Margo's Dream
Claire, Age 13, Oxford, OH

From the moment I set paw on that place, I knew I was unwanted. I was young, only about one at the time, and I had notions about everyone loving everyone. It’s a common trait in basset hounds.

I was different. I knew it, the others knew it, and they weren’t afraid of keeping it quiet. After all, not many basset hounds want to fly.

My mother, Delphinium, the most talented and loving basset ever to waddle the planet, had told me to do what I believed in. “Even if no one else believes, you can believe, and do just about whatever you want,” she said. Well, if that’s true (and everything Mama said is true), then I can fly.

Whenever I went anywhere, I was always the topic of gossip.

“Uninvited,” a golden retriever sniffed to a chocolate lab, who nodded. “She’s just loopy, believe me, with that ‘flying’ scheme of hers,” muttered a Chihuahua to a toy poodle. They shot dismissive looks in my direction. I wobbled dejectedly off.

Mrs. Delilah Smoot cared for us. “Poor Margo,” she’d coo. “Be nice, now,” she would reprimand. Half of the dog population around couldn’t understand human speech. They didn’t listen. None of them did.

Regardless of what the other dogs said, I kept on trying to fly. I flapped my long ears in the breeze. I took running starts and jumped. But no matter what I tried, nothing seemed to work. After each attempt, I would be forced to toddle unhappily off to think up a new scheme, amidst the other dogs’ scoffs, snickers, and snide remarks.

I had kept up my attempts at canine flight when I had puppies. Four lovely, big-eyed, healthy, energetic, long-eared, wriggling balls of fluff. I adored them. Mrs. Delilah Smoot adored them. Even a few of the kindlier canines came by to admire them. I glowed with pride. But the rest of the dogs only made nasty comments. “Just fabulous. Now there are five uninvited kooky bassets,” “It’s true, mark my woofs, they’ll all be like Margo.” I took it well. I wanted my babies to be like me.

Other puppies spurned my four delightful, polite, and solicitous children (Humphrey, Diane, Vivienne, and Daphne.) We were all ‘unwanted uninviteds’ now. Despite that, we took in delight everywhere we could, romping and playing, ignoring disparaging remarks. Eventually, Humphrey, Daphne, and Diane were adopted. Vivienne and I rejoiced together that they were going to live such safe, happy, and comfortable lives. I told my Vivienne what my lovely mother told me when I was a puppy.

“Do what you believe in, little Vivienne. Even if no one else believes you, even if they think you’re crazy, you believe, and you can do almost anything you want.” She gazed up at me with her trusting, chocolate brown, adoring puppy eyes, panted, and wagged her tail. I was so proud of her.

On a nice, bright April morning, when the air was full of smells (roasting turkey, flowers, moss, crumbling bricks, rotting wood, rainwater from last night’s thundershower, dirty children, etc), I decided to go for a stroll to pick some nice blossoms for Vivienne and me. We loved flowers, but Vivienne was too little to go pick them herself.

Waddling along, I saw the Higgins’. They always had the loveliest flowers to dig up. (In winter, they always had nice popcorn strings around their spruces. Quite delicious, really. They were always bellowing things like “Go away!” “Leave that for the birds!” and “Shoo!” I don’t understand human, so I always took it to mean, “Come on in! We’ve got a nice chicken cutlet just for you!” Once, they did. Cleaned it right off the floor for them. Such lovely people, the Higgins’.)

I knew that I wasn’t allowed to cross the street by myself, so with a sense of uncertainty, I began to toddle towards the opposite sidewalk, slowly gaining confidence. After all, Mrs. Delilah Smoot would never know, and Vivienne did love petunias.

What happened next was a total surprise.  All I know was that it was very loud, and briefly painful. I felt a type of shock, like when you cross your electric fence, and then I was FLYING.

It was the most fabulous sensation I have ever felt. The exaltation was wonderful. I felt light and delicate as a butterfly (basset hounds hardly ever feel light and delicate, take it from me). And I’m not sure, but I think that’s what I became. My soul floated upward in a minute, shining bubble, and I watched my body being scooped up by a man.

My body was brought to Mrs. Delilah Smoot, who cried and cried.  I don’t know why, though; I was right there next to her. I could have touched her grey-streaked hair, or her wrinkled cheek, wet with needless tears.

I hovered above the scene, looking for Vivienne.  She was asleep in a beam of sunlight.  Thankful that she had missed the distressing scene, I drifted toward her.


Vivienne and I trundled away.  Radiant with bliss, we romped and tumbled like never before.

All of the other dogs think Vivienne is crazy.  They can’t see me.  But Vivienne and I still share the best of times, regardless of the others.  Together, we fly.

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