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Huge Squirrel chases dog

Katie and
the Stray Dog

A Katie the Witch Story dedicated to Cassius Fox. Read by Natasha, written and illustrated by Bertie.

Hello this is Natasha, and I’m here with the latest story about Katie, a girl who lives a pretty ordinary life apart from one thing - she’s a witch. She goes to school like everyone else, but she can do magic spells, and as you will hear in this story, so can her cat, whose name is Solomon. In a while, I’ll tell you a little bit about our latest Patreon supporter, Cassius Fox, from Wellington in New Zealand, but first here’s the story that we’ve dedicated to him.

When Katie was just a wee small witch, the family had a dog - but he lives with her dad now, and is getting rather old.

She has a cat called Solomon - but Katie always thought - and I think she’s right here, don’t you? - that cats aren’t quite the same as dogs - not in the devotion department anyway.

But a dog - if you love a dog - the dog will love you back to his or her dying breath. That dog will do anything for you. Well, he might not come back right away when you call him in the park - he is a dog after all - but he will adore you and protect you and look up to you as a kind of god. In other words, when it comes to pets, only a dog is the real deal.

So as soon as Katie was old enough to take a dog for a walk on her own, she wanted one. She bought a book that explained about all the different breeds, their habits, their temperaments, and their diets - and she spent hours and hours turning the pages and trying to decide which sort of dog she wanted most. And every time she decided on one breed, she soon found another that was even cuter and more lovable.

But Katie’s mum, to be honest, wasn’t the greatest fan of dogs.
She thought they brought mud and dirt into the house that could contaminate her spells. She thought it was annoying when they barked at the postman or a visitor. She didn’t like the way their breath smelt. And she was a teany bit frightened of their teeth.

And besides, money was short, and dog’s don’t live for free. It’s not just the food, there are vet bills, flea treatments, grooming appointments, toys, treats, and perhaps kennels when you go away.

So they didn’t go and get dog. What happened was that a dog came and found them.

Katie was coming home from school. She pushed the garden gate open, and saw a brown lump on the doorstep. She thought at first that it was an old coat. When she got closer, the coat turned around on its back and put its paws in the air.

“Oh poor darling!”said Katie, when she saw that he was bleeding around the mouth. The dog whimpered a little. “I think you’ve been hit by a car,” said Katie, and then, using a little magic, she understood what the dog was thinking - “Oh, it was a bicycle wasn’t it? It came shooting through a red light and hit you on the crossing. The rider fell off, and when he got up he came over and kicked you. That’s why you are also hurt on your side. Well, some people! But what about your owners?”

The dog whimpered again.

“Oh, I see, you lived with an old lady, and she went to live in a residential home, and her daughter did not want to look after you. Oh, poor, poor darling. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right house. You chose us because you know that we love dogs here.” She was stroking him as she said this.

But the dog curled his lips and started to snarl.

“Oh, how am I upsetting you?” Asked Katie. But it wasn’t her. It was Solomon. He was sticking his head out of the bedroom window. He hissed:

“Don’t listen to Katie, she’s a little fibber, we hate dogs here, and if you come to live with us, you’ll regret it, so buzz off.”

The dog staggered to his feet and tried to bark, but his legs were wobbly, and his voice sounded like a sort of burp.

“That’s my cat, Solomon,” said Katie, “Just ignore him please.” She opened the front door, picked the visitor up and carried him inside to the kitchen. When she had settled him on the sofa, she noticed that he had bled on the sleeve of her school blazer. She didn’t mind. In fact, the stain made her feel good, because it was proof that she had helped a living creature in need.

By the time Katie’s mum came home, the dog had drunk water, dined on dog biscuits which Katie had bought from the corner shop, and had his wounds tended to with love and care and cotton wool.

His exact breed was a mystery, but but his curly coat was quite poodle-y. He was no doubt one of those popular poodle mixes like a cockapoo or a labradoodle or a cavapoo. His coat looked brown, but after a good wash he would probably come out as apricot coloured. His face was definitely cute, and all he lacked was a bit of playful, springy bounce. No doubt that would come back when he was feeling better .

As Katie stroked him, she used a little magic and mind reading to find out that his name was Joey.

In short, in Katie’s mind, Joey was already part of of the family - whether Katie’s mum, or Solomon the cat - liked it or not. Nothing and nobody could make Katie get rid of Joey. In fact, if Joey went, she would go too. And that was final.

But in the morning, Katie had to go to school. And mum had to go to her business at the Magic Shop. Katie pleaded with her mum to take Joey to the shop, but she refused, saying that some of her witchy customers were afraid of dogs. Joey had to stay at home with only Solomon for company. He would need to go into the garden every now and then, so Katie left the back door open, even though that meant letting cold air into the house.

