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Beatrix pushed Arthur again, and Arthur grew a new bruise on his head and a new scrape on his arm. Beatrix is the school bully and is always picking on other kids. Arthur is one of those kids.

Arthur’s dad thinks that he should get a dog as a friend because Arthur has trouble making friends. Arthur’s mother hates dogs. Arthur would die to get a dog, but his mom, Jen (short for Jennifer) says no. At school, Beatrix puts on make-up in class and bullies everyone who doesn’t worship her. Every day, Beatrix wears a half-top and really short shorts. Beatrix is a cheerleader and has perfect teeth. She and her cheerleading squad push people, make fun of them, laugh at them, and spill their lunch out.

Later that day, Arthur was throwing free throws on the basketball court when all the other boys were playing soccer. Arthur missed every single one and licked his braces every time he missed. As Arthur was playing, he saw Beatrix coming at him. She said a few mean things, but Arthur kept dribbling and missing. Arthur heard something about his horrible playing skills. Then Beatrix walked away with her two sidekicks.

*          *          *

At the end of the day, Arthur came home and his father called him to the kitchen.

Arthur set his bag on a chair and said, “What?”

“I have a surprise for you!” his father said proudly. “But first, how was your day?”

“Well, Beatrix pushed me again,” Arthur mumbled.

“Okay, but this will still be the best day of your life!”

There was a large crate on the floor with small vents on the sides. Arthur hoped it was a dog, but he knew his mother would never allow it. His father opened the crate and a yellow Labrador retriever jumped out and started licking his face. The dog knocked him over, and Arthur was happier than at any other time in his life.

“What’s his name?” Arthur asked his father.

“Her name is Sunny,” his father answered. “No other person would take her from the shelter because of

her behavior.”

“She seems fine to me,” Arthur said with confidence.

“That’s what I said!” he exclaimed. “The man told me to just wait, and she would be a monster.”

“Except for the part where her body is all muddy and scarred,” Arthur said while he looked at her paws. The two gave her a nice bubble bath that she seemed to enjoy. Sunny had soap bubbles all over her, and his father made her a beard. They laughed and rinsed her with the hose. She shook her whole body and it felt like gallons of water came off her. They dried her with a nice big towel and she happily pranced over to the house. Her fur was now as soft as . . . something that is really soft.

Arthur took Sunny outside and played fetch, or tried to play fetch. Arthur heard his mother’s car coming down the long driveway, and Arthur sprinted inside with Sunny.

They both were tired from the warm sun and heard Jen coming. Arthur had asked his dad if Mom knew about the dog. His father exclaimed, “Heck no! If she knew about this, she would kill me.”

“Well, she is coming in the house as we speak, so . . .” Arthur hesitated. His father was about to say something, but she walked in the door before he could. She stared at Sunny and dropped her purse. She blinked and brushed the golden-brown hair out of her face.

I hate dogs, Jen thought as she walked far into the woods with Sunny, trying to avoid touching her.

“Oh my god. You guys got a dog!” she yelled, and the chandelier in the dining room shook. Arthur imagined steam coming out of her ears. Sunny whimpered and gave Jen the puppy eyes.

Jen did not talk to Arthur but was yelling at their father the whole time. At dinner, Jen locked Sunny outside on a leash. They had chicken and broccoli for dinner with a side of beans, and Arthur stayed silent, still thinking about Sunny. Arthur fed his leftovers to Sunny, and she greedily gobbled them down and started whimpering for more. Arthur patted her head and placed a blanket outside for her. Arthur went to bed and drifted off to sleep.

*          *          *

I hate dogs, Jen thought as she walked far into the woods with Sunny, trying to avoid touching her. They reached a river about half a mile into the middle of nowhere. Jen looked at Sunny, who was giving her the puppy eyes; they sparkled in the moonlight. Jen tied the leash on a tree loosely and ran back to the house. She came in the door panting, and she poured herself a glass of wine. She sat on the couch and fell asleep.

*          *          *

The next morning, Arthur came downstairs and looked for Sunny. She was sitting on the deck waiting for food. He fed her some beef with spinach, and he noticed that her leash was untied. Arthur’s mother came down the stairs and said to Arthur, “Good morning, honey. How is the dog?” Jen was expecting to hear “She is missing,” or “I don’t know,” but she heard:

“Good.” Arthur smiled. “She seems hungry, though.”

Jen frowned and looked outside the glass door. Sunny was sitting there and smiling at her, and Jen swore that she winked. Over the next half hour, Arthur was getting ready for school and covering his bruise with his mom’s make-up. She was downstairs getting ready for the drive to school by putting her coffee in a cup, brushing her hair, getting the keys, and getting her phone charger. Arthur put on his clothes, brushed his teeth and his braces, and put his homework in his bag. His mom drove him to school in her truck and quickly went back home.

Jen put Sunny in the back of her truck and drove past Arthur’s school and reached an empty alley. Jen chained Sunny to a pole and drove off.

“Take that, stupid dog,” Jen said nastily. “You won’t come back now!” She drove to work and felt a little bad for Sunny but did not regret her decision. She had a meeting and did very well.

