A Dog And His Boy by Josh Roseman
Rex sat quietly in the middle of the clubhouse, swinging his head from side to side. His brown eyes were large and uncomprehending. The only reason he’d come in the first place was because his human, Sam, had told him to. Rex would follow Sam anywhere, no leash required. And right now, Sam was sitting beside Rex, petting his back gently.
“Okay,” Sam said. “We’re ready. Do it.”
Rex didn’t like how nervous his human sounded. He made a small noise and laid his head on Sam’s leg.
A couple of the other humans lit candles with smelly matches, and a girl human who sometimes made Sam’s heart beat faster – Rex could hear it – opened a big, old, musty book.
“It’s not going to work.” One of the humans, Steven, whispered that to Sam’s friend Ricky, one of the most interesting-smelling humans Rex had ever met. Ricky also belonged to Rex’s friend Bull, and Rex and Bull liked to play together at the park. “She’s just BS-ing us.”
“I am not!” Rex’s ears fluttered; he didn’t like the girl human’s voice when she got loud. “If you don’t think I can do it, why don’t you just… just leave!” Rex smelled the girl starting to sweat and he thumped his tail on the clubhouse floor. He couldn’t help it; when someone yelled, he wanted them to be happy, and maybe if he was happy, they would be happy too.
The girl didn’t get any happier. She just cleared her throat and started saying words Rex had never heard before.
The words made Rex’s fur itch. He stirred, but Sam put his hand on Rex’s shoulders and shushed him. “It’s okay, boy. It’s okay.”
Rex knew those words, but he didn’t feel “okay”. He started barking, loud as he could, trying to make the girl stop talking.
She wasn’t stopping.
Rex rolled onto his back, exposing his throat and his belly, hoping the girl would realize he was giving up, that she could stop what she was doing.
It didn’t work. She just kept saying those strange words, over and over.
When the wind blew out the candles, Rex bolted, shoving his way past the humans in front of the clubhouse door and running for the woods. He barked the whole time, trying to get someone’s attention – maybe Bull could hear him, or the big humans who told Sam what to do.
Suddenly, Rex’s legs didn’t want to work right; he tripped over his paws and went face-first into the dirt. He barked once more, then kicked out, trying to get up.
He felt strange. He felt uncomfortable – his back was bent in a new way, and his legs, too. He couldn’t hear right, and nothing smelled the same. But he could see now, much better than before.
Rex was so stunned by the changes that he didn’t notice the humans until they’d caught up to him and were standing over him. One of the boys laughed and pointed. “You can see his thing!”
The girl punched the boy’s shoulder. “Shut up, Terry!”
“You shut up…” He paused, then narrowed his eyes. “Beverly.”
The girl’s fist slammed into Terry’s nose. Terry fell on his backside, clutching his face. “You bitch!”
“My name,” she snarled, standing over him, “is Lee! Get it through your stupid head!” She kicked Terry’s leg, then turned to Rex and draped an old blanket over him. “Sorry about that.”
Rex tried to lick Lee’s hand and she jerked away. Rex cocked his head and looked up at her, confused: she’d never minded before. “Lee!” he barked, then pawed at his muzzle. His voice sounded strange.
And his nose felt even stranger! Rex scrambled backward, leaving the blanket behind. Terry laughed, but Lee ignored him as she came closer. “Rex, it’s okay,” she cooed. “Calm down. It’s okay, I promise.”
“No!” he barked. Why did he sound like this? Why was he barking like the humans? “No!” He got up on his haunches. “Bad Terry. Bad Lee.” He sniffed. “Sam?”
“Sam’s in the clubhouse,” Lee said. She’d snatched up the blanket and was holding it up. “Come with me. I’ll take you to Sam.”
“Sam!” Rex jumped to his feet and trotted over to Lee, who wrapped the blanket around his waist. “No,” he whined. “No.”
“Yes, Rex.” She tucked the blanket together like Sam when he put bandannas around Rex’s neck. It wasn’t so bad, but he wanted to cover himself with his tail. The blanket felt rough on parts that had only known fur before. “Come.”
Rex came. He quickly figured out how to walk on only two legs, a trick Sam had tried to teach him but he’d never been able to do until now. He kept sniffing, but his nose only made out grass and the dirt on his face. He could plainly see the clubhouse as they got closer, but he couldn’t smell the wood, or the candles, or the glossy pages of the magazines Ricky hid in a box in one corner. “Confused,” he barked softly.
