Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Animal Shelter

Today, my mom took Zoe and me to the animal shelter nearby. I'm still not all that keen on the idea of getting a new dog, but my mom insisted that I stop moping around the house and gave me two options: either I come with her to the animal shelter, or I work on finishing a to-do list as long as my arm. For obvious reasons, I chose the shelter.

When we walked in the front door, there was a very friendly receptionist that greeted us. She showed us into the room where they kept all the animals and told us that we could take a look around.

There was a stand with a couple of birds sitting on it, a basket with a pink poodle, one with a cat, one with some hamsters and a couple of rabbits, and one with two dogs. I went over to greet the poodle first.

A woman in a blue coat with the word "Volunteer" stitched onto the arm came up behind me.
"That's Cotton-Candy," she told me. "We just call her CC."
"She's cute," I said, giving her pink, curly fur another pat. But she wasn't Shiloh.

A few moments later, I heard a cry from across the room. I turned to see Zoe with a yellow bird balanced on her shoulder.
"Cool!" I cried. "What kind of bird is she?"
"I dunno, but she sure is smart," Zoe said, turning to the bird. "Who's a pretty bird?" The bird responded by chirping loudly.
The woman in the blue coat appeared behind us again.
"That's a goldfinch," she told us. "And that one is a male, actually. Female goldfinches have much duller-colored feathers. Here, feed him some of these seeds - he loves them." I left Zoe feeding the seeds to the goldfinch and wandered over to the rabbit pen.

I picked up one of the bunnies from the basket and gave her a pat. She was so soft and cute!
I thought about asking Mom for a bunny, but she always says that she can't stand to see animals cooped up in cages like rabbits have to be. With a sigh, I set the bunny down and went to look at the dogs.

Zoe was already there, playing with an excitable golden retriever.

Over in the other corner of the pen was another golden retriever. But this one seemed a bit more shy. I reached out my hand to give her a pat.

She sat up in the side of the pen to give me a curious sniff. She was even softer and more adorable than the bunny! I loved her at first sight.

"Zoe, come here and look at this dog," I said over my shoulder. "Isn't she adorable?"

Zoe gave her a tentative pat. I could see it growing in her face - there was something utterly lovable about this dog.

Mom came up behind us.
"What do you think?" she asked.
"Well. . ." I hesitated. The dog was awfully cute, but it seemed like an insult to Shiloh's memory to choose another dog so fast. "Maybe a little later. It's hardly been a week since Shiloh went missing." Zoe nodded in agreement.

Even so, as we were walking out the front door, I couldn't help but look over my shoulder one last time.
What happens if someone else takes her? But we can't get a dog so soon after Shiloh left - can we? What should we do?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shiloh's Missing!

If you haven't already discovered this from the title of this post, Shiloh has gone missing!

Zoe and I got off the bus yesterday at our stop, and we raced home like we always do. We let ourselves in the front door and grabbed some cookies from the cupboard, and sat down in the living room to do our homework.
After a few minutes of scribbling answers to math problems, I got the feeling that something was wrong.
"Yeah?" she responded. I struggled to find the reason for my unease. As I was puzzling it over, it suddenly hit me.
"Zoe, where's Shiloh?" I asked, suddenly anxious. She looked up at me, shocked.
"He always greets us at the door," I said. "Today he didn't."
"Maybe Mom just let him out in the backyard," Zoe suggested, leaving the book she was reading for English on the couch and getting up to search.
We peered out the window that faced the backyard, but saw nothing but a gate dangling off its hinges. I aimed a panicked look at Zoe.
"Okay, don't freak out yet," she said, but I could tell from her expression that she was about to start doing just that.
"I'm gonna call Mom!" I cried, running into the kitchen and picking up the phone. I dialed Mom's cell number and waited impatiently for her to pick up.
"Hello?" I finally heard on the other end.
"Charlotte?" she responded. "Are you and Zoe all right?"
"Yes, yes, we're fine," I answered. "It's about Shiloh. Did you let him out in the backyard earlier?"
"Yes, I did," she said, sounding bewildered. "Why, Charlotte? What's wrong?"
"Well, the gate's off its hinges and Shiloh's not in the backyard."
Silence fell on the other end of the line.
"Is this a joke?" Mom asked, her voice strained.
"No, this is not a joke!" I cried. "He's missing, Mom! What are we supposed to do?"
"I don't know," she said. "Wait until I get home to do anything. I don't want you girls wandering around alone in the woods without anyone at home."
"Then get home soon," I told her, and hung up. I turned to tell Zoe the bad news.

It was a depressed silence that hovered over the living room as we waited for Mom to get home. I read the same word problem over and over to myself without absorbing a single letter of it.
Shiloh's not the youngest dog in the world, I thought anxiously. What if he forgot the way home? What if he's lost out in the cold and the dark?
A loud bang! startled me out of my thoughts. I looked up to see Mom standing in front of the now-closed front door, her forehead creased with worry.
Without pausing, Zoe and I leapt up, grabbed a couple of flashlights, and pulled on coats, boots, and gloves. Mom made sure we took a cell phone with us, and told us that she would stay home in case we ran into trouble. Zoe and I ran out into the night.

