Dunc and Amos Go to the Dogs

BOOK: Dunc and Amos Go to the Dogs
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen
Thomas Rockwell
Robert Kimmel Smith
Robert Kimmel Smith

are designed especially to entertain and enlighten young people. Patricia Reilly Giff, consultant to this series, received her bachelor’s degree from Marymount College and a master’s degree in history from St. John’s University. She holds a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University. She was a teacher and reading consultant for many years, and is the author of numerous books for young readers.

For a complete listing of all Yearling titles,
write to Dell Readers Service,
P.O. Box 1045, South Holland, IL 60473.

Published by
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers
a division of
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
1540 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

Copyright © 1996 by Gary Paulsen

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.

The trademarks Yearlinge® and Dell® are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries.

eISBN: 978-0-307-80397-9



“I don’t mean to be critical or anything, but this place smells worse than my uncle Alfred when he takes off his shoes.”

Amos was standing by the window holding his nose and trying to wave some fresh air into the room. Duncan—Dunc—Culpepper, his best friend for life, was changing the paper in the cage of a new litter of kittens. “That’s one of the disadvantages of doing volunteer work at the city pound.”

“You’d think they’d get some spray or something. This is really bad.”

“It could be a lot worse. You’re lucky you only have to work here for a week. That’s all Judge Simmons gave you for creaming him in the park that day.”

Amos sighed. “Some people take things too seriously. It’s not like he had broken bones or anything.”

“He had to go to the emergency room.”

“Big deal. The doctor said it was only a
concussion. The way he carried on, you’d have thought he was really hurt.”

Dunc closed the cage. “He said you were a menace to society and should be locked up. By the way, you never did tell me exactly how you managed to run him down.”

“It wasn’t all my fault. I was taking Scruff for a walk in the park—”

“I thought that was your sister’s job.”

“It is. But Amy knows how much I hate to do it. Somehow she always makes sure she’s not around when Scruff needs to go for a walk. Anyway, we were walking along minding our own business when I heard the phone ring. It was that pay phone in
the corner of the park, near the snow-cone stand?”

Dunc nodded. “I know the one.”

“I was pretty sure it was Melissa calling to see if she could meet me someplace. Before I left home, I told everybody to let Melissa know I would be in the park when she called.”

Dunc nodded again. Amos had it bad for a girl named Melissa Hansen. He had been in love with her ever since Dunc could remember. The problem was, Melissa didn’t share those feelings. Whenever Amos was around, she had a way of looking at him as if he weren’t really there—sort of the way you look through a window.

Amos continued, “You know how she likes me to get it on that all-important first ring?” He didn’t wait for Dunc to answer. “I started moving on the first beat. My form was great. Head up, arms pumping. I looked better than one of those marathon runners.”

Dunc waited.

“The only problem was, I forgot that I had tied Scruff’s leash to my belt loop, on account of he likes me about as much as I like him, and he’s always trying to get away. When I started for the phone, I dragged him a few feet, but then he saw his chance and decided to start running too. Only he kept going after I reached the phone.”

“Did you answer it?”

“Not quite. Judge Simmons chose that exact moment to step out onto the sidewalk with Brutus, his Great Dane. My border collie ran underneath Brutus and wrapped his leash around the dog’s hind legs and then around the judge. I’m pretty sure he did it on purpose. It still might have worked out okay if that park bench hadn’t been in the way. Did you know they cement those things into the ground?”

“Was that when the judge fell over and bashed his head on the sidewalk?”

Amos nodded. “When I hit that bench, Scruff hit the end of his leash. The judge didn’t have a chance. Right before he
passed out, he told me he would send me to the electric chair if it was the last thing he ever did.”

“Then I guess it’s lucky he only gave you a week of volunteer work here at the pound.”

Amos sniffed the air. “You call this lucky?”

Dunc patted a basset hound. “It’s not so bad. You’ll get used to it after a while. Besides, there are a lot of neat animals down here. Take Roger over there.” Dunc moved to the large cage on the end of the row and stroked the German shepherd. “He’s big but lovable.” The dog licked Dunc’s hand and barked as if he understood.

A smaller terrier in the middle of the second row of cages started yelping.

“Look, Amos, Martha’s jealous.”

“Tell her not to worry herself. In a week we’re out of here. Then she can be jealous of some other suckers.”

The big metal door that led to the animal compound opened. A short stout woman with streaked gray hair and a
sharp pointed nose looked in over the top of her glasses. “You boys are supposed to be cleaning those cages, not playing with the dogs. Hop to.”

“Yes, Ms. Craig.” Dunc opened one of the cages and pulled out the old paper. “We’ll be through in a few minutes.”

“Well, see to it that you are. I won’t have any lollygagging on my shift.” She turned and slammed the door.

“Real friendly lady.” Amos filled the water bowl and set it inside the cage. “She kind of reminds me of someone.”


“The wicked witch in
The Wizard of Oz

Dunc grinned. “She does seem to have a problem with us working here. If I didn’t know better, I’d think she didn’t want our help.”

“Hold still, Amos. How am I ever going to get a good look at it if you keep wiggling like that?”

“You’d wiggle too if you’d just been attacked by a vicious animal.”

Dunc looked at him. “The kitten in row three hardly qualifies as a vicious animal.” He examined Amos’s finger. “I don’t see any blood. I think you’re going to live.”

“Go ahead. Make fun. When I die from rabies, I’ll say I told you so.” Amos slid off the office desk and started searching through the cabinets.

“What are you looking for? Ms. Craig told us specifically to stay out of those cabinets.”

“She told us to stay out of the main office, too, but here we are.”

Dunc frowned. “That’s different. I came in here because I thought you were really hurt.”

Amos reached for a roll of gauze bandages. “I
am really
hurt—you just can’t see it. I probably have internal bleeding.”

Dunc moved toward the door. “We’d better get out of here before she gets back. She doesn’t seem like the understanding type.”

He reached for the doorknob. It turned in his hand. The door opened, and a tall distinguished-looking man wearing an expensive suit and carrying a black bag stepped in.

Amos looked up to see who it was and hit the cabinet door dead center with his head. Small bottles of vaccine, syringes, and bandages spilled off some of the shelves and fell out onto the table below.

“Are you all right, young man?” The tall stranger stepped over to help him.

“He won’t be if we don’t get this mess picked up before Ms. Craig gets back.” Dunc grabbed some of the bottles and started shoving them back on the shelf.

“Why don’t you let me handle this?” The man smiled. “I’m the new veterinarian, Dr. Keene. I know how it should be arranged, and no one will be the wiser.”

“Gee thanks, doc.” Amos rubbed his head. “That’s awful nice of you.”

“Not at all. You boys go on back to whatever you were doing. I’ll be happy to straighten up in here.”

Dunc pulled the door shut behind him. “So that’s the new vet. From the way he’s dressed, I’d say he does a pretty good business. I wonder what brings him down here today? I don’t remember there being any vaccinations scheduled or anything.”

“Judge Simmons probably got him on some phony charge too.” Amos sat down on a bench in the hall and held his aching head. “Are we through yet?”

“Almost. Why?”

“I forgot to give my mom the number down here. Melissa’s probably been trying to reach me all afternoon.”

Dunc thought about telling him that Melissa wouldn’t call him even if someone held the phone and dialed the number for her. But he decided not to. Instead he patted Amos on the shoulder. “You wait here. I’ll go make one last check to make sure everybody has food and water.”

BOOK: Dunc and Amos Go to the Dogs
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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