No Real Winner

WORDS TO USE:  envelope – peach – puppy – boots – stinky

“Willow, drop it!” A second passed before, “Leave it!”

Willow sat down and gave an innocent look up at “Mom.” Of course, she probably didn’t seem innocent sitting here with one of Mom’s stinky boots hanging from her mouth.

Mom’s usual smile had turned into a severe frown. Her shoulders were stiff in annoyance. “I said to drop it.”

Willow turned her head to the side, gripping the boot tighter in her teeth. She loved these games, and at least she saw these occasional battles of will as games. How else was a playful puppy supposed to do to have some fun when your parents worked at home and paid more attention to their computers than her most of the day?

Dad walked into the living room from the kitchen, eating a peach. He rolled his eyes at seeing the game/battle going on. Mom glowered at him and bit out at his amused grin, “You get my boot from her.”

While they shared looks, Willow took advantage of their being distracted. She trotted to the nearby dog door and slipped outside with her treasure of the moment. One of them was always telling her to drop something. Food wrappers she picked up in a gutter on one of their walks. A dried-up worm on a curb. A dead bird or a bird egg that had fallen from a nest. Even some envelope Mom dropped when pulling the mail from the box out front of the house. All she heard some days was, “Drop it, Willow!”

“Let’s trade, Willow,” Dad, the main negotiator in their family, said as he walked outside.

Already in the middle of the backyard, Willow hesitated. She smiled to herself, pleased she’d won another round. She’d got their attention and was getting a treat. Mom didn’t like “rewarding bad behavior.” Still,  she wanted her belongings back before they got too soggy from puppy drool or chewed up.

“Forget it,” Mom called out. “Let her keep it. I’ll wear another pair of shoes today.”

Dad looked uncertain about continuing the trade negotiation.

Willow really wanted that dried chicken strip in his hand. It was much better than this nasty old boot. She trotted right up to him and dropped the boot on his foot, sitting down to gaze up at him with her best “I did as you said” look.

With a huff of disgust, Mom hurried over and snagged her boot with one hand and the treat from Dad’s grasp with her other hand. She turned back toward the door.

Willow’s heart sank. She’d given up her treasure and wasn’t going to get the treat either. She plopped onto her belly, bummed.

A second later, Mom bent down in front of her. She ruffled the hair on Willow’s head and smiled. That loving smile she so liked to see. Okay, she’d lost this game/battle, but that was okay. There would be another one.

She gave her mom’s hand a quick lick.

“You’re so ornery, Willow.” Mom handed her the treat. “But I love you anyway.”

So, maybe this was a tie. Willow happily took the chicken strip and scampered away with it.

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