The Big Park
Romping in the Dog Park behind our house is pretty awesome. But riding in the car with Hattie and Fetch Man is even better, because we’re going to the Big Park.
The Big Park has picnic tables. The Big Park has a garbage can. But best of all, the Big Park has a huge grassy space to run and play in.
I love everything about the Big Park—except the squirrels. Squirrels are sneaky.
As soon as our car stops in the crunchy gravel, me and Hattie tumble out. Hattie loves going to the Big Park as much as I do. Fetch Man can hardly keep up with us.
While we stop to water a small tree (me, not them), I glance around. It looks like we have the whole park to ourselves. The squirrels know better than to show their beady little faces when I’m around.
Hattie unclips my leash, and Fetch Man grabs a stick.
“Ready, Fenway?” he says.
My tail goes nuts, and I rush past the garbage can. “I’m so ready! I’m so ready!” I bark.
I watch Fetch Man’s arm whip back, then—fwoosh! The stick flies through the air.
I sprint after it. “I got it! I got it!” I bark. That stick is mine! Twaap! It plops down, and I pounce.
I prance back to Hattie, my tail high and proud.
“Good boy, Fenway!” she sings. She pats my head, like she thinks I won’t notice Fetch Man’s hand reaching for the stick.
I clench my teeth.
“Gimme that stick. Gimme that stick.” Fetch Man growls, wearing a wide smile.
After a few pulls and tugs, I let Fetch Man win. That’s part of the game.
Fetch Man throws the stick again and again. Each time, I race after it and give it a chomp when it lands. I bring it back to Hattie for a “good boy” and some head pats. Then I let Fetch Man win at tug-of-war.
Fetch is the Best Game Ever!
I’ve just started racing the stick back to Hattie again when I notice something. A huge Rottweiler trots into the park. A tall human wearing a cap jogs behind her. I’ve never seen them before.
Hattie rubs my head. “Good boy,” she says.
Fetch Man goes for the stick. “Gimme!”
While I’m tugging, I watch a Frisbee whiz through the air. The Rottweiler leaps up, her body twisting, and—wowee!—she snatches it in midair! What an amazing trick!
Fetch Man pulls the stick from my mouth and hurls it.
As I race after the stick, the Frisbee whizzes by a second time. It goes higher and higher. The Rottweiler springs up, flips head over tail, and—whoopee!—snatches it in midair again!
It takes a moment or two before I remember my own stick, lying in the grass.
Hattie claps. “WOW!” she cries.
“Cool!” Fetch Man shouts.
They sound impressed. I know how they feel. Those Frisbee tricks are awesome!
The Rottweiler trots through the grass. She holds her tail high.
When she reaches her tall human, she drops the Frisbee at his feet. He rubs her all over. “Attagirl, Carmen!” he says, laughing.
“Thanks, Felipe!” she barks. “Let’s do it again!”
He seems to understand. The moment Felipe reaches for the Frisbee, Carmen springs up like the grass is on fire. She takes off.
“Hey, I want to do awesome tricks, too!” I yell, romping after her.
She doesn’t break a stride. “If you can reach the Frisbee first!” she calls.
The Frisbee sails high overhead. Carmen is already past the picnic tables. She’s in the middle of the Big Park.
“No fair!” I call. “You had a head start!” I chase her as fast as I can. But she’s a lot faster. She pulls farther ahead with every step.
Suddenly, Carmen turns and looks up. The Frisbee is almost directly above her. How did she even know that?
I’m so far back, I don’t even stand a chance. All I can do is watch.
Carmen leaps up. She spins completely around. And—chomp—she nabs the Frisbee in midair. Again.
I hear Hattie and Fetch Man clapping.
Carmen gallops past me, the Frisbee firmly in her jaws. I follow her back to Felipe. “That was amazing!” I tell her.
She drops the Frisbee at her tall human’s feet, and he rubs her all over. “Attagirl! Attagirl!” he cries.
Hattie and Fetch Man rush over. “Woot!” they say.
Carmen drops into the grass for a belly rub. “Way to go, Carmen!” Felipe says.
Everybody sounds impressed. Carmen is on her back, her legs sprawled out and kicking with happiness. She’s clearly enjoying all the attention.
This is totally unfair. There’s no way I can beat her to the Frisbee. But then I get another idea. While everybody is praising Carmen, I rush across the park to snatch my stick.
I come back and leave it at Hattie’s feet. “Throw it again!” I bark, pawing her leg. “I bet I can do tricks like Carmen, too!”
“Oh, Fenway,” she says. She does not sound interested, but she takes the stick anyway.
I race out into the grass. “I’m ready! I’m so ready!” I bark.
Hattie’s arm goes back. She hurls the stick.
Fwoosh! It flies through the air. I charge after it. When I get past the picnic tables, I slow down. I turn. I leap. I twist. I’m going to nab it in midair!
I hear the stick land in the grass behind me.
I whip around and stare. Carmen made it look so easy. What went wrong?
Suddenly, I realize the problem. Carmen has a Frisbee. And I don’t.
Copyright © 2022 by Victoria J. Coe. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.