Authors: Susan Hughes
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Also by Susan Hughes
Copyright Â© 2013 by Susan Hughes
Cover and internal design Â© 2016 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design and illustrations by Jeanine Henderson Murch
Cover image Â© Jagodka/Shutterstock
Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systemsâexcept in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviewsâwithout permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious and are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567â4410
Fax: (630) 961â2168
Originally published as Riley Knows Best in 2013 in Canada by Scholastic Canada Ltd.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Hughes, Susan, 1960- author. | Murch, Jeanine Henderson, illustrator.
Title: Riley / Susan Hughes ; [illustrations by Jeanine Henderson Murch].
Other titles: Riley knows best
Description: Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky,  | Series: Puppy pals; 2 | “Originally published as Riley Knows Best in 2013 in Canada by Scholastic Canada Ltd.” | Summary: Riley helps Kat realize that a new female is not mean.
Identifiers: LCCN 2015044675 | (alk. paper)
Subjects: | CYAC: Dogs--Fiction. | Animals--Infancy--Fiction. | Friendship--Fiction.
Classification: LCC PZ7.H87396 Ri 2016 | DDC [E]--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2015044675
For a terrific trio:
and Zackary Logue
Kat was lying on the grass. Puppies were running everywhere! A tiny pug puppy licked her cheek, while an energetic Jack Russell jumped over her chest. Beside her, a young dalmatian playfully wrestled with a German shepherd.
Kat was surrounded by lovable puppies!
“Kat?” a voice called.
Kat's mother joined her on the lawn. “Pick your favorite puppy, Kat!” she said.
But how could Kat possibly pick just one? They were all so sweet. Look, the tiny shih tzu could fit in the palm of her hand. The adorable black Labrador was dancing around, begging her to play. The red setter pup was as gangly as a newborn lambâ¦
“Kat-nip!” the voice called again, louder this time.
Kat sighed and opened her eyes. Her daydream was over. She knew she wasn't really allowed to get a dog.
“Hey, lazybones, I'm here!” Her best friend Maya was standing over her. “Come on. Let's get going!”
Kat jumped up. It was time to head to Tails Up!, the dog-grooming salon owned by Kat's aunt. Aunt Jenn was so busy, she needed help. She had asked Kat and Maya to give her a hand.
“Coming!” Kat said.
The two girls hurried off toward the salon.
“Sorry I couldn't go to Tails Up! right after school today,” said Maya. “But there was no way Mom would let me miss my piano lesson. The new puppy will be waiting for us, right?”
“That's what Aunt Jenn said. I wonder what kind of puppy it will be,” Kat said.
Her heart felt fluttery. Would it be a low-to-the-ground dachshund? A shaggy sheepdog pup? A ready-for-anything border collie?
“Your aunt didn't tell you?” Maya asked.
“No,” said Kat. “When she called this morning, we only talked for a minute. It was kind of an emergency. She asked if we were free to look after another puppy this week. When I said yes, she hung up quickly. She had to call the customer and let her know it could come to board at Tails Up!”
Maya grinned. “I'm so excited, I'm bouncing!” she said.
And she was!
Maya looked at Kat. “Let's run, okay?”
“Great idea!” agreed Kat.
Kat and Maya took off down the sidewalk. When they came to the main street, they turned the corner and sprinted past several stores and a restaurant.
Panting, the girls came to a stop at Aunt Jenn's salon: Tails Up! Boarding and Grooming. The bell jingled as they pushed open the door and went inside.
There was no one at the front desk to greet them. Kat's aunt hadn't hired an assistant yet.
She had just opened her business a few weeks ago. She didn't think she'd be so busy. But every day the waiting room was full of people bringing in their dogs for grooming. That's why Aunt Jenn needed Kat and Maya to help out.
Today was just as busy. A young girl was standing next to a West Highland white terrier. A balding man was holding a Chihuahua in his lap. Another man was sitting alone, waiting while his dog was groomed. He was snoring gently, his chin on his chest. A big man, he had a pushed-in nose, a jowly neck, and a wrinkly face.
“English bulldog,” Maya said with a quiet giggle. It was one of their favorite games. When she and Kat saw a new person, they named the dog breed that best matched him or her.
Kat nodded. Perfect.
Just then, Aunt Jenn burst out of the grooming studio. She was wearing her pink grooming apron. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail. “Churchill is all set to go,” she chirped. At the end of the leash was a dog with a pushed-in nose, a jowly neck, and a wrinkly face.
“An English bulldog! Nice one, Maya,” whispered Kat, squeezing her friend's arm.
“Of course, his short coat didn't need to be clipped. But I gave him a good brush,” Aunt Jenn explained to the man. “And I gave his face a good wash, especially in his wrinkles on his nose. That needs to be done once a week. I also clipped his nails.”
“Thank you,” said Churchill's owner gruffly, his cheeks wobbling as he paid.
“Kitty-Kat, Maya!” said Aunt Jenn after he'd left. “Are you ready to meet our newest guest?”
The girls looked at each other. It was time! They couldn't wait to meet the new puppy!
The girls followed Aunt Jenn into the doggy day care room. Four large dog kennels lined one wall of the room. And there in the last one stood a beautiful golden retriever puppy. As soon as she saw the girls, she wagged her tail and perked up her ears.
“Say hello to Riley,” said Aunt Jenn. “She's a three-month-old golden retriever.”
The girls dropped to their knees beside the kennel. The puppy pushed her nose against the bars. Kat poked her fingers through, and the puppy licked them eagerly.
“Oh, she's so sweet,” said Kat.
