Authors: Holly Webb
Timmy lay on his cushion silently, only occasionally giving a sad little whine. Jess had been so cross, crosser than anyone had ever been with him before. She’d called him a bad dog, and lots of other horrible things. Even
had said he was naughty. He’d never heard her sound upset like that. And the worst thing was, they were right.
The kitchen door clicked open gently, and Katie came in, wearing her pyjamas. Timmy looked up at her sadly. Was she still angry with him?
“Oh, Timmy. I’m sorry we shouted. You didn’t know, did you? But Misty’s really upset, Timmy, and Jess is
.” Katie sighed. “I thought you and Misty would learn to get along, but it just isn’t happening.” She stroked his ears gently, and Timmy laid his nose on her knee, gazing apologetically at her.
Katie looked guiltily round at the kitchen door, and then scooped him up in her arms. “Come on. We’re both too miserable to be on our own. Mum and Dad have gone to bed, so I’m going to sneak you up to my room. We’ve got
to be really quiet, because if anyone catches us, we’ll be in big trouble, OK?”
Timmy snuggled gratefully into Katie’s arms, and she tiptoed upstairs. She tucked him down beside her, and Timmy felt happy for the first time since Jess had been so cross. At least Katie still loved him.
But the next morning, Jess flung Katie’s bedroom door open, and rushed in, her face panicky.
Katie rolled over. “What is it?” she asked, too sleepy to remember that she ought to hide Timmy. Luckily, Jess seemed too distracted to notice him.
“Have you seen Misty?” she asked anxiously.
Katie shook her head, yawning.
“She didn’t come back in last night! I was sure she’d be here this morning. She does stay out late sometimes, but never all night.” She frowned at Katie. “You know why she’s gone, don’t you? Because of Timmy. He’s driven her away, Katie!”
“That’s not true—” Katie started to say, but Jess didn’t let her finish.
“Of course it is! He eats her food, he chases her, he’s bitten her tail, and now he’s chewed up her most special thing! I’m just surprised she didn’t leave before!”
Katie sat up in bed, carefully covering Timmy with the duvet.
“Misty’s just old and grumpy, and she’s never been at all friendly to Timmy. She was the one who scratched him!”
“She’s a cat, Katie! Cats don’t like dogs! I told you and Mum and Dad that, and nobody listened, and now we’ve lost her. You were the one who wanted a dog in the first place. It’s all your fault!”
“No, it isn’t!” Katie yelled back, making Timmy tremble beside her. He hated shouting.
“It is, and stop trying to hide Timmy, because I know you’ve got him up here, and I’m telling Mum!” Jess stormed out, leaving Timmy whimpering.
“It’s OK, boy,” Katie muttered. “It’ll be OK…”
But she wasn’t at all sure that it would.
Katie and Timmy were in disgrace. Jess was still claiming that Misty had run away because of Timmy. Katie had to admit it was true, but he hadn’t been naughty on purpose – he was just being a dog, a friendly, bouncy, messy puppy.
He hadn’t meant to upset Misty!
Dad had called their vet to tell them that Misty was missing. Misty had been microchipped, so that if anyone brought her into the vet’s, they could tell at once who she belonged to. But Mum and Dad were sure that she would be back soon.
“It’s only been one night, Jess,” Mum said at breakfast, putting an arm round her.
Katie sat on the other side of the table, feeling miserable. She was worried about Misty, too, and Mum had really told her off for having Timmy in her room. Now he was lying under the table, resting his nose on her feet. He could sense how upset everyone was, and it was horrible.
“She’ll be back as soon as she gets hungry, Jess,” Dad promised. “And it’s the first morning of my holiday from work, remember, so I can help you look for her later if she doesn’t turn up.”
“It’s only two days till Christmas!” Jess wailed. “What if Misty isn’t back for Christmas Day?”
The problem was Misty didn’t want to be found. She was miserable, and she wanted to hide away from people, and especially from
. When she had seen her precious blanket in pieces all over the kitchen floor, she had known that she couldn’t stay in the house any longer.
Misty had left home, and she wasn’t coming back. Not while the dog was still there. She had plodded dismally through the garden, crawled under the back fence, and set off down the alleyway that led to the main road. She wanted to be far away, and by the time Jess had finished shouting at Katie and Timmy, and raced after her, Misty had gone too far to hear her frantic calling.