He was even more confused when he saw himself sitting in the clubhouse, a leash hooked to his collar and tied around the leg of an ancient wooden table. “Me!”
He – that is, the other dog who was Rex – barked loudly and strained to reach Rex, but was brought up short by the leash and tumbled to the floor with a choked-off whine. Rex sniffed the dog, who licked his face. He looked up at Lee. “Me?”
“That’s Sam,” Lee said. She squatted on her haunches and stroked the black-and-white fur of the dog’s head. The dog – and it didn’t smell at all like Sam; it smelled, to Rex, like himself – squirmed as far out of reach as it could, belly to the floor, tail flat. “I’m sorry,” she said to them both. “I really didn’t think it would work. I thought I was just going to scare everyone!”
“Scared,” Rex whined. “Help.”
Sam tried to speak, but neither Rex nor Lee could understand him. “I’m sorry,” Lee said again. She checked her watch. “Look, I have to go home. You guys stay here, and I’ll sneak out and bring you some food and stuff.” She touched Rex’s shoulder and he tried to lick her hand again. “No, Rex. Don’t do that.”
Rex could tell her heart really wasn’t in the reprimand, though, and she let him lick her a couple of times. She tasted like usual – soap, nailpolish, the stink of her two cats – and it helped calm his nerves a little. She smiled at him, then left the clubhouse.
Sam whined at Rex. Rex stretched out on the floor next to Sam and, in a few moments, both were asleep.
The creaking of the clubhouse door woke Sam first, and he nudged Rex with his cold nose. Rex jerked awake. “What!” he barked.
“Shh! It’s me!” Lee’s voice. And she had food.
Rex didn’t even wait until she put the plate down; he used his paws – his hands – to lift the metal stuff off the top, then dug his face into the cold hamburgers and hot dogs. He’d had better, but he was hungry now.
“Rex, slow down!” Lee hissed. She pushed his head away and yanked the plate out from under him, then slid it across the floor to Sam. “Here. You have to eat.”
Sam sighed, but he did as she said. At first he nibbled tentatively, but Rex remembered how good treats like this had been, back when he had fur and four legs, and it looked like Sam liked them too. He gulped down the burgers and hot dogs, and by then Lee had put a bowl of water on the floor. He lapped it up greedily.
Rex looked at Lee with sad eyes. “Drink.”
She opened a can of soda and brought it to Rex’s mouth. The cold liquid was too sweet, and it made his mouth taste like metal, but after a few sips he realized he enjoyed it. He tried to grip the can, but when he almost dropped it, he realized it would be better to just let Lee hold it for him.
“Okay, guys,” she said when the meal was over, “Ricky is going to say you’re sleeping over at his house. So we have until tomorrow at dinnertime to fix this.”
Sam barked quietly. Rex cocked his head and stared at Lee. “Dog.” He pointed at himself. Then he pointed at Sam. “Human.”
“Yeah, Rex. I know. But for now, you have to remember that you’re Sam. And Sam,” she added, looking down at his furry form, “you have to answer to Rex. At least for now.”
Sam’s large, brown eyes managed to look angry – Rex recognized the same look the big humans at his house got when he pooped on the floor or slept in the middle of the kitchen and made people trip over him. Rex shrank back a little, and when Sam noticed, he got to his feet and came over to Rex. Rex tried to remember what felt good and managed to scratch Sam behind the ears.
Lee giggled, but when Sam gave her that look again, she stopped. “I’m sorry.” She went to the corner of the clubhouse and brought back the clothes Sam had been wearing earlier in the day. She held the bottom part out and told Rex to put it on.
He tried, but fell hard. Lee almost laughed, but stopped when Sam growled and just helped Rex get dressed. “Okay,” she said, “good. At least now people won’t stare.” Next she took out a lantern and lit it, then set it on the table. “I’m going to go through the book until I find a way to undo this. I promise.” The book was already on the table. Rex looked at it, but he didn’t know how to read like Sam and the other humans. He wanted to grab it with his teeth and rip it to pieces, but in his mind that book and his strange situation were connected. Destroying the book meant he couldn’t be a dog again, and Sam couldn’t be a human again.
So Rex sat on the floor near Sam, and Sam put his head on Rex’s leg, and they dozed off together.
