Brave little Bella!

Caesar in the city Ever since I saved Bella from being eaten by a turtle in the river, she follows me around like a little, lost puppy. When I race down the hallway in the morning, she’s right at my heels, slipping and sliding around the corner and into the kitchen. And when I lay my head on Raven’s slipper, Bella lays her head on the other one. She’s a cute kid since country life humbled her. One morning, Raven pulled out The Big Bag. Oh! no. This meant he and Josh were leaving. I put my chin on my paws and began to pout. Raven said, “Don’t look so down, Caesar. You can go too.” Go! My second favorite word – right after “treat”. I wagged my tail slap slap, slap against Raven’s leg. Bella wagged her stubby little tail too and looked at me as if to say, “Why are we wagging our tails, huh huh?”

As we headed down the road, I tried to guess where we were going. Auntie Carissa’s? I sniffed the air for clues. Raven was wearing that smelly stuff he splashes on his neck and face sometimes. He wouldn’t wear it just to go to Auntie Carissa’s house. No, we were headed someplace important.

We drove all day, got out and stretched our legs, then kept going. I was sleeping when I heard Bella begin to squeak and leap around. I growled my “calm down!” growl, but it didn’t work. I sat up and looked out the window to see what all the fuss was about.

Bright lights blinded me, car horns blared, tall buildings blocked out the sky. “We’re here!” Josh said and opened the door.

Where was the grass? And the trees? We hopped out of the car and started down the crowded sidewalk. Feet clomped, slapped, trudged past me. I felt dizzy. Bella took the lead, trotting with her head held high. We came upon a door that went round and round. Raven waved at us and disappeared into the spinning door! I lunged to save him from the fast-moving trap. Josh pulled me back and said, “Caesar, you can’t go.” Can’t – the second worst word in the world, right after “no”.

As we crossed the street, I stepped in a slippery black puddle that smelled bad. Bella walked daintily around it and looked back at me as if to say, “Do what I do.” Oh! no. Little Ms. Confidence was back. My Labrador pride would not allow me to accept a tiny ball of fluff as my leader.

We strolled past buildings that smelled like food. Hey, maybe the city isn’t so bad after all! Soon we came upon a large square of trees and grass. “Nice park!” Josh said. Suddenly, I was surrounded by squirrels! Squirrels gathering nuts under the trees, squirrels jumping off of benches, squirrels leaping through the air! One passed right in front of us and I lunged at it so hard that Josh let go of my leash. I raced like a greyhound after the squirrel. Bella made a sharp, high-pitched yapping noise – her fear bark. What was her problem? She never felt afraid when I chased squirrels at home.

The problem with running like a greyhound is that it’s hard to put on the brakes. All the squirrels had scampered up trees and I had crossed the green square when just ahead of me I saw cars zipping by. A huge bus came screeching at me. It wasn’t going to be able to stop in time and neither was I! I thought I was Labrador lasse for sure when suddenly from behind, something strong and powerful tugged at my tail. It pulled me back away from the street and onto the grass. I turned to look and there was Bella with her chompers on my tail.

Josh was hugging me and patting my head. Bella looked worn out with her pink tongue dangling from the side of her mouth. As we walked out of the park and back to the scary revolving door that had sucked up Raven, I stuck close to Bella and watched how my street-smart sister maneuvered through this crazy, chaotic world – the city.

When Raven met us he was smiling from ear to ear. Something really good must have happened inside. Then Josh looked down at me and I heard him say my name and the word “can’t”. Raven’s smile changed to a frown. I knew why. Raven liked the city. He wanted to stay. But I had ruined it by almost getting run over by that bus. Raven looked so sad and it was all my fault!

It was getting dark and so we stayed in a room. As I stretched out in front of the TV, I thought of a way to convince Raven and Josh that I could handle city life. I would need to learn a few things from Bella first.