On a beautiful sunny day in New York City,
lots of happy kids were playing in Central Park. They ran around chasing each other, hiding behind trees, and screaming with joy and excitement. They were having a great time!
Max, a small brown-and-white dog with a black nose and floppy ears, watched the children curiously. What were they screaming about? Was something wrong? The kids were smiling and laughing, so they seemed happy, but Max didn’t get all the screaming. In fact, it made him a little nervous.
Max spotted three kids riding on a large dog’s back. He turned to his brother—a big, brown, shaggy dog named Duke—and said, “Ugh. Can you believe that?” D
uke grinned. “Having a kid looks like fun!”
Another dog walked up to them, shaking his head. “Nah, man,” he said. “It ain’t fun. I’m telling you; once the humans bring home a kid, your life ain’t the same.”
The large dog with the kids on his back ran right between Max and Duke. They dodged out of the way.
“Seen it a billion times,” the dog continued, nodding wisely. “Having a kid changes you.”
The next day, Max was walking along the sidewalk with Duke and their owner, Katie. This was one of Max’s favorite things to do. He loved it when Katie got out their leashes, snapped them to their collars, and took the dogs outside for a stroll around the bustling city. Just the three of them. No more, no less. And no noisy kids. That was how Max liked it.
A guy on a bicycle noticed Katie walking her dogs. He smiled at her . . . and pedaled right into the back of a parked taxi! WHAM!
The rider flew over the handlebars and landed on the sidewalk right in front of Katie and her dogs. Luckily, Chuck—that was the bicyclist’s name— was wearing a helmet, so he wasn’t hurt too badly.
“Are you okay?” Katie asked Chuck, helping him to his feet.
“Oh,” Chuck said, looking up at Katie. “Uh, yeah.”
Relieved, Katie smiled. Max thought Katie had the best smile in the world. Chuck seemed to like it, too. He smiled back. Duke licked Chuck’s face. SHLURRRP!
“Sorry about that!” Katie said, giggling. “Looks like Duke likes you!”
“That’s okay,” Chuck said, laughing and wiping the slime off his face. “I love dogs! And their sloppy kisses! Hiya, Duke! How are ya?”
He petted the big hairy dog. Then he reached over and petted Max, too. Max’s tail wagged.
Katie smiled, watching the three of them.
Before Max knew it, Katie and Chuck were seeing a lot of each other. Then they got married. And then they were all living together in the same apartment. It was a bit of a change, but Max didn’t mind, because he thought Chuck was a good guy. And now Max had two people to throw his ball and take him on walks. But then, something huge happened . . .
. . . Katie and Chuck had a baby!
“Max, Duke . . . meet Liam!” Katie said when she and Chuck brought their son home from the hospital. Duke and Max walked slowly up to the infant carrier to see the new baby, who was under a blanket. Liam sucked on his pacifier as he smiled at the two curious dogs. Duke smiled back, but Max still wasn’t sure how he felt about having a baby in their home. He was pretty sure he was against it.
At first, Liam slept most of the time. Smiling, Katie held him in her arms, rocking back and forth in a rocking chair, humming a lullaby. Max figured Liam was dreaming about . . . whatever babies dream about.
When Max curled up in his doggy bed, Katie and Chuck sat with Liam on the couch, saying things like, “Who’s a cute little baby?” and “You, little cutie pie!” Things seemed fine to Max. Liam had his place, and Max had his.
But then Liam started talking. Loudly! When Max was trying to sleep, Liam would screech and wail! He’d stand up in his crib and scream and throw toys! BONK!
Max had to watch out, or he’d get hit right on the head!
And soon after Liam started making all these loud noises, he started crawling. Sometimes Max would hide in a closet just to get away from him. But if Max dared to peek out of the closet to see if the coast was clear, Liam would come crawling straight at him as fast as he could! Max had to duck back into the closet and hide in its farthest, darkest corner.
Other times, Max tried hiding under the dining table. But as soon as he settled down for a nice, relaxing nap, Liam would crawl up and bonk him with his ball! This was terrible! Balls were for throwing and fetching, not for bonking dogs on the head! Didn’t this baby know that?
Max felt as though his own home wasn’t safe anymore. It had been taken over by a little monster! Max tried hiding behind one of the window curtains, but Liam found him and lunged at him, pulling the little dog’s tail and yanking at his ears.
Max did his best to keep a safe distance from Liam. But then one day, while Max was lying in his doggy bed, Liam did something Max had never, ever expected. . . .
Copyright © 2019 by David Lewman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.