and slowly made his way to the second floor. Normally he would have turned left and gone into the bedroom where the older humans slept. Shep's nose caught a strange acrid scent on the warm air currents of the house. It was not the friendly, warm, golden scent that followed all the humans of the house, nor was it the strong green scent of the cat, Puddles.

Now to a dog, all friends carry a bright yellow scent. The greater the friend the deeper the yellow. But prey or food carries a blue scent. Puddles the Cat had a green scent, because she was not quite prey and not quite a friend. Red is the colour of danger and evil. It warns all dogs that something terrible is nearby.

This scent was sharp and faintly red and it was eminating from the room where the twins slept. Shep looked briefly towards the older humans' room and longed to go to a warm bed. He felt a deep hurtful ache within his chest. Shep snorted and headed off along the thin red trail.

He pushed the door to the twin's bedroom open with his nose. He sniffed at the air of the room. The scent was definitely coming from one of the twins. Shep went to the small bed of the young male, Timothy. He pressed his nose against Timothy's neck. Shep did not smell the same red acrid scent he had discovered in the hallway. Timothy stirred as he felt Shep's cold nose on his neck, but he did not wake up. Shep moved towards the other twin, Jessica's bed. As he approached her bed, the acrid scent grew stronger and stronger. Shep pressed his nose against Jessica's neck. The heat from her body seared at Shep's cool nose. He sniffed at the breath that slowly wafted from her barely open mouth. With each tiny breath, Shep knew he had found the source of the red scent. He licked Jessica's cheek. What his nose had detected, his tongue now diagnosed; there was an infection starting to brew within Jessica's lungs. The humans' would not know about their daughter's illness for several days until Jessica would start to cough.

Shep strained to climb up onto Jessica's bed. He snuggled up as close to her body as he could from on top of the covers. Shep silently cursed his age. He would never have missed this when he was younger and stouter. But now that he knew of her illness, Shep's protective nature took over and he would guard his young friend until the illness past.

Tom came out of his bathroom and looked for Shep in his dog bed at the foot of the bed. For the first time in a long time, Shep was not curled up in the old sheepskin bed by the time Tom had finished brushing his teeth. Tom's breath caught in his chest as he suddenly imagined the worst.

Tom went into the hallway and looked around for Shep. He noticed that the door to the twins' bedroom was pushed open more than normal. He walked quietly to the door, pushed it open a little wider and looked in. He saw Shep's eyes glowing from the faint light leaking into the bedroom from the hallway as he laid on Jessica's bed. Tom was troubled, as Shep had rarely slept with one of the kids.

"Guard them well, Old Shep." Tom said softly as he partially closed the door behind him.

Tom trudged back to his bedroom. His wife, Sarah, was awake and was reading a book.

"Is anything wrong?" She asked over top the edge of her book.

"Shep's sleeping on Jessica's bed." Tom replied. "He's stretched out right alongside of her."

"That's strange." Sarah stated as she laid her book down on her lap.

"I think we better have the doctor look at the twins before Christmas." Tom said, "There is that bug going around their class."

"You weren't worried about the kids when you went looking for him." Sarah questioned her husband. "Were you?"

"No. When he wasn't in his bed like he always is, I had feared the worst." Tom replied. "Shep's very old. The Vet said that it would be a miracle if he made it past Thanksgiving let alone Christmas."

"We'll keep our fingers crossed that he makes it through New Years." Sarah rolled over and kissed her husband on his teary cheek. "And once New Years is past, we'll hope for Valentine's Day. I guess this also means Shep won't be helping pick out the Christmas Tree this year."

Tom closed his eyes and thought about Shep. It would be the first Christmas the twins did not have Shep to pull them on their toboggan as they searched for a Christmas Tree. The change in tradition gnawed at Tom's stomach. First Christmas, he thought, then we'll worry about New Years.

...Continued tomorrow.


  1. oh, this is a furry good story already. we're gonna have a hard time waitin' fur it ta be continued. thank you fur invitin' us ta join you - we always love yur stories. purrrrrrrs!

