Authors: Ellen Miles
Lizzie could see tears rolling down Mrs. Rispoli’s face. There was no question about it: This woman was glad to see her puppy. Lizzie suddenly realized that Dad must have left his
number when he left that message. And Dad’s cell phone was dead and he
find his charger. That explained why they hadn’t heard from anyone.
Noodle was kissing Mrs. Rispoli and Sophia back, covering their faces with huge, slurpy licks. His tail was wagging a mile a minute.
Oh, joy! Oh, joy! My people are here! Oh, joy!
“Boy, Noodle sure is happy to see you!” Lizzie couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit jealous.
“Noodle?” Sophia looked confused.
Lizzie blushed. “Oh — that’s what we were calling him,” she explained.
name!” Mrs. Rispoli held Noodle up in the air and rubbed noses with him. “We called him Bronson, but it never really seemed to fit. Maybe he really is a Noodle, after all.” She hugged him close again. “No matter what his name is, we are just so, so happy to see him again! I thought he was gone forever.”
“But if he ran away, why . . .” Lizzie realized it might be rude to ask why the Rispolis had not looked for their puppy.
“Why didn’t I look for him?” Mrs. Rispoli asked. “I did! I looked and looked!” She put Noodle down and watched with tears in her eyes as he ran off to wrestle with Buddy.
“I drove up to our house on Loon Lake last Friday morning, just to pick up some extra chairs we needed for a huge surprise party for my mother’s birthday,” Mrs. Rispoli explained. “We’d been planning the party for months. Bronson — I mean, Noodle — came with me. When we left Boston, I couldn’t find his collar, so I just put our old dog Blackie’s collar on him.
“Up at the lake house, I was loading chairs into my car when that naughty puppy ran off. I tried to follow his tracks, but he was nowhere to be seen.”
Lizzie had her hand over her mouth. What a
story! She would have been
if she ever lost Buddy like that.
“I called and I called, and I looked all over, but there was no sign of him. I phoned the police and left a description, but they hadn’t heard anything. I even stayed overnight, even though I hadn’t planned to, and looked some more on Saturday morning. My throat was raw and sore from calling for him. But by noon, I couldn’t stay any longer. I had to leave things in the hands of the police and hope for the best so I could get home in time for the party, even though nobody was going to feel much like celebrating.” Mrs. Rispoli blew her nose into the wad of tissues she was clutching. “Oh, how I hated to tell Sophia and her father.”
Lizzie finished the story. “I guess your information just got lost at the police station, because of the weekend and Sergeant Martin being out and everything. But luckily we found Noodle later on
Saturday afternoon, swimming around in a spot of open water, over by the park. He must have spent Friday night outside, wandering around and trying to find his way home.”
Mrs. Rispoli started crying again. “I know! Your mother just told us all about the rescue! Isn’t it amazing? And he’s perfectly fine!” She shook her head, smiling through her tears. “It’s wonderful.”
“So —” Lizzie almost hated to ask, mainly because she thought she already knew the answer. “I guess you want to keep him?”
Mrs. Rispoli stared at Lizzie. “Keep him? Of course! We’ll never let him out of our sight again!” Then her eyes softened. “Oh, I see,” she said. “Did you think he had been abandoned?”
Lizzie nodded, turning her face away to hide the tears that seemed to be leaking out of her eyes. She couldn’t talk. She reached out to pick Noodle up one last time. She knew she had been silly to even
about Noodle being hers
forever. That was not how this foster puppy thing worked. It was all about finding the best home for each dog. And Noodle
a wonderful home. Lizzie knew that now. She could tell by the way Mrs. Rispoli and Sophia looked at him that Noodle would always be loved and cared for. She couldn’t hold on to him the way the Bean had held on to his Fur. She had to give this puppy up.
Lizzie buried her nose in Noodle’s soft, sweet-smelling neck, giving him one last kiss. Tears welled up in her eyes. She tried to hold them back, but one of them dropped onto Noodle’s nose.
“Tell you what, Lizzie,” Mrs. Rispoli said, kneeling down so that she was looking straight at Lizzie. “We’ll be at our cabin all summer. It’s the little one with the moose antlers. Do you know the one I mean?”
Lizzie wiped away another tear and nodded. “I love that cabin.”
“Well, I hope you and your brothers and
Buddy will be regular visitors. Don’t you agree, Sophia?”
Sophia nodded eagerly. “We can teach Buddy and Noodle to jump off our dock, the way Blackie used to.” She smiled shyly at Lizzie.
Mrs. Rispoli reached over and gave Noodle a pat. “And I know for sure that Bronson — I mean, Noodle — will always be happy to see you and his new best puppy friend, Buddy.”
Wow! Lizzie couldn’t believe her luck. Finally she would find out what it was like to be at one of those cool Loon Lake cabins — with Buddy! Plus, she would still be able to watch Noodle grow up. She started to feel a little bit better.
Lizzie sniffed and nodded. “That sounds good,” she said. She tried to smile. “Thank you.” It was time. She gave Noodle one last hug, then walked over to put him gently into Sophia’s arms.
“No,” said Mrs. Rispoli, leaning down to kiss the top of Noodle’s head. “Thank
for saving our precious puppy.”
If your dog runs off or gets lost:
• Call the police and tell them about your missing pet. Give as much information as you can: his name, what he looks like, where he was last seen, and his personality (a shy dog might only come to a stranger who is holding a treat, while a friendly dog is easier to approach).
• Call your local Humane Society or animal shelter to find out if your dog was found and brought there.
• Make some signs that list all the same information you told the police, along with a photograph. Put them up in your neighborhood, in the place where you last saw your dog, and in any other areas that are familiar to her (like a park where you take her to play with other dogs). Make sure to put your phone number on the sign! It can be helpful to offer even a small reward.
If you find a missing dog:
• Approach the dog carefully, as you would with any dog you don’t know. Make sure it is friendly. Ask an adult for help.
• If the dog is wearing a collar, check the dog’s tags. Some dogs wear tags with their owner’s name and phone number.
• Call the police and your local Humane Society and let them know you have found a missing dog. If you can’t keep the dog in your house or yard, take it to the shelter.
• Put up some signs about the dog you found.
When Django, my black Lab, was only about six months old, he fell through the ice just like Noodle did! It was in a much smaller pond than Loon Lake. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to jump in after him, but fortunately he was able to scrabble his way back onto shore.
I thought Django might be scared of water after that, but he wasn’t. Most black Labs love to swim! Do you know a dog that likes to swim?
Yours from the Puppy Place,
THE PUPPY PLACE
Maggie and Max
The Dog’s Secret
The Pirate’s Plot
The Cowgirl’s Luck
The Penguin’s Peril
SCHOLASTIC JUNIOR CLASSICS
The Pied Piper
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The Wind in the Willows
Ellen Miles is crazy about dogs, and loves to write about their different personalities. She is the author of more than 28 books, including The Puppy Place and Taylor-Made Tales series as well as
The Pied Piper
and other Scholastic Classics. Ellen loves to be outdoors every day, walking, biking, skiing, or swimming, depending on the season. She also loves to read, cook, explore her beautiful state, and hang out with friends and family. She lives in Vermont.
If you love animals, be sure to read all the adorable stories in The Puppy Place series!
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Copyright © 2008 by Ellen Miles.
Cover art by Tim O’Brien
Cover design by Steve Scott
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First printing, May 2008
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