David scratches behind Laddie Boy’s ear, finally kneeling down next to the clearly upset dog. He’s frowning, brows pinched down and lips twisted. “Come on, buddy. Just tell me what’s going on. You want something else to eat?”
“Yeah,” grumbles Laddie Boy. “That’s obviously what I want.”
Sometimes, he regrets the fact that humans can’t speak to him. More than that, he regrets the fact that people are so bad at picking up the subtle hints. The flick of an ear, the curl of a lip, the stance of a tail that’s held down a little lower than usual.
People like David, they don’t understand that. They miss it, so caught up in their own lives. Thinking about it makes Laddie Boy even more frustrated. He shakes the hand off his head and then, in a move that is spurned on by desperation and irritation, Laddie Boy darts forward and slams his shoulder against the desk.
There is no clearer move then that.
Even David, bad as he is at understanding the language of a dog, can’t miss it. “He wants something under the desk. Help me move it, will you?”
Robert stares at him. “Seriously? David – “
Laddie Boy growls at Robert. Then he starts scrabbling at the front of the desk again. In the end, it only takes a moment before Robert is convinced to get up and help David move the desk. The moment that the slip of paper is visible, Laddie Boy snatches it up and scrambles away from the furniture, a sign that he’s gotten what he wants.
David kneels down next to Laddie Boy. “What do you have there, pal?”
The paper is dropped onto the ground in front of David. “You need this. Pay more attention, David!” Laddie Boy wags his tail, sits down and can’t help but look so totally proud of himself.
It takes a moment for David to realize what’s just been given to him. The moment that it clicks, David snatches it up and swoops down on Laddie Boy, smothering him in hugs, kisses and an endless shower of praise.
That night, when all have gone to sleep, Laddie Boy slips back into the room at the far side of the White House. He goes through the same motions as always and, when the doggie door appears, Laddie Boy steps into it, eagerly padding down the hallway.
Cornwallis is waiting for him. The other dog looks reluctantly pleased. He says, “you did good. I wasn’t sure if you would be able to figure it out.”
“I tried,” says Laddie Boy. “Does this mean that everything’s okay?”
“For now,” answers Cornwallis. “It’s okay for now.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author