I stared up into the tree.

“How the hell did you get up there?” I didn’t really expect an intelligible answer and indeed, what I got was a brief tail wag and a small whine. The tiny brown puppy shifted and then scrabbled back as his front paws started to slide down the trunk of the big oak.

“Nonono! Stay, boy! Just stay where you are. I’ll come get you. You aren’t a cat after all… no matter what the cat or your tiny brain is trying to tell you.” I backed away from the tree making “stay” motions with my hands. When it looked like the puppy would actually keep still, I turned and raced for the garage and the big ladder.

Fortunately, I’d just spent the previous day clearing out the gutters so the big ladder was leaning up against the wall right at the front of the garage. I grabbed it, and walked as quickly as possible back to the oak tree. The puppy’s name was Chaos, and he tempted fate with every tail-wagging moment. But the twins were head-over-heels in love with him and, if I’m being honest, he brought a great deal of much-needed joy and constant laughter back into our house. There hadn’t been a lot of that in the last year since their mom left. I did my best and reassured them every chance I got that they weren’t going to lose me, and they played along, pretending they weren’t stressed out. But we all knew better. My best friend from high school had suggested the puppy and had even pre-empted me and just brought the tiny furry, chaotic bundle over to the house a few weeks ago. The sight of two twelve-year-old faces lighting up in a way I hadn’t seen in a long time sealed the deal. Thus, Chaos entered our house. And proceeded to live up to his name.

Right now, though, I was just happy the kids were in school, and I didn’t have to deal with their panic on top of the puppy’s panic. Although… I cocked my head as I carefully climbed up the ladder. Chaos looked, well, rather less than chaotic at the moment.

“Is this your way of getting my undivided attention when the kids aren’t around to play with you?” I asked. From my viewpoint on the ladder, I could just see the tip of his tail moving in a half-wag.

“Why you little…” I muttered as I continued up the ladder. His mouth opened in a grin and a little pink tongue lolled out.

I laughed and shook my head. “You are very aptly named. You are a professional creator of chaos!” I finally reached his level and stretched out one hand to give him an ear scratch.

“Okay, buddy. I’m going to grab you behind the front legs and pull you out of this little ‘V’ of branches you’ve managed to get yourself into. Please don’t struggle, okay? I need you to stay calm.”

I kept up a steady stream of murmuring as I maneuvered my hands behind his front legs and got the best possible grip. The whole time, he just grinned and attempted to lick my hands, my face, any part of me he thought he could reach. Finally, I got a my hands almost all the way around his little torso, right behind his front legs.

“Ready? Okay, here we go!” On the word “go” I lifted him up over some of the smaller twigs sticking out of the main branch, and towards me. He gave one surprised whine but didn’t try to jump out of my hands. I snugged him up to my chest with one hand, and gripping the side of the ladder with the other, made my very cautious way back down. Once down on the ground, I wrapped both arms around the now squirming bundle of Chaos and kissed the top of his head.

“Please don’t do that again, little one. You almost gave me a heart attack, and I have no idea how I would tell the kids if something happened to you!” I scrubbed my knuckles across his head and turned back to the house.

“Let’s get you inside and in my office and then I’ll worry about the ladder,” I told him. Another happy wiggle was all the response I got.

I grinned. A little Chaos in the house was a good thing after all.


This week, Fiona Grey and I traded prompts. She gave me, The puppy’s name was Chaos, and s/he tempted fate with every tail-wagging moment, while I challenged her with, The dragon and his rider surfed the incoming storm front. For more prompting fun, head on over to More Odds Than Ends and see what everyone came up with this week. If you want to join in, just pick up a spare and throw your response into the comments!

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