We saw lots of boys and girls with their dogs at the fireworks show which made me wonder: If you got switched with your dog, do you think you might like to be a boy or girl again? How would your life be different if you had to stay a dog forever? What would you do? How would you feel?
Chapter 10 "Late Afternoon"
Tyler sat on his haunches and tried to figure a way out of his dilemma. Just then, the familiar groan of the school bus got louder and louder and stopped on the corner. There was no doubt it was THE bus.
Using his nose he inched open the screen door and ran as fast as his four legs could carry him. One by one, the children got off the bus. Kevin and Dundee were the last two to get off. While Dundee was struggling with his backpack, Kevin bent over to greet Tyler. Kevin scratched Tyler’s chin and asked, “Wanna dance?”, but Tyler ignored Kevin. Instead he jumped onto Dundee and whined. They both stood there and hugged each other a long time.
“You guys are so weird,” said Kevin as he headed for his house. There was the far off sound of thunder. “Look at the sky,” he said looking back. “It’s so gray. Maybe more rain is on the way, Tyler. Guess baseball practice will be cancelled again. See you tomorrow.”
He never noticed that Tyler and Dundee sat on the corner and huddled against each other. Evan as the wind picked up and the raindrops began, they sat there hugging each other. It started to rain harder. “We’d better get home,” said Dundee. They shuffled towards home.
“Oh, Tyler,” Dundee began. “I missed you so much. But being a human is wonderful! I love all the colors. Mrs. Duncan is nice. Jessica is so pretty and kind. But she doesn’t like kisses, so don’t worry. She thinks they’re yukky.” Tyler smiled, his tongue hanging out as they picked up the pace.
Dundee continued. “Cafeteria food is great! And there are more squirrels in the playground than I have ever seen around here. Although I couldn’t figure how to hold a pencil, couldn’t do math, and struggled at the water fountain, I don’t think anyone suspected I’m not you.” "Great", whined Tyler. "Well, actually, I kind of enjoyed being you for a day. You run so fast and everything smells so interesting. Guess that’s what happens when your nose is so close to the ground." He stopped to sniff an unseen something in the grass. When he pried himself away, he continued, "Mom really loves you."
“I know,” Dundee replied. “I can’t wait to see her and give her a hug.”
"Gotta tell you", said Tyler, "I’m kind of jealous. Thought I was Number One with her. Maybe I’m Number One on two legs and you’re Number One with four legs. Sure.
And something else – doggie biscuits aren’t so bad. Sleeping in the sunbeams shining through the window sure feels good. But…I think I want to be a boy again." “Uh oh,” said Dundee under his breath.
Tyler continued walking, his tail wagging. "I miss not being able to read. I really do want to learn math. I might even let Jessica kiss me." “No worries, there, friend,” said Dundee as he rolled his eyes. “You know, Tyler, I loved going to school today. There are lots of neat smells there that we don’t have at home and so many interesting things to do. I didn’t understand them all. But what I loved best is finger painting. To see the world in color, wow! And, you know, I almost caught a squirrel for Mrs. Duncan.”
"No way!" Tyler shook his head sideways and grinned a big doggie grin. “It was such fun.” Then Dundee paused. “But it sure is tiring being a human. I’m exhausted. There are so many things to learn. It’s too hard. Maybe, I do miss being a dog. Is it OK if I want to be a dog again?”
The two friends looked at each other, reading each other’s minds. “What if that never happens?” said Dundee breathless.
"What if you are stuck being a boy and I am a dog forever?", Tyler moaned his dismay.
Dundee stared into the distance and patted Tyler on the head. The sky opened up and it poured. “Quick, let’s run home.”
Tyler and Dundee tried to run between the raindrops but their feet felt like lead. They trudged along with heavy hearts at the dilemma in which they found themselves. By the time they reached home, both were soaking wet. It didn’t matter.
The two friends both were crying tears that blended with the raindrops on their faces.