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Dream Quest One Writing Contest
Third Writing Prize Winner - Summer 2011


Caleb Neil 

of Stoutsville, Ohio


"Paws" for Friendship


I should probably introduce myself. I’m Henry. I have three brothers and a sister. I have a mom and a dad, but they live far away from here. I like playing with people. I also especially love to play Frisbee. But one thing that you really should know is that I’m a dog.

Chapter 1

One hot, sunny, summer day I was lying under a tree trying to keep cool. I was also watching my owner, a young boy named James, slide down a water slide into the pool in his backyard. Of course, on such a hot day I wished I could be in there with him. But being a dog always had its disadvantages. Now, James would be happy to let me in the pool, but his mother, Linda, wouldn’t. So I lay there until I heard Linda calling me.

“Come here, Henry! You want some food?”

Food? I was always ready for food! I came inside just as Linda was dishing some meat into my bowl. I hurried over to my bowl and the meat was gone in ten seconds flat. Linda patted my head and went off to do the laundry.

I walked back out to the spot under the tree and plopped down. I was just starting to think about how nice my life was when I heard a rustling above me in the tree. Down climbed Whiskers, my worst enemy. It’s not like he does anything especially bad to anyone. But he always goes by me and calls me ‘long tail” or “dog breath” and sticks his tail right next to my nose so I start sneezing.

But what really makes me mad is that his owner next door gets angry if I even get near him. Whiskers started walking toward me.

Chapter 2

“Hello, Henry,” said Whiskers.

I just stared at him like he was an alien that stepped off a flying saucer.

“You… you called me by my real name!” I said, unbelievingly.

Whiskers replied, “I know. I thought I’d shake things up a little bit. You know, I always walk past you, call you a name, and you get angry. I thought maybe I could do things differently today and try to be friends with you.”

When I bumped my head on the kitchen table a few days ago, I must have bumped it harder than I thought. Here was Whiskers, who I’ve always disliked, trying to be my friend!

“Sure, I’ll be your friend,” I said suspiciously.

“Great, let’s start being friends right now,” Whiskers replied. So we started a relationship I really didn’t want to start. But it was too late now.


Chapter 3

The next few days I was trying to get used to being around Whiskers. He showed me a couple of things that he likes to do such as climb trees. I tried to climb a tree, but I didn’t do that great. Then I showed Whiskers how to dig a hole. He said if he could keep his paws clean, he would. We spent a couple of minutes trying to think of something interesting we could both do together.

Then Whiskers said, “I have an idea! Let’s go find a quiet spot and relax!”

I thought it was a great idea. After doing all those things today, I was fatigued. I replied, “Do you have a specific place in mind?” When he said maybe we could use his owner’s flower garden, my face changed to a look of horror.

“Are you crazy?” I get in trouble when I just get near you! Don’t you think that if I go over that fence he might just be a little more than angry?”

Whiskers was unmoved by my little speech. “Relax. Ryan, my owner, is gone right now. Now let’s sneak over there before he comes back!” I reluctantly hopped over the fence in the place where he had disappeared.

Chapter 4

The whole time we walked over to the flowerbed, I was a nervous wreck. I kept thinking about what would happen if Ryan caught me. Would he grab me by the tail, drag me over to my house, and tell Linda that I was digging in his garden? Would he yell at me? All these thoughts made me more nervous every second.

When we finally reached the other side of the yard, where the flowerbed was, Whiskers said, “Just lay down and relax.”

I had to admit it was comfortable. Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.

I was awoken, I don’t know how long later, by the sound of a car’s motor and screeching brakes. At first I thought it was somebody coming home back at my house. But when I heard it, it sounded closer than that. I looked up and saw Ryan drive up his driveway. I tried to run for it, but it was too late. He saw me.

When he saw I was in his flowers, he was furious! He stormed over to me and chased me all the way to the fence. I jumped over, with Ryan on the other side of the fence yelling warnings and threats. Whiskers was nowhere in sight.



Chapter 5

My heart was racing and I was panting from the close call. Then I looked ahead and saw Whiskers walk out from behind a tree nearby. He was grinning from ear to ear and walked like he was the President of the United States.

“Hello, Henry. Enjoy your nap?” he asked.

I replied, “Yes. I enjoyed it very much, FRIEND!”

He walked around me and stuck his tail in my face, which I really hated. “You’re probably wondering why I left, right?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m very interested in why you left! Were you watching me get chased halfway across the yard by Ryan?” I accused him.

He answered, “Well, I wasn’t just watching you. I washed my paws, my tail, and a little bit of my stomach. But otherwise, yes, I was watching.”