Misty liked being outdoors. She was good at hunting – she loved to give Jess mouse presents – and she adored sunbathing in the garden. Only now it was freezing, and she could smell snow in the air. And it felt different being outside all alone and knowing that she couldn’t just slip back in through her cat flap to be safe and warm again.
She spent the night huddled under a garden shed, a few streets away from her own house. It was horrible; still, she couldn’t go back. But when she woke in the morning, hungry and stiff with cold, Misty wished that Jess was there to cuddle her, and open one of her favourite fishy tins for breakfast. Maybe she should go home, just for some food, then she could leave again, after she’d seen Jess…
Misty crawled out of the grubby little den she’d found, and sniffed the air anxiously. Home was – which way?
In a sudden panic, Misty leaped on to the top of a garden wall, looking worriedly around. She didn’t know! She had been so desperate to get away yesterday that she hadn’t tried to
remember. Now all the gardens looked the same, and none of them was hers…
It was the saddest Christmas Day ever. The whole family was sitting in the living room, with the Christmas tree lights on, trying to be enthusiastic about presents. Carols were playing, and it looked like a perfect Christmas scene. Even Timmy had tinsel round his collar. But there was a cat-shaped hole, where Misty should have been
perched on the back of the sofa, waiting to pounce on the crackly wrapping paper. Everyone was thinking about her.
“Your turn, Jess!” Mum said brightly.
Jess stared at the pile of parcels in front of her as though she wasn’t really seeing them. She was holding a plastic packet in her hands, with a picture on it that looked very much like Misty. Katie looked over at her miserably. She’d been with Jess at the pet shop when she’d bought it – the luxury cat “chocolates” that were meant to have been Misty’s Christmas present.
Tears started to seep out of the corners of Jess’s eyes, and Mum sighed. “Let’s leave the rest of the presents till later.”
Dad stood up. “Come on, Katie, it’s time for Timmy’s best Christmas present!”
Katie nodded. She and Dad had planned ages ago to take Timmy for his first walk on Christmas Day. Katie had been looking forward to it ever since they got Timmy – they’d had to wait until he’d had all his vaccinations before he could go out and meet other dogs. They were going to take him just as far as the park near Katie and Jess’s school, so as not to tire him out too much. “Timmy, walk, come on!”
Timmy raced to the front door, leaping excitedly around Katie’s legs, squeaking and whining with delight. They were going out! Katie had his lead. He’d seen other dogs at his old
house with them on, and he knew it meant a walk.
“Timmy, calm down! Sssh! Look, if you don’t keep still, I won’t even be able to get it on you!” Katie was
, half-cross. She was trying to clip the lead to Timmy’s collar, but he kept licking her hand and barking, and then rushing to scrabble at the door.
Katie’s dad grabbed his coat, and stuffed a handful of papers into his pocket.
“What are they?” Katie asked.
Her dad sighed. “Just some more posters. I promised Jess.”
“Oh…” Katie nodded. Suddenly the excitement about their first walk faded a little. Jess had papered their neighbourhood with “lost” posters over
the last couple of days, but no one had called to say they’d seen a fluffy grey cat. Katie wondered if she should go and ask Jess if she should take some too, but Jess still wasn’t speaking to her.
Timmy looked up at them, and whined again. He felt the change in Katie, that suddenly she wasn’t happy any more. He guessed it was because of Misty – everyone was unhappy about her. He missed her, too, even though she would never play with him. He hung his head sadly.
Jess wandered into the hallway, followed by Mum, who was looking at her watch. “I need to sort out the roast potatoes and things. You go with them, Jess. You can’t sit around all day. I know you don’t want to, but honestly,
getting some fresh air will make you feel better.”
“Oh, Mum, no…” Jess murmured.
“I mean it, Jess. Go and get your coat on.” Mum gave Jess a quick hug, and a gentle push in the direction of the door. “Go!”
Even Jess trailing along in a miserable cloud couldn’t stop Timmy dancing about and winding his lead round Katie’s legs as they headed out of the front door. There was so much to see, so many delicious new smells. He was sure there must be at least a hundred other dogs on this street, he could smell them all! Timmy suddenly stopped, nearly tripping Katie up with his lead.
