Adventures of Cookie the Stray, Chapter 22

Updated on February 11, 2018
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Peg Cole is a self-published author who writes true and fiction stories and book reviews, along with nostalgia and how-to articles.

Friends since grade school
Friends since grade school | Source

Connie’s friendship with Rupert, or Rusty as he preferred, started in grade school with a teacher’s seating chart that put them side by side. Rusty often resolved issues with his fists which at times earned him a trip to the Principal’s office or detention, or both. Despite that, he never failed to defend his friend against would-be bullies and playground tough guys.

He and Connie seemed always to be together whether standing in the lunch line at the cafeteria, sitting at the fringe tables, heads together, or swapping sandwiches from their bag lunches. Their bond was an easy one.

As different as they were in appearance, she a frail wisp of a girl, Rupert, an overgrown too-big-for-his age boy, they remained inseparable. In sixth grade they sang a duet at the school talent show put on by Mrs. Wotchewitz, the music teacher, who made students sing ancient songs to the clacking of old piano keys.

Their friendship ended abruptly their senior year with Connie never understanding why her best friend would leave town without a word. She thought perhaps he was in some sort of trouble due to his quick temper. Rusty would never abandon her. But he had.

The Bain-Honaker House in Farmersville TX
The Bain-Honaker House in Farmersville TX | Source

Her friends tried to cheer her up inviting her along on a trip to the A&W for lunch in Louis’s convertible. Louis, the captain of the football team, wasted no time making a move on the suddenly available Connie. She tried to discourage him, having no desire to hurt his feelings, but he was persistent. What Rusty saw as he watched from behind the boards of the parking lot fence was Louis clutching Connie in a tight embrace in the front seat of the convertible. What he didn’t see was the red handprint across Louis’s cheek where Connie slapped him.

By the time the story broke in the Wednesday Weekly about Rupert’s father getting killed in action in Southeast Asia, Rusty was long gone taking with him Connie’s dreams of happily ever after, of children and a house with a white picket fence.

U.S. Marine Corps LVTP-5 amphibious tractors transport 3rd Marine Division troops in Vietnam, 1966.
U.S. Marine Corps LVTP-5 amphibious tractors transport 3rd Marine Division troops in Vietnam, 1966. | Source

Then Connie’s dad lost his job at the plant and she took a part-time job after school to help cover the family’s bills. Her folks had to tap the small college fund they’d put aside for her. Connie never minded not going away to college. She was a hard worker at the pet store where the owner, a retired veterinarian, taught her everything he knew about caring for animals including medical issues, proper nutrition and how to train the animals. She loved the variety of pets in the store but her favorites were the dogs.

The store owner took her to her first out of town dog show, a large gathering of dog breeders and trainers from several states. There, she met the heir to a national chain of restaurants whose hobbies included showing Chow Chow dogs. The woman took an immediate interest in the young and vibrant Connie.

“Are you looking for a job?” she asked Connie, “Because I’m looking for someone who wants to work the national circuit, training and showing my dogs.” With a glance over at her mentor from the pet store, she saw him wink and nod.

“Well, I might be interested,” she said. “What would that include?”

“You’ve taught her well,” the woman told the store owner who’d introduced Connie.

“I had a feeling you’d like her,” he said with a grin. The three of them took a seat on the bleachers with Connie sitting between the adults.

“It would involve a lot of travel,” the woman began. Connie’s eyes lit up at the prospects.

Her life changed immediately, revolving around the whirlwind of activities in dog training, grooming, breeding and competing for championships at multiple dog shows. The long hours spent on the highway transporting the contenders to the various shows became her source of comfort.

Dog Agility Competition

By Andrea Arden (Flickr: Dog Agility) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrea Arden (Flickr: Dog Agility) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By the time Rusty returned to the small town and took a job at the Steel Mill, Connie was travelling the circuit around the country and occasionally overseas. Connie built a solid reputation in dog show circles over the next few years. Her excellence in canine agility training kept her busy traveling to various breeders and working in kennels all over the country. Her dreams of having her own show dog came to life with a special arrangement by the owners of a champion pair of Chow dogs. She would receive a puppy in partial payment for her services to the owners. The offspring of the male and female champions included a beautiful pure bred female that would be named Queenie.

