Kenny and Alex were brothers. Alex was the older brother and he had a little, grey pet dog named Ruff. Ruff liked to play catch-the-ball and chase-the-cat. He also liked to sleep late in the mornings.
Kenny was the younger brother and he had a black kitty named Puff. Puff liked to play with sunbeams and chase her tail and climb. Most of all, Puff liked to play kitty jokes on Ruff.
Just inside the kitchen door, there were two food dishes, a blue one for Ruff and a red one for Puff. Near the food dishes there were two bowls of water, one for Ruff and one for Puff.
Ruff always slept on a blanket on the floor in the boys room. Long after the boys were up and dressed for the day, Ruff would stretch and yawn, then bound for the kitchen to get the food that he knew Alex had put there for him. As soon as he had gulped down his breakfast, he was ready to go outside to play in his own rough and tumble style.
Puff liked to sleep in a warm spot near the stove in the kitchen. Puff would get up early in the morning and hang around her dish in the kitchen until Kenny came to feed her. Then she would eat her breakfast, drink some water, find a sunny spot on the floor and groom herself until she was ready to go outside and show the world what a truly beautiful cat looked like.
One spring morning, long before Ruff was ready to wake up, Puff was waiting by the food dishes as usual, but this morning, Puff was especially hungry. At last the boys came to feed their pets and eat their own breakfast. Puff could hardly wait, she was so hungry.
As soon as the food hit her dish, Puff began to eat.She ate the whole time the boys were eating their breakfast and continued to eat after they had finished and left the room.
What the boys had no way of knowing was that after Puff finished her breakfast, he went over to Ruff's dish and tasted a little bite of dog food. Then she took another taste and another and another until .... there was no more food for Ruff. Then Puff had a drink of water and started cleaning her beautiful, black hair for the day.
Eventually Ruff woke up, stretched, yawned and started for the kitchen. Along the way, he stopped to investigate the baseball that Kenny left laying on the floor. Then he just had to smell the plastic Frisbee that the boys had been throwing around yesterday. Eventually he had re-familiarized himself with all of the toys the boys had left on the floor of their room and he started down the hall towards the kitchen.
What a shock Ruff had when he went to his empty dish to get breakfast. "Could Alex have forgotten?", the dog asked himself. "No, there is the unmistakable smell of new food, there is just no food in the dish.", he thought in his doggy-fashion. "Wait, there's another smell too, a cat smell, just like uh, uh .... Puff!" he exclaimed. Now Ruff knew exactly what had happened and he wanted to make sure that it would never happen again.
He barked his displeasure at Puff and started to chase the mischievous cat around the house. Back through the kitchen Puff ran and then out through the pet door into the back yard. Right on her heels came Ruff, barking and telling Puff what he thought of anybody who would steal his food.
Through the backyard and over to the hole in the fence by Mr. Brown's house ran Puff. Down the Browns' driveway and onto the sidewalk. Now, down the sidewalk as fast as she could go and just as Ruff nearly caught her, Puff leaped for the big oak tree that grew between the sidewalk and the road.
Ruff sat on the ground at the base of the tree, barking at the kitty, now just a speck, high in the tree. At last, even Ruff grew tired of looking up in the tree at the tiny kitty, giving one last bark, he decided to see what fun things the boys were doing.
When Puff realized that the dog had left, she tried to come down, but she was too high and the tree limb was too small to turn around on. Puff began to meow loudly, but there wasn't anybody around to hear the tiny cat.
The boys were cleaning their room. Cleaning their room consisted of picking up a toy from the floor and playing with it for awhile before attempting to put it in the toy box. When Ruff wandered into the room, Alex had just picked up a toy plastic truck. The dog ran over excitedly and grabbed the back of the truck with his teeth. "Stop that", said Alex.
"Yeah", said Kenny, "stop that". Then both boys started to laugh. Before long, any thoughts of cleaning the room had disappeared as the boys and the dog continued the game of tug-of-war with various toys and clothes.
After ten minutes or so of this game, Kenny picked up a dirty sweater from the floor. In a few seconds, Ruff found himself inside the sweater. Alex followed the younger brother's lead and dressed Ruff in a pair of shorts. "Hey, let's put him in the wagon and take him for a walk", said Alex.
"Let's put clothes on Puff and take both of them on a walk", answered Kenny.
"Okay", answered Alex as he left the room to get the kitten. After five minutes, he returned to his brother. "I can't find Puff", he told Kenny, "please help me look for him".
The boys looked in the kitchen where Puff spent a good part of the day, but Puff wasn't there. They looked behind the sofa, but Puff wasn't there. Puff also wasn't in their parents' room or the family room or even the linen closet where the towels were kept.
