Pop Tart was a little brown puppy. He lived in a small box inside a house that was nestled high in the mountains. He had a happy life playing with his puppet friends, visiting his cousins and attending the occasional birthday party. He had always lived in the mountains but often wondered what it would be like to live in a big city.
Early one spring morning, Pop Tart opened the lid to his box and looked outside. It was a beautiful sunny warm day. There was a slight breeze making the branches on the trees wave up and down. They seem to be waving at him to come out and play.
Then he saw squirrels running up and down some trees across the yard and splashing in the creek. They were cracking open fresh fir cones and piling the shells on a small bridge.
There were deer munching Grandma’s roses and rabbits eating her newly sprouted daffodils. Birds were flying around singing and enjoying the beautiful day. Ducks were swimming and bathing in the pond. A turtle and frog were sun tanning on a large rock. There was even a big sleepy owl in the tree watching over everyone.
“Wow,” thought Pop Tart, “Everyone out there looks so happy and free.”
Suddenly Pop Tart got an idea. He crouched down and then with a mighty burst he popped high into the air out of his box and landed on a nearby window sill. He slid open the sliding window, removed a screen and jumped outside.
“Yahoo!” he screamed, “I am Free.” He ran around in circles as if being chased by a demon then headed for the creek. He jumped into the creek splashing water onto the squirrels. He dove under the water briefly, came up and crawled onto the shore. He shook himself off, spraying water everywhere. Pop Tart felt fresh, free and full of energy! He ran out to the yard again and chased the rabbits, and then the rabbits chased him. Together they rolled around in Grandma’s flower garden, playing with each other and flattening all the new plants.
One of the rabbits said, “My name is Muncher, and I love fresh planted flowers.
What is your name?” Pop Tart said, “I am Pop Tart. I used to live in the house but I snuck out and now I am free. I plan on going to the city to live.”
Muncher said, “Well good luck. I tried the city life once but was glad to get back here up in the mountains.”
Then Pop Tart saw some underground sprinkler heads with water gently spurting out of them onto some more plants. He drank some of the cool water then chewed the sprinkler heads and pulled them out of the ground. He then found an old soup bone. He grabbed it and scurried to a newly seeded lawn and began to dig lots of holes in the nice soft warm top soil. He promptly buried his bone and covered it up with dirt. He peed on that corner of the lawn and then left. He was having the best time of his life!
Pop Tart suddenly noticed the long driveway that led away from the house. He ran down the driveway to where there was a locked gate. He crawled under the gate and took off quickly down the road laughing and smiling, heading towards the big city.
After about a half hour of wandering down the road he noticed garbage cans and recycling bins in front of all the houses. He stopped and snooped into the cans and bins and made himself a nice sandwich and continued on his way.
“Hey, this is great! Free Food,” he thought to himself. Just then he noticed a dark shadow all around him and felt something on his back. Suddenly he was being lifted off the ground by a huge eagle and carried off towards the bush.
He screamed, “Let me go please!” The eagle looked down at him and said, “Little puppies like you shouldn’t be all alone out here. You will make a nice dinner tonight, ha, ha, ha.” All of a sudden the eagle, not looking where he was flying, flew directly into a telephone pole and fell to the ground releasing Pop Tart from its grip. The eagle lay motionless as Pop Tart quickly ran down the road.
“That was a little rude of the eagle to act that way,” thought Pop Tart. He continued down the road towards the city. Suddenly there was a loud blast of an air horn and the roar of a big garbage truck directly behind Pop Tart. He instantly jumped into the ditch to avoid being run over by the truck. After the truck left he crawled out of the ditch all wet, muddy and stinky. He set off again down the road. Soon he came to an intersection and saw a sign with an arrow pointing in the direction of the city. He started to see a lot of houses, tall buildings, stop lights, traffic and lots of people walking around. The sounds of the city were loud and confusing for Pop Tart. He ran across a busy road, narrowly missed being hit by a bus and then hid briefly under a bench while he decided where to go next. Again, without warning, a black shadow came across him and he heard a quirky voice say, “I gotcha, you little mutt.”
Before he knew what happened, he was in a big net and tossed into the back of a City Animal Control Van. There were a couple of other dogs and one cat also there. They looked scared and were in no mood to talk.
After about an hour the van stopped at an old building and Pop Tart and the other animals were escorted into a dark concrete holding room. It was cold and smelly. Still no one talked. Each went to a separate part of the room and huddled up against the wall and shivered. Everyone was scared as they did not know what was going to happen next. A few days passed and all they had to eat were a few pieces of left over food scraps and some warm slimy water to drink. They hadn’t seen the light of day for over five days now. Pop Tart was now thinking maybe it wasn’t so bad living in his box back up in the peaceful mountains. At least it was clean and bright with lots of good food to eat.
