Written by David Walters
Illustrated by Julie Weaver
Almost everyone likes to play because it is usually lots of fun. But in our story today Wire Dog learns that if you play too rough sometimes it’s not fun anymore.
One day Ellen brought home a nice surprise for her little dog. She sat down on the front steps of her house and called, “Come here Wire Dog, I have something special for you.” Of course Wire Dog came running right away to see what Ellen had in her hand. When Wire Dog was sitting beside her on the steps Ellen opened her hands and showed Wire Dog a little stuffed animal she found just for him at a yard sale. It was a little stuffed rabbit with long floppy ears and a cute little fuzzy ball for a tail. Wire Dog barked two times and grinned to show Ellen how much he liked the little rabbit. He was even more pleased and excited when she set the rabbit down beside him on the steps and told him he could play with it.
At first Wire Dog looked at the rabbit. Then he looked up at Ellen. Then he looked back down at the toy rabbit that just lay there. Ellen laughed and picked up the toy and made it go hop, hop, hop on the stairs. Wire Dog barked as if to say he wanted to play. So Ellen made the little rabbit hop down the stairs and onto the lawn. Wire Dog barked again and ran down the stairs after the toy rabbit.
For a long time Ellen and the toy rabbit played in the yard with Wire Dog. But finally Ellen was too tired to play anymore. Wire Dog however didn’t seem tired at all, so Ellen said, “You can keep playing as long as you want, but I’m going inside for a while.” And with that, she set the stuffed animal down on the ground in front of her dog.
Wire Dog watched Ellen walk into the house then he looked at the title toy rabbit that lay still as can be on the grass. Wire Dog barked but the rabbit didn’t move. Wire Dog ran around to the other side of the toy and barked again. Still the little rabbit just lay on the grass and did nothing. Next Wire Dog pushed the rabbit a little with his nose. The rabbit fell over on one side and lay there again. So finally Wire Dog carefully picked up the rabbit in his mouth and moved the rabbit up and down in a hopping kind of motion. Before long, Wire Dog was running all around the yard with the rabbit in his mouth.
Ellen helped her mother in the house for a while then she thought she would check to see what Wire Dog was doing. But when she looked outside she was shocked to see Wire Dog biting and shaking the little toy. Ellen quickly ran out of the house and across the yard to where Wire Dog was growling and chewing on the stuffed animal. “That’s way too rough Wire Dog. The little rabbit is supposed to be your friend and friends must learn to play together nicely,” she said as she reached down to pick up the toy. But as she did so Wire Dog quickly grabbed one of the rabbit’s ears with his teeth and tried to pull the toy away from Ellen.
“Let go Wire Dog. This isn’t funny anymore. You are playing way too rough,” she said. But Wire Dog kept pulling and Ellen would not let go and suddenly one of the ears was torn right off the toy.
Ellen gasped and Wire Dog instantly dropped the ear on the ground. Ellen and Wire Dog both starred at the loose ear lying still and lifeless on the ground. Then Ellen looked at the rabbit with only one ear that she held in her hand. Tears came to Ellen’s eyes as she reached down to pick up the damaged ear and she walked to the house to show her mother what had happened.
Wire Dog followed Ellen toward the house a few steps behind sensing that he had done something very wrong but not being able say anything about it to Ellen. When the door to the house closed in front of him Wire Dog turned around and walked slowly toward his little dog house. Inside his house he turned around, lay down, and put his chin on his paws. He felt sorry for playing too rough. He felt sorry for damaging the stuffed animal. He felt sorry for pulling on the toy when he should have let Ellen have it. And he especially felt sorry for making Ellen cry.
Wire Dog had a long time to think about his behavior that day and he made up his mind that in the future he would not play so rough and if Ellen wanted him to do something he would obey right away.
And it was a good thing, because the next day Ellen came outside with the same little toy rabbit. Ellen’s mother had sewn the ear back on with a needle and thread. Wire Dog was happy to see his little friend again and he was happy to see Ellen too. He was anxious to show her that he had learned how to obey and that he could play without getting too rough.