It was Solomon’s habit to sleep until about 9.30, when he would slink downstairs and find the breakfast that Katie always left for him in his bowl.

When he slipped into the Kitchen he was met with a shrill and unexpected WOOFFF !

The sight of a cat at close quarters in broad daylight made Joey forget all about his injuries. He was already starting to feel quite a bit better. Better enough to jump straight off the sofa and to lunge at Solomon. Solomon coolly lifted up a paw and stuck out a razor sharp claw.

“Not so fast, dumbo,” he hissed.

Joey skidded to a halt. He didn’t want an claw in his face.

“Woof, Woof Woof!” He said.

“Oh come off it, stop that pathetic racket,” said Solomon. “You smell worse than rotten fish. Why don’t you go and take a bath?”

“Because,” said Joey, “I’m still not feeling well.”

“Well in this house we don’t accept excuses,”said Solomon, swishing his tail as he spoke.

And Joey found himself standing outside in the garden.

Before he could say, “How did I get here?” A great slosh of water fell from the sky and landed on him. Joey shook himself dry and another deluge came down. “Hey!” He wooffed, before noticing that a cheeky gray squirrel was laughing at him. He wasn’t going to let that mockery go unpunished. He chased the pesky rodent up a tree.

The fugitive ran up the trunk and sat on a branch - but then - CRREEEK ! The branch was bending under his weight because the squirrel was growing larger and larger - then SNAP - the giant pest with a bushy tale fell to the ground - by now he was the size of a large police dog -- - his teeth were like a rusty iron railings with horrid points on the end - he snarled

`Now it’s your turn to run, pooch face!”

And poor Joey ran as fast as he could back to the house - only to find that the door was shut. Solomon was peering at him through one of the glass panes, and showing no sign of being about to open up any time soon.

“I must be ha-ha-hallucinating!” he panted.

But when he turned round, the giant squirrel that was bounding towards him did not seem like a hallucination. There was nothing else he could do - he darted for the hedge, where he luckily found a gap small enough for him to squish through into the next garden. From there he ran out onto the street, and made off down the pavement.

“I picked the wrong house,” he said to himself as he ran “It’s h-h haunted!”

When Katie came home from school, she was hoping that Joey would be waiting for her by the door. But he wasn’t.

“Hello, I’m back!” She called out. But there were no sounds of paws pattering along the corridor. “He must still be feeling poorly,” she said to herself, and she went to look for him in the kitchen - but he wasn’t there - and he wasn’t anywhere in the house or the garden. She even looked in the garage - but to no avail.

But she did find Solomon, who was sitting on the chair in her room.

“I recognise that smirk on your face,” she said, “It was you wasn’t it? Go on ! Admit it! You’ve done something evil to that poor dog.”

“Don’t blame me, I didn’t do squidley-pop, ” purred the wicked cat, “but we won’t see that lily-livered pooch again. He was scared off by a squirrel in the garden.”

Katie had already read Solomon’s mind and had seen what had happened. “I’ll deal with you later,” she said, and she ran downstairs and out of the house to search for Joey.

When she reached the main road, she started to ask all sorts of people if they had seen a dog with curly brown hair who looked a bit like a stray but was really a nice pet. She went into shops, she asked police officers, traffic wardens - nobody had seen him - until a lady with a lollipop stick whose job was to stop the traffic and let children cross the road - said that yes, she had seen a brown dog running off in the direction of the common. He was so fast you might have thought he had seen a ghost.

“It wasn’t a ghost,” said Katie, “Just a giant squirrel,” and she headed off to the common.

The common was on the edge some wetlands and a wood - a favourite spot for dog walkers and bird watchers, and on nights with full moons, witches met there and played strange music and danced wild dances and drank frothy concoctions brewed in cauldrons. Katie and her mum did not go to those sort of parties, even though their ancient great aunt was always urging them to go.

It was a place where, if you wanted to hide, it would be hard to find you. Fortunately, dog walkers are friendly people, and several of them confirmed that they had seen a lost looking animal wandering around without an owner.

Katie called, Katie whistled, Katie concentrated very hard trying to find Joey’s thought wave-length - but all she could find were dozens of other dogs busy sniffing smells and hunting rabbits.

In fact, Joey was deep in the woods, where he could smell squirrels, and rabbits, and foxes - and he lay very very low in a hollow full of leaves - and he did nothing but shiver and think how big and scary the world could be sometimes.

Even Katie’s magic could not find him, because he was keeping so still and was feeling so weak, in a condition that was barely perceptible even to a witch. But Katie was sure that he was there somewhere - so she kept on looking until it was starting to get dark - and then she knew she had to go home or else her mother would be worried.

