Chapter 1: Mixed Up
Doodance had always wondered what type of dog he was.
Was he a Border Jack? Maybe a Bocker? The Bagle Hound? Or perhaps a Hush Bassett?
He never had been certain, but always analyzed his own personality, thinking about which dog type seemed like the most him.
One unassuming Tuesday morning, Doodance felt a bit strange. He didn’t feel like a Jack Russell Terrier, nor a Spaniel, nor a Beagle. Something didn’t feel quite right. It wasn’t the alertness of a Border Collie, nor was it the affection of a Bassett Hound. It wasn’t his usual happy-go-lucky temperament.
Ruff! What could it be?
Doodance looked down at the mouse toy in front of him.
“Hmmmm, I kinda want to play with it,” thought Doodance, his ears perking up. Doodance’s tail wagged happily, then slowed in pace until it came to a solid halt.
“But naaaahhhh, geeeeeez, I couldn’t care less. I’m so over this toy.” Doodance patted at the self-running mouse and turned his head, his whiskers breezing by with a twitch of his wet nose. He was thoroughly disinterested.
Doodance decided to head outside. Walking by the large oak tree filled with rambunctious squirrels, he stretched up at the rays of sunshine into a sleepy yawn. Across the garden, the lone poplar tree sitting on its island surrounded by a moat of fertile, lush grass seemed to pull at him like a magnet in a trance.
Sooooooooo sleepy. Doodance glanced at the familiar poplar, then at the rays of sunlight, then back at the luscious patch of grass. Batting away the flying ladybug, Doodance then stretched his paws into a gentle knead.
“Naptime. Time for my catnap,” thought Doodance, falling asleep.
Doodance tossed and turned. He dreamt of gentle pats from his owner, of blue-sky days chasing after his favorite tennis ball. He remembered the day he was upgraded to a stick. That amazing, chewy yet sturdy fetch stick that tasted so…beefy.
Chasing…chasing…chasing…the stick…the stick…the beef…the beef…the beefy…the beefy stick…running…running…running…
But he just couldn’t run. Everything felt so slow. Soooo slow. Soooooooooo incredibly slooooooooow. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo strikingly sloooooooooooooooooooow.
Chapter 2: Smells Fishy
Doodance woke to a start. Heading back inside, he walked by the full-length mirror and froze. He arched his back into a frightened stance, hair frazzled as if he had just had a bad encounter with an electric socket.
“That’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever done this bridge pose before. But I’m so feeling it. I mean, look. I got mah hair did. New S-wave perm! Totally feeling myself. No cat on the block looks this good,” Doodance leered, feeling more confident and self-assured than ever before.
“Oh man, I could really go for a tuna melt,” thought Doodance. “I did so much today. Got my beauty rest, found a new hairstyle. I mean, seriously, gotta eat well. Treat yo’self.”
Prancing into the kitchen, Doodance started his meal prep. “Eeek, this fish smells disgusting. So fishy.” Doodance checked the expiration date. Still another year and a half. Okay, fine, looks okay.
With one lap of the tongue, Doodance tasted his meal. “This does not taste good! Fine! Let’s move on to salmon!”
Doodance leapt up to the counter and opened up the freezer. He then smelled the filet of salmon, wrinkling his dripping nose. “This smells quite fishy too! So fishy! Yuck!”
Ready to give up, Doodance noticed a curious jar on the counter. A clear, glass container with cookies. Bone-shaped cookies. Twitch, twitch.
Doodance’s nose began to perk up. “Dang, that smells delicious,” he thought. Wide-eyed, he saw his reflection, sporting his new hairdo, looking great with his small pointy ears. Even his whiskers had a bit of frizz and frazzle.
All I want is what is in that jar. Mesmerized, Doodance pushed away the salmon and started to tiptoe closer to the jar. Engulfed with familiarity, Doodance felt that trance-like dream state take hold once again. Only he was awake. Reaching…Reaching…Reaching…
All of a sudden, Doodance heard a hiss. He looked up to see his doppelganger staring him straight down. “No cookies for you! That is not acceptable for a cat!”
Chapter 3: It’s Bugging Me
In the large sandbox behind the laundry machine near the leafless birch trunk reaching to the ceiling sat the headquarters. A squad of feline friends. A circle of cool cats and kittens. Forty members in total, their mission was simple: All dogs do NOT go to heaven. They become cat converts!
This particular day was not a good one for Cody the Cat. As head programmer, he had committed a critical error.
“Cody, you said the issue was fixed. We cannot afford to go through this yet again. Doodance is the second dog this has happened to who was not successfully converted to a cat,” scolded the team leader, Salsa.
Salsa the Cat did not mess around. The first time, Cody was given a warning. The second time, unacceptable. But Cody was the best dog-to-cat programmer there was. No one else had even come close to the accomplishments Salsa and Cody had earned together.
36 converts. Two years. It was completely unheard of.
“Salsa, you need to calm down,” Cody snapped back, as Doodance lay still in the holding room. “I’ll fix this. I told you. There is a glitch in the program and I need to debug it. It’s happened only once before. There are some noses that are hard to program to cat.”
“Cody, I know. I know. You told me that before. And I thought everything was good to go. But you know the deadlines we face, the targets we must hit. We are in a world of hurt now. I’m trying to keep this on the down low, but if Leedur hears about this, we are stuffed. Life will be taxidermy, you hear?”
“Seriously, I’m on it. I’m not worried. We have a good track record. 36 converts. That’s 3 – 6 versus the industry’s zero. We are the industry,” Cody reassured.
“Got it. Fine. Just get on it, you hear? Let’s touchbase later.”
“We’ll talk soon. But like I said before, some noses are hard to program. I may need to issue an update once I figure it out and we’ll reboot the system. I know Leedur wants all dogs to become cat converts, but damn. Those beagle and basset hound mixes just have the best noses.”