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“Charlie, look here, come on. Up here, up here, up here… let me see your new collar… that’s a good boy!” Emily, The Nice Lady, said to Charlie as she held the Shiny Hand Block in front of Charlie. Charlie tilted his head from side to side. He knew that as soon as he was done sitting in front of the Shiny Hand Block, Emily would give him a treat because he had trained her very well. Emily looked at her Shiny Hand Block and smiled a happy smile. “You are just too cute, Charlie! This is a perfect one to send to your Uncle Trevor,” Emily said as she tapped the Shiny Hand Block in her hand. “Now hopefully he can keep his mouth shut until I go home next,” she mumbled as she put the Shiny Hand Block down and clapped her hands. “Who wants a cookie?!?”
Charlie barked and chased his tail in a circle three times. Hell yes, he wanted a Cookie. He had thought that the treats at the Big Dog House that Claire gave him were good, but these things called ‘Cookies’ that Emily gave him were so good it made him dizzy. Charlie thought it might also be because he turned in circles over them, but then again, he wasn’t sure. He barked twice as Emily handed him a Cookie.
Charlie lay on his bed and happily munched on his Cookie. Emily had been a Very Good Girl and took him straight to the Store of Treats, Toys, and Smells right after they left the Saturday Event. He had helped her pick out a bed, blanket, and toys upon toys that day. It had been a Very Good Day for Charlie and Emily. Even though he was sad to leave behind everyone at the Saturday Event, and his favorite Stuffy Duck at The Big Dog House, Emily had promised him that they would see each other again very soon.
As Charlie chomped down the last bite of Cookie, Emily scratched his butt and told him for what felt like the thousandth time that he was a Very Good Boy. Charlie sat back down and turned his head to the side. He knew Emily loved that and he loved doing anything that Emily loved because she smelled so much better when she smiled. Charlie remembered Scooter and Wilson’s words – “She’s yours to take care of.” And Charlie took his job very seriously. He took Emily for walks in the park, and he took her for quick walks outside when she asked him to “Go Potty.” He figured while he was out there waiting for her, he might as well Go Potty too, and Emily seemed to really like that. He just wanted to make her happy. So when she said, “Sit,” he sit. When she said “Bed, Charlie,” he went to his bed. (He was still working on Stay, especially when she put a Cookie on the floor, but really, there was a Cookie right there on the floor!) He made sure that all three rooms in the Tiny But Good House with Cookies was safe and free of squirrels.
Emily sighed but smiled at Charlie. “Oh Charlie, it’s been so fun with you for a week. Luckily Janet from HR has been so nice to me because I know what she did at the company holiday party last year… ” Emily mused as she scratched Charlie’s ears. He closed his eyes and leaned into her. “So it’s back to work for me tomorrow, Charlie.” Charlie opened his eyes and rocked his head to the side. Work? What was work? Like when he walked around The Tiny But Good House with Cookies to check for squirrels? Was that work? The way that Emily said ‘work’ made it sound like a Very Not Fun Thing. “Aw, buddy, it’s okay! When I get home we’ll play.” Play!? Charlie knew that work and he barked twice in anticipation as Emily laughed. “Yes, we’ll play! Who wants to go to the Park right now?”
Soon enough, Charlie learned that work was indeed a Very Not Fun Thing, as Emily left every day and didn’t come back for a Very Long Time. And worst of all, Emily only left two Cookies out for him every day, and every day, Charlie ate them as soon as the door shut. But Emily did keep her promise. She always came back, and she did take him out to play as soon as she got home. She really was a Very Good Girl, so every day when she left and told Charlie, “Be a Good Boy!” Charlie did his best to listen.
And for the most part, he did… except for the one day that Emily was out of Cookies when she left for the Very Not Fun Thing. “Oh no, Charlie. There’s only one Cookie left… I’ll pick some more up on the way home today, boy. Shit, I’m running late. Ugh, Charlie, TGIF.” She handed him his one, lone Cookie, and just like that she was gone. Charlie let out a whimper and his stomach grumbled as he licked his lips from eating his one Cookie in three bites. He napped, he scratched, he napped again and scratched some more. He walked into each room of the Tiny But Good House with Cookies, just to make sure there were no more Cookies – or worse, squirrels – anywhere.
When he got to Emily’s room’s door, he had to remind himself she wasn’t in there – it was just her smell. But since he loved the way Emily smelled, he pushed his way into her room. He sniffed and snuffed all around her room – he even put his paws on her bed, something Emily had said, “No, down,” to when Charlie did it on the second night home. But Charlie was just checking to make sure that everything was Okay. Emily was his Very Good Girl, after all. And as he jumped down off of her bed, that’s when he smelled A Very Nice Scent.
It smelled just like Emily – vanilla and cinnamon and some peanut butter, and also dirt and grass and a little salt too. Oh God, it wasn’t a Very Nice Scent for Charlie, no, it was a Wonderful Smell. Charlie paced the room like a madman. He needed that Wonderful Smell, and he needed it now. He tried to get all the way up on bed, is that where it came from? He moved around the Big Things and went under the Big Blanket to check. No, not there. He hopped down, put his nose to the floor and began to inhale deeply. He moved about the room, covering every inch slowly and methodically… c’mon, find it, find it, find it, yes! Charlie stopped in front of another door. What was this? Another room? The Wonderful Smell was pulsating from behind the door Charlie could practically see it coming at him and he barked in glee.
