This was a story I wrote when our kids were small. I remember Rebecca really liked it. I enjoy finding some of my old stories, both to discover the different things I wrote about, and to see how I’ve grown as a writer.
There was a scratch at Mamma and Papa Dog's door. "Who is it?" Mamma asked, without getting out of bed.
“It's Punky," said their youngest pup's voice.
“What's wrong?" Papa asked.
"Is it time to get up yet?" Punky asked.
"No, Punky," Papa said. "Mamma and Papa haven't even gone to sleep yet. Go back to bed now."
"But I'm not tired," Punky whined.
"But we are," Mamma said. "Go back to bed, Punky."
Papa waited until they had heard the weather report, then turned off the TV. "Will you turn the light off, Mamma?" he asked.
“Nope," Mamma said, tucking all four paws under the cover.
Papa sighed, got up, and turned off the light.
As soon as he'd climbed back into bed, there was another scratch at the door. "Yes?" Papa said.
“Can I have a drink of water?" Punky asked.
“No, Punky," Mamma said. "You've already had enough drinks tonight. GO TO BED."
"If you wake up in the middle of the night," Papa said, "You can have a drink then."
 Papa shook his head, his ears flopping back and forth. Then he laid his head down and sighed tiredly. "I hope he gets to sleep soon," he said.
Mamma thought she had only just closed her eyes when the door scratching came again. "Huh?" she said sleepily.
"Is it the middle of the night yet?" Punky asked with a whimper.
"Punky!" Mamma barked. "No, it is not! Go back to bed, and you better not wake up any of your brothers or sisters."
Punky was quiet for a minute. Then he whined softly, "But I'm scared to sleep by myself."
"You're not by yourself," Papa said. "There's five of you in that bed."
“But they're all asleep," Punky said. "I want somebody who's awake to lay with me."
Mamma growled a little and jumped down from the bed. She went and opened the door. Punky sat hunched in the hall with little puppy tears running down his brown nose. "Punky," Mamma said softly, "what are you scared about?"
"I don't know." He snuffled. "I'm just scared."
Mamma rubbed her chin against his furry little head. "Let's go back to your room, Punky," she said. "I'll lay with you for a little while."
Punky didn't wake up any more that night. The next day he was as cheerful as ever, bouncing around as he played with his litter mates. They chased and snarled and snapped each other's tails as they pretended to dog fight.
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Finally Mamma woke up. "What?"
"Are you guys asleep?" Punky asked, sounding tearful.
"Not any more," Papa growled.
"I had a bad dream," Punky said.
Papa got up and went back to Punky's room to lay with him. "What did you dream about?" Papa asked.
"That mean dog at the neighbors' house was chasing me, and he bit me real hard."
After Punky was asleep, Papa went back to bed and told Mamma about Punky's dream. "Maybe they better not play any more fighting games," Mamma said.
The next night Punky begged for Mamma or Papa to lay down with him as soon as he went to bed. "Your brothers and sisters are here with you," Mamma said.
"But I want somebody big with me," Punky whined.
"Punky, no," Papa said.
"Ah-ooooo! ah-ooooo!" Punky howled.
Finally Mamma lay down with Punky. "What are you so scared about, Honey?" Mamma asked.
"Mamma," Punky said in a whimpery voice, "Can any of those mean neighbor dogs get into our house when we're asleep?"
"No, honey," Mamma said.
"Are you sure? How do you know?" he asked.
"I'm sure, Punky. Our house is locked and very safe." Mamma licked Punky's nose.
"I'm still scared anyway," he said in a tiny voice.
Mamma just snuggled closer to him and stayed with him until he was asleep.
For the next few days, Mamma and Papa spent a lot of the nights laying with Punky so he could sleep. Finally one evening Papa said to Punky, "Son, we can't keep doing this. Mamma and Papa need rest so we can do our work in the day time. We need to sleep in our own bed so we can rest. We'd like you to try to not wake us up tonight."
When Mamma and Papa woke up that night, it wasn't because Punky scratched on their door. There was much more noise than scratching coming from the puppies' room.
Mamma and Papa jumped out of bed and ran to the noise. All five pups were in a tangled bunch on the floor, yipping, pulling at tails, tugging at ears, wrapping front legs around necks and squeezing.
"Stop!" Papa snapped.
"What in the world is going on here?" Mamma asked.
"Punky did it," Princess said, sniffing her nose at her little brother. "He woke us all up and started wrestling with us."
"Yes, yes, it was Punky," all the others agreed.
"Punky?" Papa said, "Why did you do that?"
Punky held his head down, his ears and tail drooping. "You said not to wake you up, but I was lonely."
"Punky, listen to me," Papa said slowly. "I don't want you to wake up anybody!" Papa was barking by the time he finished speaking. "Now all of you go back to bed, and I don't want to hear one more sound out of this room any more tonight."
The next day the pups were all quieter than usual. When Papa came home from work, he called Punky to come to talk with him. "Punky," he said, bumping Punky's ear with his nose, "I'm sorry I was so angry with you last night. I have something for you. I'd like you to try it, to see if it will help you sleep better at night."
"What is it, Papa?" Punky asked, his ears perking up.
Papa went outside, and when he came back in, he was carrying a big stuffed little boy doll in his mouth. He set it down by Punky. The doll was bigger than the pup. "It's a toy boy for you to play with," Papa told Punky. "You can snuggle close to him at night, and talk to him if you get scared. Maybe you guys can make up stories together of things you could do together."
"Thanks, Papa," Punky said, looking at the doll with bright eyes.
Papa started to walk into the kitchen. Then he stopped and looked back at Punky. "Oh, and Punky?"
"When you talk to him in the middle of the night, please remember to whisper."
That night, Mamma tucked the doll in close beside Punky. "Punky, remember if you really need us in the middle of the night, you can still come and get us."
"Thanks, Mamma." Punky laid his head on top of the doll's tummy.
"Have you decided what you're going to name him yet?" Mamma asked.
"I think I'll call him Joey," Punky answered. "I always wanted a boy named Joey."
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