The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts

The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts by Dori Hillestad Butler, Jeremy Tugeau Page A

Book: The Case of the Mixed-Up Mutts by Dori Hillestad Butler, Jeremy Tugeau Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dori Hillestad Butler, Jeremy Tugeau
stands beside me in the circle. I don’t know the pug’s name, but her human’s name is Kathy. Kathy is not as smart as my humans are.
    Kathy says, “Sit!” with her mouth, but the rest of her body says, “Go over there and say hello to that black Lab across the circle.”
    The pug doesn’t know what to do. So she just stands there and looks at Kathy. She waits for Kathy to give her another signal.
    “I said, sit! ” Kathy says. Louder this time. But the rest of her body says, “Lie down.”
    The pug drops to her belly. I would do the same thing. What a human says with her body is usually more important than what she says with her mouth.
    Kathy smells frustrated. But I bet the pug is even more frustrated than Kathy is.
    I sniff. No, the pug isn’t frustrated. She’s just sad.
    The alpha human at obedience school says to Kathy, “You need to make sure you have your dog’s attention. Say your dog’s name when you give a command.”
    “I can’t,” Kathy says with her hands on her hips. She turns away from her dog. “I don’t know what this dog’s real name is.”

    The other dogs and I shift around uncomfortably. How does a human forget her own dog’s name?
    I think the alpha human in this class is wondering the same thing. “What do you mean?” she asks.
    Kathy looks down at the floor. “I don’t expect you to believe me,” she says softly. “The police didn’t.”
    Police? “Why would your human call the police?” I ask the pug.
    The pug sniffs the floor. She doesn’t seem to want to talk about it.
    “This isn’t my dog,” Kathy says. “She may look like Muffin from a distance, but she’s not. My Muffin has a darker nose and a wider face. And she doesn’t act anything like this dog.” She makes it sound as if this dog is acting really bad.
    Kathy goes on. “I think Muffin was switched with another dog.”
    “What?” Rosie, the Westie, sits up.
    “I don’t believe it.” Shadow, the black Lab, shakes his head.
    “Bad human,” Ike, the boxer, says. “Why would she make up such a story?”
    I sniff Kathy’s feet. “I don’t know,” I tell the other dogs. “Sniff the human. She might be telling the truth.” Most dogs can tell when humans are lying and when they’re telling the truth.
    The other dogs’ noses twitch.
    “I can’t tell,” says Rosie. “She could be telling the truth. She could also be lying.”
    The pug speaks up at last. “She’s telling the truth. Her dog Muffin and I left the dog park with the wrong humans.”

The Real Mystery
    The pug’s name is Jazzy.
    “What happened, Jazzy?” Ike asks while the humans are busy cleaning up after class. “How did you and Muffin end up with the wrong humans?”
    Jazzy sits beside us. “Owen—that’s my human—saw Muffin doing a bunch of tricks at the dog park,” she says with a sniff. “Muffin can roll over and dance on her hind legs; she can even play pat-a-cake.” Jazzy looks at the floor. “I don’t do any of that stuff. I think Owen decided he’d rather have Muffin than me. So ... he took her.”
    Shadow’s eyes grow dark. “What do you mean, he took her?”
    “He picked her up and walked out of the dog park with her,” Jazzy says.
    It’s hard to imagine a human doing such a thing. “Maybe he didn’t know he had the wrong dog,” I say. “Did you just get this human?”
    “No, I’ve had him for a long time,” Jazzy says. “And Owen knew what he was doing. When no one was looking, he twisted Muffin’s tag off her collar and stuck it in his pocket.”
    We all gasp.
    “Then he took my tag off my collar and clipped it to Muffin’s collar,” Jazzy goes on. “And off they went. With Owen pretending Muffin was his dog.”
    “But that’s dognapping!” Rosie cries. “Didn’t anyone try to stop him? Didn’t you? Didn’t Muffin?”
    “How could we?” Jazzy asks. “Owen is bigger than we are. I tried to follow him, but he closed the gate on me. And Muffin yelled, ‘Help! Help! This

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