Dude and Hurry: The Turtle and the Doodle ©
Finding What You Are Good At
by Alan Haskvitz
(I am looking for a publisher for this story. reacheverychild@yahoo)
Sometimes you aren’t really good at things. Dude the Doodle was that way. He was a good looking dude with a lot of energy that got him into a lot of trouble.
One day he decided to see how big a hole he could dig in the back yard. He was quite pleased with his efforts, but the family thought otherwise.
He thought he would be a watchdog, but feel asleep on the soft bed and the raccoons got into the garbage and he was embarrassed.
The family tried to teach him tricks, but he had trouble concentrating and so when they told him to sit he showed them all his tricks. He gave them a handshake, rolled over, and sat in the hopes that one of those tricks might be the right one.
He loved walks, but walking on the leash was so slow. There were things to sniff and animals to chase. So he pulled, a lot.
When the sprinklers were on he loved the feel of the water on his skin and so he rolled, romped, and ran through them until he was soaked. He was happy, but the family wasn’t.
Dude was told to stay off the family’s beds, but they were the best and so he got caught napping. He was told to stay out of the garbage, but it smelled interesting. He was told to keep his paws off the table and counter, but that is where the family put the good stuff.
Now Dude the Doodle was a good looking dude. He liked to explore and be with his family. He had to share his home with an older dog. A really big dog. An English Mastiff that liked nothing better then to do nothing. Sometimes they would play together, but the older dog felt old and didn’t like to romp and roam as much as Dude.
The two dogs belonged to a family that loved animals. In fact, the Mastiff was a rescue. That meant that no one wanted him and he was left at an animal shelter in a small cage. He was unhappy until the family came and brought him into their home. He loved them and he really loved being the only dog.
Dude was an accident. One day he just appeared at the Mastiff’s home and, as usual, was taken in and given a good meal and a lot of love.
Dude enjoyed knowing that the Mastiff was there when a stranger was in the neighborhood. Dude would bark and the stranger would look in the yard and see a fuzzy, furry, yappy dog and smile. Dude would see the stranger’s strange look and wait for the Mastiff to arrive. When the Masttiff arrived the stranger quickly moved away. Dude knew he wasn’t much of a guard dog.
Dude was a fast Doodle. He loved to run and retrieve. Except Dude was more of a triver. That meant he would get the ball, but returning it to the thrower wasn’t his idea of fun. It was now his ball and he wasn’t sharing. So Dude was a dud when it came to retrieving.
Everything that Dude thought he was good at he wasn’t. It bothered him, but he never gave up trying.
One day Dude and the family were out walking when they saw a rock traveling down the street. As they moved closer they saw it was a desert tortoise. They moved it out of the street and went to all the houses and asked if it was their turtle. No one said it was.
Dude’s family called the experts and they all said don’t put it back in the wild. So there was a new member of the family, Hurry, a mature, female tortoise.
The Mastiff wasn’t too interested in Hurry. He would watch it and bark if the tortoise was in trouble, but mainly they just shared the back yard.
Hurry was only fast when she in was in a hurry, which was usually when she saw the family put out her vegetables to eat. Hurry slept in a special box that the family made. It was dark and dry and safe.
One day the family lost Hurry. They spread out and searched for her, but she had escaped. They were heartbroken. They had registered her, stocked up with fresh food, made her a special water bowl and enjoyed her visits. Now, nothing.
The family got an idea. They called Dude and he came sliding to a stop on the tile floor. He sat their perfectly still waiting for a treat. Instead the family said, “Find Hurry.” Dude wasn’t the smartest Doodle, but he had heard the family call the turtle Hurry a number of times and so he took a chance.
Off he went. He ran in a zigzag pattern through the bushes, across the lawn. Suddenly, Dude stopped and went back and stuck his nose under a big rose bush. He sat down and looked at the family. They looked at him. Dude went back to the family and ran to the bush again. The family got the message. There, almost hidden, was Hurry munching on rose leaves.
From that day forward the family relied on Dude to find Hurry and he never disappointed.
Sometimes Hurry would be taken into the front yard and allowed to graze on the bluegrass and dandelions the family let grow just for him. The family would set in the shade and read while Dude watched his friend very carefully. Dude was always very protective of Hurry. No one could come to look at Hurry without being inspected by Dude. And it was a very thorough inspection. Hurry always looked for Dude, too, because under his hard shell he had a caring heart.
So Dude had found something he was very good and he was proud. Finding something you are good at sometimes takes a long time, but it is worth the wait. And sometimes it just takes helping others. Just ask Hurry, who is never in a hurry.
Now turtles can live a long time. Some people say 100 years. Dogs don’t live nearly as long. But over the years Dude and Hurry never let this bother them. They were very different, one wild, one tame, but they didn’t let differences matter. They just enjoyed what they had together, whether it be the love of a good meal, a walk, or a nap in the sun. And the family was very happy. The Mastiff, not so much.
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