The New Dog

John’s dog Max met him at the door after work.   “Who’s a good dog?” John said.   “Do you want to go to the park?”   Max barked and wagged his tail.

John grabbed his leash and some bags and they were out the door. It was a short walk to their favorite park. It was dog friendly and had a large area where dogs were permitted to run around off leash. Max always seemed happy to see his friends again.

To his surprise, John saw his neighbor Tim standing next to the off-leash area holding a leash. “I didn’t know you have a dog,” John said.

Tim looked down at the leash and laughed. “Yeah, I just got him a few weeks ago. He’s kind of an odd dog.”

“What do you mean?” John asked. Max barked. John looked down. “Sorry buddy,” he said. He unhooked Max’s leash. “Go play.”

Max ran off. John watched him go. “Which one is yours?” he asked Tim.

“He’s the one coming this way,” Tim said. “Brown with black spots.”

The dog jogged over and dropped a bright red fish on Tim’s shoes. “Where did he get the fish?” John asked. “There isn’t any water anywhere near here.”

“It’s a red herring,” Tim said. “His previous owner was a detective, and there are certain things he just can’t seem to let go.” Tim wrapped his hand in a bag and picked up the fish. He slid the sides up around it and tied the bag into a knot above the fish.

“Go play, Scooby,” Tim said. The dog ran off.

John searched the field to check on Max. Max was running towards him with a stick.   “You want to play fetch?” John asked.   Max dropped the stick and wagged his tail. John threw the stick far out into the field. Max ran after it.

Soon, he returned with the stick and dropped it again and waited. John threw the stick again. “That looks like fun,” Tim said.

“Doesn’t Scooby play fetch?” John asked.

“Sort of,” Tim said.

Max brought back the stick and John threw it again.   While he was gone, Scooby came back.   He dropped a gun at Tim’s feet.   John and Tim began trying to wave away a cloud of smoke. “Is that on fire?” John asked. “Where did it come from?”

“It’s a smoking gun,” Tim said. He poured his water bottle over it and the smoke and steam grew worse for a moment. Tim and John waved their arms and coughed. Scooby wagged his tail. Max returned and dropped his stick and waited.

Finally, Tim was able to wrap the gun in another bag and John threw the stick again. “Go get a stick like Max,” Tim said. “Go on, Scooby.”

“Do you think it will work?” John asked. “Maybe you need to show him what a stick looks like first.”

“He’s a pretty smart dog,” Tim said. “I think he can figure it out.”

Max and Scooby returned at the same time. Max dropped his stick on the ground and wagged his tail. Scooby dropped a peg leg on Tim’s shoes. “Close enough,” Tim said.

Just then, Scooby started to bark at a man walking nearby. He growled menacingly.   “Scooby, don’t,” Tim said.

“What’s wrong with your dog?” the man asked.

“Are you a butler?” Tim asked.

“Yes, how did you know?” the man asked.

“It happens all the time,” Tim said. “He just finds butlers very suspicious. Don’t worry about it.”

“Okay,” the man said. He walked away. Scooby continued to growl until he was out of sight.

Tim threw the peg leg. “Go fetch,” he said. Scooby ran off.

Max barked and John threw the stick. Max ran after it.

Scooby was sniffing the ground and going in the wrong direction. John laughed. “You’re right,” he said. “Scooby’s a little odd.”

“Yeah, but he’s a very good dog,” Tim said. Scooby dropped a clown mask at his feet.   “That one’s creepy. Thanks Scooby.” He scooped it into a bag and knotted the bag. Scooby barked and wagged his tail.