From the moment they met, Queenie and Connie shared a strong bond. A perfectly matched pair, their time in the center of the ring was magical as if they were always meant to be together.

Agility Competition - Crufts 2017

~~~~

Rusty cranked the handle of an emergency weather radio he found in the cabinet. Static crackled as he turned the channel selector looking for a station with a storm report. He twisted the knob until the familiar notes of his favorite song started playing. When the song ended, the deejay announced that a weather report would follow the commercial break.

The dogs fell into a trance of contentment in the deep quiet of the shelter. Happy to be fed, warm and out of the rain, each dog found a comfortable spot where they could keep an eye on their human friend. Singing along with his favorite song, Rusty searched the cabinets until he found a large tooth comb and a pair of scissors. He approached Buddy whose long haired coat was a mass of prickly burrs lodged deep in the thick fur.

“Let’s get rid of those hitchhikers on you, okay boy?” Rusty sat down on the floor next to the huge dog and began working to remove the unwanted stickers. He remembered the dog in the photo Eleanor had shown him at her house.

“You look so much like William’s dog you boys could be litter mates,” he said, patting the dog’s head. Buddy thumped his tail and pawed at Rusty’s hand, directing it downward toward his belly. His lips curved upward in a doggy smile as Rusty found the spot to start the dog’s hind leg twitching in time with the music. The other three looked on patiently waiting their turn for Rusty’s affection. Cookie and Nicole lay side by side on a small cushion, curious at the movements of the Hot Dog man and sleepy from the unfamiliar freedom from hunger. Rover didn’t mind sharing his man with the others. There was plenty of attention to go around.

The meteorologist began the weather report with bad news. A series of circling formations and downspouts had been spotted in the general area. Listeners were advised to take immediate shelter and remain indoors.

“We have reports of a touchdown in the area of Colleyville,” the radio announcer said. The wailing of tornado sirens echoed over the announcer’s voice in the background of the broadcast studio. Then, a loud crack of thunder sounded and the broadcast went to static.

Tornado Warnings

Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Peg Cole

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      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Great to see you here, Nikki. Thanks for reading along.

      • nikkikhan10 profile image

        Nikki Khan 2 months ago from London

        Good to know about Connie’s past,,very interesting.Can’t wait for next one Peg.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hello there Mike, So glad you made it over and it's never too late to see you drop in. Thank you.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi William, Your comment made me laugh today. Thanks for that and for staying with the story and the characters. Hot potato, now, that's funny.

      • mckbirdbks profile image

        mckbirdbks 2 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Peg - I see loose ends being tied up. The strays are being pulled together. Running late as usual lately.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hello Kari, I'm about halfway through Chapter 23 so it won't be too long. Thanks for the encouragement and for the sweet comments.

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        William Kovacic 2 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

        Okay, I see how you are, Peg. You carry us through Connie's past and rusty's present, then you drop us like a hot potato. Can't wait to see what's next.

      • k@ri profile image

        Kari Poulsen 2 months ago from Ohio

        More, Peggy, More! I am enjoying this story very much. I would recommend it to all!

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Peggy, Thanks again for keeping up with the story and for caring about the background of the characters. Yes, it's true. Buddy is in for a good surprise in the near future. Working on the next chapter now. I want to do it justice since we're nearing the end. Again, thank you for your ongoing support.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Thank you, Gypsy.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Thanks, Shyron. You're support has really helped me on this journey. I truly appreciate you.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

        Your story is so captivating Peg. It is good to know the background as to how Connie and Rusty met. It is also nice to know that Buddy will probably be reunited with Eleanor in the future. Your last sentence is a cliffhanger making us await the next chapter with eager anticipation. Well done!

      • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

        Gypsy Rose Lee 2 months ago from Riga, Latvia

        Thanks for the information on Connie and Rusty. Looking forward to the next.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Aww, thank you Dora. I'm so honored that you love the characters and care about them. That is a writer's dream.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

        Thank you for providing the history on Connie and Rusty and how they got separated. I am so into this story I can't wait for the next installment.

        Blessings always

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

        I appreciate the background information, especially of the friendships between Connie and Rusty and Connie and Queenie. The more we know them, the more we love them.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton

        Lol, of course it'll be such an honor... bless you