Charlie pushed at the door but it didn’t budge. He dug at the bottom of the door, but his Hole was not getting deep in the Weird Grass in Emily’s room. He started to bark and back up as his stomach rumbled. Oh, the Wonderful Smell was so strong it was practically up his nose. And that’s when he saw the long leashes hanging off the door. They were just a little out of reach, so he jumped up to try to grab one. He missed, sat back on his hind legs, and jumped a little higher, snapping his mouth shut on the long leash. He tugged hard, and just like that, the door opened. As soon as the door opened, Charlie was hit with a blast of a Wonderful Smell. He ran into the tiny room, nose pressed to the floor to get whatever the Wonderful Smell was into his mouth. Charlie moved boxes out of the way with his nose, weaved in between Emily’s blankets she wore to A Very Not Fun Thing, and flipped over Park Playtime Shoes until he found it. Overjoyed and without hesitation, Charlie bit down on the thing that was holding the Wonderful Smell.
The taste was intoxicating to Charlie – what a Tasty Treat this was. Why was Emily hiding these Tasty Treats in the back of her little room the entire time?!? Oh, the flavor, oh the texture – it was just right, with a little pull and some give. Very tender and chewy. Charlie could not stop eating it, even though he felt so full. And that’s when Charlie realized that there weren’t just one of these Tasty Treats, there were two! Charlie thought it might be best to take a nap and then come back for seconds later.
Charlie happily trotted back to his bed and fell into a nice, long and deep sleep. It wasn’t until he heard the door open and Emily call out, “Charlie, where are you? Guess what I got my favorite boy? Who wants a Cookie?” that he woke up. As he flew up off his bed, the sound of Emily’s voice and the thought of a Cookie overwhelmed him with Excitement. Suddenly Charlie felt Not So Good. His stomach rumbled, gurgled, and then all of the sudden, Charlie was giving the Tasty Treat right back to Emily on the floor in front of him. Uh-oh, Charlie thought. I made a Mess. He hung his head in shame.
“Charlie! Charlie! Are you okay?” Emily said as she got down on the floor and pet his back. “Aw, buddy, it’s been a long week, I know… What happened, baby, you don’t feel well…” Emily’s voice trailed off as she inspected what Charlie had just done. “Charlie, what is that?” Emily looked closer at the dog vomit in front of her. “What the… oh my God, No!” Emily sprang up and ran into her room saying No over and over again. Charlie did not follow. He didn’t like the word No, but also he still felt Not So Good. Suddenly Emily’s voice got very Loud as she screamed a word that kind of sounded like Stuffy Duck, but definitely was not Stuffy Duck to Charlie’s ears. Emily came stomping back into the living room near Charlie’s bed.
“Charlie! You ate my boots?!? No! No! No! No!” Emily was holding a bit of the Tasty Treat, or Boot, as Charlie learned, in her hand and shaking it at him. Very faintly, he could smell a Not Nice Smell: Emily was Mad. Charlie looked down at his bed… Emily might smell Mad, but God, the strip of Boot she was holding smelled so Good. He wondered if Emily would give the rest to him later, but that’s when she yelled, “BAD DOG, CHARLIE! That is a bad boy!” and stomped away.
Bad dog…? Bad boy…? Charlie sunk down on his bed. He was a bad boy? Him? For eating the Tasty Treat Boot? But Emily always gave him Treats and Cookies, she always shared. Charlie whimpered as the thought hit him: this Tasty Treat-Boot was not where the usual Cookies were… so either Emily was hiding it for herself, the Tasty Treat-Boot, or… Charlie wasn’t supposed to eat it. Oh shit, Charlie realized. He was not supposed to eat it: Emily wouldn’t hide anything from him. Charlie whined as he realized the grand mistake that he had made. And now, to make matters worse, he was a Bad Boy. He whined again as his stomach rumbled.
Emily came back out into the living room and looked at Charlie as she walked past him. “Hmmph,” she mumbled, “your stomach hurts, maybe it’s because you ate a three hundred dollar boot, Charlie.” Charlie whined in response and laid down as Emily disappeared. She came back with paper towels, a Spray Bottle, and the trash can. Charlie shuddered at the thought of a Spray Bottle. He could tell she was still Mad, he could smell it. As she squatted down to start trying to clean up Charlie’s Mess, Charlie whined. “Don’t, Charlie, I’m mad at you. You ate my Boot!” Emily was still Loud, but a little less Loud. He looked up at her and caught her eye, and thought he could sense a small change. She didn’t smell quite so Mad. He turned his head to the side.
Emily used the Spray Bottle on the floor as she scrubbed it over and over and then sighed. “I mean… I did only leave you one Cookie,” she mumbled as she looked at him. At the sound of the word Cookie, Charlie got up and walked right next to Emily. He sat down directly in front of her and stared at her, turning his head from one side to the other. “Oh, Charlie,” Emily said, her voice finally softening. “Charlie, I can’t really stay mad at you.” She pet his head in silence for a minute. “Don’t do it again, okay? Or at least eat a pair of Boots, don’t leave me with just one Boot.”
With a smile in her voice, Charlie took it as an invitation to move even closer to Emily and press his nose into her face. “Don’t get me with that puke breath!” Emily laughed as she put the Mess into the trashcan, wiped the floor, and started to rub Charlie’s back. “I’m getting you doggy mints and Cookies next time you little turd. And I think it’s time that I call that doggy daycare place Sara was telling me about. Come here, Charlie.” Emily pulled Charlie a little closer as she scratched down his shoulders, back, and finally to his butt. She laughed and patted his belly as it rumbled. “You’re a Good Boy, Charlie. Let’s go to the park – I’d rather you puke up the rest outside.” .