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Go to www.kypress.com to hear Woody read each chapter and try the interactive chapter activities. Thanks to Kentucky Utilities/LG&E, Kentucky Office for Adventure Tourism, Kentucky Press Association and Newspaper in Education for helping to make this statewide literacy project possible.
“Are you still sore, Woody?” Chloe asked as we traveled west on the Western Kentucky Parkway. “I’ve never seen anyone dog paddle like that.”
“I’m fine, thanks,” I answered, though my paws were still tired from dog paddling back to the boat. Thankfully my parents were right there — and I had a life jacket on — but it was still tough.
“I don’t know what possessed you to try a trick your very first time on a wakeboard,” Dad said as he looked in the rearview mirror. “I certainly hope you learned your lesson that being in the water is serious.”
“I certainly did. I’m really sorry, Dad.”
“Apology accepted, dude,” Dad said, making everyone giggle. “Let’s take the next exit and stretch our legs at the rest area.”
“Perfect,” we all said. A few miles later, we pulled into the rest area. After we unbuckled our seat belts and got out of the car, Mom hooked up our leashes so we could go for a walk. It felt great to move around and stretch.
“What’s that noise?” Chloe asked, stopping still in her tracks.
“What’s what noise?” I asked.
“It sounds like a puppy crying,” Mom said as Dad began looking around to see where the noise was coming from. Just then, we saw a mother and her daughter crying.
“Are you OK?” Mom asked the lady.
“Our puppy has fallen in a hole in the ground, and we don’t know how to get him out,” the lady said as she pointed to the hole. “We should have made him use a leash, but he doesn’t like them. If he’d been on a leash, he wouldn’t have fallen down the hole.”
Though Mom was hugging the lady, her look let us know there was a reason she and Dad made us wear our leashes. It was for our protection. I made a mental note to never complain about wearing my collar or leash again.
“It looks like an old abandoned well,” Dad said. “I can see the pup down in the hole.”
“Can you go down and get him?” Chloe asked Dad.
“No, sweetheart. The opening’s too small for me or Mom,” he said.
“Can Chloe and I go in?” I asked Dad, though deep down I was scared. Dad rubbed his chin several times. Chloe and I knew when Dad rubbed his chin he was in deep thought. He looked at Mom several times before speaking.
“There’s no need for you both to go in. I’ll let you go, Woody, but you have to obey every one of my instructions,” Dad said.
“I’ll do everything you say,” I promised.
“Wonderful. We all have to work together if we want to rescue this sweet pup,” Dad said.
“Since we don’t have a rope, we’ll use your collars and your leash,” Dad said. Chloe and I took off our collars and gave them to Dad. He tied them to both leashes to make a long rope. Then he tied one end to an oak tree while Mom and Chloe used the other end to create a harness for me to wear. Once the rope was secure, Dad lowered me into the well by releasing the rope a little at a time. I was scared in the deep, dark well, but it had to be done.
“Tell me when you reach the pup, son,” Dad hollered.
All of a sudden the pup started licking me all over my face. “I’m with the pup, Dad,” I said, obeying his instructions.
“Great,” Dad shouted. “Can you pick him up?”
Dad had always taught us we could never touch an animal without asking the owner, because the animal could be vicious. This was an extreme situation, however.
“Hey, fella,” I said softly, offering him my paw. “I’m Woody. I’m going to pick you up and get you out of this well, OK.” The pup wagged his tail to let me know he was thankful.
I picked up the pup with my right front paw and held on the rope with my left front paw and hollered, “OK, Dad. I’m ready.” Mom and Dad made sure the rope stayed tied to the tree while Chloe pulled us up. It took all my strength to hang on to the rope, and I’m sure it took all of Chloe’s strength to pull me and the pup.
A few minutes later, the pup and I were out of the well and in the arms of our family members.
“We would have lost our puppy if it hadn’t been for you and Chloe. How can we ever thank you?” the lady asked.
“No thanks necessary. Just make sure this little guy always wears a collar and a leash. It’s important he’s always safe,” I said, looking at my parents.
“I’m so proud of you pups,” Dad said. “A few weeks ago you would have never had the energy or strength to rescue a pup from the well, but look what great shape you’re in.” I flexed my muscles to show Dad he was right.
“The best part is it’s so much fun getting in shape,” Chloe said. “I can’t wait to see Doc Albert again. I bet our test scores are better, too.”
“I bet you’re right,” Mom said. “I can’t believe all the changes you pups have already made. Now let’s get to our next adventure.”
“Uh, can you hand me my collar and leash first?” I asked, making Mom and Dad freeze.
“Like I said, I can’t believe all the changes,” Mom said, laughing, as she rubbed my head and felt my muscles. “Come on, dude, let’s get you leashed up.”