The sun was up, but the clubhouse wasn’t warm yet. Rex had an urgent need to go out, and since Sam wasn’t tied up anymore, they walked to the woods together. Sam awkwardly cocked a leg, but when Rex tried to do the same, Sam barked at him.
“Out!” Rex barked.
Sam stopped himself and came close enough to Rex to gently take his clothes in his jaws and tug downward. Rex understood and, together, the two of them got the pants – yes, that’s what they were called, pants – out of the way. Rex looked off into the woods as he and Sam both peed, and Rex even managed to get the pants most of the way up before they went back to the clubhouse.
Lee had woken in the meantime and, as they sat back down on the floor, she took out some food and unwrapped it. Rex didn’t much care for the taste of the brown things with fruit in them, but Sam snapped two of them up without hesitation. “Sorry, Rex. It’s all I could bring. I’ll go get more water, okay?”
“Drink. Tickle. Metal.”
Lee laughed. “Not this early in the morning. Stay here, guys; I’ll be right back.”
Rex stood as soon as she was gone and went back to the table. He growled at the book. “Bad,” he said. “Bad thing!”
Sam trotted over and reared up onto his hind legs, planting his forepaws on the table. He nosed at the book until Rex figured out what he wanted and turned the page. Actually, he turned many of them – at least two paws worth – but Sam didn’t seem to mind. Rex watched Sam’s eyes – his own eyes – staring at the paper, trying to read.
Rex wished he could do more to help, but he was a dog – a dog wearing a human’s body, but still a dog. All he could do was what his human wanted – even if his human had fur and a cold nose.
Lee was gone a long time, long enough for Sam to knock the book onto the floor and Rex to fix it for him. Together, human and dog looked at the pages, helping each other, trying to find a solution to their mutual problem. When she finally returned, she couldn’t stop herself from saying how cute they looked. Sam responded with several loud, unhappy barks.
She sighed and returned to the book, Sam by her side, Rex pacing aimlessly and walking in and out of the clubhouse. Finally Lee said to Sam, “can you take him for a walk or something? He’s getting on my nerves a little.”
Sam barked once, brightly, then went to Rex and nudged the back of his leg. Rex got the message and they headed out into the bright, warm morning sunshine.
Rex was in heaven. Maybe he couldn’t smell or hear everything, but now he could see! Trees, grass, squirrels – squirrels! A squirrel was sitting on a branch, watching him warily. “Squirrel!” he shouted, and leaped for it.
He missed. He fell. He got up and shook himself off, and Sam pushed his body against Rex’s leg, moving him in the direction of the path that led to the street. “Squirrel,” Rex said, a little forlorn, but he did what Sam wanted.
As they walked down the street, the sidewalk warm under Rex’s bare feet, Rex saw other humans he recognized from the clubhouse, or the park, or afternoons at home watching Sam games with his friends. He barked hellos at them, and they said hi to him, but when they tried to ask him what was up, all he could say was “sky.” The first time he did, Sam let out a huffing canine sigh.
Neither human nor dog realized they were in front of their house until one of Sam’s big humans called out. “Hey, Sam, come here a sec!”
Rex trotted obediently up the path. “Hello!”
“Look, Sam, I don’t mind if you spend the night at your friend’s house, but could you at least come home and get your toothbrush? I know it’s summer, but…” She cocked her head. “Sam? What’s wrong?”
Rex had hung his head. The human wasn’t actually scolding him, but her tone was one of annoyance. “Sorry,” he said.
She peered at him a moment longer, then shrugged. “Go on inside. And put some shoes on, would you? Before you step on glass or something.”
He slipped past the human, Sam at his heels. Rex knew the way to Sam’s room – up the stairs, second door on the left. He flopped down on the bed – something Sam let him do only when he knew he wouldn’t get caught – and Sam used his head to push the bedroom door closed. Then he sat in the middle of the room and stared at Rex.
“Sorry,” Rex said again, a whining note in his voice. “Bad?”
Sam barked a couple of times, but Rex didn’t understand him. Besides, he was tired, and the bed was comfortable. He rolled onto his back and fell asleep.
A knock jerked Rex awake. “Door!” he barked without thinking.
“It’s me.” Lee’s voice. “I’m coming in, okay?”
She’d taken the time to switch from her long black dress into brighter clothes. Her pants were shorter than the ones she’d made Rex wear. Her hair was pulled back like a tail, and his brain argued between licking her ears – which always made her laugh – and not doing it, since she’d pulled away the night before. He did scramble up onto his haunches, the bed a little shaky under him, so that Lee would have room to sit beside him. Which she did.
