Written by David Walters
Illustrated by Alice Jones
Wire Dog could tell that something was different about this day. The bus that Ellen takes to school came and went but Ellen didn’t get on the bus. A while later, Ellen and her mother got in the family car and drove away.
Wire Dog wondered where they were going, as he sat watching from his usual place on the steps. After the car disappeared down the street, Wire Dog faithfully watched and waited for them to return. He was sure they would come back, but he could not figure out why Ellen would not have gone to school on the bus, as usual. His head went up when he thought they might have gone camping. But his head went down again when he remembered that they did not pack any camping gear into the car; and if they were going camping, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, and Wire Dog would have all piled into the car. No, this was something else. His head went up again when he thought maybe they went to get another birdhouse. But he put his head down again when he remembered that Ellen brought the birdhouse from school, and Ellen didn’t go to school today.
Finally, Wire Dog decided he would just have to wait for Ellen to come home and perhaps he might never know where she had gone. But even though he didn’t know everything and, even though he couldn’t explain everything, he still felt pretty sure that Ellen still loved him and that she would not just leave him, and if he waited patiently, she would eventually come home again.
Well, Wire Dog did have to wait for quite some time but finally, after a long wait, his big ears finally heard the sound of the family car coming down the street for home. Immediately, Wire Dog’s head went up and his eyes looked for the car. Sure enough, in a few moments Ellen and her mother drove up to the house.
Ellen got out of the car and sat beside Wire Dog on the steps. She had a small toy in her hand but she didn’t seem to be as interested in the toy as she was in touching her bottom lip, which looked a little swollen. Then Ellen set the toy down on the step and turned to Wire Dog.
“Do you want to know where I went today, Wire Dog? I didn’t go to school. I didn’t go camping. I didn’t go shopping and I didn’t go to a park. Today I went to see the dentist. Do you know what dentists do, Wire Dog? They look at all of your teeth, very carefully, one by one to see if anything is wrong. If all of your teeth are clean and healthy, sometimes they give you a little toy and you get to go right home. But if any of your teeth are not right, the dentist must clean or fix the tooth before you can have the toy and go home. I got a toy, but only after the dentist fixed one of my teeth,” explained Ellen.
Of course Wire Dog could not understand everything Ellen was trying to tell him, but his super keen nose could smell the medicine and the mint flavour coming from the area around her mouth. So, when Ellen asked Wire Dog if he wanted her to pretend she was a dentist and have a look at his teeth, he barked and wagged his tail as if to say, “yes.”
But when Ellen tried to open his mouth, Wire Dog was reminded of the day he got a can stuck on his nose. He didn’t like that, so he quickly wiggled away before Ellen could even look at his teeth.
Ellen laughed and said, “You don’t have to be afraid of a dentist, Wire Dog. And besides, if you don’t let the dentist look at your teeth you don’t get a toy.” And as she said that she held up the toy she received that day. Wire Dog thought Ellen was asking him if he wanted to play fetch with the toy, so he barked, turned around, and ran out into the yard to play. Ellen thought he was afraid of the dentist, so she ran after him laughing at how silly he was acting. They ran around the yard having a good time and before long they had both forgotten all about the dentist.