Sophie’s head buzzed with all the exciting things she could to do with Lector. They’d go everywhere together. She couldn’t wait to tell her best friend, Lily. Grandpops was talking about the importance of training, but Sophie wasn’t listening. She didn’t need to. Lector was already perfectly trained. He was the best-behaved dog she’d ever known.
Grandpops banged a battered blue notebook on the table regaining Sophie’s attention. “You should read this.”
“Is this one of your old journals?” said Sophie.
“Pah,” said Grandpops. “As if I’d let an eight-year-old girl read my journal.”
“I’m twelve Grandpops. And why? What do you write in there that you don’t want me to read?”
“Never you mind. Just keep your nose out of it.” He moved his own brown leather-bound journal out of Sophie’s reach and tapped the blue one. “This is the one you need to worry about. It’s Lector’s.”
“Lector’s?” repeated Sophie. “Why would a dog need a notebook?”
“You’ll see,” said Grandpops. “Anyway, it’s full so you’ll need to start a new one.” Grandpops’ reached into a plastic supermarket bag by the side of his chair and pulled out a new purple spiral bound notebook. “Here’s a fresh one. Read the old one carefully and you’ll get the idea.”
Read this, read that, write a diary, do your homework, thought Sophie. Was this another one of Grandpops’ attempts to help make her school grades better?
Grandpops tapped the table. “Are you listening, Sophie? This is very important.”
Sophie was kneeling on the floor now wiggling her bottom to imitate Lector’s tail wag. “Yep, I’m listening.”
“You need to fill it in every night. Now I know writing is not your strong point but…”
“Wait, what do you mean writing’s not my strong point?” Sophie stopped playing with Lector and looked at Grandpops. “I can write fine. When I want to.”
“Yes, when you want to is about right. Emma told me what the teachers said at your school parents’ evening,” said Grandpops.
Sophie rolled her eyes. “Oh well if Emma says it then it must be true.”
“Don’t be like that Sophie, it doesn’t suit you,” said Grandpops. “Emma’s a lovely lady. She loves your dad, and she loves you.”
“I know it’s just…”
“Just nothing.” Grandpops cut in. “Give the woman a break and be nice, will you? Your dad is very happy with her.”
“Okay, I’m sorry.”
“Good, now back to the care of this dog.” He patted Lector’s side. “I’ll put these”—he gestured to the notebooks—“and all his food, and toys in a box, and you’ll need his basket, I’ll pack him some old towels for when his paws get muddy and I’ll put in a couple of packets of digestive biscuits.”
“Digestive biscuits?” Sophie raised an eyebrow.
Grandpops looked down at Lector as he continued to pat him. “The vet said she wouldn’t advise it, but I always give him two digestives a day. It hasn’t harmed him so far.”
Sophie laughed and threw her arms round Grandpops’ neck. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of him.”