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  • James Glover

Story 13: Things feel different, and we don’t know why

Updated: Aug 23


For some reason Billy train has been very empty recently. Dante couldn’t understand why the furless two legs weren’t getting the train anymore. The morning journey to Camber was always busy, and normally none of them ever get a seat. But for the last few weeks they’ve had the whole train to themselves.


There was nobody on the platform when they arrived at Camber, so Dante and DeDe made their way to the beach to wait for the others there. It wasn’t long before Lily-Poo and Phoebe came dashing over the dunes to meet them. Harley arrived a little later, he’d been searching for some of the holes he’d dug yesterday.

They knew they would meet again, and they knew it would be in their happy place, but they didn’t know when. They only hoped it would be soon

None of them felt particularly energetic, which was unusual and they didn’t know why. They didn’t feel like dashing to the sea or up into the dunes, instead they preferred to sit in a huddle and just chat. Harley started by asking Dante how he was feeling, something he’d never ever done before. This took Dante by surprise and he didn’t really know how to answer. Dante never thinks about his feelings because he’s always too pre-occupied chasing a bestest ballie or being distracted by what’s going on around him. Being constantly on ‘the go’ doesn’t give much time to think about feelings.


Dante knew he should answer Harley, but he didn’t quite know how. He thought he felt fine, but then he thought a little more and realised he might not be. He couldn’t put his paw on it, but something was not quite right and he had to admit he did feel a little anxious.


Once he started talking he found it difficult to stop.“I’m not sure when it started but it seems like something changed recently. The world feels different, and I’m not sure why it’s different, the only thing I can think of is that the furless two legs are always at home. They seem to be anxious about something, but they’re not telling us what it is. We don’t have our normal routines anymore and I don’t why. We are doing new things, but we are not doing a lot of the things we used to really enjoy.


Dante went on, “For instance we now do lots of walking around the block, we never did “walk around the block”, but now every few minutes you hear ‘I’ll take the doodle around the block’. I don’t always want to go around the block, but feel I should to comfort the furless two legs. Why can’t we have our old routines back? We’ve not been to the pub for cheesy burger and brown water for ages. We miss the pub and we really miss seeing our doodle friends, why don’t they visit anymore?


By now Dante was in full flow and really couldn’t stop talking “And another thing that’s worrying is the behaviour on some evenings. When all is quiet and we’ve settled down for a cuddle, everything is suddenly disturbed. Without warning everyone gets up, grabs a saucepan and wooden spoon and goes into the garden to make noise! Why do they think this is a good idea, when we’re all settled down quiet and comfy? Surely this isn’t normal behaviour?


Harley took a deep breath and thought for a second, and then said, “You’re right Dante, I have been thinking things are not quite right but I also can’t put a paw on it”.


Lily-Poo, who had been listening very intently, said that she’d heard the banging of saucepans and wooden spoons in Chislehurst too. She’d been told the noise was to say a big “thank you” to all those who care for others. But she didn’t know why this had started all of a sudden. What she did know was that this new behaviour had taken away some of the fun they used to have and had caused them all to be a little more serious.


Lily-Poo told them that her paw had been painful the other day and she hadn’t felt well for much of the week. She remembers being looked after by kind furless two legs all covered in what looked like Birthday wrapping paper who had made her better. She wondered if this might be a clue. Might it be that furless two legs were not very well, like she had been with her paw?


DeDe, who had been very quiet up to this point, said she also felt that everyone had become far too serious and wondered why the furless two legs weren’t laughing anymore. Were they not very well? She liked how they were thanking the carers for what they do, because she remembers when she wasn’t well and how grateful she was for what everyone did for her. But she knew the secret to good health was not only through good care, it was also through happiness, love and joy.


At this point Phoebe opened up about her feelings saying that her furless two legs were doing too much baking every day. Although she liked most of it, she did find the lemon drizzle cake a bit too lemony, the taste had tingled her nose so much it made her sneeze twice.


A pensive quiet then fell among them and they all watched the sea rolling onto the beach, just as it had since time began. Somethings, Dante thought, don’t change while others seem to be changing very fast.


Just as Dante was about to say something Harley jumped in and said,“if there is a problem then perhaps we Doodles should help?


They all feel quiet again to consider how they could help the situation. After what seemed ages Harley broke the silence and said, “Our contribution should be to make sure the sadness is not in vain. We need to show that after sadness things can be even better than before, and this should be the way we would help”.


Dante took over, ‘we know our furless two legs give us the very best lives they can, but do they devote the same amount of time to make sure they give themselves the best lives they can? For example why are they always so busy? Why are they always talking into their plastic boxes? The other day when we were going around the block again, I noticed how much joy they missed. They didn’t wonder at the stars or smell the sweet blossom on the air, they simply tap, tap, tap on their black boxes and missed so much joy and beauty. Perhaps if they took time to look at the simple things they might be less sad?


It was nearly time for Lily-Poo to go home, but before she left they had to decide what they would do to help their furless two legs at this time.


Dante said that he would make sure he cuddled more, so that his furless two legs couldn’t keep tapping on their plastic boxes, somehow he knew too much distraction on the box was not helping. He would also make sure that when they did ‘around the block” they stopped to wonder at the beauty of the stars at night. This might help his furless two legs know there are greater things at work than they find in their plastic boxes.


DeDe said she would also make sure she cuddled more, and she would also make sure she nudged him more so he knew she was there and he was safe.


Phoebe went next and asked whether everyone remembered the film where the lost doodle was climbing the snowy mountain trying to get home. Halfway through the film the doodle is so tired he lies down to give up. After a little rest he remembers the love of his furless two legs and found the strength to carry on. The act of digging deep and carrying on helped the doodle get home and make his furless two legs happy again. Phoebe vowed to do all she could to bring happiness to her home, she would even try to avoid puddles on the walks around the block. She would try very hard to keep clean and not cause any extra work with muddy paws.

Lily-Poo knew that what made her furless two legs happy was when they were helping others, so she agreed that she would try very hard to help other, less fortunate doodles at this time. She would send positive thoughts to all the doodles she knew in Chislehurst and make sure they had all they needed. She knew her furless two legs was good at baking treats and would be happy to share them with anyone that was hungry.


Harley went last but what he said what they were all thinking. “I’m going to teach all furless two legs I know that they can be happy by keeping life simple, and not wanting for too much. I will show that being spontaneous was fun and can lead to all sorts of things we’ve never dreamt of”. If we all do this, then the sad times we are having will not have been in vain.


Lily-Poo got up to go, but before leaving they had one last big hug that made her eyes leak. She knew it would be a while before they saw each other again, but she also knew that special day would come and it would be the biggest doodle dash party they’d ever had! There would be so much joy and laughter as well as roast beef and brown water.


As they broke away Lily-Poo walked off without looking back. She knew it would be harder if she’d turn around to see their faces one more time. They all knew this was a time to keep strong and to show how special they are. This was a time for them to do their bit to make their furless two legs smile again.


After Lily was out of sight, the others ambled towards the train. They knew they would meet again, and they knew it would be in their happy place on the beach, but they didn’t know when. They only hope it would be soon.



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