Sam stared at her, ears forward. Finally, she looked away, hands in her lap. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t find anything.”
Sam’s barking was explosive, a furious sound that made Rex duck behind Lee, made him want to curl his tail up under his body.
“Wait!” she said. “Stop, please!” Rex looked up at her; her eyes were wet. Normally he smelled salt when that happened, but all he smelled now was the bed. Sam did stop, but he was standing up, tail down, lip slightly curled. Rex wanted to run, or hide in the closet, or get as far away as possible. But Lee put her hand on his shoulder and petted him. “Sam, please! Just listen!”
Sam sat, but still looked angry.
“I went to the library, okay? I looked at some other books. They all said this wears off in a few hours. A day at the most. Can you…” She sniffed hard. “Can you wait?”
Sam shuffled down to the carpet and put his nose on his paws. Rex knew that pose: it meant he would lie there and wait as long as it took.
“I’m really sorry, Sam. I didn’t think… and… I mean, you’re the only person who really listens to me, and you thought I could do it, and I didn’t want to disappoint you—”
A soft bark cut her off.
“Okay, I get the point,” she said, laughing a little. “Hey, do you want to go back to the clubhouse? Or have a picnic?”
“Picnic!” Rex loved picnics – he always got lots of human food at picnics. He looked at Sam. “Picnic? Sam?”
Sam stood, shook himself slightly, and looked to the door. Rex didn’t know what to do with it, and Sam couldn’t do anything with it. Fortunately, they had Lee.
Even though Rex wasn’t used to picnics as a human, he decided they were just as much fun either way. He got a lot of human food, and he played ball with Sam – though trying to catch it in his mouth had hurt his small nose and flat teeth. They went to the lake and Sam jumped in without hesitation, though Lee put her hand on Rex’s shoulder. “You should take your shoes off first.”
Lee tapped Rex’s foot with her own. “Those. Take them off so they don’t get ruined.”
Rex knew that word, and he didn’t like when people said it was his fault. So he plopped down on the grass and started working on his feet.
By the time he got the shoes off, Lee was already in the lake. He laughed as he splashed into the water and started to swim. It was certainly an unfamiliar feeling not to have the water pulling at his fur. He figured out how to float and basked in the sunshine, listening to Lee and Sam chasing each other around in and out of the water.
Then he heard Terry. “Well, isn’t this cute.”
Rex didn’t like the way Terry sounded. He swam to shore and shook himself off. It wasn’t as much fun without the fur. Terry and his brother Phil wore only small pants, and Terry was looking at Lee and Sam in a way that made Rex curl his lip. Terry’s nose was bruised. “What do you want?” Lee asked.
“I want to hit you,” Terry said, left hand curling into a fist, “but my dad would ground me all summer for fighting a girl.” He aimed a kick at Sam, who jumped to the side, then started to growl. “What about you, Sam?” he said, turning to Rex. “If you even are Sam anymore. Maybe I should hit you, see if your girlfriend fights all your battles.”
“Mean,” Rex said. He couldn’t growl, though he certainly wanted to. “Bad Terry. Bad!”
Terry laughed, and Phil, who was smaller and who usually gave Rex snacks from his backpack, laughed too. “I saw it, but I told myself I didn’t,” he said. “You really swapped their bodies, didn’t you?” Terry advanced on Rex, who tried to make himself look bigger. He didn’t know how to do it in a human body, so he settled for copying Terry’s hands. “Y’know, I’ve always hated that damn dog.”
Once, Rex had knocked into the kitchen table and sent a whole turkey sliding to the floor. The biggest human at his house had whacked him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. It hadn’t really hurt. But Terry’s fist against Rex’s jaw did hurt. It hurt a lot, and it made Rex’s teeth ache. He whimpered, stumbled, and spat blood on the rocks by the lake.
Then he leapt at Terry and slammed him to the ground. Terry tried to club Rex’s back, but Rex ignored it and knocked his head into Terry’s face. Terry cried out in pain and grabbed his nose. “You stupid dog!” he shouted. “Bad dog! Bad!”
Rex jumped away as if scalded – those words hurt more than being hit. He saw Terry get up, saw Phil’s eyes go big and get wet, like Lee’s had back at home. “Bad Terry,” Rex said. Then he looked hard at Phil. “Good Phil. Go away, Phil. Good Phil.”