“She's amazing,” breathed Maya.
“Riley's family, the Baxters, brought her home about four weeks ago,” said Aunt Jenn. “But the mom and dad didn't know their daughter has a severe allergy to dogs. Ever since Riley came to their home, the little girl has been sneezing and wheezing. She even has hives on her face and chest.”
“Oh no,” said Kat. “That sounds horrible.” It made her itchy just thinking about it.
“She's allergic to the dog's dander, which is little flakes of its skin,” Aunt Jenn explained. Then she winked. “My doggy data for today.”
Kat smiled. She hoped that one day she would know as much about dogs as her aunt did.
“So what are they going to do? What's going to happen to Riley?” asked Kat. She gazed at the plump little pup.
“Well,” said Aunt Jenn, “the Baxters know they can't keep her. So they are trying to find her a new home. They think they may have found one, but the new family needs a few more days to decide. Getting a new puppy is a big responsibility.”
The girls looked at each other. They knew it, all right. That's why their own parents wouldn't let them get dogs. They said they didn't have enough time to look after puppies.
“The Baxters called me early this morning. They asked if Riley could stay here for a few days until they work everything out. I told them I was busy, but I would check with my helpers.” Aunt Jenn smiled at Kat and Maya. “They were thrilled when I called them back and said Riley could come.”
“You're the best, Aunt Jenn,” said Kat. She knew her aunt had a soft spot for every dog she met. She could never say no to a puppy in need.
“Now, girls, Riley needs lots of exercise. The holes in the backyard fence have been fixedâonly a dog Houdini would be able to get out of there! So you can give Riley a good run-around outside. Oh, and the Baxters were beginning to teach Riley some simple commands. Please practice those with her. There is âsit,' and this is the hand command.” Aunt Jenn dropped her arm and opened her hand, palm out. Then she slowly lifted her hand.
Kat tried it. So did Maya.
“And there's âlie down,'” Aunt Jenn said, pointing sharply to the ground. “The Baxters were also teaching Riley to come. They call âcome' to her when she's on the leash. That way, they can pull her toward them if she forgets what to do. She gets a treat when she does what they ask.”
Aunt Jenn handed them Riley's leash. “So, girls, are you okay with your newest little charge? Do you remember how to take a puppy in and out of a kennel safely?”
“You bet, Aunt Jenn,” said Kat happily. “And don't worry. We'll take good care of her.”
“Okay. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's back to work I go!” Aunt Jenn sang. She smoothed down her apron, and off she went.
As her aunt left, Kat carefully opened the kennel door, reached in, and scooped up Riley. She stood, pressing the golden retriever pup close to her.
Oh, she felt as soft as she looked! Kat breathed in the lovely puppy smell.
Riley looked up at Kat, her eyes sparkling. Most of her body was a beautiful light-gold color. Her hair was fluffy, like feathers. She had a little black nose and dark-brown eyes.
“Here you go, Maya,” Kat said, setting the puppy carefully into her friend's waiting arms.
“Riley! Nice to meet you, girl,” said Maya gently. She stroked the puppy's soft, golden fur. “You are such a good girl.”
Riley licked Maya's hands. The puppy began to wiggle and squirm. She was so happy to have company. And now she wanted to play!
“Okay, Riley,” said Kat. “Let's go outside!”
Kat gathered up some chew toys and dog biscuits and led Maya and Riley out into the sunny backyard. The yard was covered in grass, and there were trees along one side. A chain-link fence went all the way around.
“Here you go, Riley,” said Maya, setting her down. For a moment the puppy just sat, looking and listening, her ears turning this way and that. Then she bounded off across the lawn, her tail high.
Riley sniffed the bottom of one tree, investigating all the way around it. Then she raced off to another tree and did the same thing. Suddenly she barked with her paws stretched out in front and her hind end up. She was excited by something in the dirt.
“What is it, girl?” asked Kat.
The girls raced over to look.
“Ants!” cried Maya, laughing. “Black ants!”
Riley barked and barked, wagging her tail, backing away from the insects.
“You are so brave and fierce,” Kat teased the puppy.
“Thank you for protecting us,” added Maya.
Riley chased a bird and tumbled into a small flower bed. She scratched an itch on her side with her rear paw and fell over. She found a stick and chewed it. She was so busy!
“Okay, let's play ball!” suggested Kat. She threw a ball across the yard. Riley raced after it and chomped it.
“Now bring it here,” called Maya, but Riley wouldn't. She stood watching the girls, wagging her tail. Kat went over to take the ball from her mouth, but Riley thought it was part of the game and raced away. The girls laughed.
“Okay, I have an idea,” said Kat. She had another ball with her. She threw it down to the other end of the yard. Riley galloped to it and dropped the ball in her mouth. She picked up the new one. When Kat went and picked up the first ball, Riley didn't mind. She just wagged her tail, waiting for more fun. And when Kat threw it, Riley dropped the second ball and raced to pick up the first one.
“Well, this will work for now!” said Maya. The girls took turns throwing the balls for Riley, over and over again.
Finally, the puppy seemed to tire.
“Time for your lessons,” Kat announced. She snapped the leash onto Riley's bright-red collar. She and Maya practiced
with Riley. They rewarded her with dog biscuits when she did what she was asked. They also worked on asking her to
. If she didn't head toward them when they called, they pulled gently on the leash, drawing Riley to them. When she was close, they praised her and petted her.
When Aunt Jenn came to the door to call them in, it seemed far too soon. “Did it go all right?” she asked. “Will we see you tomorrow?”
“We'll be here,” Kat said happily.
Nothing would keep her and Maya away!