By now I was so enraged that he left me there, I felt I might explode. But I managed to say as calmly as possible, “Whiskers, I have decided not to be your friend anymore. It was fun while it lasted, but one friend would never leave another friend to take the blame.”

He seemed to be listening attentively. But then all of a sudden he turned and stalked off with his chin and tail in the air.

Chapter 6

Who needs cats? Especially ones who are annoying and get you in trouble all the time! All these thoughts went through my mind. It’s too bad. He could have really been a nice guy. I tried to put Whiskers out of my mind. It was a hot day, but not as hot as it was a few days ago. James came out of the house just then.

“Here, boy! You want to play Frisbee?” he asked. I love Frisbee!

James ran and got the Frisbee out of the toy box. When he came back, he threw it as hard as he could. I ran after it as fast as my legs could carry me. I ran to where it was going to land, jumped up, and caught it between my teeth. I trotted back to him and spit it out. We repeated this process several more times. After awhile, he and I took a break. James ran inside to cool off, and I sat right down under the nice shade of a tree.

About ten minutes later, James came back out of the house. He picked up the Frisbee and we continued playing. One throw went over my head and into the bushes on the side of the yard. I dug through the bushes and finally came out holding the Frisbee. While I hurried back to James, I saw Whiskers out of the corner of my eye, watching everything we were doing. When I spit the Frisbee out in front of James, he said he was getting hot, so he went inside. I looked to see if Whiskers was still there, which he was. I started walking toward him.



Chapter 7

I marched straight up to him and said, “What exactly do you think you’re doing?”

Whiskers acted surprised. “Why, I was watching you! There’s no law against watching, is there? I just think it’s so fascinating how he throws that little flying disc thing.”

“It’s called a Frisbee. It just happens to be my favorite game in the world.” I was shocked that he had never heard of a Frisbee! I must have answered any questions he’d had, because he turned around and started walking away. My curiosity got the better of me.

“So, where are you going on such a nice day” I asked him.

He kept going forward, but answered, “I’m going back home. Why?”

I replied, “Just... curious.” That was partly true, but I just wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going snooping where he didn’t belong. He and I walked to the fence together. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed walking there with him, but there was a nice, peaceful feeling between him and me. As Whiskers was about to jump the fence, I heard Linda calling me inside. I ran back to the house. I looked back, but Whiskers had already disappeared over the fence.

Chapter 8

The next day, I didn’t see Whiskers. I didn’t see him the day after that either. I was starting to worry about the little guy. I mean, he may be annoying sometimes, but he was starting to grow on me.

All of a sudden, Linda came outside and walked me back to the house. I knew what that meant. She was taking me inside to give me a bath. Now, most dogs really don’t like baths. But I love baths! I don’t know if it’s the nice, soothing rub that Linda gives me while she’s washing, or if it’s the doggy shampoo she gives me that smells like watermelon. I don’t know why I like it, I just do.

After she was done rubbing, scrubbing and rinsing me, I went back outside again. When I got out there, I looked over at the fence on the side of the yard. What went through my mind then might have seemed crazy, but the thought of that nice, soft flowerbed was tempting. I decided it wasn’t a good idea. I just went over to a tree and sat down. Somehow, my gaze swung back to the fence. Should I do it?

I got up and wandered over to it. I just stared at it, wondering if I should jump. Then I pushed my legs off the ground and hopped over.


Chapter 9

When I landed on the other side, I quickly looked around for the flowerbed. When I saw it I rushed over to it, not worried about Ryan seeing me. I got over there and lay down. It was very comfortable. I started getting a little drowsy, but I forced myself to stay awake. I looked up, and it might just have been my imagination, but I thought I saw some movement in the tree nearby. Must have been a squirrel.

I settled back down and heard a squeaky noise by Ryan’s house. The door was open and Ryan was standing in the doorway with a cup of coffee in his hand. He looked around his yard, and when he saw me he turned redder than a tomato!

He went inside and came back out with a broom. I ran across the yard with Ryan right behind me. He took a wild swing... and missed. I wasn’t looking where I was going and I got caught in a corner. He raised the broom over his head and got ready to swing. All of a sudden, from the tree above me jumped Whiskers. He stood facing Ryan, hissing and spitting. Ryan seemed surprised that his own cat was hissing at him. He put down the broom and walked back inside, shaking his head and mumbling to himself.

I smiled at Whiskers and he smiled back. Whiskers had actually helped me! It looked like we were going to be good friends, after all.


Whiskers and I were best friends forever after that. I talked with him and we found some things we both liked and some similarities between us. The thing that I was most amazed about was that two very different animals like us got to be good friends like we are now.

# # #

By Caleb Neil

About the author:

I am 10 years old. I have one sister. I go to a private school nearby. I like to read and write. I love rollercoasters.