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CATATONIA - CHAPTER 3

When Millie and Honey entered the kitchen, there were four little faces looking up at them from beside the back door. Each puppy had a towel and a little bowl, inside a bag with their name embroidered on it, slung neatly around their neck. They were fairly quivering with anticipation of the day’s adventure, and anxious to get on with discovering it. It took all their control to sit quietly beside the door and wait till Millie or Momma opened it to let them out. Millie smiled down at them and asked, “Anxious are we?” She let out a little giggle and they all ran over and began hopping up and down pleading with her to hurry. She opened the refrigerator door and they sat down immediately, as they knew they were not supposed to beg. She took the plastic container of chicken, and another one of fish, and a few bottles of water and slipped them into the bag with her bathing suit and towel. She also slipped a container of cookies in the bag, for treats after lunch. Closing the door, she looked around and said, “I think this is everything, we are now ready to embark on this day’s journey. Is everyone ready?” They all barked at once, “Oh yes. Lake please! Lake Please! Lake please!” So Millie walked to the door and opened it. She told them they could go now and they poured out of the house like clowns from a clown car at the circus. Running and tripping as they toted their bags heading out into the yard where they waited for Millie and their Momma to catch up so they could be off.  As they walked to the edge of the forest to the path on the eastern side of the house, they could just see the sun peeping up over the mountain in the east. It looked like it would be a nice day as the sky was clear with just a few scattered clouds on the horizon. Millie and Honey took the lead and set a slow pace, to keep the puppies from having to run. Along the way, the puppies would occasionally run ahead and play a little puppy tag, sometimes grabbing a stick to carry around for the others to see. They hadn’t gone too far into the forest and were enjoying the lazy stroll when Salazar wandered off the trail and around a big bush up ahead of the rest. A moment later he came running back breathlessly to the group. His words coming out in a rush, his voice high and squeaky like he had just run a mile at full speed,” Momma! Momma! Momma! Quick, come and see what I found! It’s Huge!” He scampered back up the path, without a moment’s pause, to the bush beside the trail and disappeared once again behind it. His little voice was all they heard, barking at what was hidden from their view. They all began to run toward the bush, not knowing what to expect. Honey said, “I hope he hasn’t found Old Bandit and is barking at him. We will probably spend the whole day listening to that old raccoon give us a lecture on how rude it is to bother him after his breakfast, as he lays down for his nap, waiting for the sun to come up to warm his old hide.” Millie laughed as they sprinted along, “I remember when you were a puppy and the lecture you got for walking behind him one morning, imitating his waddle. He was beside himself with embarrassment and lectured you for at least an hour. You did manage to shorten your lecture by looking penitent at least.”