Keeping Betsy Dry
Simon lived in a terraced house with his Mum and Dad, two sisters and a dog called Betsy. She was getting old, poor Betsy. She had seen better days. She hardly had any ‘woof’ left. Betsy didn’t like the rain, or the cold. It was difficult to get her to go outside in bad weather, but of course she had to go, like all dogs do. It was usually Simon’s job to take her outside. He didn’t like the cold and the wet much either.
In the back garden there was a path next to the wall and it led down to the shed where the children had a den, Dad kept his tools and Mum kept the clothes line. Simon would sit in the shed while Betsy wandered round the garden, doing what she had to do.
It got harder and harder to get Betsy outdoors. She would put one paw on the ground and if it was wet she would turn round and refuse to go outside. She was quite a tubby dog and very heavy and Simon wasn’t strong enough to push her out. The problem was, if she wasn’t made to go out she would be whining at the door in the next five minutes, then Mum would get cross.
Simon sat in the den one dry day, thinking about how he could solve the problem. He knew old people didn’t like the wet, and they could choose to stay indoors, but Betsy couldn’t because she was a dog. “What she needs is an outdoor dry place,” he thought.
Simon looked round the shed. There was an old stair carpet in a roll, tied up with a rope. Suddenly Simon had an idea. He removed the rope which was an old washing line and unrolled the carpet. He found some pieces of wood. He balanced the wood on the wall and using the rope and the old carpet, made a tunnel for Betsy to walk through from the kitchen door to the shed. There was an open lean-to for her to sit in to keep out of the rain beside the shed. Simon showed Betsy her new dry path. She seemed to understand. She plodded along on the inside, next to the wall, and wagged her tail gently when she reached the lean to.
“Good dog,” said Simon.
The next day it rained. Betsy went straight into her tunnel from the kitchen door to the shed. “Clever girl,” said Simon.
Betsy did not live very long after that. The family were sad when she went, but Simon’s Dad said Simon had really cared for her very well and had tried hard to understand how she was feeling and what she needed. He was so pleased with Simon that they went to choose a new dog from the Dogs’ Home – a dog whose owners were not well enough to look after it and who needed a loving new home.
Dad said he was sure Simon and the girls would do their best to make Toby the new dog happy, and they did!
Did the story remind you of anything?
Why did Betsy not want to go outside?
What did Simon do to help Betsy feel OK about going out?
Have you ever helped your pet to make it happier? How?
Do you think pets notice when you do kind things for them?
Do you think people notice when you do kind things for them?
Do you notice when people do kind things for you? Why do they do those things?