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Frank, my friend, your thoughtful comments always make my day, really. Everyday mayhem, I like that! I hope you'll let me quote you on the back cover of the novel. :)

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Bill, Thank you so much for coming by. The Turtles are good to hear anytime and always a good time.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hello dear Chitrangada, At first I thought I would include photos in the printed version of the book but I've found that the cost really goes up, so probably not. I do enjoy finding them and posting photos out here, though. Thank you again for your readership, kind remarks and for the valuable question.

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 2 months ago from Shelton

        I'm loving the everyday mayhem you're providing in each chapter.. like the dog grooming et al.. You are working the details like a master.. actually I read it last night and then again this morning..

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

        The backstory was helpful and entertaining, and anytime I can listen to the Turtles is a good time.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Dear Maria, It does seem as if we were raised together in different homes, listening to the same radio stations. I'm glad you have seen the writing on the wall (haha) about Buddy and sense a happy solution to William's dilemma. We'll soon see if Rusty and Connie can patch up their issues and move forward. Thank you so much for your visit and sweet remarks. Love.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Verlie, I'm thrilled that you liked this chapter. I've only been to a few dog shows over the years but they were loads of fun and exciting. My brother used to raise St. Bernard's and show them and I also knew people who raised championship Akitas for show. They are incredibly smart animals. Thank you for reading and for your kind comments.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 2 months ago from New Delhi, India

        Thanks for sharing another interesting chapter to your story. The relationship between Connie and Rusty is so relatable. Nice continuity in your series.

        Would you be adding the pictures as well, in your novel? Just curious.

        Thanks for sharing this excellent story!

      • marcoujor profile image

        Maria Jordan 2 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

        I am also grinning at the excellent (and familiar) song choice by The Turtles. It feels as though we listened to the same radio growing up, dear Peg.

        I love learning the back story of Connie and Rusty ... it makes me root for their eventual reunion even more.

        So happy at the thought of Buddy 'coming home' and can imagine the look on Eleanor's face...

        Looking forward to more and not wanting this story to end, EVER! Love and hugs, Maria

      • snakeslane profile image

        Verlie Burroughs 2 months ago from Canada

        Peg, Your timing is excellent as usual, a little evening chapter of the only novel I'm reading at the moment...Thank you! So, love the backstory, Connie/Rusty/Queenie all so interesting. I love dog shows Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show I have managed to catch year after year on television of course (not lately though :( So this is right up my alley, and of course I love dogs. Back to the story, power's out. Looking forward to next installment. Hurry please!

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Tim, It's always good to see you here. I sure appreciate your visits and kind remarks. Glad you liked the background information.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Mary, The storm will soon pass and hopefully Rusty will stick around this time. We'll see. Thanks so much for reading this and taking time to leave a comment.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Flourish, Glad you're still with us on the story. Thank you so much.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed the backstory on Connie and Rusty. Thanks for your uplifting comment.

      • tsmog profile image

        Tim Mitchell 2 months ago from Escondido, CA

        What's next? Interesting the background stories of Rusty, Connie, and Queenie. I see the development of the picture of the story. Nice!

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I enjoyed learning about the relationship between Connie and Rusty. The last sentence was a great way to end the chapter. It definitely makes me want to read more!

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        Nice to know how the relationship of Rusty and Connie started. Oh my...what will be next...good they're on a shelter.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Martie, Your comments always keep me inspired to move the story along. I'm lucky to have two furry companions that sleep at my feet while I'm clicking on the keyboard. Thanks for dropping in.

      • PegCole17 profile image
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        Peg Cole 2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        Hi Jackie, That's one of my favorite tunes. Nice to see you today.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

        I liked the background story. Great story!

      • MartieCoetser profile image

        Martie Coetser 2 months ago from South Africa

        Hi Peg, your writing is always vivid and engrossing. As pets, dogs create happy and peaceful environments. Just having one lying close by is enough to calm a storm in one's mind.

        Now what's going to happen next?

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 2 months ago from The Beautiful South

        So things are coming together! Pleased the dogs are in a safe place.

        Loved the Happy Together video!

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