animals · slice of life · writing

A Dog Named Fish

Which one is worse?

  1. Watching videos of dogs rather than reading a book to your child before bedtime for nearly a week.
  2. Nearly being late for school drop-off because your child was busy writing.

No real need to ponder which one is worse. I am guilty of both.

After reading about an Alaska-based dog walking service with a puppy bus and pack walks in The Washington Post in January, I became addicted to Mo Mountain Mutts’ Instagram and YouTube page. Each weeknight, I’d lie in bed and watch videos of the dogs taking hikes and eating treats on their bus.

One night in January, Ari came into my room and found me watching “puppy videos.” I let him watch a couple before returning to bed. I could tell he was HOOKED. Initially, we watched them together in the mornings before I would drive him to school, but as of last week, we’ve begun to forgo his nightly story and watch these videos instead. (Yes, I’m a certified literacy specialist. No, I won’t let this continue much longer since it’s bad sleep hygiene. Yes, I read with Ari in the morning or after school.)

Ari sitting at his desk holding a pencil in one hand and using his other hand to help with finger spacing.

Ari and I adore many dogs, but our favorites are Poodle brothers, Fish and Dasher. (I don’t think they reside together since they board the puppy bus at different times.) We noticed Fish was not on the Mo Mountain Mutts’ Instagram stories for weeks. But one day, not long ago, I saw that Fish had returned. I showed Ari. He rejoiced as if his long long-lost pup had come home.

Ari was chatting with me about the Mo Mountain Mutts puppy bus at breakfast this morning. He was wondering what Fish would do today. I said, “You know, you could write a story about Fish. Then, you could decide what he does.”

SAY. NO. MORE. Ari finished his breakfast, asked me to spell a few words for him on a sticky note, and then zipped up to his room to begin writing a story. By 8:25 AM, he had two pages completed! And while it reads more like nonfiction than fiction now, he is excited to write about Fish!

We lost track of time, so I got Ari to school less than five minutes before the school day began. On the car ride over, I talked to Ari about the audience. He initially thought he’d want to put his finished book in the classroom library. I told him that we could try to think bigger. “Perhaps we can scan the book and send it to Mo of Mo Mountain Mutts. Then, she could give it to Fish’s owner.”

“Yeah, I like that idea,” Ari replied. “But how will you scan it for her?”

“There’s an app for that. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. You write it, and we’ll send it out together once it’s done.”

Head over to Two Writing Teachers for more slice of life stories.

31 thoughts on “A Dog Named Fish

  1. That’s so inspirational! Now I know how I could use my own daughter’s love of animal videos! Thank you!

    1. The owners of Mo Mountain Mutts tagged Fish’s owner in one of her posts. We discovered he has his own Instagram page! So it might be even easier for Ari to get his book to Fish once it’s finished. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s fascinating that you saw this through the lens of what was wrong, yet your readers discover a story of inspiration to an authentic writing opportunity. Thank you for hosting the writing challenge. I am happy to join once again. Just for a month. πŸ˜‰

    1. Delighted you’re back “just for a month” again.
      Honestly, I didn’t think it was THAT bad. However, you best believe I will be keeping an eye on the time for the rest of the week.!

  3. What a lovely post! I’m afraid to look and get sucked into those videos, but I definitely got sucked right into your slice. What fun for you and Ari to enjoy this together and how wonderful that it evolved into such an authentic opportunity for writing. I can’t wait to hear more!

  4. You may be feeling guilty of watching videos instead of reading bedtime stories…but look what happened as a result!! That’s good parenting to me. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing Ari’s writing with us. I’m sure Mo will love it!

    1. Yes, good things happened as a result! In fact, he noticed the way Fish and Dasher played with each other when we watched last night and that inspired revisions today. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m afraid to look up these videos because I will surely be hooked as well. I choose writing over prompt arrival. Can’t wait to hear more about Ari.

  6. Oh, what fun! Thank you for sharing the puppy bus. I’d seen a post or two, but I’m putting this on my list of things to look for — we live and breathe dogs, so this is right up my alley. I’m so glad Ari has discovered a writing topic that he is passionate about. I wish that for all children. He’s blessed to have a mama who inspires him this way.

    1. One of the things we love about these videos is that you get to see the dogs acting like dogs on their hikes and then you get to see how well-trained they are on the puppy bus. Mo and Lee (the owners of Mo Mountain Mutts) do a remarkable job!

  7. This is fantastic-the bonding with your son and the inspiration for him to write, publish and gift his work. After following the eagles nest in CA, I’m inspired to check out Mo Mountain Mutts! πŸ™‚

    1. He’s written other books before, but they were heavily inspired by another book (as in, he just changed a few words). This is his first creation using his own words!

  8. A WIN in every way! Now there’s another thing on my to-be-viewed list. (We watched the Puppy Bowl before the Super Bowl!)

  9. I fully support being late for school because you are engaged in writing and/or reading. I would love to read Ari’s story! Great idea to scan and send along to Mo! Thanks, Stacey, for hosting another year of Slice of Life on twowritingteachers. Hope to see you and the kids soon!

  10. Oh what fun, I’m sure it will be a great book and so many lessons learned for Ari. I’m sure Mo will love the book and get it to Fish’s owner! I think I saw something about that dog bus, I’ll have to check it out again!

  11. You captured my interest when you mentioned a dog named Fish. Our dog named Fish is sitting next to me and is hoping for a taste of cinnamon toast. I will be on the look out for more stories about dogs named Fish.

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