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Good morning, dear writers! I am definitely a Newbie!! - I am writing a little book for children, but don't have anyone to give feedback. Can I post the first chapter here? Hoping this is the right place to put it, here goes:
OUR DOGS ARE GOING TO HEAVEN; THEY'RE NOT SURE ABOUT THE CAT
“Allie-cat, wake up!! It’s me, Nate! Come back from where ever you are! You’re my little sister! I need you to live!!!” Nate choked back his sobs. “Oh Lord, please help her!”
He didn’t notice the blare of approaching sirens and flashing lights. All he saw was a still little figure lying at the side of the road. The front wheel of her crumpled pink bicycle still spun slowly. A pickup truck lay sideways in the ditch. Nate was vaguely aware of people gathering.
Paramedics surrounded them. They moved Nate aside gently and took charge. He stood helpless in the rain, praying desperately. A woman paramedic strapped an oxygen mask on Allie’s face. Then she lifted Allie’s head slightly to fasten a stiff collar around her neck. Together the workers skilfully moved her onto a board and then lifted her, board and all, onto a stretcher.
Nate climbed into the ambulance after she was loaded in. One of the men tried to talk to him, but his voice seemed to come from far away. Nate didn’t answer. He couldn’t seem to stop shaking. The man put a blanket around him, then turned back to Allie.
```````````````ONE YEAR LATER `````````````
“Mom, couldn’t Gilligan be a service dog for Allie?” Nate asked over his bowl of cereal. “Golden Retrievers are specially bred to help people, you know.”
The whole family swung around to look doubtfully at two year old Gilligan. He was hovering over the Rubbermaid tub where his dog treats were kept. Delighted to have everyone’s attention, he flung himself onto Nate’s lap. Nate’s chair tipped. He and Gilligan landed together in a whelter of legs, arms and fur. Nate’s muffled voice rose, “Get off me, you big oaf!!”
Giggling, Allie rolled her wheelchair over to the counter and reached for a rawhide bone. Above the hubbUB, Gilligan heard the scraping of his favourite chew toy. He swiftly untangled himself from Nate and rushed to Allie. He plunked his bottom down expectantly in a ‘sit’ position beside her. Two long strings of drool swung from his jowels.
“Thanks, kid,” croaked Nate, sitting up weakly as Gilligan grabbed his bone and raced outside with it. “Thought I was a goner!”
“What kind of service did you have in mind?” asked Nate’s dad dryly, hauling Nate to his feet and picking up the chair.
Nate grinned. “I guess there isn’t much demand for pure, raw energy, is there?”
“Maybe he could visit Children’s Hospital and make the little kids laugh,” suggested Allie. “He would be really good at that!”
“He would be really good at that,” her mom agreed. “But when kids laugh at him, it gets him even more excited, and then he does crazy things!”
Everyone agreed loudly.
“Yep, he could be the worst service dog in history,” chuckled dad. And even Nate had to agree.
“He just needs something to drain his energy a little,” he muttered.
Allie looked thoughtful. “If he only had a friend – and I don’t mean a cat, either.”
“That’s good – Mocha across the street, is getting tired of being a chew toy,” said dad.
“I mean another dog, dad. One he could play with and wrestle with. Then he would be too tired to jump all over us.”
“Nothing doing!” mom broke in. “One big fluffy dog is about all this family can handle right now! So, Nate, why don’t you take Gilligan out for his walk. That should help drain his energy! And, Allie, - time for a rest before your physio.
Allie was glad to lie down – even after a whole year in hospital, she still tired out very quickly. Her back hurt, and her legs felt all pins and needles if she stayed in her chair too long. All the same, she was happy to finally be home with her family again.
“I wish I could go to school,” she said wistfully, as her dad lifted her out of her chair and laid her on her little white hospital-style bed. “It’s so funny! I didn’t used to like school. Now I would give anything to go!”
She looked up at her dad’s sad expression. “Oh dad - I don’t mean you are boring, or anything! With you and Nate and mom and Gilligan around, I am happy. Really I am! I guess I would just like to know about things that happen outside our house, too. You know what I mean?”
“I wish you could go, too, Allie-cat,” he said softly. “Doctor Blaire thinks that you will be strong enough to go part time in a couple of years. But ‘til then, you will just have to put up with us!”
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