She did don’t sleep much that night. And when Solomon came in
from his midnight hunting expedition he did not come and curl up on her bed, because he knew that she was still very angry with him. In the morning, she got up early and headed back to the common.

She took some cooked sausage with her, and certainly won the attention of plenty of dogs out for their morning walks. By the time she had to go to school, she had paw marks and dog slobber all over her uniform, and her face had been given a good wash by a Great Dane.

After school she returned with Isis. The two girls called out

“Joey Joey Joey!” By now quite a few of the regular dog walkers had heard about the lost dog, and all were keeping a lookout for him.

“This is so sad,” said Isis, “You don’t know how much I want a dog myself. I can’t bear to think that you found one, and then he run off. I can’t imagine how you feel.”

It was now the weekend, and Katie’s mum said: “Surely you are not going back to the common Katie?” But she was. By now, even Katie was beginning to lose hope.

“I mustn’t get down, or my magic powers will lose their force,” she said to herself, and she tried to buck up her spirits by imagining Joey running towards her.

So far her magic powers had not been much help. “I haven’t known him long enough,” thought Katie, “We haven’t formed a connection. He’s afraid of me because of that giant squirrel - oh sometimes I could strangle Solomon - but then I can’t blame him - he’s just a cat after all.”

She thought of the giant footprints the squirrel had left behind in the garden, “Now wonder the poor dog was afraid,” she thought to herself.

And it was around then that she felt a nose sniffing around her pocket where she had some especially deluxe dog treats to entice Joey.

“Oh no, not again, I’m the most popular girl in town - with all the dogs,” thought Katie. She looked down, and almost said “Shoo!” - but she had to swallow the word - “Shshhh —- Joey!” She exclaimed

There he was. A mangy, bedraggled, matted, tasseled, weary, tick infested, and sorry animal. But unmistakably Joey.

Katie lifted him up in her arms.

“Oh Joey, I’m so sorry that Solomon scared you with his tricks, but you know, I want you to live with us,” she said.

She carried him all the way home. When they were near her door he started to tremble and to whimper.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “Solomon has been given the direst warnings not to bother you.”

First Joey was offered a big bowl of fresh water and an welcome home dinner of roast chicken - but he didn’t want to eat or drink yet. Katie put him in the bath, and he emerged after a double shampooing looking like a half-decent dog. He was ready to eat now, and beginning to perk up. But then Solomon came into the Kitchen. He perched himself on the counter, and fixed his feline stare on Joey, “Buzz off Solomon,” said Katie, “Now’s not the moment for your company.”

“Why should I?” Said Solomon, “It’s my house too you know.”

And Katie could see that there was going to be a permanent stand-off between the two animals. Joey did not woof, but he hid between Katie’s legs.

“Perhaps,” thought Katie, “mum was right. It’s too hard for us to look after a dog. We are both out during the day and a dog needs love and attention, not to mention protection from witchy cats.”

“I’ve an idea” said Solomon.

“I’m not sure I want any of your ideas,” said Katie,.

“You never do,” he said, “But you should listen because `I’m always right. You know Joey can’t live here. So why don’t you ask your friend Isis if she would like a dog? She’s the sort of soft hearted wus that goes wobbly kneed at the thought of a furry friend. Why don’t you give Joey to her?”

“hmm” said Katie, “perhaps you are right.”

“You know that I am.”

And as it happened, he was. Isis had been talking to her mum about getting a rescue dog, and what better dog to rescue than Joey? And so Joey went to live with a perfect family and eat perfect food, and live a perfect dog’s life.

And everyone was happy. Well, except for Katie, who still wanted a pet dog - but she realised that there would come a time in her life when it was the right moment to get a dog, and for now, she would just have to wait.

And that was the Story of Katie and the Stray dog, written by Bertie, and read by me, Natasha, for We are delighted to dedicate this story to Cassius Fox. This is what his dad tells us about him.

Cassius is 3 years old, and turning 4 in a few weeks on the 21st of November. We live in Wellington, New Zealand, and he loves all of the stories, but his favourite ones are Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. He really enjoys all of the Katie stories too and loves cats and dogs, especially our cat poppet.

Well Cassius, thank you for listening to our stories, and for supporting us via our new Patreon Page. And by the way, Solomon sends his regards to Poppet. Meehow ! And we all wish you a very happy birthday later in the month.

And if any of our other listeners would like to support us with a small regular donation, you can find the link to our Patreon page on Storynory’s website. You’ll be helping make Storynory even better, and hopefully we will have to do more stories so that we have the opportunity to thank everyone properly !

For now, from me, Natasha

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