Pugsley

Free Pugsley by Ellen Miles

Book: Pugsley by Ellen Miles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ellen Miles
CHAPTER ONE
    Dogs.
    Dogs.
    Dogs.
    Everywhere Lizzie Peterson looked, she saw dogs. Huge dogs and tiny dogs, curly-haired dogs and long-eared dogs, and dogs with big, fluffy tails. There were dogs that barked and dogs that whined and dogs that ran across the floor with their toenails clicking and their mouths wide open in huge doggy smiles.
    Lizzie was in heaven. She didn’t know which dog to hug first, which one to pat, which one to tell, “Good dog!” So she tried to do it all. She leaned over to hug a big, gentle shepherd mix, held out a hand to pat the pushy nose of a white-and-brownterrier, and said, “Happy Birthday, Max!” to the goofy black Lab who had brought over a stuffed clown to show her. It was Max’s birthday (he was turning two), and Lizzie had been helping to set up a doggy birthday party for him.
    “You sure do love dogs,” said the woman standing next to Lizzie.
    “I sure do,” Lizzie said, reaching out to pat another dog who had run over to visit.
    Lizzie smiled up at her aunt Amanda, the owner of Bowser’s Backyard. Aunt Amanda was tall and thin with long, curly red hair. She didn’t look much at all like Lizzie’s dad, even though she was his little sister. Aunt Amanda and her husband, Uncle James, had lived in California for the last ten years, so Lizzie had hardly ever met them, except at one family reunion.
    Of course, Lizzie had heard lots of stories about “dog-crazy Amanda,” but she’d never had a chance to get to know her aunt. That is, not until Aunt Amanda and Uncle James had moved to Littleton.
    Aunt Amanda had just opened her dream business: a doggy day care. And it wasn’t far from Lizzie’s house!
    “And dogs love
you
, too,” her aunt added now. “I can see that. You really have a way with animals.”
    Lizzie felt like she might burst with happiness. Coming from Aunt Amanda, that meant a lot.
    Lizzie had been stopping by Bowser’s Backyard at least once a week since it had opened. It was the first doggy day care business in Littleton. At first, Lizzie wasn’t even sure what doggy day care
was.
    Aunt Amanda had explained that it was a place where people could bring their dogs for the day. The dogs could play safely there all day and get to know other dogs. Then their owners didn’t have to leave them home alone while they (the people, that is!) went to work. With the help of her staff, Amanda cared for up to thirty dogs a day — including her own dogs.
    She and Uncle James had two adorable pugs named Lionel and Jack, plus a sweet old golden retriever named Bowser. Lizzie had never known a pug before, but as soon as she met Lionel and Jack she understood why Aunt Amanda was “pug crazy,” as she called it. The two pugs were like little brown bundles of energy, with flat wrinkly faces and curly corkscrew tails. And they were cuddly, too. They were the funniest, cutest dogs Lizzie had ever met.
    Lizzie liked to talk about dogs — any kind of dogs, not just pugs — with Aunt Amanda. Of course, her aunt already knew all about how Lizzie and her family took care of puppies that needed homes. They kept them only until they found the perfect forever home for each one. The Petersons loved being a foster family.
    Lizzie also told Aunt Amanda about how she volunteered once a week at Caring Paws, the animal shelter. One day, Lizzie worked up the courage to ask Aunt Amanda for a job. “I havelots of experience,” she’d said. “I know a lot about dogs, but there’s a lot more I want to learn.” Lizzie knew she was too young for a real job, but even a fourth grader like her could be a lot of help when it came to taking care of thirty dogs! “I’ll do anything!” she had said. “You don’t even have to pay me. I just want to be here.”
    “And I love having you here,” Aunt Amanda had said. “You’re a big help. How about this? We’ll start with one afternoon a week. Once we see how things work out, maybe you can come more often.”
    And now, on Lizzie’s very

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