Scamp gets an unexpected birthday present.
|"I'm sure they didn't forget your birthday. They just didn't remember it right away."
I fixed my one good eye on Samantha and snorted.
"Same difference, Samantha. Besides, they've never forgotten before. Today I'm turning eighty. That's like sixteen in human years! And sixteen is a big deal."
"Your kind is so needy. You'd never catch me caring about such silly human traditions," Samantha's emerald green eyes filled with contempt.
I cocked my head, "So you don't care about the toy mice from Santa Paws? Or the catnip Cupid brings on Valentine's Day? Or..."
Samantha's hiss cut me off. I ducked my head to hide my grin as she extended her claws and made a lazy swipe at a string of yarn hanging from the kitchen counter. With one good tug the skein and the project attached to it fell to the floor.
"There's your proof that they didn't forget, fluffball." Samantha sat on top of the fuzzy yarn and wrapped her white tail around her body. Closing her eyes to half-mast, Samantha gave a bored yawn. "Our minions are making you yet another sweater."
I flopped to my belly and gave the skein a tentative sniff.
"But...this doesn't make sense," I whined, "They always give me a meaty bone and a chew-toy on my birthday! The cute outfits are for Easter or St. Patrick's Day!"
Samantha stretched and stood. "Boo-hoo. And if you're hoping for me to give you a gift this year, don't hold your breath. I'd rather have a bath than participate in this madness."
I sighed as Samantha stalked off. My ears twitched as I heard a car pull into the driveway.
"The pack is back!" I yipped, racing past Samantha and toward the front door as fast as my arthritic legs would let me.
"Oh, yay," Samantha turned her back on me and continued her bath. The doorknob jiggled and I twirled in a circle. Visions of meat bones and a cute birthday hat in my size danced in my head.
"Hiya, Scamp!" the Boy grinned, walking into the room. I would have jumped on his leg but my body wouldn't let me perform such feats anymore. "Got ya a birthday present," he continued. I watched as his eyes flickered to the Man and the Woman and then back to me.
"You were right...they didn't forget!" I barked at Samantha.
"Surprise!" the Boy yelled, and set a box down in front of me.
"Looks like a big bone this year!" I panted and scrabbled my paws against the cardboard. Samantha sneered and shook her head as the box wiggled.
"Your nose stopped working last year, didn't it?" Samantha yowled, a knowing smirk on her Persian face. I hesitated, pulling my paws away from the box.
"What do you mean..."
"Let me help ya out, Scamp," the Boy bent down and opened the top of the box. His hands reached inside and then came out again with a bright red bow wrapped around...
I snorted and bounced backwards, stunned.
"Looks like they've replaced you," Samantha said, her green eyes lighting up at the drama.
"They wouldn't!" I barked, "I know I'm getting older but I'm not ready to kick the bucket yet..."
"You wouldn't have the energy to kick it even if you wanted to," Samantha hissed, "But that pup, on the other hand, will have tons of energy. The Boy will play with it all the time and leave you in the dust."
"Oh, look, the sweater I started for Skip is on the floor," Woman frowned and set the project back on the counter. Her comment felt like a slap to the face.
"So no bone, no chew-toy, no sweater..." I barked.
"Just another ugly mutt," Samantha sighed.
I turned to the ball of black fuzz and, after locating its eyes in all the dark fur, snarled.
"This is my territory, kid! Get lost!"
"I can't!" the pup sniffed, inching away from my teeth, "They took me from my mama and...and I have nowhere else to go!" The pup's whine put the pack into protection mode.
"C'mon, Scamp," the Boy wheedled, "Be nice. Skip could be a good friend to you if you let him."
I took a page from Samantha's book and turned my back on the pup and Boy. I had to fight the urge to snap when a cold nose nudged my side.
"I could, uh, be helpful," Skip whimpered.
"I don't need any help," I growled.
"What about the feline?" Skip asked. I glanced at Samantha, perched on her cat tree, smirking at us.
"What about her?"
"Well, I could chase her for you..."
I thought about it for a moment. I had stopped chasing Samantha a few years back, when my arthritis first started acting up. If my body hadn't betrayed me, I'd be chasing her still.
"I'd like to see you try," I chuckled. The words were barely out of my mouth when pup jumped to his feet and bounced after the cat. Samantha's eyes widened in surprise as Skip launched himself into the air and attached his mouth to her tail.
The pack laughed as Samantha jumped to the floor with a screech.
"Stupid mutts!" she howled. Skip let her go and she tore off into the bedroom. As I imagined her cowering under the bed, I grinned at the pup.
"Welcome to the family, pup. Now pass me that bone of yours. After all, it is my birthday..."