Just then the door flung open and bright sunlight shone into the room. A voice said, “Ok pick out the mangy mutt of your choice.” All the animals froze and huddled together as a big person approached them. Suddenly Pop Tart felt a tight leash go around his neck and he was dragged out of the room. He heard someone say, “Ok, the flea bag is all yours, good luck.” Pop Tart was then led outside and thrown onto the back seat of an old car and driven away. “Now what?” thought Pop Tart as he huddled low on the floor. He heard the driver say, “Oh you will make a great playmate for my big wild dog, Chompy.” Pop Tart thought to himself, “I’ve got to get out of here now!”
After about driving for 10 minutes the car stopped. Pop Tart peeked over the back seat and saw they had stopped at a Gas Station. The driver got out and began to put gas into the vehicle.
Pop Tart thought to himself, “I will sneak into the front and hide under the seat by the driver’s door, and when the driver opens the door to come back in, I will jump out.”
Finally Pop Tart could hear the sound of the gas nozzle being placed back on the gas pump. The driver walked back to the car and opened the door to get in. Pop Tart bit the driver’s leg as hard as he could, dove out of the car and raced down the road. The driver yelled with pain and gave chase after him. Pop Tart jumped over a small hedge, climbed under a fence and swung on a branch across a small ditch onto a sidewalk. He could still see the driver running towards him on the other side of the road.
Just then a big city bus came to stop at a bus stop and a few people got on. Pop Tart jumped into a lady’s big bag of groceries that she was carrying as she got onto the bus.
The bus departed and Pop Tart looked out the rear window and could see the driver of the car shaking his fist at the bus. Pop Tart was safe for now.
The lady sat down and placed her grocery bag with Pop Tart still in it under the seat. She did not know Pop Tart was in her bag. Pop Tart finally relaxed a bit and decided to check out what was in the bag as he was very hungry after all the excitement. He found a bag of crackers, some bread and a coil of garlic sausage. He quickly devoured his new found treat.
After about 15 minutes he heard the bus brakes come on and felt the lady’s bag being taken from under the seat. She walked, carrying the bag, to the front of the bus and then got off.
The moment she stepped off the bus Pop Tart jumped out of the bag and began to run across the road. He forgot to look both ways before crossing and a huge gravel truck had to swerve and screeched its brakes to avoid running over him. His heart was pounding as he jumped into a small hedge that was beside the road.
It was now getting dark and cold and the sun was beginning to set. Pop Tart decided to sleep in the safety of the thick hedge until morning. He snuggled up tight and dreamt about his home in the nice warm box.
The next morning at about 7 o’clock, Pop Tart was woken up by the sound of a hedge trimmer that was cutting the hedge where he was sleeping. The sharp teeth of the saw just narrowly missed his tail as it began to trim the hedge. He jumped frantically out of the hedge and ran up a sidewalk. “I think it is time I went home,” said Pop Tart. “This city life is not for me”.
For the next few hours Pop Tart walked towards the mountains that he could see in the distance. He was not exactly sure how to find his old home, but knew for sure it was high up in the mountains. There seemed to be less traffic noise and not so many houses now, so Pop Tart figured he was out in the country closer to his home. Just then Pop Tart saw a rabbit hopping across the road and into a field. He thought he recognized him. Pop Tart ran into the field too and called out to the rabbit, “Hey Muncher, is that you?”
The rabbit stopped and looked back and said, “Yup, it’s me. Is that you Pop Tart? I thought you were now a city puppy?”
“Not anymore, I had my fill of city life,” said Pop Tart. “I want to go back home to the mountains, but I think I am lost.”
“I could show you the way home if you want,” answered Muncher. “I just came down off the mountain to visit my Aunt Hoppley. I am heading back home now.”
“Oh Wonderful!” said Pop Tart, greatly relieved.
For the next hour Muncher and Pop Tart walked together back up the mountain. They talked about hectic city life and the quiet peaceful life they had come to know and love in the mountains. They became good friends. Finally after taking some short cuts across some fields, swimming through an irrigation ditch and crawling up a blackberry covered hill, they made their way to the locked gate at the bottom of the driveway.
“Thank Goodness we are finally back home!” said Pop Tart. He and Muncher crawled under the gate and began walking up the steep driveway to the main house.
At the top of the driveway Pop Tart stopped and smiled as he looked at his house. He gave Muncher a big hug and said thanks for showing him the way back home. Muncher said, “Glad I could help you Pop Tart. Even though you live in a box inside the house, you are always welcome to come out and play with me or any of my animal friends in the yard.” “Thank you, Muncher, I will definitely do that. Good bye for now,” said Pop Tart. Pop Tart then jumped up onto the ledge outside of his room and slid the window open. Then he replaced the screen and closed the window. No one was at home right now and the house was quiet. Pop Tart went down the hallway and took a long hot shower to wash off all the city germs and smells. He then walked back to his room and jumped into his own warm box bed.
Just before he closed the lid he happily looked around and said, “Home Sweet Home!”
He closed the lid and fell fast asleep.