“I think Timmy might need some obedience classes soon,” Dad said, laughing.
Katie tried to coax him to move, but Timmy wasn’t listening. He’d had a brilliant idea. He could smell all those dogs, so clearly. He was
at smelling things. So maybe he could
sniff out Misty! He bounded ahead, his nose busily at work. There were lots of cat smells, too…
Misty was hiding out behind a big, smelly bin, in a tiny yard behind a row of shops on the way to Katie and Jess’s school.
It was horrible. There were rats, and although Misty liked to hunt mice, the rats were not the same thing at all, they were big and frightening. She was huddled inside a tattered cardboard box, and every so often a rat would scurry past. The only good thing about the yard was that there was quite a lot of food around,
although it wasn’t as nice as those special tins Jess gave her.
Jess… Misty got up and turned round, anxiously. She didn’t want to think about Jess. She missed Jess so much, but Jess didn’t care about her any more. Jess had let a dog into the house. Even into Misty and Jess’s room. That wasn’t Misty’s home now. Jess didn’t love her any more.
But what was she going to do? Another rat scuttled past, baring its teeth at Misty. She couldn’t stay here, but she had no idea where to go.
I need a new home,
Misty thought miserably.
But I don’t want one. I want my old home back!
And I’d even share it with that dog, if it meant I could still be with Jess
Timmy was the only one enjoying the walk. He danced about, snuffling and scrabbling happily as they reached the shops, and all those interesting smells. There were definitely cats here, too.
Jess was silent, trudging along with her head down – except when they happened to see a cat, when she’d look up hopefully, then sigh and stare at the pavement again.
“I think it’s going to snow.” Dad was looking up at the sky. “The clouds have got that yellowish look. And it’s certainly cold enough. I’m freezing. Shall we turn back, girls?”
“Mmm. Come on, Timmy.” Katie tugged gently on his lead. But Timmy
wasn’t listening. He was straining forwards against the lead, looking excited. Then he turned and gazed anxiously at Katie, and uttered a sharp, urgent bark.
Can you smell what I smell?
“Timmy, we’re going home, come on, boy.”
No! Not now, we have to go this way!
“Tim-my!” Katie’s voice was starting to sound cross.
Timmy looked worriedly up at her. How could he make her understand? He had a horrible feeling she wasn’t going to. But he was sure he recognized that smell and he had to investigate… Timmy gave Katie an apologetic look with his big, dark eyes, and moved a step towards her, loosening his lead.
“Good boy, Timmy,” Katie said in a relieved voice.
Then Timmy jumped back suddenly, dragging his lead out of Katie’s hand, and dashed away down a little alley, following that familiar scent. Now where was it coming from…?
Katie stared down at her hand for a second, as though expecting the lead still to be in it. Than she raced after Timmy, calling anxiously to him.
“Katie! Timmy!” Dad had been staring at the snow clouds and looked back just in time to see Katie vanishing down the alley, too.
Timmy bounded into the little yard, trailing his lead, and stopped, looking around. Now he was here, there were lots of other smells, too – old food, and strange animal smells that he wasn’t sure about. But yes … there was a definite hint of Misty’s scent, as well. She was this way. He trotted over to the bins, poking his nose between them hopefully. Yes! There she was! Curled up in an old cardboard box, and staring
fearfully back at him.
Timmy barked for joy. He’d found her! He called excitedly for Katie to come, then rushed at Misty. He was just so glad to see her. Now everyone would be happy! He licked Misty’s nose lavishly, and she shuddered and hissed, backing further into the box. Timmy stepped back doubtfully.
Aren’t you pleased to see me?
Misty gave a sad little mew. Where
Jess? Maybe the dog could show her? She edged slowly out of the box, the fur on her spine slightly raised.
Don’t lick me again,
she was telling Timmy.
But I’m not cross. Yet
Katie skidded into the yard, calling anxiously. “Timmy! Timmy, where are you?” She spotted his red lead, trailing
out between the bins. “Oh, Timmy, are you eating something horrible?” She ran over, squeezing herself between the bins, and Timmy stared up at her proudly.
Look! I’ve found her!