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Rows and rows of brilliantly colored flowers lined the sidewalk…

Rows and rows of brilliantly colored flowers lined the sidewalk as Doodle Dog scampered through town, each stem straight and proud like vibrant guards standing at attention during a parade. Each blossom turned toward the sunlight, the painted petals brightening like a sea of miniature Easter hats. He bounded from one neighborhood to the next, weaving between houses, fields and gardens until he finally made it to his destination. There, just up ahead over the hill, Doodle Dog knew would be his favorite place on his walk.

The park at the edge of town was usually filled with people but somehow still remained a quiet and peaceful nook when Doodle Dog needed a spot to think the day away among the rush of everyday life. And when he needed a friend or two with lots of energy who could keep up with him, running around and around in circles until they were dizzy enough to fall to the ground, well, the park was also sure to be just right for that too. The perfect mix, in a little floppy-eared puppy’s humble opinion, of the best way to spend any normal day. But today it was not a normal day; it was very special, in fact.

Hearing the excited giggles of children and the matching yips and barks of their dogs, Doodle Dog grew more excited as he came to the top of the small hill. From his perch on the grassy knoll he could now see what he’d only known by sound before: in the very center of the park, on the flattest part of the meadow, had been placed a GIANT pole with a decorative ball on top. The topper looked to be about the size of a basketball from Doodle Dog’s distance so he knew it must be much bigger up close! Hanging from the glistening ball were dozens of long, colorful ribbons whipping cheerfully as a quick wind suddenly caught them up. As the gust settled, the streamers fluttered against each other, a blend of light shades and bright hues as varied as the petals on the flowers Doodle Dog had seen on his way.

In a large circle around the maypole, several children had gathered, patiently or not-so-patiently waiting for when they would be told it was time for the festivities to begin. Next to each child was a cat or a dog sitting obediently or not-so-obediently, one furry friend for each two-legged companion. Half of the bright, shiny streamers had a child in front of it; the other strips were meant for the pets. There was one ribbon with no one near – a beautiful bright green sliver of silk that sparkled as though it was covered in glitter. That one was meant for Doodle Dog! He made his way over and took his place, catching the end in his mouth as it flipped in the wind, and grasped it tightly in his teeth. He didn’t want it to fly away as the procession was about to begin! All the other children and their pets picked up their ribbons too, some with pink or purple, some with yellow and blue. A few even had green ones like Doodle Dog.

A tall woman with flowers in her hair swayed back and forth in a flowing dress that seemed to dance in the wind like the ribbons had done. She clapped her hands and a man standing next to her began to play a melody on a tiny flute. The tune wafted over the wind and seemed to float under the ribbons right along with the breeze. It was time for the dance!

Doodle Dog lifted his head up proudly and followed the steps he had practiced, weaving in and out, in and out between the children and their four-legged escorts. As the song continued on, its notes melting with the gentle whisperings of the wind, the children and the animals continued as well, their ribbons melting together into one beautiful pattern, their delighted shrieks and purrs and grrrs adding to the sweet sounds on the air. What a wonderful way to welcome in Spring!

Doodle Dog was enjoying working together with his neighborhood pals, as it was certainly taking all of them to complete the design. Each of them had a role to play, and Doodle Dog was excited to be a part of it! He danced along and pranced under this streamer and over that one, humming along to the song as he went. But suddenly he could go no further! Uh oh! Had he run out of ribbon? He tugged on his strip to see… No, he still had plenty left to go around the pole a few more times… He looked behind him to find a little girl had gone over when she should have gone under and had managed to wrap her streamer around his tail! That’s why he couldn’t move. Oops! The little girl giggled sweetly as Doodle Dog unwound and unwound himself, around and around himself he went, her ribbon untangling with each turn. No worries, let the fun continue! Doodle Dog thought. And so, with the tiniest of hiccups behind them, it very much did!

 

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