The beautiful gazebo was quiet now as all the little fairies, imps, nymphs and sprites who had gathered there to hear the princess’s tales went on their way and lived happily ever after. The giant once-white canvas with all the paint tracks – and tail smacks! – made by the floppy-eared puppy and all the other dogs was now hung up for display, the blips and blops of colorful blobs long since dried. And all the different shades of the evening sky, swiped above the earth with nature’s widest paint brush, had made way for a new work of art brought about by the morning’s refreshing light. For having been so busy, so bustling, so filled with the animals and their humans surrounded by so much creative power not so long ago, the little park was now relatively quiet and calm. But as Doodle Dog wandered past the empty gazebo, through what had been the painting area, and around the perching rock that had the best view of the sky, he knew there was still very much a joyful energy left behind. 

Doodle Dog continued on his way, enjoying the wind that fluttered through the trees and through his floppy ears before it too continued on its way, floating over the entire space and off to its next destination, wherever it might be. Doodle Dog wondered as he wandered where his curiosity might take him next too, but he didn’t have long to wonder because somewhere between the gazebo, the space where the paint pots had been, and the giant rock made just perfect for perching, sat a beautiful stone fountain spouting water from all sides, the little spurts and grand gushes twirling and twisting through the air, tumbling like a gymnast or an air acrobat from a trapeze. The water would land at the base of the fountain and then be pulled back up again for another act as if by magic. And just past the fountain, through the stylish spurts and graceful gusts, Doodle Dog could see what looked like the carefully carved clay statues that the artists had made, all arranged in a group. They reminded Doodle Dog of some pictures he had seen in a book about Geek goddesses – or was it “Greek” goddesses? Maybe they were the same… Curious and curiouser, the floppy-eared puppy made his way around the enchanted fountain to take a closer look at all the creative handiwork.

But as he came closer and closer for a closer look, Doodle Dog thought he saw one of the statues move! He blinked a couple of times to make sure he wasn’t seeing things and, sure enough, it moved again! Then another statue next to the first one moved as well. Some of the statues 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! And ALL of the statues, Doodle Dog soon realised, were in fact in various stages of movement. At the very front of the group there was a lady with very limber legs showing the group how to pose. The group of humans posed this way and then that way, and as Doodle Dog took some time to watch all the different shapes they made, it reminded him how the beautiful clay sculptures had looked in their various stages of completion. Some of the humans twisted their legs in such ways that their shadows looked like pretzels on the ground. And, to Doodle Dog’s delight, next to several of the pretzel-humans was a pretzel-dog! Well, it just looked that way…

Doodle Dog watched as the dogs tried to imitate some of their humans’ poses and he decided that maybe he could try it too. He heard the limber lady say something about a “downward doggie” as she moved her arms and stretched her legs out behind her. That didn’t look too hard – Doodle Dog placed his front paws out like the limber lady’s hands and stretched his back legs as she was doing and touched his nose to the ground with his tail in the air. Doodle Dog was so relaxed that he wanted to topple over and take a nap right there and then, but he didn’t have a chance before the limber lady changed positions, twisting her arms one way, her legs the other, and tucking her feet under her. The floppy-eared puppy tried to do that too, but he had too many legs! Despite his best efforts, the floppy-eared-pretzel-dog toppled over onto the soft grass and decided he would take that nap after all…just as soon as he figured out how to untangle himself, that is.

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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.