The rain pitter-pattered on the windowpane as Doodle Dog looked out at the dewy, misty morning. With his paws up on the windowsill, he could see up the street this way and down the street that way, watching the people of the town on their morning routines. There was the lady in jogging shorts and a T-shirt, her hair pulled back against the wet drops falling from the clouds as the tiny speakers in her ears let her ignore the world. There was the man in a business suit holding a dark umbrella, pacing back and forth, nervously checking his watch as he seemed to be having a conversation with a curvy black object sticking out of his ear rather than making small talk about the weather with the other man sitting on a bench and quietly enjoying a morning cup of coffee. There were the shopkeepers opening their window shades and turning their signs to “OPEN” undoubtedly hoping today’s sales would be better than yesterday. Doodle Dog hoped the door would open soon for the delivery man carrying too many boxes and forced to stand in the rain until someone remembered to let him in.
Doodle Dog continued to watch as everyone went about their ordinary mornings. But today was not an ordinary morning and the little floppy-eared puppy waited patiently to see the reason why it wasn’t.
Soon enough, out of the front doors of most of the houses up the street this way and down the street that way, came the little children of the town. The gloomy gray of the morning brightened by their colorful backpacks, fresh and clean for a hopeful start of a brand new school year, as they carefully followed the pathway out of each of their houses, across each of their yards, and met on the main sidewalk that connected them all together. Just at that moment, the slow drizzle stopped and Doodle Dog knew this was his chance to venture out before the children would be off to school. Little kids were his favorite humans of all – they always had time to give him a pat or a hug and they were always more interested in swinging on swings or hanging from monkey bars or playing chase or fetch and catch with pets than they were in spending time with one of those stressful little robots that bigger humans seemed to love so much.
He excitedly made his way to the bus stop, carefully weaving in and out between all the little legs. All summer Doodle Dog remembered how his tiny human friends would wiggle their bare toes as they ran around in the cool, soft grass of the playground park. But now Doodle Dog could smell the fresh rubber of the bright new shoes that covered up the little feet and he knew that was a sign that summer was almost over. As he stepped through the small crowd, he happily wagged his tail to let the children know he was a friendly dog and wouldn’t bite. Not every dog on the sidewalk likes to be around kids, but Doodle Dog sure does! Many of the children he knew from the park and some patted him on the top of his head as he went by. One little girl looked quite nervous to be going to school, so Doodle Dog circled around her and gently nudged her hand with his nose to make her giggle.
Through the excited chatter of the older children, Doodle Dog could hear a loud noise coming down the street and growing louder as it came closer. The school bus reminded Doodle Dog of a giant bumblebee, with its bright yellow body and black markings. As it pulled to a stop near the group, the driver pulled a lever to open the door, and the little kids with their colorful backpacks and bright new shoes filed into a line and piled into the big yellow bus. Some of them leaned out the windows to wave at Doodle Dog and he wagged his tail to return the greeting. And then, as the little floppy-eared puppy watched from the sidewalk, the big yellow bus with all of his little summer friends drove up the street in the direction of the school. As it disappeared over the hill, Doodle Dog turned back in the direction of the office. He has lots of places to go and things to learn while his friends are in school, but no matter what, he’ll make sure to be there to greet them when they all come home!