lulu and the puppies
the sign on the gate said "puppies for sale". wearing a pink taffeta dress, black lace stockings, and red patent leather shoes, lulu opened the gate. carrying an old brown leather suitcase, she walked up to the front door of the farmhouse and knocked. an old woman peeked outside a sheer curtain.
"may i help you, young lady?"
"i'm here about the puppies."
"oh yes, we've got six left. the mom had nine. two have been taken. and we lost one at birth. please follow me. "
lulu followed the white haired lady, admiring her red and white checkered apron. they walked around to the back of the house, past the rose bushes and the peonies. the old woman opened another gate leading into a modest pen with a homemade wooden dog house.
"here they are, honey."
"oh, they are so beautiful! i just can't decide which one i want. do you mind if i take a moment alone to play with them?"
"go ahead. i've got beans on the stove anyways. just shut the gate when you are done. and when you make your decision, come up to the house."
lulu kneeled down and opened her suitcase. inside was one pentax camera, six little taffeta dresses, a small cardboard table, six teacups with six matching saucers, and a small teapot. she unfolded the table and began to arrange the cups and saucers. once the table was set, she poured tea into each cup. then, one by one, she called the puppies.
"you, you must be evelyn."
a brown puppy with dark eyes stepped forward. lulu handed her an emerald green dress. evelyn stepped into it and turned around while lulu fastened the buttons.
"now go have a seat at the table."
lulu called for patricia, a white and black puppy with long legs. the pup ran to lulu's side and stretched out her front paws. lulu slipped a pink ruffled dress on the dog. patricia then eagerly sprinted to the table.
"nellie? where are you?"
nellie, a tame fawn colored pup, was hiding behind the remaining three dogs. she cautiously walked towards lulu who was holding out a sapphire blue dress. nellie sat quietly while lulu placed the dress over her head.
"marlene, here is your dress."
lulu held up a lilac dress with a tulle layered skirt. marlene, who favored evelyn but with lighter eyes, walked up to lulu and stepped into the dress. she turned around a few times, delighted by the twirl, and then sat down next to eveyln.
nadia, a little black pup with short wavy hair and a serious face, took her turn at being dressed. after being fitted in a dark crimson gown, nadia ran over and sat next to marlene.
"now, annie, you didn't think i forgot about you?"
annie, a white and tan pup with coal-lined eyes, was longingly gazing at lulu. when lulu took the last dress out of the suitcase and held it up, annie began to wag her tail. she graciously sat still while lulu zipped up the back of the violet robe. annie then walked with lulu over to the table.
when all the dogs were seated, they began to discuss current events and sip their tea.
"oh, evelyn, that green really suits you."
"why, thank you sister, marlene. you look so graceful twirling in your dress"
"annie, did you ever find out where mr. mole was hiding?"
"no, but i have managed to map out a serious of tunnels, patricia."
"nellie, how have your vocal lessons been going?
"i just learned a new song, nadia. it's about sand and dreams."
lulu sat back, listened to the conversations, refilled cups when they grew empty. and when the tea was all gone, she gathered the pups for a group photo.
afterward, the pups returned the dresses to lulu and helped her fold up the table and put the dishes back into the suitcase. in exchange, lulu thanked each pup with a gentle pat on the head. the pups retired to their wooden dog house and lulu exited through the gate.
lulu knocked on the screen door. the white haired lady answered.
"yes, sweety? did you make up your mind?"
"i'm afraid i was looking for a larger dog."
"well, if you change your mind, let me know. you can come back anytime."
"thank you. i just might."
and lulu left, suitcase in hand, with another photo for her album.