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Adventures of Cookie the Stray, Chapter 4

Updated on October 13, 2017
PegCole17 profile image

Peg is an avid dog lover whose collection of rescued strays spans decades. Her dogs live in the house as members of the family.

Blue Skies Shining on Me

Highway in Texas
Highway in Texas

Hours passed along the highway with mile-markers zipping by like posts on a picket fence. When the gas gauge fell to nearly empty, Connie stopped to fill up the tank, then, from the ladies' room at the side of the building, she filled Queenie's water bowl. The pups, still sleeping in the car were carried, one under each arm, to the edge of the concrete pavement where there was a strip of freshly mowed grass. All three dogs romped for a few minutes, taking care of their needs, happy to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

She bought a package of peanut butter crackers inside the service station convenience store and shared the last of them with the dogs. Queenie stayed close to her mistress, uneasy from the events of the morning and the unusually long drive. Her master put the pups back into their box, then, found the on ramp and got back on the highway.

By Canarian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Canarian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The miles stretched on as the car rocked gently along the pavement. The sun was still high in a bright blue sky painted white with watercolor clouds. Queenie studied the cars and trucks they passed on the three lane highway, watching out of the passenger’s side window as they fell into the distance behind. She always enjoyed traveling with her mistress in the days before the man came along. It felt good to be riding in the car again, just Connie and Queenie and her two pups. After a few hours of car watching she stretched out across the bench seat and put her head in Connie’s lap and fell asleep. When the sun rested against the flat horizon, low in the sky Queenie’s mistress woke her.

“We’re in Texas now, girl, the Lone Star State.” Queenie cocked her head and looked at the huge “Welcome to Texas” billboard as if for confirmation.

Welcome to Texas

Gun Barrel City, Texas
Gun Barrel City, Texas

Crossing the state line, Connie's thoughts drifted to the states she and Queenie had seen and the dog shows they had worked. It was at one of those shows that she met her husband to be. What a dashing and charming man he’d once been, sweeping her off her feet with his old-fashioned manners and gentlemanly behavior. He’d poured on the attention, holding open doors for her and insisting on walking on the traffic side of streets to protect her. He catered to her whims when it came to choosing restaurants and the type of food they would have; always the perfect companion. After a short courtship, they’d decided to get married before a Justice of the Peace in a tiny town en route to the next dog show event.

That’s when she discovered something quirky about his nature.

“Not Mexican food again,” he told her a few days into their marriage. “That stuff is gross.” She thought back to the many meals they’d shared at Tex-Mex restaurants while they were dating.

“How about some Chinese food then?” she asked.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” he answered. “That stuff is full of MSG.” He’d made a face at the suggestion and wrinkled his nose. They’d settled for a rowdy barbecue pit where a roll of paper towels adorned every table along with the selection of greasy food choices. His true colors rose to the surface becoming verbally abusive and rude after his second or third beer. He quickly forgot about the fun the three of them once shared, grooming, training and showing Queenie as they traveled across the country.

On the Road to Find Out

He’d talked to her about his house during the months they'd traveled. The way he told it, she expected to find a mansion. Instead, they pulled into the rutted driveway of a tiny house built in the 1940s with clapboard siding and a small yard. It was quaint, but nothing at all like he'd portrayed it.

Without telling Connie, he made arrangements to mate Queenie with a champion stud owned by some people he’d met at the last show. He had sneaked the dog out of the house on the pretense of having her groomed. Only after the deed was done had he told Connie about it.

“Maybe the bitch can earn her keep for a change,” he’d said over her objections.

“But she’s my dog!” Connie bristled at the news. “How could you make that kind of decision without asking me?” That was only the beginning of what was to come.

He immediately placed an advertisement in the newspaper to sell the puppies and was checking it in the classifieds when he received a call from the breeder.

“I’ve got some unfortunate news for you, Jeb,” the man on the phone said. “It seems that there’s been some trouble with the stud’s bloodline.”

“What kind of trouble?” Connie’s husband asked. His new found friend explained that his so called Champion Stud turned out to be a fraud with falsified papers.

“We just got a letter from the AKC denying his registration.” The silence at the other end of the line was soon shattered by a stream of expletives from Jeb.

“What kind of fool do you take me for?” he asked the dog’s owner. “You’ve just ruined my Champion’s breeding history with this stunt.”

“You can still sell the pups, the man answered.” They screamed at one another for a few minutes with Jeb demanding reparation for the damages and threatening to file a law suit. Neither was happy when the call ended with Jeb hanging up on the other breeder.

It was far too late to do anything about Queenie’s litter. The news meant the puppies could never be registered as pure breeds. Connie came into the room to find Jeb in one of his foul moods that seemed to be happening more frequently. Sixty-two days after the breeding, the litter arrived right on schedule.

Connie was elated with the arrival of two beautiful and healthy pups although the male was a tad smaller than his siblings. The second pup was stillborn but the third one was healthy, active and the spitting image of her mother, Queenie.

“Darned dog can’t even whelp a decent litter of pups,” the man said, disappointed with only three offspring from the ill-fated match. Connie ignored the warning signs of his foul mood and told him about an upcoming dog show.