At school, Arthur was hiding from Beatrix and was avoiding her at all costs. As Arthur came around the corner, Beatrix was right there! He knocked her books and phone out of her hand, and she immediately started hitting Arthur. He ran away and she followed with her gang of cheerleaders. They were running out of the school when a school teacher saw them and yelled,“Stop! Where are you going?!”

The other girls stopped, but Arthur and Beatrix kept running. They were running on a trail in the woods when Arthur came to a stop. Beatrix punched his back and looked to see what he was looking at. It was Sunny, with no collar and her lips curled back. Her huge, white, sparkly teeth scared Beatrix and she stayed still like a statue. She also hated dogs because she’d been attacked by one as a little girl. Arthur walked up to Sunny proudly and patted her head. She licked her lips and smiled at him with her body. Beatrix ran away before she could beat him up, and Sunny walked home with Arthur. They had only missed an hour of school, and that last hour was dance class (with Beatrix). Arthur and Sunny stayed home until their parents came home.

“Maybe, just maybe, Mom might like you if I tell her you saved me,” Arthur said to Sunny. Then Arthur thought he was going crazy talking to a dog. Arthur sat on the couch and fell asleep. Sunny went into their parents’ room and started eating things. She ate Jen’s shoes, her dress, the TV remote, and even the toilet paper. Sunny ran back downstairs with some fabric on her paw and some toilet paper on the other paw. She licked Arthur’s face and woke him up. Arthur saw the stuff on Sunny and ran to check the rooms. His room was clean and the guest room was clean, but his parents’ room was trashed. It had toilet paper, shoes, lipstick, fabric, and other stuff Arthur didn’t even want to know about.

“Mom is going to kill you,” Arthur said to himself and to Sunny. His mom

was coming home in 20 minutes and her room was a mess. Arthur started cleaning the room and only got about a fourth of the way done when he heard his mother come in the door. Arthur walked outside the door and Sunny ran down the stairs to Jen. She saw where Sunny came from and went to look in her room. Arthur hid in the bathtub and held his breath. What happened next made Arthur’s ears ring.

“ARTHUR!!!!” Jen screamed at the top of her lungs. Arthur came out of the bathroom and his mother saw him. Arthur got many lectures about watching his dog and about how much money Sunny had cost her. Arthur’s punishments were: no allowance, no dessert, extra chores, to clean his mom’s room, and that Sunny was never allowed inside again. Arthur still loved Sunny. Her love was so powerful toward Arthur, and she had saved him from getting beat up by a 13-year-old cheerleader.

Arthur tied Sunny up on a leash and went to bed. He had finished cleaning his mom’s room and the rest of the house. Arthur’s father was coming home late tonight because of work. Arthur went to bed and was thinking about Sunny all night.

Again, Jen tried to get rid of Sunny. This time permanently. Jen loaded Sunny in the back of her car with a large suitcase. Jen drove two miles away, over a bridge with a river under it, and drove up the same river to a deep part of it. Jen was nice to Sunny and told her to sit in the suitcase. Jen closed the suitcase and zipped it up quickly. Jen hesitated before she kicked her into the river, but she did it. Sunny floated away and Jen got back in the car. Before Jen could close the door, someone opened it and hit her on the head with a hard object. Everything went all black.

A man dressed in all black dragged her out of the car and took her wallet, her keys, and her phone. He had a black ski mask on made of cotton and his long-sleeve shirt was a thick sweater to protect him from the cold outside. He wore black jeans with a thread poking out and black sneakers with a brand-new tread.

Jen was on the floor, tied to a tree, when she woke up. She felt like she had been passed out for an eternity. She woke up to the man yelling and hitting some blurry animal. Everything was still blurry to Jen, but she thought the animal was Sunny. She thought that was crazy since Sunny was long gone, but her vision came back and it was Sunny. She was biting the guy and growling. He was grunting and trying to get away, but Sunny would not let him go. Sunny pushed him into the river and he hit his head on a rock; he was about to drown, but he saved himself and swam away.

Sunny walked over to Jen and stared at her in the face. As this was happening, Jen looked into Sunny’s eyes and she saw a poor dog who had been through a lot. This made Jen feel like she actually loved the dog instead of hating her guts. Sunny chewed the ropes off, and Jen drove her home.

Jen never tried to “lose” Sunny again. Sunny was loved by the whole family and started training to be a service dog. Sunny never chewed anything besides Arthur’s shoes, and Arthur never found out about what Jen did to Sunny, or that Sunny saved her, and Jen never found out that Sunny rescued Arthur. Sunny has forgiven her people like all dogs do. Every time Jen woke up, she would remember and be happy that Sunny had saved her.

I wrote this story to show that no matter how much you hurt your dog or make a mistake with your dog, they can always forgive you and help you. With my dog, every time I mess up, she forgives me and moves on with her life. She is a happy dog, and she loves everybody.

Jamison Freis
Jamison Freis, 12
Sherman Oaks, CA

Parinita Chandrashekar
Parinita Chandrashekar, 12
Bridgewater, NJ