“Once upon a time, there was a girl named Riley, and she went for a walk in the woods on her way home from school. After about ten minutes, she walked into a wire fence, stretching between two gigantic trees. At first, she thought, That’s funny, last time I was here, those trees were tiny!”
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Riley, and she went for a walk in the woods on her way home from school. After about ten minutes, she walked into a wire fence, stretching between two gigantic trees. At first, she thought, That’s funny, last time I was here, those trees were tiny! But then, she realized she hadn’t been there since she was two, and she was already twelve. At first, she ran to the right, but found that there were four even bigger trees blocking her way. She looked to the left, past the fence and found that, again, there were four jumbo trees. She walked back to the fence and realized she could just climb over. Riley climbed over and went running off towards a clearing.
Riley knew that the clearing led straight onto a horse farm. What she did not know was that there was a horse coming her way, and she put her right foot out before she saw the horse and immediately stepped back, her heart racing. After a few minutes, Riley realized that she could no longer get out onto the horse farm, at least not from the clearing because she would get kicked. She chose to walk out into the more wooded area, and a huge frog jumped out in front of her. Riley looked past the frog and realized it had jumped in front of a fallen tree. The tree was so big that she could not get around it! She walked back to the clearing and kept going the other direction. She turned towards the farm and found more gigantic trees, too close to get through. She walked back to the clearing and sat down on a rock and looked out onto the farm. Wait! I can see the farm! That means the horse isn’t there! That also means I can get out, she thought. She checked that the coast was clear and ran onto the farm.
Riley kept running until she got to the gate and started to unlock it, but a really cute, orange kitten climbed on top, and she felt the need to pet it. The kitten jumped off of the fence and started rubbing against her legs. She could not stop petting the kitten! The kitten walked toward the farm’s owner, and Riley still could not stop!
She assumed the cat was the farm’s (there was no collar) and told the farmer, “I love the kitten! It is so friendly! I wish I could keep it!”
“Why can’t you keep it?” the farmer asked her.
“What do you mean? Isn’t it yours?” Riley replied.
“No, it is a stray,” the farmer said.
“Really?!” Riley said, “AWESOME! I’m going to name it Alphie!”
Riley picked up Alphie and left to go home.
To get home, Riley went through a park three blocks from her house. She stopped for water, and Alphie jumped out of her arms and ran up a tree. She slowly followed and got to the top of the tree and realized she couldn’t get down with Alphie. She climbed back down without Alphie. She grabbed her grocery bag and brought it up on her arm. Once she got up, she put Alphie in and climbed back down. She ran back home.
Riley reached for the door handle and, as she did so, it thundered. Luckily, I’m about to go inside, she thought. She turned the handle, but the door didn’t budge. She looked in her bag and realized she didn’t have her key. Her heart started racing. She was so scared that she couldn’t think of when her parents said they would get back, much less that her neighbors had a key to get in.
“Slow down, Riley, think,” she told herself. “Slow down. Wait, I have a bell in my bag, and I learned a mindfulness strategy at school today, so now I can use the strategy!” She pulled out the bell and rung it. She kept a steady breath until the sound seemed to disappear.
Suddenly, she remembered her parents would be back at 5:30 p.m., and her brother would be with them, but she knew the storm would have ended by then. Riley walked over to her neighbor’s house, knowing that they would let her in until the storm ended. When she got to their house, she sat down and explained to them how she couldn’t get into her house.
“We have your key,” the neighbor said, “so if you want, you can use it. But you can also stay if you want.”
“Can I please use the key?”
“Sure. Let me go get it for you.”
Riley’s neighbor left the room. While she was getting the key, Riley realized she didn’t know where Alphie was. Hopefully she’s okay, Riley worried. After a few minutes, her neighbor came back with the key.
“Thank you so much!” Riley exclaimed gratefully. She took the key and ran back home. When she got home, she found Alphie sitting just outside of the door. She unlocked the door and ran inside with Alphie.
Riley’s parents came home at 5:30, and Riley told them the story of getting home.
“Aww, I am so glad you got home safe!” her mom replied.
Her brother kept commenting, “Fun!” at the scary parts, until the end where he said, “I love this kitten!” and her dad said one word at the end.
“Well, if we’re going to keep the kitten, we should probably get some food, toys, and treats,” Riley’s mom said, “Who’s coming with me?”
“I am!” Riley’s brother replied.
“Me too!” Riley said.
“Okay, let’s go.”
The three left to go to the pet store near them.
When the three got to the store, they explained that they were taking care of a cat for the first time, and the store worker told them what they would need.
“You’ll need toys, dry food, canned food, cat food dishes, catnip, a cat scratching post, which you can get with a cat tree if you want, but you don’t need it, and you’ll also need kitty litter.” The store worker told them. “Now, I’ll get a cart and, if you can follow me to aisle four, we can get toys.” The store worker walked to aisle four, and Riley’s family followed. “This whole wall is filled with cat toys. Choose what you want and put it in the cart. When you’re ready, I will show you where to get food.” The family chose two toy mice, and one feather wand.
“Okay, we’re ready,” Riley’s mom told the store worker.
“Okay, food and dishes are in aisle six. Follow me!” Riley’s family followed the worker to aisle six. “Canned food is on the right and dry food on the left. I recommend Friskies for canned food. After you put the food in the cart, let me know.”
The family picked up a bag of dry cat food and a box of twenty cans of food.
“We’re ready!” Riley called to the store worker.
“Great! Now, do you want a cat tree or only a scratching post?”
“We’ll take a tree,” Riley’s mom replied.
“Great, we’ll find cat trees and catnip in aisle eleven. Choose which one you want and take a box from the pile to the right of it; you will build it at home. Then, you can get some catnip from the left. Again, when you’re ready let me know, and I will take you to the treats.”
The family picked out a cat tree, the store worker led them to aisle thirteen, and they picked out some treats.
“Now, I will take you to aisle one so we can get some kitty litter.” They got some kitty litter and went to checkout. The family checked out and took the cart to the car. They unloaded the cart and drove back home.
As soon as Riley, her mom, and her brother got inside the house, Alphie started digging through the bag.
“It is probably the catnip she is looking for. Let’s build the cat tree and put some in it!”
The family all chipped in while building the cat tree. In the end, they put catnip in the cat tree and put catnip on all three toys, and Alphie immediately ran up and started rubbing it.
“Awww,” they said, “Alphie loves it!