Written by Ellen “Jill” Thomasson
Illustrated by David Walters
It was a beautiful autumn day. There were no storm clouds in the bright blue sky and a warm breeze was rustling the tree leaves. With their blend of brown, red, orange, and yellow, the leaves made a colorful sight as they fell from the branches to float gracefully to the ground. With Ellen in school and no adventures planned for the day, Wire Dog was in his doghouse and had just laid down for a morning nap. His tummy was full of chicken-flavored kibble and he was as happy as a dog could be. After watching the leaves begin to drift into piles around the backyard, he yawned widely. His heavy eyelids fluttered shut and he let his head droop down between his parted paws.
But only a few seconds had passed when he heard noises coming from the old oak tree that grew high into the sky behind his doghouse. He reluctantly opened one eye, tilted his head to the side, and glanced up at the hefty tree limb that hung overhead. Amid the brown oak leaves, he could see the clusters of acorns dangling. There was a heavy rustling in the leaves, followed by a plop, splash, and plunk. Wire opened his other eye and lowered his head to stare down at the acorn bobbing in his metal water bowl. Renewed rustling was heard from the limb and another plop, splash, and plunk. To his dismay now there were two acorns floating in his water bowl!
Frowning at the interruption of his nap and the debris in the water, he looked up at the limb again half expecting another acorn to fall and then back down at his bowl. But when he focused on the close up face that was poised over the water, he automatically jerked back his head. It was a squirrel! Taken by surprise, Wire could not believe how bold the pesky little animal was to invade his private territory. Well he was not going to put up with the intrusion. A fit of furious barking followed, but the squirrel stood its ground defiantly with a decidedly amused look on its face. Then it moved a clawed foot into the water and flipped the acorns out of the bowl. Wire watched in amazement as the acorns were greedily stuffed into the squirrel’s small mouth and then it scampered up the gnarled trunk of the oak tree.
No longer in the mood for a nap, Wire decided to continue the encounter and went to the foot of the tree. He looked up and saw the squirrel was perched on a limb, its cheeks plump as it chewed the acorns. When it spit out a shell, the piece spiraled downward and bounced off Wire’s nose. Okay that was just too much for him to tolerate. Several barks later, he realized that the squirrel was not intimidated in the least. It was, however, curious enough to chat.
Clucking its teeth, it twitched its fine, bushy tail. “Good morning, dog. My name is Scout.”
“I’m Wire Dog. And you are trespassing in my yard,” Wire said a bit sharply, mostly because he was cranky from missing his nap.
“Excuse me, but my nest is in a hollowed-out hole up here.”
Wire shook his head. “The tree grows in the ground so it is part of my yard.”
“Actually, the tree grows high up into the air, so you have to share.”
Wire was confused by what the bold little squirrel had said.
“Share? I don’t know that word. What does it mean?”
Scout chattered to himself for a few seconds before speaking, “It means I will live in the tree and you will live in your doghouse. That way we can both have a part of the backyard.”
That sounded reasonably fair to Wire, but he still had one little concern. “Will you keep your acorns out of my water bowl?”
“Of course. That was an accident, it won’t happen again.”
Now that the backyard boundaries were settled agreeably, Wire felt content enough to go back to his nap, while Scout continued to pick and store acorns in his tree nest.
The next morning, after Ellen left for school, Wire went directly to the old oak tree. Standing on his hind legs, with his front paws on the rough bark of the trunk, he looked up at the hollowed-out hole where the squirrel lived. He had given much thought to what Scout had said on the previous day about sharing and was anxious to see him again. Barking his greeting, Wire also wagged his tail vigorously.
Scout poked his head out his tree hole. “I see you are up early, Wire.”
“It’s another pretty day and the leaves piled up in the night. Would you like to come down and play?” Wire asked, before jumping up and down excitedly.
Scout grinned. “You would share your yard?”
“Yes, my yard, but your tree leaves. That would be sharing, correct?”
“You learn fast, Wire.”
Scout wasted no more time discussing the pros and cons of sharing, but scampered down the oak tree and pounced into the nearest pile of leaves. Wire raced around in a circle happily chasing his own tail and then joined the squirrel thrashing happily in the leaves. They spent the next hour rolling in them, tossing them in the air with their noses, and brushing them aside with their tails. When they grew tired of the leaves, they began to chase each other around the yard. Finally exhausted, they settled down to rest by Wire’s water bowl.
“That was fun,” Wire said and then he began to lap up some water.
Scout nodded his agreement. Looking at the clear, cool water sparkling in the sunlight, his pink tongue flickered in his dry mouth. “Can I share your water? I’ve worked up quite a thirst.”
“Yes of course, I will share, but remember, absolutely no acorns in the water bowl,” Wire said, grinning.
And so, when Ellen wasn’t at home, Wire and Scout spent hours playing together in their backyard. Best of all though, not only did they learn to share the grassy, green space, now they also shared a close friendship.
About the Author:
Ellen “Jill” Thomasson has always loved writing and wrote her first mystery- adventure story at age eight. Over the years she has continued to write both fiction and poetry. In addition to writing children’s fiction, she has been published in fan fiction publications. A cat lover, she shares her life with four. Other interests include photography, reading, perennial gardening, and card crafting.You can see her cat cards on the Purrfectly Adorable Cat Cards website: http://www.facebook.com/purrfectlyadorablecatcards
and her fan fiction is offered on the website: http://www.facebook.com/JillThomassonAuthor
You may also contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org