On this episode of “As the Lodge Turns”…

 

“BING!”

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As soon as I arrive at the Lodge this morning I hear Maia’s excited bark call out to me from the other side of the yard. I rush to meet her halfway, wondering what on earth could be happening…

“What is it, Maia?”

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Her tail wags furiously from side to side as she drops into a play bow.

“Bing, you haven’t been coming to the Lodge for very long, so you don’t know! Every once and awhile we hold a race to see who the fastest dog is, and today we all agreed to have one!”

A race? I’ve never been in a real race before!

“Can any dog participate?!” I ask, a little embarrassed at the squeaky bark I let out.

Maia nods. “They can! Although there are only about six in the running today…”

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I look to the other side of the yard and see a group of four dogs in a line. The other Lodge dogs are standing in the middle of the yard, and among them is Lucy. That means she’ll be watching!

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This could be my chance to impress her…

“Maia…do you think I could run in the race?”

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She shakes her head a little like she’s disappointed. “What did you think I was telling you for? Come on!”

We run to join the line of dogs, and take our places next to each other. Maia will probably be the toughest to beat since she’s always so full of energy, but I have to do my best!

“First one to make three full laps around the yard is the winner! And remember, no biting or funny business, please!”

Muscles tensed and head pounding, I crouch into position.

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“Ready…set…”

I steal a quick glance at Lucy in the crowd of spectators. She gives me an encouraging smile and my heart beats like crazy.

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“…GO!”

I tear off with an energy I’ve never felt before. My feet are lighter than air as I speed effortlessly around every corner. I’m so focused on winning that I barely notice as one by one the other competitors fall too far behind me.

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On the third lap the barking and cheering intensifies, and I suddenly realize that I’m in the lead! At my side and running so fast he’s a blur of black and white is a dog I’ve never seen before…

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He turns to look at me as we near the finish and – !

This dog only has one eye! How could I be so selfish? It wouldn’t be fair if I beat him when he’s working so hard in spite of his disadvantage…

Lucy wouldn’t be proud of me if I won in such a lousy way, no matter how fast I might have run.

I let my pace slow gradually, and with the thunderous cheers roaring in my ears, I watch as the other dog races past me for the win.

“NOIR! NOIR! GO NOIR!”

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The other dogs swarm around us as we stand there panting heavily, our heads hanging low.

“You were amazing, Bing!” says Lucy, running to my side. “I can’t believe you almost beat Noir!”

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“I can’t believe you beat me,” Maia says with a mocking bark, nipping playfully at my ear. “But then you had to go and blow it at the last second!”

“Sorry…” I say, a little more ashamed than I thought I would be.

But a little teasing is worth it to see Noir win the race. I should go congratulate him!

Pushing through the rest of the dogs I finally enter the winner’s circle. To my surprise, Noir looks annoyed to see me.

Is he mad? What did I do?

It must be in my head. I do tend to overthink things…

“Congratulations, Noir!” I say, approaching him with slight caution.

 

His eye narrows.

“Why did you let me win?!”

…to be continued…