We came home three hours later, our throats sore from calling and our fingers and toes numb with the cold. Mom gave us a hopeful look as we walked in the front door, but it turned to one of concern when she realized that Shiloh was not with us.
I couldn't fall asleep that night. Shiloh always slept at the bottom of my bed, and the silence left in the absence of his slow, even breathing was eerie.

Shiloh went missing five days ago. We've put up flyers all around our neighborhood, but so far no one has called to tell us they've seen him.
I'm beginning to get really worried. What if he never finds his way home? Mom told me that we could go to the pound and pick out another dog, but I told her that wasn't going to happen. Not for a while, at least.
  Have you ever lost a pet? Did they find their way home?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

US Marine Band

Hi everyone!
As many of you might not know, I'm in the concert band at school. I play the flute mostly, but I can play the piccolo too - just not very well.
Last week, our band teacher told us something very exciting. The US Marine Band - one of the best bands in the nation and the world - was performing at a college nearby on Monday night! I was so excited! He told us that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and he wanted to see all of us there. Well, I decided, he was going to see me there for sure - I wasn't going to miss this for anything!

When I was getting ready for the concert on Monday night, the phone rang. Mom called up the stairs, "Charlotte! It's for you!"
"Coming!" I replied. I pulled my shirt over my head and sprinted downstairs to grab the phone.
"Hello?" I said, breathless from my dash down the stairs.
"Charlotte? It's Saoirse."
"Saoirse?!" I cried. "Omigosh! I haven't talked to you in so long! How are you? Zoe and I are good. Did I tell you about that time the other day when Zoe and I were raking leaves and -" I started talking very fast, the words spilling over each other.
"Yes, Charlotte, you told me that already," Saoirse cut me off, sighing.
"Oh, that's right. Me and my short-term memory loss!" I laughed. My chronic forgetfulness was an ongoing joke between the two of us. I heard her rather forced laughter on the other end. Well, maybe it was only funny to me. "So, what are you calling about?" 
"Well, my mom got tickets to see the Marine Band and I was wondering if you wanted to come with -" I cut her off with my shrieks.
"Omigosh! I'm going already with my mom - my band teacher told me about it! Isn't it exciting?" I cried.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll see you there," she said, and hung up.
I put down the phone and tore back up the stairs to finish getting dressed.

About a half hour later, my mom pulled into the parking lot at the field house. I leapt out of the car and waited impatiently as she took her time getting out. We joined the long line of mostly old people trying to get through the front door. I waited even more impatiently, bouncing up and down, as the line crawled forward.
Mom and I finally reached the door to the field house, handed a woman our tickets, and then finally, finally, we were inside. I looked quickly around the room, looking for a hint of bright red hair. I didn't see any - the field house was a sea of white heads. I was still looking around anxiously, hoping that Saoirse was going to make it, when I heard someone call behind me.
"Charlotte!" Saoirse yelled.
"Saoirse!" I cried back excitedly, as I turned to see her coming through the door with her mom. "You made it!" I ran over to give her a big hug.
"Yeah, yeah," she said, shrugging out from underneath my arms. "Let's sit down, the concert's about to start."
There wasn't time to say anything else; just then, the announcer cleared his throat into the microphone and silence fell across the auditorium. The four of us found seats near the back - which, unfortunately, made it hard to see anything but the tops of the musicians' heads - and settled in to listen.

My favorite part was the piccolo solo in one of the last songs on the program - four piccolo players stood in the front of the stage where I could actually see them and played an incredibly difficult piece! I had always thought that I was a good piccolo player, but seeing them made me feel so... average. I couldn't imagine ever being able to play that well!

As the audience pushed and shoved to get out the front door after the concert was over, I heard the loud hammering of rain on the roof. I groaned, imagining the long walk out to the car in my nice clothes - I hadn't even brought a raincoat! My mom suggested to me that I take off my nice shoes and make a run for the car. I was averse to that idea at first - what if I stepped on a piece of broken glass or something? But I didn't want to get my favorite shoes all wet and muddy, so I reluctantly agreed.
I gave Saoirse a big bear hug before we stepped out into the rain, and she rather tentatively hugged me back. I gave her a cheery wave and a "hope to see you soon!" as my mom and I flew out into the downpour.
By the time we reached the car, we were drenched and panting, but exhilarated. I had water and sand sprayed up the sides of my legs, but I didn't care - I was washable, and besides, I loved to run, especially in the rain!

I loved going to see the concert, and I would definitely go again if I ever had the chance. It really was amazing!
Have you ever gone to a concert like Saoirse and I did? What was it like?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!