Chapter 07

DISCOVERIES

‘I wish I were riding,’ said Mrs Potts, her straggly hair screwed into a bun. She had a metal cage strapped to her back and her t-shirt was already soaked in sweat. Someone had called her about a dumped puppy and I was with her to rescue it.

The air smelt fresh and green. We were following a narrow track in the country park. Sukee kept trying to snatch mouthfuls of grass while Mrs Potts told me about a wild deer she had rescued from a catchwater.

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‘Cute as Bambi, he was,’ she said, then stopped to check a map and a photo on her phone. ‘The pup was spotted around here.’

All I could see was bushes, hills, rocks.

Mrs Potts laid the cage on the track, opened a trap door and hooked a piece of pork inside. Then we hid behind a tree. ‘Shh,’ I said to Sukee who couldn’t resist munching leaves.

Scuffle. Scuffle. A black pup’s head peeked out of a bush. It trotted towards the cage, sniffing. One cautious step forwards, then another, and it was inside the cage! One bite of the meat and a lever sprung to life, snapping the door shut. Yelping, the pup ran in circles trying to get out. Mrs Potts clapped her hands and whooped.

Mrs Potts said he was male and I named him Smudge. She told me she had fourteen other pups who desperately needed loving homes.

You can see high on horseback. On the way back, I spotted an old hut in a wood. As we approached, I smelt a funny fishy smell. The door was padlocked.

‘Smugglers?’ said Mrs Potts and shrugged her shoulders.

When we got home, she fed me homemade apple pie and ice-cream. Smudge ate rice. Sukee grazed.

Toodle-pip!

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