As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up. And here we meet a sleepy pup, who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day, then saw The Villager and decided to stay.
Shake. Shake-shake. Shakety-shake-shake-shake! The last of the water droplets flew every which way as Doodle Dog made sure every inch of him was dry. He shook one of his front legs and then the other, one of his back legs and then the other. He shook his head back and forth so that water rolled off his nose and he shook his floppy ears so quickly that wet drops scattered around him in such a dewy cloud that he appeared to be in a giant rainstorm-filled puppy bubble! And lastly, for good measure, Doodle Dog shook the very very tip of his tail to flick off any bit of water that might be sticking around. Doodle Dog was grateful that the clear lake with its sparkling waves had been exactly where he’d remembered it to be, and he was even more grateful that he was now dust-and-grass-clipping free. The quite-clean, sort-of-wide-awake, floppy-eared puppy was now certainly ready to continue exploring and see what this new day would lead him to discover. Doodle Dog lifted his now-dry nose toward the warm sunshine and noticed something colorful floating in the distance. It was traveling too smoothly through the air and didn’t quite look like his butterfly friend that flits from place to place. And it didn’t have any wings so it didn’t quite look like the birds he sees flapping with the breeze. Doodle Dog couldn’t tell exactly what it was from all the way down there, but he figured he would probably find out along the way.
With a trail of faint paw prints behind him – the bottoms of his paws were still a tiny bit moist apparently – Doodle Dog made his way through the cattails, past an unkempt and uncut grassy field, and to a slightly trodden path skirting the edge of a wooded area. Doodle Dog didn’t want to go into the wooded area because he’d never been to this part of the forest before. He likes adventure just as much as the next puppy, but this day Doodle Dog decided to stay closer to the familiar. At least for now.
Soon enough, as he followed the border of the forest, Doodle Dog came upon a small clearing that almost immediately opened into a not-so-small clearing which THEN opened into a definitely-not-small clearing. This wide, open field was familiar enough to Doodle Dog – he’d wandered here once or twice before – but he’d never seen it look like this! Instead of the usual blanket of green, stretched out before him were large spots of what appeared to be dozens and dozens of individual plastic carpets in all colors and patterns. As Doodle Dog bounded along, trying not to let his paws touch anything but the tiny spots of grass, he noticed some of the carpets had stripes, some had stars, and one even had a giant heart that took Doodle Dog ten whole bounces to get past! At the farthest part of the field with the most open space away from the trees, one of the blue-and-green-striped carpets was growing upward like a very round, very tall monster swaying in the wind! As Doodle Dog came closer to it he could see a man standing in a person-sized basket under this growing monster. Several other giant balloons, already fully inflated with hot air, were floating away from the field, filling the sky with colors and patterns. The man was checking the cables inside the basket making sure they were secure and when Doodle Dog approached, the man stepped out to untie the rope holding the balloon on the ground. Now Doodle Dog could see a little girl standing behind the basket wall excitedly waiting for lift-off. Just as he spotted her, the little girl spotted the floppy-eared puppy; before he knew it, Doodle Dog was in the basket too, the door closed tightly behind him and the man, the little girl, the basket, and the floppy-eared puppy lifting off the ground into the sky!
Doodle Dog didn’t want to look at first and decided to hide on the floor of the basket with his paw over his nose, but then he decided if the little girl could be brave, he could be brave too. So he slowly made his way to the wall of the basket as it was lifted higher and higher by the bright, hot flame above them, and put his front paws up on the edge so he could look out. One of his back paws stepped right on the little girl’s sneaker, but she didn’t seem to mind – he isn’t very heavy after all! – and patted him between his floppy ears. Wow! Doodle Dog could see his whole town way down below. He could see the clear blue lake and patches of green that must be the trees and tiny spots of color that were the houses and shops and all the roads that connected them. There were even tinier spots of color that must be the people in the town who had no idea Doodle Dog was floating above them.
The warm wind wafted over Doodle Dog’s ears – definitely dry now! – and he found he was actually enjoying himself. Hey, there was the office! Seeing it from way up there made him kind of miss home, especially as he could hear a rumble in his tummy that definitely wasn’t the loud roar coming from the hot air as it escaped the flame burner. The man must have heard the rumble too because he took his hand not controlling the flame and opened a small box full of cookie biscuits that smelled like oatmeal and peanut butter. They looked like the biscuits the lady at the bakery in town makes just for the pets that visit her shop. Doodle Dog loves to stop by there. The nice man must stop there too! The little girl shared a biscuit with Doodle Dog and as the floppy-eared puppy nibbled away, he continued to enjoy this new perspective of all the places he’s seen and places he will very much look forward to exploring!