Phil took the hint and ran. Good. Rex liked Phil, and liked the food he gave him. Maybe if he told Phil he was good, Phil would feed him more of those snacks.
“Stupid dog,” Terry said again. He wiped his nose, then ran for Rex. Rex crouched a little, as if to jump, but then Sam dove in front of Terry and knocked him over. Terry went rolling down the bank toward Lee, and as he stumbled to his feet Lee grabbed him. He struggled, but stopped as soon as Sam caught the seat of Terry’s pants in his jaws. “Get off me, Sam!” he shouted. “Get off!”
Sam just growled. “Bad Terry!” Rex barked. “Bad! Go away!”
Lee let Terry go, and he pulled away from Sam. His pants ripped, and Sam spat out the chunk of cloth. “I’m gonna get you,” Terry snarled, his hand over the bare patch on his backside. “You watch out, Sam. And your stupid dog, too!” He tripped over a root, but got up quickly. His voice was quivering. “I’m gonna get you all!”
“Shut up, Terry,” Lee said, and Rex chimed in with another “bad Terry”. Sam sat on the ground, looking satisfied with what had just happened.
“Bad Terry,” Rex said with conviction once they were alone again.
“Yeah,” Lee said. “I never liked him.” Then she looked at Sam. “But you’re going to have to watch your back for a little while.”
Sam barked once, then trotted off into the shade.
“Water?” Rex asked.
“Sure, Rex, go on.”
He bounded into the lake with a series of splashes and soon was floating again, enjoying the sunshine.
Rex sat quietly in the middle of the clubhouse, resting easily on his knees. Sam was on the floor beside him, belly to the ground, tail curled under his body. Lee, Ricky, and Steven were against the wall, waiting; Steven had brought some spare clothes, just in case Rex tore them when he changed. Lee had given him a smile, and Rex had seen his face change color like Sam’s sometimes did when Lee touched him or laughed at his jokes.
“Almost sunset,” Ricky said. “You sure this is going to work?”
“It has to,” Lee said, and Sam barked. “Otherwise we’re going to spend the rest of the summer teaching Rex how to be a human.”
“Dog,” Rex said. “Sam human. Rex good dog.”
“You’re a good dog, Rex.” Lee shifted from foot to foot, then checked her watch. “Come on, come on!”
The sun passed behind a cloud. The clubhouse grew dim. And then the wind started to blow.
Rex remembered that from last night. He ducked his head, covered it with his arms, and pushed up against Sam. “Good dog. Rex good dog. Sam good human.” He said it over and over, trying to convince himself that it wouldn’t be so bad this time. “Rex good dog. Sam good human.”
The wind howled through the clubhouse windows and Rex looked up, wishing he could howl too. “Rex good dog!” he screamed. “Rex good dog!”
Sam barked in response, and for just a moment Rex thought he could understand.
“Rex good dog!” The wind was loud enough to drown out his voice, and he barked with all his might. “Rex! Good! Dog!”
The clubhouse door slammed shut with a bang and Rex jumped to his feet.
And fell, tangled up in something. He kicked with all four paws to free himself and–
Rex looked up at Lee. Her bright clothes had dimmed, and – he took a deep breath – he could smell her. He could smell them all: the gum in Steven’s mouth, the dirt-and-grass smell of Ricky, the wood of the clubhouse, and… and Sam! Rex turned toward the smell and saw Sam on the floor. He practically jumped on his human, licking his face, and Sam dug his fingers into the fur on Rex’s neck and shoulders. “Good boy, Rex,” Sam said. Rex barked in his face and Sam laughed. “Good boy.”
Sam and Lee sat next to each other, backs against a huge tree by the lake. They took turns throwing a tennis ball for Rex, who bolted after it, happy to be on all four paws, happy to be playing with his human. He smelled something new about Sam, smelled it stronger than ever when he was close to Lee. And Lee had a new scent too.
Rex tore after the ball yet again as it sailed toward the lake. He ran up onto a rock and soared, knowing instinctively where the ball would land, knowing he would reach it quickly once he hit the water.
But someone yelled Sam’s name, and Rex lost his balance and tumbled. Ball forgotten, he swam back to shore.
Terry was there, with two other humans, both of them bigger than Sam. Rex didn’t recognize their smells, but he could tell Sam and Lee were scared.
