All of the lush green landscape surrounding him looked quite comfy indeed with plush pillows of grassy mounds piling up around Doodle Dog’s paws every which way he glanced. The blanket of patchwork posies reminded the puppy of his snuggly snoozes at home in the office and he couldn’t help but be just a little sleepy thinking of those comfy slumber times. The warm sun shining above made his fur extra cozy and his eyes just a little bit droopy too as he shaded them from the quite bright greeting overhead. Nuzzling his nose into the nearby earth, Doodle Dog decided this might be just the place for a springtime nap. And so it was that the little floppy-eared puppy found himself plunked down in the middle of the meadow, all four paws stretching up in the air toward the sunshine in the sky, a crisp blue backdrop framing fluffy clouds covering the entire earth – or at least Doodle Dog’s corner of it – tucking the pup in for a mid-afternoon snooze as a soft breeze gently blew over those floppy ears.

Though his floppy ears, four paws, nuzzled nose and every inch of fur in between relaxed and rested this spring day, Doodle Dog’s imagination very much continued to dance and play. As he floated on his island of emerald green in the middle of the sea of colorful not-quite-summery-just-yet blossoms, the floppy-eared puppy’s dreams designed themselves on his subconscious stage. Switching from scene to scene, the green melted away into a river of rainbow colors and the mossy meadow bloomed with clusters of clover scattered here, there and everywhere the dreaming Doodle Dog peered. Where had his lucky little ladybug gone off to? As though on wishful command like a genie wispily waking from a bottle or a fairy godmother with a magic wand, the ladybug appeared on the petal of the nearest posy, its brilliant ruby shell shining against the delicate purple landing pad of whipped cream frosting atop a sturdy yellow-green spun sugar stem. Whipped cream frosting? Spun sugar stem? Doodle Dog quickly took another look to make sure he was seeing that properly. Sure enough, the frosted flower shone right in front of him, glistening as it slightly softened in the sun, and to the left of it, the right of it, and behind it were a dozen more in an assortment of hues placed as perkily as the cupcakes on display in the bakery window on the main street of town. In this warm weather it would only be a matter of time before the beautiful treats would thaw into a goopy mess but Doodle Dog didn’t have to worry about that as just as quickly as they came into view, something else started to make them glisten. Tiny spots of fireflies dotted the forest line just beyond the meadow’s border and even though it was still day time, as much as Doodle Dog knew, the sky itself softened into a dusky view. The sun napped now too and the shiny specks on the cupcake flowers turned from rays of sunshine to drops of dew before-finally-the fireflies just above them flew, making each petal and swirl of sugar gently glow. The floppy-eared puppy watched as the tiny creatures decorated the garden in pretty formations like stars waiting to be wished upon, delivered for the day down to the earth and just within reach.

In just a moment more, garlands of fireflies flitting in the forest made twinkle lights draping delicately from the boughs of the trees beyond and the curious Doodle Dog began to patter in their direction. After just one step the floppy-eared puppy made it to his destination. Traveling is quite a bit faster in dreams, apparently! Doodle Dog wondered what good discoveries might be around the corner while he wandered softly along the mossy forest floor. Just like the meadow outside the woodland, this moss had bits of clover sticking out of it, but little bunches of violets gathered here too, making tiny bouquets all along the trail. The fireflies continued lighting his way and the floppy-eared puppy found comfort in the peaceful, enchanting atmosphere around him. It seemed to be quite a special day indeed even if he couldn’t quite put a paw on exactly why. Then, just out of the corner of his eye, Doodle Dog spied something dashing along the edge of the forest, galloping even more quickly than the floppy-eared puppy had made it there in the first place. So quickly that Doodle Dog barely caught sight of the pure white of its coat, bright and clean against the colorful hues flowing through the forest as the flower palette continued from the meadow. So quickly that Doodle Dog barely caught sight of the glint of silver shining from its forehead as the light of the fireflies touched it just right.

Scampering now, the floppy-eared puppy knew even in a dream he wasn’t fast enough to catch up with that quick of a creature but he followed the trail at his own pleasant puppy pace to see where his next adventure would take him. A few paw prints behind him and there, placed in the path, was a perfectly shaped silver shoe fallen from the mount’s hoof. Doodle Dog had heard horseshoes are lucky, so the floppy-eared puppy knew having found a unicornshoe must be absolutely, pawsitively magical!

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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.