from A Grandpa's Notebook, Meyer Moldeven

A popular story theme portrays friendly animals at play in a familiar setting. The story may be enhanced by the animals cooperating to overcome a problem to which the youngster can relate.

Dooby, the dog, has red fur, a droopy tail, and sad eyes. His friend, Katrinka, the cat, has striped gray and black fur, and a tail that usually sticks straight back with a little kink at the tip.

Sometimes, Katrinka makes her tail stiff and points it straight up like a telephone pole. That doesn't happen very often. Katrinka always has a cheerful smile.

Dooby wears a dog collar. Katrinka wears a ribbon around her neck. A tiny bell is attached to the ribbon. They live in a green house beside a road that disappears over a hill on one side and into a grove of trees on the other.

Dooby and Katrinka are great friends, and they love to play together. They chase a ball in the back yard, roll in the grass, or chase each other around tree trunks. Almost every day they sit side by side and watch the sun set. Dooby and Katrinka like to take walks and explore.

As we look in on Dooby and Katrinka this morning, we see Dooby dashing past Katrinka. Dooby barks as he runs, 'Katrinka, let's race along the road and have an adventure.'

That is all Katrinka needs to get her to tumble out of her comfortable bed, stretch along the carpet, and dash out of the house after Dooby.

Dooby is well on his way down the road. Katrinka runs fast and catches up. They race each other toward the hill, and then up one side and down the other.

They pass a shopping center and an office building, and are soon at a park with tall trees and wide playing fields. In they go.

Along one side of the park is a lake with rowboats, geese, ducks and swans. Dooby and Katrinka pay no attention to the rowboats, geese, ducks or swans.

They have something else in mind: the children's playground. There it is, up ahead. Along one side of the playground are a climbing maze, swings, and a seesaw. On the other is an large sandbox where children can play and build sandcastles. The sand can also be shaped into hills with roads winding along their sides, and long twisty rivers that run from one end of the sandbox to the other.

Dooby and Katrinka jump into the sandbox and chase each other from one end to the ether. They stop now and then to turn over pebbles and acorns with their noses or paws. They dig holes into which they push and bury the pebbles and the acorns.

Suddenly Katrinka stops playing and looks around.

'That's strange,' she says. 'Whenever we come to this park it's full of children. I usually see them with their mothers and fathers in rowboats on the lake, or along the shore feeding the ducks, geese and swans. I also see lots of children here on the swings and seesaws, or playing here in the sandbox. I don't see them now.'

Dooby stops digging, walks to the edge of the sandbox and looks around.

'You're right,' he says, and his tail droops.

A drop of water strikes Dooby on his nose. It goes splat. Dooby squints down his nose at the water trickling from its tip. His eyes widen with surprise. Another drop strikes him, this time on the top of his head. Still another, on his ear.

Three drops of water spatter Katrinka; two on her back and one on her tail. They both look up. The sky is full of gray, racing clouds. It's starting to rain.

'That's why there are no children here,' says Dooby. 'Their mothers are keeping them indoors because of this rain.'

Dooby and Katrinka continue their romping in the sandbox, but the sand is getting wet and harder to dig. They leave the sandbox and slip under a picnic table to get away from the rain. They shake the wet from their coats.

'Being caught in the park during a rain is a sort of adventure, I suppose,' says Katrinka, 'but I like to be where it's dry.'

They watch the rain falling. The raindrops are now larger and heavier.

'I'd like to start for home,' says Katrinka, 'but I don't want to get my fur coat any wetter.'

'I don't mind getting wet,' says Dooby.

He thinks about how to keep Katrinka dry on the way home.

'I know,' he says. 'Here's what we'll do.'

Dooby explains his idea to Katrinka. She chuckles. Dooby also chuckles. They look at each other and their chuckles change to laughter. They laugh and they laugh.

Dooby stands up. Katrinka, who is much smaller than Dooby, comes alongside and then slips in underneath him so that Dolby's body acts as an umbrella.

They walk all the way home, heads high, looking very proud and pleased with themselves.

It's still raining when they get home, but Katrinka didn't get more than a few drops of rain on her fur coat. She moves out of the way as Dooby shakes himself real hard, spraying water droplets in all directions.

Dooby and Katrinka have a late breakfast and head for their corners to take naps.

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