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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Just Say Cheese

Patty loved her pets. She had dogs and cats and loved every one of them. Each night they slept on her bed. It was Patty's job to make sure they were fed and went for walks in the park. One day while she was out with them she saw a sign. "Contest. Photograph your pet and win $100."

Patty looked at her pets. "I can do that. I can take a photo of my pets. Should I take them all together or one at a time? Hmm. I think I'll take them all together."

Patty gave each of her dogs a bath and washed their fur. It wasn't easy for her to give the cats a bath, but somehow she managed. They were nice and clean and smelled so nice. "Now I will take your photograph." She put all the dogs down on the floor, but when she tried to put the cats next to the dogs, the cats began to meow and ran off. "Come back, cats. I need to take a photograph of all of you together." She chased the cats and caught them. She put them on the floor next to the dogs, but this time the dogs ran away. "Come back, dogs."

Soon all of her pets were running around outside in the mud and getting dirty. "Oh no! Look at you all!" She gathered one at a time and gave each dog another bath. When she'd dried it off, she locked it in her bedroom so it couldn't go outside. Soon all the dogs were clean. She washed her three cats. They clawed her and tried to escape, but once she'd bathed one, she put it in the room with the dogs. "There. You're all clean. She carried the last cat into her room." The dogs were barking and the cats were on top of her drawers trying to stay alive. "Oh no. This will never do." Patty sat on the floor near her bed and cried. "Boo hoo. All I wanted was a photograph of my favorite pets. Boo hoo."

The dogs stopped barking. The cats stopped hissing. They looked at Patty and saw her cry. One by one the dogs went up and licked her face. One by one the cats purred and rubbed against her legs. "Does this mean you'll let me take your photograph?"

She lined the dogs up and then put the cats down. They all stayed in place. "Just say cheese." All of her pets grinned and waved. She took a photograph. "Thank you." She stroked and petted them for an hour to show her appreciation.

Patty entered her photograph in the contest. A few days later a package came in the mail announcing that her photograph had one first place. She was invited downtown with her pets for a special party. She took all of her cats and dogs and her mother drove them downtown. They had dog food and cat food and cakes for Patty. The dogs and cats had some special treats. The photograph had been blown up to a huge size and was up on the wall for all to see. Patty felt proud. She loved her pets and they loved her.

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