The boys' mother was in the laundry room, washing clothes. "Mom, have you seen Puff?", asked Kenny.
"No, I haven't seen him since you were eating your breakfast", she answered. "Have you looked in the backyard"?
"That's a good idea", said Alex.
Just as the boys were about to go out in the backyard, Ruff began to bark. "Maybe he's found Puff", said Kenny as he ran to the bedroom. But of course, Ruff just wanted to remind the boys that he was tired of wearing clothes.
The boys helped Ruff out of the clothes and all three went into the backyard. The boys and the dog looked under mother's roses and in the vegetable garden. They looked in the garage and even in the papers in the recycle bin. Where was Puff? They called and called, but Puff didn't answer.
They went into the front yard and looked in the flower garden and under the hedge, but there was no Puff. They finally decided to walk around the block, hunting for their lost kitty. Next door Mr. Smith was outside trimming his tree. "Have you seen our kitty", asked Kenny.
"You mean the little black one? No, I don't believe so. Has she run away?", replied Mr. Smith.
"I hope not, but we can't find her" answered Alex.
As they walked along, Ruff ran excitedly along with them, woofing and yipping and encouraging the boys to play. The boys soon came to Mrs. Jones house where she was in the front yard, weeding her flowers.
"Have you seen our kitty", asked Kenny, loudly so he could be heard over Ruff.
"I haven't seen a cat all day long", she answered. "I hope you find her".
Soon the boys came to the postman who was humming loudly as he walked along. "Have you seen our kitty", asked Kenny.
"No, I haven't seen her" the mailman answered. "Good luck", as he went back to humming his song.
When the boys passed by Mr. Brown's tree where Puff was clinging to the top branch, the boys didn't hear the kitten because Ruff was barking loudly, trying to tell them about Puff and she was too far off the ground to be easily seen.
The boys returned home without finding any trace of their kitten. They sadly sat down on the front steps with their chins in their hands. No matter how he tried, Ruff couldn't cheer the boys up so he finally laid down next to them with his head on his paws.
And that's the scene daddy found when he came home. "What's the problem boys?", he asked.
"Oh Daddy, Puff's disappeared and we can't find her" replied Kenny.
"Yeah, we haven't seen her since breakfast this morning", agreed Alex.
"Where did you look", asked Dad.
"We've looked everywhere, the kitchen ..." said Alex.
"Our bedroom, your room", chimed in Kenny.
"All over in the house and the garage", added Alex.
"The front and back yards", Kenny continued.
"And all around the block", concluded Alex.
"Did you ask anybody if they had seen your kitten", asked Dad.
"Yes", said Alex, "we asked Mr. Smith and the postman and Mrs. Jones, but nobody's seen her".
"Did you ask Ruff", asked Daddy.
"Ruff?" both boys answered together.
"He can't talk!", Alex added.
"Sure he can, if you take time to listen", answered Dad. "Ruff, go find Puff. Find Puff for us."
Ruff started down the block, barking eagerly, with Daddy and the two boys running behind him. When he came to the tree where Puff was still clinging to the top branch he stopped and continued barking while looking up and jumping excitedly.
"Come on Ruff", said Alex. "Let's go home".
"Not so fast maybe he knows what he's talking about", said Dad as he peered up at the top of tree. "In fact, I believe I see Puff now".
"Where", asked Kenny. "Yes, I believe it is Puff", he shouted excitedly. "But, why doesn't she come down?"
"She doesn't dare, she climbed too high", said Dad. "We need help".
Mr. Brown noticed the commotion in front of his house and was just coming out to see what was happening. "Can I help you", he asked.
"Can you think of some way to get our cat down from your tree?" replied Dad.
"I certainly don't have a ladder that tall, in fact, only the fire department has one that tall. I guess we'd better call them".
So that's what they did. Soon a big, shiny, red fire engine pulled up in front of the Browns' house. The firemen talked to Mr. Brown and Daddy and soon a tall ladder was raised to the top of the tree and a big fireman began to climb up to the kitten. Soon, the fireman reached the kitten, picked her up and dropped her into her coat pocket.
When the fireman reached the ground all the neighbors began cheering and clapping. The fireman walked over to Kenny and Alex, reached into his big fireman's pocket, pulled out the tiny, black puffball and said "Now who does this belong to?"
"She's mine", exclaimed Kenny as he took the kitten and held her close.
Dad, Mom and all the neighbors thanked the firemen as they lowered the ladder and put it away, then all the firemen climbed onto the fire truck and drove away, while Mom, Dad, Kenny. Alex, Ruff and even little Puff returned to their home.
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