Belle and the Hotdog
On Friday, the school cafeteria was nosier than usual. A special program had been presented during a morning assembly and everyone was so excited. The elementary classes had listened and watched as a salesman explained how easy it was to win prizes and raise funds for the school just by selling cookie dough. And if they sold cookie dough on the very first day they could win money and candy prizes.
This was a win, win, win situation. Voices competed to be heard as plans were being made. Students mapped out strategies with their friends. This weekend was the target.
Joe was especially excited. Although Joe was normally talkative and restless, today he was serious and quiet. He was just one in a sea of faces as he contemplated how to win without stirring up problems. He knew a lot of places he could go to sell cookie dough. That wasn’t the problem. He wanted to win and prove he was a better salesman than Scott. Scott was his archenemy and a bully. Scott also wanted to win and he didn’t want any competition. He had already warned Joe not to try so hard.
Belle, in her therapy role, was bored with all the talk and no one was paying any attention to her. Her senses were working overtime. The cafeteria food, hotdogs and beans, didn’t smell as good as she hoped. She decided to wait for something better.
She lay near Joe’s feet, listening intently to the children’s excited chatter. Something did not sound right. Somewhere in the middle of all the conversation a voice ceased.
Acting on a hunch Belle raced to the place where an excited voice had changed and had become suddenly quiet.
A girl, her hands at her throat, was turning purple. Without wondering whether she had read about this or had seen this happen, Belle hurled herself against the girl’s back. Whack! A piece of hotdog popped from the girl’s mouth.
Scott yelled, “This dog just attacked Suzi without warning! I knew this dog was dangerous.”
Joe sputtered, “Belle saved her life. If she hadn’t hit Suzi’s back, then she might have choked to death.”
Scott ranted, “Belle attacked her. I was the one who saved Suzi from choking.” He pointed at a second grader. “What did you see?” he demanded.
“Just what you said. The dog jumped on her.”
Scott looked at the principal. “That dog attacked Suzi but I saved her life. I should get some recognition and that dog needs to be out.”
Belle didn’t want praise for herself. She just wanted Suzi to be okay and everything back to normal. She knew Scott was lying but how could she prove him wrong? But did it really matter?
Suzi had recovered by then. “Belle saved my life! Scott was laughing at me because I was choking. He didn’t help. It was the dog that saved me.”
Other voices chimed in. Nobody had been willing to go against Scott until Suzi spoke up. There seemed to be safety in numbers and now they all clamored to be heard. Scott turned to Joe. “I’ll get you for this,” he vowed. “You and that dumb dog!”
He stomped off, angry at Belle, angry at Joe, and angry at the world.
Joe was more serious than ever about winning the cookie dough contest. He didn’t want to worry about Scott and his threats. Scott might try to beat Joe up but Joe wasn’t afraid. He would stand up to Scott next time. Bullies only got worse if they got their way.