The Latchkey Dogs
Rufus couldn’t wait for his owner to go to work. Since discovering a way out of the attic, his life had changed completely.
‘Oh poor Rufus,’ said Penny, ‘I hate to leave you all day on your own,’ and she emptied a box of toys on the floor in front of him. Rufus pretended to look excited and wagged his tail. The truth was, the toys bored him. What did she think he could do with the toys all day? They didn’t move or talk. They were no fun at all! He often tossed them up in the air and watched them fall lifelessly to the floor. He bit into them as hard as he could but still no response although the odd one did squeak. No, the toys were no substitute for adventure. So he sat and waited for the door to close. Good, he thought, she’s gone!
Winking at the old ginger cat that watched him from its basket, Rufus scurried up the three flights of stairs to the attic. Thankfully, the window was open. His bark echoed across the rooftops as a signal to his friends that the coast was clear. But just as he was about to pounce through the window, he saw the strangest thing.
There was a man dressed in dark clothes. His head was covered in a black woolly hat. He was carrying a big bag over his shoulders and it looked pretty heavy, thought Rufus. He watched the man tiptoe over the red rooftops, stopping occasionally behind the tall chimney pots. Very strange, thought Rufus, very strange indeed!
Then suddenly, the man jumped onto a lower roof and into someone’s garden. With his ear pricked up and his nose twitching, Rufus crept out of the window to see what the man was doing.
The strange man was in the garden at the back of a shop. Rufus knew the man who lived there because he always gave him a bone. This was not the man from the shop, thought Rufus, ducking behind a wall. Something odd was going on, something very odd, he thought.
Looking through a gap, Rufus saw the man trying to push a big bike out of the shed. ‘Stop that you thief,’ barked Rufus and all of a sudden the garden was surrounded by the latchkey dogs.
‘You took your time,’ barked Rufus. ‘This man’s a thief!’
The man from the shop heard all the commotion and ran outside to see the dogs trying to protect his bike. When the police came to take the man away, the dogs were nowhere to be seen.
Later that evening when his owner came home, she hugged Rufus tightly. ‘I’m so glad you were locked in here while I was at work today,’ she said, ‘there are lots of dogs on the loose but I was told they managed to catch a thief. Fancy that?’
Fancy that indeed, thought Rufus as he wagged his tail and winked at the old ginger cat.