Am I the only one who thinks dogs in adventure stories act… well… unrealistic?
Well, this a story based on that.
Plus, more road-trip writing. Gotta love that.
The main POV character is, of course, the goofy, family dog, Bullwinkle. ❤
So, enjoy the story!
The Loyal Animal Companion Interview
“Ah, Rover, I see you’ve brought a friend. Is this the new recruit?” The German Shepherd stepped out from behind the counter, barely making any noise with his nails on the tile floor. His ears were upright and alert as he made a circle around me.
I tucked my tail and put my head down.
Next to me, Rover wagged his tail. “Yes, sir.”
The German Shepherd looked over at him disapprovingly. “Keep your tail still, boy. Be sparing with the wags. We can’t go looking like Golden Retrievers now, can we?”
“No, Sarge.” Rover folded his ears back against his head and looked down. “I’ll work on it.”
Sarge turned back to me and tipped his head, “What’s your name, boy?”
“Bullwinkle,” I perked my ears and looked up at him.
He looked at Rover and nodded, then turned back to me, “Sounds like a good candidate . . .” A look of disapproval crossed his face, “Keep that tail still! Good gracious . . .”
I didn’t even notice I’d started wagging it.
Sarge lifted his nose and looked down at me, “So what makes you think you can be a LAC?”
I blinked at him. LAC?
“Loyal Animal Companion,” whispered Rover. He was silenced by a short growl from Sarge, who didn’t take his eyes off me.
“Well . . .” I wiggled the end of my tail, “I’ve been a family dog since I was a pup and I’m pretty loyal . . . and I like people.” I realized my tail had started to wag a little more and stopped it.
Sarge squinted at me for another second and then jerked his head back towards the door into the main training room, “Come with me.”
I perked up and followed him, my toenails clicking about five times as loud as his. We walked into the room and I turned just in time to see an approving wag from Rover before Sarge nosed the door shut.
I sat and looked at the bowl of treats in the corner of the room. Was that for successful applicants only or could I take one?
“Pull your tongue in, boy.” Sarge sounded annoyed.
I closed my mouth and looked back at him. He sat in front of me, ramrod straight and nose high.
I sat on my tail to make sure it wouldn’t wag.
“So what breed are you?”
“I’m part Labrador Retriever, part Irish Wolfhound.”
I saw his eyes flick up to the little brown marks above my eyes.
“ . . .and I might have a bit of German Shepherd.” I amended.
For the first time, I saw a slight hint of approval on his face, but he quickly banished it. “So, for the test, I’m going to give you some hypothetical situations. Your answers will be how you respond.”
“Okay.” I perked my ears and sat forward.
“Your master is captured by an evil mastermind and brought into his fortress, which is bolted shut from the inside. What do you do?” Sarge watched me, his amber eyes expectant.
“Um . . .” I stopped and bit at a flea before answering, “Scratch at the door and whine to be let in?”
Sarge sighed and rolled his eyes, “They ignore you, with threats to use their bang-sticks on you. What do you do?”
I was quiet for a moment, “Run away and mope?”
Sarge said nothing and just looked at me. My tail twitched under my leg.
Sarge stood, “The ideal answer would have been to sneak past the guards as they opened the door to change the watch, then find your way to your master, filch the keys and free them.”
He paced around a bit before sitting back down. “Let’s try that again. Your master is tied up or incapacitated in some way and desperately needs an unspecified, important object lying near you.”
I shook my ears out a little and looked down at my paws, “I’d probably taste for a little bit and then set it on his foot.”
Sarge’s lip twitched, showing his clenched teeth. “LACs do not ‘taste’ important objects.”
“You should have picked it up and put it in his hand right away.” He looked like he was getting rather frustrated, “You are separated from your master forcefully and put in a cage under the watch of an enemy guard. What do you do?”
“Hide my face in my paws and mope.” That sort of slipped out. Something told me it wasn’t the right answer.
Sarge growled, “Under no circumstances are you ever to ‘mope’ as an LAC.” He muttered something about Irish Wolfhounds under his breath. Closing his eyes for a second, he whispered about there only being a few more questions, then looked back up at me.
“Your master has a small child he has to look after and protect. What do you do to assist?” His voice was quiet now. Was that good?
“Jump up on her and lick her to show my enthusiasm.”
He moved right on to the next question, so I must have gotten it right.
“Your master is hurt and needs help, but is unable to go and get it for himself. He gives you a piece of paper. What do you do?”
Sarge gritted his teeth, “Assuming the piece of paper is important.”
“Oh. Bury it.”
I couldn’t decide if the sound that Sarge made was a growl or a whimper.
“Then lick his wounds?” I added hopefully.
Sarge flattened his ears and walked away from me, clicking his toenails quite loudly now.
I glanced back over at the bowl of treats in the corner. “Did I pass?”
He let out his breath slowly, then gave a bark, “Rover! Come, boy!”
Rover came skittering in, “Yes, Sarge?” He looked over at me and wagged his tail, “How’d he do?”
Sarge looked over at me and frowned, “Sign him up for the ‘goofy family pet’ training. He’s quite qualified for it.”
I realized my tail was wagging again.
Hope you enjoyed!
Do you have a dog? Think they would pass the test? 😉