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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Dog of the Year

It was that time of year again; time for the ‘Dog of the Year’ award. All dogs in the village were eligible for the award. The only requirement was that they’d done something extraordinary that year. Signs were put up on fences and shop windows, and flyers were distributed to everyone in the village.

Malcolm was sitting quietly, gnawing on a bone in his front garden when a man walked by and nailed a piece of paper to their fence. Curious, Malcolm ran through the gate and stood beneath the paper. He was excited when he read about the award and started to think if he’d done anything in the past year to merit winning. He thought about the time Mrs. Campbell’s cat had been sitting in the middle of the street and he’d chased it out of the way just as a car came around the bend. Surely that was extraordinary. He thought of the time Mr. Lamont had gone to take his mail out of the post box and how the wind had blown it right out of his hand. He’d run after it and gathered it all up for Mr. Lamont and carried it back to him. Surely THAT was extraordinary. Feeling pleased, all Malcolm had to do now was to get Angus MacScot to fill out the paperwork and send it in.

Malcolm took the paper off the fence and carried it into the house, dropping it right in front of Angus’s feet. Angus looked up from behind the newspaper he was reading. "What have you go there, Malcolm?" he said, picking the paper up. Slowly reading it he looked down at his Scotty dog. "Well, boy, I suppose you think you’ve done something special this past year. I’ll have to think about it." Malcolm barked. Angus petted him. "Go on out and play while I think," he told the dog.

Malcolm ran outside and up the dirt lane to Fiona’s house. He stood outside and barked. She came running to the door and ran down the steps towards Malcolm. He barked again and shook his tail. The collie stared up at the paper that had been stuck to her fence. Her mind was full of great things she’d done that year. She’d done many more things than Malcolm had done. What could a Scotty dog do that was extraordinary? Feeling a bit uppity, Fiona turned her nose up at Malcolm and went back into her house.

Malcolm wondered why, but shrugging it off, he ran further up the lane to Paddy’s house. He stood at the fence and barked. Paddy came running out of his doghouse and down to the fence. He stared at the sign. Instantly his mind filled with thoughts of all the wonderful things he’d done that year. He knew he’d done many extraordinary things; more than Fiona and more than Malcolm. Paddy wanted to be Dog of the Year and he deserved it much more than the others, or so he thought. He turned up his nose and went back into his doghouse.

Malcolm found that rather odd. He ran up to visit Jock. The poodle was sitting on the porch, holding a sign in his mouth. He’d already read about the Dog of the Year award and he’d already decided that a poodle was much worthier to win than a collie, an Irish setter, or a Scotty dog. He turned, ignoring Malcolm, and went inside and shut the door.

Malcolm didn’t understand why his friends were ignoring him. Feeling rather sad, he went back to his house. He saw the paper lying on the floor and was so angry about that stupid award and what it was doing to his friends that he ripped it to shreds with his teeth. He didn’t care about the Dog of the Year award any longer. He wanted his friends back.

For several weeks his three friends ignored him. They went about trying to do heroic deeds and things that would bring them attention so they could win the award. Malcolm did nothing. He stayed home and lay around the house or went out into the back garden and chased butterflies.

Soon it was time for the Dog of the Year award. People showed up with their dogs on leashes. It was a grand gathering. Dogs of every color, size and variety were there. Angus MacScot took Malcolm, who resisted but gave in and went. The judges sat around a table. One of them stood up and spoke into a microphone. "Ladies and Gentlemen. I’m proud to announce the winner of the Dog of the Year award. Malcolm, the Scotty dog."

Malcolm’s ears stood up straight. Did he hear that correctly? Had he won? "Good boy, Malcolm," Angus said, rubbing his dogs head. "I knew you’d win. You’re the best dog any master could want." Malcolm looked at him, curious to know why HE won the award. Angus petted his back. "Malcolm, you’re the best dog anyone could ever ask for. You always come when I call; you keep me company; you are loyal and stay by my side. As far as I am concerned, you deserve this award."

Malcolm stood still as the judge came down and handed Angus a blue ribbon. "And for you, Malcolm," he said, talking to the dog, "you get a year’s supply of bones and roast beef from the butcher."

Malcolm was so happy. Angus was so happy. Even though they really wanted to win, Paddy, Fiona, and Jock ran over to Malcolm and started to bark. They were happy for him. Malcolm was truly the best Dog of the Year

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