No, that wasn’t right. Lee was scared, but Sam… Sam was angry. Angrier than Rex had ever smelled him. Rex dropped his belly to the ground and crawled forward slowly.
“Don’t be stupid, Terry,” Sam was saying. “What would you prove by beating me up?”
Terry laughed. “You deserve it. You both do,” he said, looking in Rex’s direction. Rex stopped moving until Terry turned away, back toward his human. “Your stupid girlfriend really can do magic, and your stupid dog hit me, and you bit me, and now everything’s supposed to be fine again?”
Rex was close enough to smell the ham sandwich Terry had had for lunch.
“Just go, please,” Lee said. Her voice wasn’t steady; Rex thought she might want to howl, if she knew how. “You made your point.” She grabbed Sam’s arm. “You win. We’re scared!”
“I was going to steal my dad’s rifle,” Terry said. “Then I really would’ve scared you.”
Sam’s heart began beating faster – Rex heard it. He wasn’t sure why, so he inhaled slowly, trying to smell it out. That was when he caught some new scents on the wind. Familiar scents.
“Okay, fine,” Sam said. “You really want to fight me? Then come and get me!”
“Ha!” Terry took a step closer to Sam – and Rex. “Last time, I kicked your ass. Think it’ll be any different?”
Sam’s hands curled into fists. “Try me.”
“Sam,” Lee said, “you don’t have to do this.”
“Just get back,” Sam said. “Yell if those guys try to cheat.”
“I won’t need them,” Terry said. He raised his fists; Sam flinched, and Terry began to laugh.
The laugh became a shout as Rex leaped forward, digging his jaws into Terry’s heel, hard enough that hot blood dripped onto his tongue. Terry shouted and tried to pull away, but Rex didn’t let go. He growled, and bit, and hung on as Terry tried to kick at him. But Rex came from ancestors who had to avoid much bigger and stronger animals than humans, and he easily stayed out of Terry’s way.
Then there was a crunch, and a thud, and Terry collapsed to the ground, hands between his legs. Rex let him go and saw Sam shaking his right fist.
“What are you waiting for?” Terry asked, groaning, clutching his crotch, blood on his lip. “Get him!”
The other humans came closer, and Sam started to smell afraid. Rex barked a couple of times, then bared his teeth. If only Sam or Lee knew what he knew, or smelled what he smelled.
Then they all heard it: the booming bark made by only one dog in the entire neighborhood.
The other humans jumped back, looking around. “Where is he?” one asked. “Where’d that come from?”
“Right here, buttheads!” Ricky and Bull trotted up the path, followed by Steven. Bull’s large paws padded silently on the grass. “You want some?”
“Hell no!” The human looked at Terry, who’d managed to get up onto his knees. “I’m not messing with that dog, Terry. No way.”
“Fine!” Terry didn’t look back as his friends ran off into the woods. “I’m not scared of a stupid dog!”
Ricky’s hand went to Bull’s collar and unhooked his leash. Bull barked again, and Rex let out several barks of his own. Then Bull stepped up beside Rex, both dogs staring at Terry. Not growling, not showing teeth; just daring him to try and hurt their humans.
Terry looked away first. He stood up and backed off. “This isn’t over,” he said. “Someday, you won’t have your dogs to hide behind. Someday, Sam!” He turned and limped away.
Sam laughed, a little nervously, and dropped the rock. “Thanks, guys,” he said. “Just in time.”
“I saw Terry heading this way with his friends,” Steven said. “I got Ricky and we came as fast as we could.”
Sam nodded and called Rex over. He dug his fingers into the fur behind Rex’s ears and gave him a good scratch. “Good boy, Rex.” He looked at the other dog, so much bigger than Rex was. “Good boy, Bull,” he called. Then he saw Lee, holding a tree branch. “You okay?”
Lee set the branch on the ground. “I would’ve hit him if I had to.” She kicked it out of the way, and Bull took that as an invitation to play. “Oh, no, Ricky. I’m not letting him drag me around!”
Ricky laughed and grabbed the other end of the branch, and he and Steven went to work on wrestling it out of Bull’s jaws.
Sam looked down at Rex. “Good boy,” he said again.
Rex rubbed his side against Sam’s leg, tail wagging. He felt kind of bad about biting a human, but Sam had needed his help. If he got in trouble, it wouldn’t matter.
Because Sam was happy. And when his human was happy, Rex was a happy dog.
And now more than ever he was happy to just be a dog