Baby Katie was not happy.
Something was missing.
Mom and Dad tried everything but she would not stop crying.
Her dog Cookie knew what she wanted.
Cookie whispered to Baxter, “Remember the walk at the river yesterday? I think we dropped her favorite toy.”
Baxter smiled, “Let’s go outside and talk, I have a plan.”
“Cookie, I can run to the river, find the toy, and bring it back. I’ll need you to cover for me while I’m gone.”
Cookie looked worried but liked Baxter’s plan.
In a quiet voice she said, “I’ll keep them distracted while you’re gone, but please be careful.”
“I’ll be careful and I’ll be fast.
See you in a few hours.”
Baxter ran fast and soon found himself in another part of town. It was a strange area full of tall buildings and long shadows.
Baxter rounded a corner and was stopped in his tracks.
A dark shape spoke in a deep voice, “You’re not from here. What’s your business?”
Baxter was speechless for a moment then found his voice, “I’m headed to the river to find a lost toy for baby Katie.”
“Why didn’t you say so?” came a much friendlier voice. “Go this way, you’ll get to the river a lot faster.”
“Good luck,” the big dog added. “I had a family once. Come back this way if you ever need help.”
Baxter thanked his new friend and headed down the alley.
Meanwhile, back at Baxter’s house…
“Baxter, here boy. Baaaaxxx-terrrrrr.”
Cookie looked around for something to create a distraction.
She grabbed the edge of the tablecloth and pulled hard.
Crash, Bang, Smash, Crunch!
Katie stopped crying for a moment to stare in amazement.
Baxter kept running, staying near the road the family car always traveled to get to the river.
He was there in less than an hour and began his search for Katie’s toy.
Seeing fresh footsteps, Baxter wondered who might be walking there today.
Baxter sniffed the air for clues as he walked along the riverbank.
Baxter searched with his eyes and his nose but Katie’s toy was nowhere to be found. Suddenly there was a new, odd smell.
The dogcatcher knew he did not have long before his scent would give him away. He lunged at Baxter and slipped the snare around his neck.
The dogcatcher pulled the snare tight. Baxter was scared, he could not move.
“Where will he take me?” Baxter worried, “How will I find Katie’s lost toy now? How will I ever get home?”
The dogcatcher laughed, “Your wandering days are over little man.”
It was dark in the van. Baxter was scared.
He had come from a shelter as a puppy and remembered the cold floor and sad faces of the animals.
Baxter was tired so he closed his eyes. Suddenly there was a jolt, followed by a loud bang. The door to the van flew open.
Baxter saw his chance to escape!
Baxter leapt from the van and looked around. He recognized a park in the distance. He was not far from home!
Baxter ran as fast as he could. Across yards, over fences, under hedges, through sprinklers, until he reached his own back yard.
Baxter stopped at the edge of his back yard to catch his breath. He was glad to be home safe but very sad that he had not found Katie’s toy.
Looking up at the oak tree he spotted what he had traveled so far to find. He grabbed the toy from the crook in the tree and trotted happily to the back door.
Cookie looked at Baxter in admiration, “Well done Baxter, you’ve saved the day! Look how happy you’ve made baby Katie.”
Katie was very happy and so was Baxter. It was good to be home.
“Did you have any trouble finding the toy?” Cookie asked.
“No trouble at all,” said Baxter with a smile. “No trouble at all.”
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Baxter and Cookie are two happy dogs living in a wonderful home with a new baby named Katie. Life is perfect until one day when Katie starts crying and her parents can't figure out why. Only Cookie and Baxter know why Katie is unhappy: She's lost her favorite toy. Baxter sets out on adventure to find Katie's toy and make everything right again. A fun illustrated story with a surprising ending - great for ages 3 to 8 and older.