The wind howled and thunder crashed outside Candace’s window. The night sky was momentarily lit up by a streaking bolt of lightning.
There was no doubt about it. This was a massive storm.
Candace’s door burst open, and their hound dog, Bartley, leapt into her bed, shivering.
“Ohh, it’s ok, Bartley!” Candace soothed. “It’s just a little storm.”
Thunder crash, and lighting lit up the room, showing her the dog’s frightened eyes.
“Ok, so, it’s a big storm,” she admitted. “A big, scary storm. But we’ll be ok!”
Bartley whined, expressing his disagreement.
“Aren’t you a big, brave dog?” Candace asked.
Bartley barked in agreement. He was a big, brave dog. This was just a very, very scary storm.
“How can I calm you down, buddy? Would a biscuit help?” Candace asked knowingly.
Bartley’s ears perked up. Yes, that did seem like it could calm him down.
“Ok,” Candace laughed. “Let’s go.”
She swung her legs out of bed, and her toes hit the cold wooden floor. “Ooph, it’s cold,” she mumbled to herself. But she couldn’t let something like the cold stop her from easing Bartley’s mind. She would just have to make do.
Bartley jumped off the bed and followed her downstairs and to the cupboard, where they kept Bartley’s treats hidden high up where he couldn’t reach them. Even Candace had to climb on a self to get them.
She reached the box of treats and pulled it down. Out of nowhere, their cat, Frisky, jumped into her arms.
“Ooh!” Candace said, a little startled. “Frisky, what are you doing? You don’t like Bartley’s treats!”
Holding the cat and the box of treats was proving rather difficult. Quickly, Candace shook one out to the frightened dog, who picked it up and prepared to carry it back upstairs to the safety of Candace’s bedroom.
“Are you scared, too?” she asked the large cat.
Her meow in response told Candace that she was right.
“Ooh, you two,” Candace giggled. “It’s just a little rain!”
BOOM. Thunder and lightning crashed through the sky.
“…And some thunder and lightning,” Candace continued. “But it can’t hurt you! Frisky, where’s Banjo?”
Frisky looked to the corner of the room. In another flash of lightning, Candace saw what looked like a house plant shaking in some imaginary breeze.
“Not you, too!” Candace said as she walked over to the other frightened cat. “You guys are such scaredy cats!”
Bartley barked in protest.
“And dogs,” Candace corrected. “C’mon, Banjo,” she said as the cat crawled into her arms beside Frisky. “You can all stay with me tonight.”
And up the stairs they trudged, Candace with the two cats in her arms and Bartley right at her heels, wanting to be so close to her that he was practically tripping her.
“Careful, Bartley!” she whispered down to the dog. “Don’t trip me!”
She swung her bedroom door open with her foot and closed it behind her. The cats jumped down from her arms and into her bed, and Bartley jumped up as well.
“Well leave room for me!” Candace laughed. “Banjo, you can’t have the pillow, that’s for my head. And Frisky, move over a bit. Bartley, that’s where I was going to lay!”
It was chaos. Tails, legs, and paws where everywhere, and there was hardly room for Candace to squeeze into the bed.
“Do you all need to be so close?” she asked as she wiggled her way into the bed.
Another bolt of lightning and boom of thunder answered her question.
“Alright, alright,” she laughed. “But Bartley, try not to snore tonight. It’s really loud.”
Bartley barked indignantly.
“You do snore,” Candace insisted.
The hound dog laid his head down, embarrassed.
“It’s ok, buddy,” Candace said, giving him a squeeze. “My parents snore, too, and I still love them!”
Barley gave her an approving lick. Meanwhile, Frisky shot them a glace.
“Ohh, I think it’s time to sleep,” Candace said to Bartley. “Frisky is getting grumpy.”
It was an odd sight for Candace’s father when he went to wake Candace up in the morning—the girl wedged between the hound dog and two cats.
But he smiled lovingly. He was happy to know his animals had such a brave girl to keep them safe on scary nights.