  2. Fanks yoo sooo much furr inviting us to yer story chare. We are injoying it furry much an can't wait furr the next part.The milk an catnip cookies are lishus too.

  3. ohhh.. the milk & cookies are wonderful. we can't wait for the rest of the story.

  4. Oh this is a furry good story. Thank you for the catnip and milk! I like curling up across from the chair where I can see efurryone.

  5. Meowm says she already likes Shep! I'm gonna have Meowm tell me a story while I curl up.....well, somewhere in the same vicinity, as I am just not a lap cat.

  6. We's didn't want the story to stop. It wuz furry gud. We can't' wait to hear how it all ends. We also like Shep. Fank yu fur the catnip cookies and milk! We will definitely be backs tomorrow for the next chapter.

    ~Abby, Boo, Ping, Jinx & Gracie

  7. Oh, this is a wonderful story. Momma read it to us this morning, because we didn't get the message until too late; but we will be here tonight. We can't wait. (Hope there will be more goodies)

    Patches, Mittens, Mistrie, Precious

  8. Wow, this is a good story! We don't even mind that it's got a woofie, we know soem of them are reely good. The cookies and milk are furry delishus too!

    Finny & Buddy

  9. Oh, we can't wates to hear more. Thank yoo fur 'viting us Dolce, we reely enjoyed the storey and the cookies and milk too. See yoo fur the next chapter!

  10. DK - This is a wonderful story, I can't wait to hear the next piece. Thanks again for inviting us all over.

    Joaquin, Xavier & Carmen - ...AND then what happened. No Joaquin, I havn't seen Boo... Sheezzz

    Fiona & Lando Bun - Thanks for having some parsley for us buns! Although, the nip cookie I took from Joaquin was pretty tasty

  11. oh, thank you for inviting us! it is a comfy chair, and the treats are delicious. you tell a furry good story--but mom's eyes are leakin' already. she 'spects . . . well, she won't tell us, just sez to listen close. and we will!!

  12. Oh thank you so much for tellin' us this story - we're enjoyin' it furry much! Can't wait to hear the next chapter!

  13. Boy, I sure do hope the twins are okay. I might not be able to sleep tonight! I hope it has a happy ending, I love Shep already...

  14. Mmmphhh...(munching) Thanks for the great 'nip cookies. I'm not a big fan of dogs myself, but I'll make an exception in Shep's case. He sounds like a great guy. We'll be back tomorrow!

    The Crew

  15. oh, this is a good story - but we can tell that maybe our mommy's eyes might leak. Fank you for the catnip cookie and the warm catmilk. We will be back for part 2.

  16. o, this be such a good story. i likes it 'cause it reminds me of my Bear, an older woofie. i goes 'n tells hers tha furrst part of this story now....

    ...'n fanks...

  17. We can't wate for the next installmint!!!!

  18. I like this storey becuz it's abowt a geezer dawg, and I'm a geezer cat.

  19. we're back, but we're too early for part 2 - can we just curl up here and wait?

  20. Thanks for the story, part 1, and the milk and cookies. Can't wait for the next part.

  21. Oh oh we can't wait for part 2! Yummy kitty milk and nip cookies too! Fanks! I fink Mini's gonna curl up here and wait wif Grr, Midnight and Cocoa. I gotsta ree-purrt tho. Be back toomorry night!

  22. What a great story! I can't wait for the next part.

  23. Oooo, I don't wants the story to stop! What happens to Jessica???? What happens to Shep???? Can I have another catnip cookie???

  24. Good story so far! And You are soft and warm to cuddle up next to Dolce!!! Same time, same place tomorrow!!!!!-Scout

  25. What amazing idea!! Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us all a story!
    Purrs and Headbutts
    Icon Baxter Bentley & family

  26. I just wanted you to know how much I'm enjoying each installment of the story!

  27. Ohhhhh we nefur heard a story before. This is so speshul.

  28. We camed tonite to catch up on the story. Mom's hafin sum hot chocolate an I had sum treats. Poor Shep, it's not easy gettin old.