Scruffy woke up in a sterile, white room with stainless steel fixtures. It smelled like rubbing alcohol and antiseptic cleanser. Belle sat next to his bed with her leg in a cast.
“Ooohhh man, I’m so stiff. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Wait a minute, I was run over by a truck. Hahaha, I kill myself.” He put the only paw not in traction to his mouth and giggled like a puppy.
Trusty sat across the bed from Belle. “Do you think he’s had enough pain medicine?”
Belle smiled. Trusty laughed.
Scruffy tried to sit up in bed but got dizzy.
“Easy fella, you had a rough day yesterday.” Belle gently pushed him back down to his pillow.
“Dude, you broke up the dog napping ring we’ve been trying to infiltrate for the last two months.” Trusty shook his head. “I’d like to know how you pulled that off.”
“Thanks to you, we returned all the dogs to their families.” Belle shifted her cast.
Scruffy smiled a weak smile. Belle treated him like he wasn’t a doofus for the first time since they’d met. “But what about Faux Paw? He got away.”
“Not to worry. I switched out one of his cuff links with a tracking device. Remember when you provided that marvelous distraction this morning.”
“The mailbox? That is one of my better disguises.”
“Dude, he’ll be in custody before you leave the hospital.” Trusty said.
“It seems you’ve been holding out on us, Scruffy,” Belle said. "When did you learn the Ninja moves? And how in the world did you stop that truck?”
“I don’t know exactly. I see a flash of light, then a diagram in my head and my body just sort of takes over.” Scruffy’s forehead wrinkled into four rows of fur. “That doesn’t make any sense. Maybe it’s the drugs talking.”
Belle and Trusty looked back and forth at each other and then at Scruffy.
“What?” Scruffy giggled and snorted. “What is it? You both know something.”
“I had my suspicions when I saw you fly into action in the barn,” Belle said.
“Suspicions?” Scruffy thought something was wrong with him.
“Do you remember when you got your chip?” Trusty scooted his chair closer to the bed.
Scruffy closed his eyes for a minute. “Everything’s blurry, I . . . don’t . . . I’m not sure. I think it was at the shelter, before my family took me home.”
“We think you’re the dog Faux Paw was looking for.” Belle pulled out Scruffy’s adoption papers. She showed Scruffy the name of the vet who implanted the chip. “This is the same doctor who developed a top secret microchip for law enforcement dogs. Faux Paw had plans to use it himself—he’d be unstoppable. He tried to steal it before it got implanted.”
Trusty added, “Dr. Hudson wanted to test it on some German shepherd puppies at the shelter, but the last one got adopted. When Faux Paw made his move, Dr. Hudson had to put it in the first pup he saw. That was you,”
“That’s kind of cool,” Scruffy said. “I’d chase my tail if I could find it.” He wiggled this way and that way but couldn’t get ahold of it.
Trusty laughed. “Yes and no, Scruff.”
“Huh? This is great, right?”
“Sort of. You’re a great dog and so far it’s working like it’s supposed to,” Belle said. “But . . .”
“But,” Trusty said. “We don’t know what the long term side effects might be.”
“Or how and when it’s activated,” Belle said.
Mrs. Whiskers leaped upon Scruffy’s bed. “It’s going to make you a target, Scruff, at least until we get Faux Paw in custody.”
“Mrs. Whiskers, you’re in on this too? How come I never knew about you all before?”
“Need to know, son.” Mrs. Whiskers put her nose in the air. “And you didn’t, until now. By the way, you’re under my command.”
“You mean I get to work with you guys?”
“That’s not all,” Trusty said. “While the doctor was patching you up, we had him install a magic pocket inside your fur. We’ll be able to stock everything you need for our next mission.”
“I must be dreaming. This can’t be real. I’ve always wanted to be a spy, more than anything!” Scruffy was so excited that he tried to get out of bed.
“All in good time.” Belle eased him back down.
“First, you need some training. You’re off to obedience school, then we train you to be a spy.” Mrs. Whiskers’ tail swished in Scruffy’s face.
He sneezed so hard it blew Mrs. Whiskers off the bed. She stuck her nose in the air and sauntered to the door. “And do something about those allergies.”
Scruffy’s tail wagged in spite of being sore. “I’m so excited. . . I don’t think. . . I’ll ever be . . . able to . . . fall . . . a--.” Scruffy snored.