Written by Ellen “Jill” Thomasson
Illustrated by Ellen Walters
When Ellen came home from school, Wire Dog was in the backyard. He came running to greet her, with his tail wagging. For some reason Ellen had an unhappy look on her face. She sat down on the front stoop, placed her face in her hands, and then sighed. Wire came closer and licked her face.
“Oh, Wire Dog, my best friend Mary told me she is moving out of our neighborhood.” She halfheartedly reached out and patted his head.
Wire gave the information some deep thought. Mary was their next door neighbor. A nice girl, she always brought him a dog biscuit. If she moved, he would not get any more treats from her. Now he was sad. He sat down on the stoop next to Ellen, put his head onto her lap, and then sighed. His tail wasn’t wagging anymore.
His only hope was that the unhappy news about Mary moving was a mistake and she wasn’t leaving after all. Surely Ellen had misunderstood.
The next day was Saturday and after breakfast, Wire curled up in his doghouse and planned to take a long nap. But then he heard a low heavy rolling sound. A large truck was coming down the street. It stopped next door. He got up and left the comfort of his doghouse to look over the fence that separated his backyard from the neighbor’s. Now he got a good look at the truck. It was big and white, with the letters M-O-V-E-R-S painted in black on the side. As he watched, two burly men got out of the cab and then walked up onto the front porch. One of them knocked on the door loudly. Mary’s father came out to see them.
Minutes later the burly men began to carry out big cardboard boxes and pieces of furniture from the house. They loaded them into the back of the truck, before driving away. A short time after, Mary and her parents got in their car and also drove away.
Wire went back to his doghouse and lay down. It was true. Mary was moving and there would be no more dog biscuits from her. He was sad, very sad.
Ellen went to school on Monday and Wire knew she would miss walking there and home with Mary. He would have to wag extra hard when she returned to cheer her up.
But when she got home, she wasn’t sad, she was smiling. Wire was confused. Why was Ellen happy when she had just lost her best friend and perhaps more importantly, the giver of tasty dog biscuits?
She sat down on the front stoop and called to him. “Wire Dog, I have good news!”
Wire cocked his head to one side and waited patiently.
“Mary didn’t move too far away. She still goes to my school and can visit here with us on weekends.”
Wire gave the information some thought. Yes this was good news, but Mary was not going to live right next door to them, so she could not bring dog biscuits to him every day.
Ellen could see that Wire was not as happy as she. His little tail was drooping.
“I have more good news. I made another friend today. Her name is Jane. She is moving into the neighborhood—right next door!”
Wire’s ears pricked up. Would Jane also hand out dog biscuits? He didn’t have long to wait as on the following Saturday morning he again heard a low heavy rolling sound. Another large truck was coming down the street and it stopped next door. Looking over the fence, Wire saw it was the same truck as before with the letters M-O-V-E-R-S on the side. A car pulled up and parked behind it. He saw a man and woman get out of the car, followed by a girl that was about the same size as Ellen. Wire decided this was Jane and her parents. Carrying a cardboard box with holes punched in the sides, Jane walked up the front porch steps, following her parents into the house.
For the next few hours, the men from the truck made many trips back and forth bringing big boxes and furniture into the house. Jane came out still holding the cardboard box. She walked up the sidewalk and Wire knew she must be coming to see Ellen. Now he would meet her and perhaps the box was filled with dog biscuits!
He ran to the front yard and saw Ellen come out the door to greet Jane.
“Hi, Jane. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
“Thanks, Ellen. I brought Grey to meet you.”
They sat down on the stoop and Wire came to an abrupt stop. He watched as Jane carefully opened the cardboard box and then lifted out not dog biscuits, but a rather large, plump cat! It was gray-colored and its eyes were yellow.
Seeing Wire, Ellen called him over. “Wire Dog, come meet Jane and Grey.”
A bit reluctantly Wire came, but he could not hide his disappointment at seeing there were no dog biscuits for him.
Grey didn’t look too happy either. A sharp hiss came from between his parted lips. Both girls smiled.
“Sorry, Wire Dog, but Grey has never met a dog before,” Jane said.
Wire had to admit that though he had already met and befriended another cat, this one seemed to have a bad attitude. He sniffed Grey and the cat nervously sniffed back at the curious dog muzzle much too close to his face.
“Perhaps you and Grey will become friends, Wire Dog,” Ellen said hopefully.
Wire was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen especially when Grey suddenly leaped out of Jane’s arms and ran toward the street. He watched as the cat made a beeline for the intersection and simultaneously heard the big white truck’s engine start. Ellen and Jane’s eyes widened with fear. They started to run after Grey.
Wire knew the girls would never reach the cat in time as the truck was moving fast. In the middle of the street, Grey stopped in his tracks not sure what to do.
Lucky for him Wire traveled the distance in record-breaking time! He grabbed the scruff of Grey’s neck and carried him back to the sidewalk.
Jane’s knees were weak by the time she and Ellen joined them. She bent down and picked up the trembling cat and hugged him soundly.
Ellen was crouched down hugging Wire. “You are a hero, Wire Dog.”
“Yes indeed he is,” agreed Jane, patting him on the head.
The next day Jane returned and she had Grey on a leash. Wire had never seen a cat on a leash before, but he thought it was a good idea until Grey learned to stay out of the street. Jane was carrying a paper bag.
Ellen joined her on the front stoop and Wire followed.
“I brought the hero a gift,” Jane said, handing Ellen the paper bag.
Ellen opened the bag and the brown paper crackled as she looked inside. Smiling, she pulled out a box. Wire couldn’t read the writing on the box but he saw a picture of a dog and it was wagging its tail. When the box was opened, his nose detected the delicious scent of bacon, beef, and cheese. And then he saw the bone-shaped treats being shook out of the box into Ellen’s open hand. She held out three and he carefully nibbled them from her palm.
After eating them, he licked his lips. The soft treats were even tastier than the dry dog biscuits that Mary always brought him. His tail was wagging uncontrollably and the girls were laughing. It seemed that Grey’s impression of him had also improved. He did not hiss today, but rubbed against Wire’s leg.
In the days to follow Grey was allowed off his leash in Jane’s fenced in yard. He soon learned to jump up and over the section that separated her yard and Ellen’s. Wire found that he actually looked forward to the cat’s visits. When Ellen and Jane were at school, he and Grey would play hide and seek and then find the sunniest spot in the yard to take a nap.
Wire had learned that having a friend move away was a sad time, but making a new friend was a happy time. Drifting off to sleep next to Grey, he dreamed of the bacon, beef, and cheese-flavored treats that Jane never forgot to bring him and he smiled.