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Puppy Tails

Doodle Dog scampered through the cool grass and wove in among unusual trees and out among usual trees. He let the green blades tickle the undersides of his round paws as he scampered and wandered and trotted and plodded along his way, not really paying much attention to all that scampering, wandering, trotting and plodding as he continued on because he still had the barking hum or humming bark of the canine choir barking and humming away in his head. In fact, Doodle Dog found himself scampering, wandering, trotting and plodding right along in step with the tune depending on if it was humming or barking or echoing in his mind like the different voices of the animals and their humans had echoed off the usual and unusual trees surrounding the curiously enchanted garden!

Even though it had been days that seemed like hours or hours that seemed like days (he didn’t quite know!) since he had left the choir of canines conducted by the director with the magic wand, Doodle Dog could still very much hear all the individual voices with their distinct tones humming and barking away. He bet it was the latter, as the sun had yet to set since he’d left the echo of the fairies and sprites who lived in the curious meadow, but he really couldn’t be sure since the meadow was so curious, he expected even time could stand still there if it really wanted. Nothing is impossible where creativity blooms.

With the humming and barking echoing in his mind thoroughly entertaining him on his walk, Doodle Dog continued on, enjoying all the brilliant colors of the day. Everything seemed brighter even though there was no reason why it should, except maybe for the sun being high in the sky. Before the floppy-eared puppy knew it, he came upon an interesting scene in front of him: dozens of humans and just as many pets were once again just steps ahead in his path, but this time they were not lined up in neat little rows paying attention to a man waving a magic wand. These pets and their humans – Doodle Dog recognized a few! – were scattered every which way throughout the town’s park completely content in various creative activities.

Doodle Dog slowed his pace to take his time and investigate some beautiful clay sculptures in various stages of completion. Some were very, very tall, so tall that Doodle Dog could not see the tops of them. Others were very, very small, so small that Doodle Dog could come nose-to-nose with them and say hello! The sun was so high in the sky, directly above the artists, that none of the humans, pets, or sculptures cast shadows across the ground. The floppy-eared puppy enjoyed watching the humans sculpt statues made of clay that was drying quite quickly in the sun. He enjoyed watching, that is, until he caught sight out of the corner of his eye, of large pots of every color of paint a little puppy could imagine! The sun glistened off the paints, making them shine brightly, enticing the floppy-eared puppy to come on over and dip in a paw. Doodle Dog didn’t want to just view the art, he wanted to do some of the art too! There were other dogs dipping their paws in the colors and tracking prints across a giant sheet of paper so Doodle Dog decided he would try it too. The darker colors reminded him of the paint he had stepped in a while ago by accident – THESE paints he was supposed to step in on purpose!

Doodle Dog didn’t even worry about how his paw prints would look on the paper. What if he dripped dots of paint where he hadn’t meant to put them? What if the edges were all fuzzy and the colors ran together? It really didn’t matter! Everyone seemed to be having so much fun putting a blop of bright paint here and a blip of even brighter paint there and a smattering of the brightest possible paint EVER right in the middle, connecting all the drips and blops and blips of color and making them into one big, beautiful creation. The floppy-eared puppy didn’t even hesitate as he dipped a paw in paint and tracked across the big paper. And then, just as he turned to track across the other way… his tail dipped itself in the paint pot behind him! Oh no! No worries – Doodle Dog was able to paint twice as fast, with two colors at once, and make different designs with his feathery tail than he could with his round paws!

The activities were quite fun, but the sun was very hot so Doodle Dog decided to take a break. He looked for shelter and found shade nearby in a cozy gazebo surrounded by trees with a gentle breeze blowing through it all. Inside the gazebo the gentle breeze fluttered right past a princess sitting on a tree stump telling stories to several little fairies, imps, nymphs and sprites gathered around her – just like the ones whose laughter echoed like tinkling bells off the unusual trees in the curious meadow! Doodle Dog made himself comfortable listening to tales of this and stories of that, legends of knights rescuing princesses – and princesses rescuing knights! – and even some adventures of a bear who kept getting his hand stuck in a honey pot. (He was curious just like Doodle Dog and the floppy-eared puppy could certainly relate!) And before he knew it, the trees and sculptures and people making them had long shadows stretching across the earth as the sun began to set. People over at the paint station moved the paper so that it stretched out under the long shadows and knelt down to trace around it. Even as the sky turned its different shades of the evening, the artists and the floppy-eared puppy continued to work, inspired by the natural currents around them. Creativity never sleeps!

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In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski's picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.

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