(Author’s Note: A friend asked for a story with a talking tree and a dog that meows. If you have read The Perfect Gumdrop, you will have seen a cameo appearance by characters in this story. – Dean)

 

The Little Puppy’s Meow
In a small town that surrounded an even smaller forest, a litter of five puppies was born. Each puppy was cuter than the last and the smallest was the cutest of all. Day after day after day, the puppies played, wrestled each other, and chased their tails. Each day was more exciting than the last and they were very happy.
One day, the puppies were more excited than usual. For that day was the very first day of Barking School. Their teacher was a big Great Dane. First, she showed them how to bark. Her bark was loud and deep and the whole place shook. The puppies tried to hide behind each other but only managed a silly looking puppy pile. Then, they all started laughing.
The teacher had them line up. She went to the first puppy and told him to bark.
 “Woof.” Squeaked the puppy.
The teacher shook her head and went to the next puppy.
“WOOF.” She barked, making her siblings jump.
The teacher nodded and moved to the next puppy. That puppy’s bark was sharp and hurt everyone’s ears and the next one’s bark was almost a whisper. Finally, she got to the last puppy, the smallest of them all.
The little puppy took a deep breath and barked as loud as she could.
“Meow.”
The teacher almost fell over in shock. She told the puppy to bark again.
“Meeeooowww.” Barked the little puppy.
The teacher got mad at the poor little puppy and told her to leave Barking School if she wasn’t going to bark properly.
The puppy ran out of Barking School and into the woods, her sad meows rebounding off the trees.
After awhile, the puppy reached the center of the forest. She was so very tired and stopped at the biggest tree and cried the saddest of sad meows.
Suddenly, she heard a voice. “What’s wrong, little puppy?”
Surprised, she looked up and saw that the tree had a face ad it’s eyes were looking at her. She had never heard of a talking tree before but she had never heard of a puppy that meows before either. Yet, here they both were.
The little puppy meowed what happened at the Barking School to the tree, who listened patiently as only trees can. Even talking ones.
The tree smiled and told the puppy it could help and shook some of it’s limbs. Suddenly, the loudest bark the little puppy ever heard came from high in the tree. The puppy looked up just as a sleepy little kitten climbed down the tree. The little kitten looked at the little puppy and the little puppy looked at the little kitten.
“Meow.” Barked the little puppy.
“Woof.” Meowed the little kitten.
The little puppy started running around the talking tree and the little kitten chased her. Then, the little kitten was chased by the little puppy. There was barking and meowing and meowing and barking as the little puppy and the little kitten played and wrestled in the forest. No one cared who was barking and who was meowing, it was fun.
The talking tree laughed, “It seems that you are the answers to each other’s problem.”
The puppy meowed and the kitten barked their thanks and headed back to town. When they got to Barking School, the kitten hid in the shadows. The teacher was mad when she saw the puppy and told the puppy to leave if she couldn’t bark.
So, the puppy took a deep breath and…
“WOOOOOOOF!”
The kitten barked so loud from the shadows and with such force that it knocked the teacher down. All the dogs and puppies at Barking School looked shocked at the little puppy. Just then, the kitten came out of the shadows. The puppy meowed and they both ran out of Barking School.
The meowing puppy and the barking kitten meowed and barked, barked and meowed as they chased each other, wrestled, and played as only new best friends do as they journeyed across the forest to the Meowing School.

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