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The Not So Wise Owl
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Tara Fox Hall
Little Bit opened her eyes, her tail wagging instantly.
She hurried to the front of her crate, whining eagerly.
A smiling woman with grey hair opened the door, picked the cinnamon- coloured puppy up, and gave her a loving hug.
"Today is the day, Little Bit." she said. "You're going to your new home."
So many sights and sounds on the long van ride that followed!
Cars rumbled by, the dogs beside her in cages barked and cried, many colours of lights flashed in the windows, then were gone into the blackness.
Then there was the bright light of the pet store, music, and many people talking and looking at her.
Little Bit didn't know what to do.
She shook all over, and finally tried to make herself as small as possible, curling up in a ball next to her litter-mates.
Eventually, she fell asleep.
Little Bit came awake with a start as hands lifted her, then put her into a strange woman's arms.
Terrified, she held perfectly still.
"She's very small." a strange man said.
"She'll grow," the woman said, smiling at Little Bit. "She's young."
Little Bit was scared all the way to her new home, and tried not to move.
She refused all the offered food and water, until finally hunger and thirst got the better of her.
Slowly she made friends with her new brother Hunter and sister Tawny, and they would play for hours with all kinds of wonderful toys.
She began to eat enough for two puppies.
She even got used to the scary vacuum cleaner, the loud gate that always falls over, and snapping nail clippers.
But there was still one big problem; Little Bit was too small.
Tawny was a big dog, and Hunter was extra large.
But Little Bit was half the size of Tawny, and could stand under Hunter when he stood up.
"Why don't you grow?" Tawny asked Little Bit.
"I'm trying!" she answered. "I eat a lot."
Every night, when it was time to go to sleep, the man would look at Little Bit.
"You are too small." he would always say.
Every morning, when it was time to get up and eat, the woman would hug Little Bit, and pet her.
But her first question was always, "Why are you so small? You aren't growing. You need to get bigger."
Worried, Little Bit finally went to Hunter one day, as he scratched his neck.
"Help me please, I need to get bigger."
"You aren't going to get bigger." Hunter said, not looking up.
"I have to! What if they send me back to the shelter?"
Hunter shook himself and lay back down.
"I don't think they'll do that. But they did want another big dog like me. You really are very small."
Little Bit took a deep breath. "Why do I have to be big?"
Hunter showed her his two-inch fangs.
"For scaring bad people, silly puppy. It's our job as dogs to keep the house safe, like it's the cat's job to keep the mice out. Big dogs are scary, because we have big teeth."
Little Bit showed her 1/4-inch puppy fangs. "How's this?"
"You look like a cat." Hunter laughed.
"He's right." the cat Phantom called out from the chair. "But I think my fangs are bigger, actually."
"Don't make fun of me." Little Bit growled.
"I was being serious." Phantom purred.
"Look, no one is ever going to be afraid of you." Hunter said. "You are too small for that. What else are you good at?"
Little Bit sat down, ears drooping. "Just being cute. That's what they call me; and I can't be cute forever."
"You run pretty fast." Tawny said with a yawn. "Someday you might run faster than Hunter, whose legs are twice as long as yours."
"Not likely." Hunter snorted. "No one is as fast as me."
Little Bit jumped up, excited. "Is that good enough, for not being bigger? To be fast?"
"You are what you are," Tawny said "you can't be big. You have to be yourself, Little Bit."
Little Bit started training that day.
She ran everywhere she could, even just from one end of the house to the other. And on walks she ran as fast as she could.
At first Hunter caught her easily; but soon she learned to evade him. Being so much smaller, she could stop and turn faster than he, changing direction almost instantly.
"Look at how fast she is." the man said proudly one day, watching Little Bit run as Hunter chased her around and around the field.
"She's small, but she's super fast." the woman agreed. "She looks almost like a little greyhound."
"You are still...too small," Hunter huffed to Little Bit, as he stopped to breathe, panting hard.
"Maybe, but you're too slow!" Little Bit called out, as she ran off smiling.
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