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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Smell (the sense of smell) (07/29/10)

TITLE: A Nose for Trouble
By Caitlyn Meissner


Smell that blend of Johnson’s baby powder, Estee Lauder, and Vaseline Intensive Care? That’s Miss Julie, my owner, and she’s coming this way.

Now, don’t pay much attention to Miss Julie. She’s a little bit senile. How do I know? Well, suppose you had a fine, young, handsome male beagle. Wouldn’t you give him a dignified name? Something like Rufus, or Bruno, or Prince? Of course you would. But what does Miss Julie call me?

“Floppers? Floppers! Come here, boy!”

Floppers. Blech!

I thump my tail against the linoleum, but I don’t get up. Miss Julie broke her hip not long ago, so now she’s using a walker and more dangerous than ever. My tail still hurts where she squashed it. And my paws … let’s just say I learned my lesson. Those tennis balls aren’t meant for chewing.

Miss Julie waddle-thumps her way into the kitchen and shoves the screen door open. “Outside Floppers,” she commands, “backyard for you, mister.”

I edge my way around her, scooting outside fast before the slamming screen door can catch my tail.

Ah, the big backyard. Booorrring! I know this lawn like my leftmost whisker. Surrounded by a high wood fence, it smells like petunias, chew toys and, well, me.

I raise the old back paw for a scratch, then suddenly freeze. I’m picking up a new scent. It smells like….

Bingo! Rabbit!

I see it now, sitting by the fence, still as a statue, little nose twitching.

Quick switch to attack mode! “BOW WOW WOW! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”

Blast! He’s gone through a hole, under the fence!

Feet scrambling! Claws digging! Dirt flying! Hole bigger. Rabbit scent. Squeezing … through!


Dashing across a lawn! Weaving behind a hedge! Diving into a burrow!

Hunh? I can’t fit in there.

Rabbit, 1. Brave Avenger of Dogdom, 0.

But wait. Hello, hello, hello! What is that incredible, heavenly, delectable fragrance?


And not just steak, there’s a whole table of food. Smell that A-1 Sauce. Get a whiff of those onions. Bask in the fragrance of baked beans.

Hmmm. No one in sight.

Could this food be an offering, a token of goodwill between men and dogs?

Slinking, crouching, I slowly creep up till I’m right under the table.

No humans.

A quick jump from chair to tabletop.

Still no one.

Party time!

Oh! Yum! Rich, rare, juicy, chewy, down-the-gullet steak! It even comes with a complimentary bone. Joy! Smell that fragrance. Taste that delight. Why, the only thing that could make this better is--


Trapped. Stuffy darkness. Basket over my head.

“Gotcha!” says a deep, human voice.

Smell of fear, steak, and dirty straw basket. I’m suffocating! What will they do to me? I howl in agony.


Light! The basket’s gone, replaced by a firm hand on my collar.

“What have we here?” the deep voice says.

Cringing, I stare up at salt-and-pepper hair, glasses, and two dark eyes.

I try to wiggle away, but the firm, gentle hands hold me down. Stern, yet kind, his eyes dominate me.

Wow! This is a man among men, a master like no other. And somehow, even though I’ve ruined his food, I know he won’t hurt me.

The master’s hand checks my collar tags, then he laughs.

“No way! You’re Julie Ellis’ dog?”

I wag the old tail.

“Come on, Buster,” the master says, scooping me up. “I’m taking you home.”

Riding in his arms, it’s only a minute before we’re in front of the old homestead, knocking on the door.

It swings open to reveal Miss Julie and the walker.

“Why, Reverend Armand?” she cries. “What are you doing with Floppers?”

“He must have escaped, Miss Julie. He came to pay me a visit.”

No mention of the steak.

“Well, I declare! The rascal! I can’t keep up with his antics, Reverend.”

“The dog needs more exercise, Miss Julie.”

“As if I could give it to him with my hip busted.”

“Suppose we make a deal. I’ll walk Buster here every day till you’re better, IF you’ll come to church with me one of these Sundays.”

“Well…. You drive a hard bargain, Reverend. Deal!”

And it all ends with me getting dropped off inside, back with the baby powder, perfume, and lotion.

But don’t worry. That’s what home smells like, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Though, the walks do help, as does the new name the Reverend master gave me.


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This article has been read 873 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 08/05/10
Now this has to be a perfect winner! Eyesight believable characters (the purloined steak, however, could have been enough to make a preacher swear :), you-are-there descriptions and a believable spiritual application all add up to one great story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/05/10
This is great. It was so entertaining. Personally I love the name Floppers. I was giggling throughout. You've got the voice of a dog down pat!
Kate Oliver Webb 08/08/10
This really is a wonderful entry! I enjoyed the fun of it, the imagery, the "smellery," it was all just precious. You certainly won me over! Great writing.
Virgil Youngblood 08/09/10
A fun read. Loved the dog's name and the story line. Good writing, here.
Phee Paradise 08/09/10
I loved it. Floppers/Buster has just the right voice. I was with him every step.
Lollie Hofer08/10/10
What a delightful personality you gave to the dog. I like the deal that was made at the end as well. Great story.
Sherrie Coronas08/11/10
Great writing. Loved the flow...loved the messages:)
Laury Hubrich 08/11/10
Cute story:) I love the dog's POV:)
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/11/10
Delightful story--beginning to end.
Ruth Brown08/11/10
Great title, loved Floppers alias Buster,great story. Blessings, Ruth
Laury Hubrich 08/12/10
Congratulations on your EC!
Jody Day 08/12/10
Congratulations! Loved this story and the dog's POV.
Sarah Elisabeth 08/12/10
I loved this Caitlyn! Fabulous job, super cute, well deserved placing and EC!
Amanda Brogan08/12/10
Ahhhh! Congrats! :D
Mary Lou Tiner08/13/10
Good job! You've really painted a wonderful scene here and brought your characters to life! Congratulations on your EC win and move up to Masters!
Charla Diehl 08/13/10
This was cute, entertaining and fun to read from the dog's perspective. Congrats on your win and promotion.
Amanda Brogan08/18/10
Aww, I just love little Floppers, err -- Buster! :D If I didn't know better, I'd think this was actually written by a bouncy, energetic (not to mention adorable) Beagle!