Rush hour traffic in Texas
Rush hour traffic in Texas

“I’d like to enter Queenie into the agility competition,” she told him. By the time the event is scheduled, the pups will be weaned and she’ll be back in shape. It’s been far too long since she competed.” Jeb’s reaction had been immediate. His face turned a violent shade of red and a scowl replaced his normally handsome features.

“That’s just what we need,” he retorted, “to spend more money with nothing to show for it.”

“It’s here in the city,” she explained. “There wouldn’t be any hotel expense or meals out or extra gasoline to buy.”

“NO MORE!” he shouted ending the conversation with a loud pounding of his fist on the kitchen table. That was the end of Connie’s career as a dog trainer and Queenie’s reign as a champion. It was on that day that Connie had placed a packed suitcase in the garage and planned her escape from this bad match of her own making.

© 2017 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Chris, I like the way you put that. And thanks for the offer. I may take you up on it later down the pike. So thankful that you like the dogs and the story.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Shyron. Me, too. He's a real piece of work. Always glad to see that you came by.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 weeks ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Jeb needs a tune-up and an oil change. I volunteer to do the job. Connie is as sweet as he is nasty. I love the dogs. Good story, Peg.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Good morning Mike. Well, not all men, just this one in particular who is a true cad. Sometimes people put on a front for a while but the true colors come shining through with time. I'm happy to have you following along with this sage. Thanks for being concerned about Queenie and the pups and Connie, too.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 5 weeks ago from Texas

      Peg, I am looking forward to the next chapter, I hope the man Connie is miserable.

      Blessings my friend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Jeb is giving men a bad name. Connie is learning lesson after lesson and in a big hurry. And Queenie and the pups are at least still in the loving grace of Connie.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Gypsy, I don't think I ever saw that movie but it sounds like a good one. Glad to have you following along with the story. Thank you.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Linda, Thank you for visiting and for your empathy for Connie. Sometimes all we have is the company of our dogs. I can relate to her situation.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Ms. Dora, Wow, I hadn't thought about it like that. Thanks for the insight. The original dogs, Cookie and Nicole, are scheduled to make a return very soon. Thanks for coming by and for the great comment.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey there Paula, I'm just glad that you're staying with the story and even to the point of taking action against the awful man. He is really bad news isn't he? I seem to write about the nefarious types. Hmm. Wonder why? Guess I've known a few of them.

      Thanks for cheering on the good guys and for liking the pups. I can't resist puppies. I'm the sort who goes to a party and makes friends with the dog. LOL

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      That's music to my ears, Barbara. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have Chapter 5 in the draft stages to be released soon.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 5 weeks ago from Canada

      Hey Peg, it's still not working for me, must be a glitch at my end of the pipe. Funny, there's also an ad posted right on top of where my comment used to be. Anyway good morning to you.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hey there my intuitive friend, Verlie. You are on the right track with that boyfriend thing. He's destined to show up again and not in a good way. Thanks for your continued interest in the story. BTW, it seems like the music video is working now. Please let me know if it doesn't work.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Martie, it's so nice of you to keep up with this story and I'm thrilled that you like the characters. Thank you.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      Enjoying following along with all the ups and downs. Made me think of a wonderful movie about kids who created a dog hotel so they's all have a home and in the end it became a reality.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is turning out to be a people story as well as a dog one. I feel so sorry for Connie. She had such a sad marriage. I'm glad that she has the company of the dogs at the moment.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Dear Maria, I was truly pleased to see you'd stopped in on the latest chapters. For sure, you have seen the nature of this guy and his web of deception. Thanks as always for the boost of appreciation and encouragement to continue. Hugs.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      That certainly is a priority to prevent over breeding and so many unwanted pets, Flourish. There are many organizations that offer reduced fees on spay and neutering of animals. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      I like the double plot: one with the human couple, the other with the dogs; then the merge. Great story telling all the way!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hey Peg.....Whew! I'm lagging behind. You, Cookie & the gang are moving faster than I can keep up. I'll jump back in here! Just know I'm cheering for the good guys...LOL :) The photos of the puppies are too adorable for words. I love border collies and I WANT that darling baby!

      I hope you realize I'm doing everything in my power not to dive through my screen and bite that nasty, awful man!! Maybe down the road, the heroes of this story can do just that!! Grrrrrrrrr RUF-RUF!! Paula

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 weeks ago from Templeton, CA

      I love the way you are telling this story, always making me wish the next installment was ready to read.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Hey Peg, video link to Tea for the Tillerman is not working.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 weeks ago from South Africa

      Hi Peg,

      I just caught up with this charming story, and look forward to read more. The characters already stole my heart.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Jackie, Me, too! Not kidding. That was a long, long time ago, like a bad movie or a book I never finished.

      I sure am glad to see you here following along with the story. Thank you.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      The more I read the more grateful I am that Connie escaped the 'Jeckyll and Hyde' who deceived her into marriage.

      Compelling story, Peg - sure hope you plan to publish this!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

      Now all the dogs need to be spayed or neutered! Thank goodness she broke free from him.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 6 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow, I think I know this guy. Just kidding! I would sure hate to know him.

      Great story, Peg! I am keeping up, don't want to miss any of this.