Digglum Bestiaruim ~ The Digglers' Crest

The Digglers ~ Pet Memory Website

The Island

Rusty

Diane and Lucy were looking forward to a fortnight off school. Most of their classmates were going on holiday. Diane was glad she was staying at home, after all, every day was like a holiday living on an island. Lucy was very happy too because she had been told by Diane's mum and dad that they had adopted her, whatever that meant, but it must be good because no-one could take her away from them. They also told her to call them mum and dad. A place of her own at last with people that loved her!

Every morning, whether at school or not, the two girls had jobs to do before breakfast. Their father had bought some chickens and three cows and they had to be fed and milked. He had also built a small barn and this too had to be cleaned. It had been decided that they needed these animals especially during the winter months when the weather was bad and they could not get to the mainland. Now it would not matter if they were stranded for a long time.

Although the girls were on holiday, their dad still had to go to work. They walked down the beach with him and waved until the boat was out of sight.
'Come on, race you back up the beach,' shouted Diane as she was already half way up the beach!
That day, Diane and Lucy were to paint the new fence that had been put round the garden after the storm.
'If we hurry up, mum's promised to make us some sandwiches and we can take them to Mirror Lake and eat them there,' shouted Diane.
'All right, as long as you don't push me in,' replied Lucy.
They got the paint and brushes from the shed.
'You start at that end and I'll start here and we will meet in the middle!' said Diane who was trying to get things organised.
They'd only been painting for a few minutes when Diane stopped to have a rest. As she looked up she saw a boat coming towards the island. It was her dad's boat.
'What's dad coming back for,' asked Diane who was worried. 'I hope he isn't poorly.' She ran off to tell her mum who was just as surprised and anxious.
'Go down to the beach and wait for him,' she told the girls.
The two girls ran down to the beach. When his boat landed they rushed to meet him. He didn't look ill.
'What's the matter?' asked Lucy as he got out the boat. They noticed he was carrying a sack and it was wet.
'I was nearly across at the other side when I saw this sack floating on the water,' he explained. 'It was tied at the top, so I pulled it into the boat and opened it.'
He put the sack on the sand and opened it carefully and pulled out a wet furry bundle. It was a puppy. He put the puppy on the sand and it began to shake itself and then it ran over to Diane and rolled over. There were tears in Diane's eyes as she bent down to stroke it.
'Who-ever could do such a cruel thing?' she asked.
'We'll keep him for the time being,' said her dad. 'Take him to your mum and tell her what has happened. I'm late for work.' He got back into the boat and headed back for the mainland.
The two girls weren't waving this time they were carrying the puppy up to the cottage. Their mum dried him with a towel, found a cardboard box and put a blanket in the bottom and then put the puppy in the box next to the fire to keep him warm. She gave him a drink of milk. The puppy was tired after his adventure and was soon asleep.
'What about the fence, you two? The puppy will still be here at lunchtime. Now off you go and finish the fence.'
Whilst they were painting the fence, they weren't thinking about Mirror Lake but about the puppy. At last the job was finished. Their mum brought out a drink of orange.
'Well, done!' she said. 'You've made a good job of the fence. Bet you're ready for something to eat. Taking it to Mirror Lake?'
'No, I don't think so,' answered Lucy.
'I thought not,' replied her mother who knew only too well that they were thinking about the puppy. She also wondered if they wanted to keep it. She was right, they did but they didn't know whether to ask.
The puppy slept all afternoon and only woke up when their dad came back from work. Whilst they were having tea it crawled out of the box and started running about and exploring this new place.
'Why would anyone try to drown a lovely thing like that?' asked Diane.
'I don't know,' replied her father. 'If people want animals they should be prepared to look after them.'
'What are you going to do with him?' asked Diane wondering whether she should cross her fingers or not but she decided against it.
'I'll take him with me to the mainland tomorrow and give him to the RSPCA.'
Those were the words Diane did not want to hear.
'He's a lovely little thing,' she said bending down to pick him up, hoping that her dad would get to like him and want to keep him.
The two girls spent most of the night playing with the puppy and both fell in love with him. At last, Diane plucked up enough courage to ask if they could keep him.
'No!'
'Why not?' asked Diane.
'There's more to having a dog than just stroking him,' he said firmly.
Diane knew it was no use arguing with her father and the two girls felt rather sad as they made their way upstairs to bed.

The next morning they were up bright and early and when their mum came down to make breakfast she found that they had done all their jobs and they were outside playing with the puppy. Their father came in from milking the cows and he had a smile on his face.
'Are you going to let the girls keep the puppy?' asked Diane's mum.
'That's up to the girls,' he replied still smiling.
At breakfast, Diane was going to have one more try with her father to persuade him to let them keep the puppy.
'Er, dad,' she pleaded. ' Lucy and I have been thinking about what you said last night. If you let us keep the puppy, we promise to look after him.'
'What do you mean by looking after him?'
'Well, we'll feed him, take him walks, teach him how to behave and if he's poorly, we'll look after him. Last night we counted up how much money we've got and we have enough to buy him a basket and a collar. Oh, please let us keep him, we'll look after him, really we will,' pleaded Diane.
'What do you think?' he asked Lucy.
'I'd like to keep him too,' she said. 'I know what's like not to have a home and not to be loved. I like it here and I'm sure he will too.'
'Just one more thing before I make up my mind,' he said. 'When you say you are going to look after a dog, its not just for a few weeks or even a year. It's for a very long time. Take him walks even though you are tired, give him meals at regular times and make sure he is safe and well. Are you prepared to do all that?'
'Yes!' they both said together.
'Then you can keep him,' he said much to the delight of the two girls who gave him a big hug. The puppy seemed to sense what was going on and he began to run round in circles!
'Enough of that,' said their mum who was trying to calm things down. 'What are you going to call the puppy?'
They all sat down and thought.
At last their father thought of a name. 'Let's call him Rusty. If I hadn't pulled him out of the bag and got him dry he would probably have got rusty!' They all laughed and everyone agreed it was a good name.
The next day when their father returned from work, he brought with him a splendid dog basket and collar and when Diane climbed into bed that night, she whispered to herself, 'another perfect day'.