For the Busy Business-
Whimsical Bedtime Stories for Children of All Ages

What's Wrong With Pauly Puppy?

It was a cold winter morning. The Johnson's dog Mollie, who was expecting a litter of puppies, suddenly realized it was almost time for them to be born. She knew she felt a little strange when she woke up, so she instinctively began looking for a warm, safe place to give birth.

The Johnson's were excited about the idea of having puppies around, especially eight year old Billy Johnson. Mollie was Billy's dog. He had gotten her for his sixth birthday, two years ago.

That afternoon when Billy came home from school, he called for Mollie, but she didn't come. Billy began to get worried, because Mollie usually never even left the house.

Billy looked in every room in the house, but he still couldn't find her.

Here Mollie!
Here, girl. Mollie?


When he ran out of places to look, Billy ran to ask his mother for help. "Mother, I can't find Mollie!" he said.

"She can't be far Billy, not in her condition," his mother replied. Just then, Mrs. Johnson had a thought, "Do you suppose she's having her puppies, Billy? You know, I think it's just about her time," she said.

Billy's eyes grew large. "We better find her!," said Billy, excitedly. "Will you please come help me look?" he asked.

Billy's mother said she would, so the two of them began to search. They looked in the garage, no Mollie. Billy looked in the old playhouse, no Mollie. Then Billy's mother had an idea. She walked out to the storage building at the far edge of the big yard, and peered in the window.

Smiling, Mrs. Johnson turned and called out, "Billy, come quickly and see what I found!"

Billy came running.

"Look back there," said his Mother, pointing through the window. Sure enough, there, way back in a corner, on a pile of old drip cloths was Mollie and her new family. The door to the building had accidentally been left partly open, so Mollie had simply gone inside to have her pups.

Billy and his mother went inside to get a closer look. Mollie's tale began thumping and she seemed very glad to see them. Mollie was tired and hungry, and very thirsty, so Mrs Johnson hurried back to the house to get her some food and water, while Billy stayed with Mollie and the new puppies.

There were four puppies, all snuggled up next to their mother. Billy picked up one of them very carefully, Mollie didn't seem to mind. It was a little female with a white spot on the end of her tail. "I'll call you Maggie," said Billy.

He gently laid her back down next to Mollie and picked up another. It was also a female. This one had the cutest little face with freckles on its nose, so Billy said, "...and I'll call you Freckles." He put her back at Mollie's side and picked up the third one.

"Another female," Billy laughed. A pretty little puppy with four white feet, this one was the smallest puppy in the litter. "We'll call you Dandy," said Billy. He laid the puppy back down beside Mollie.

As Billy reached over to pick up the last puppy, Mollie suddenly seemed upset. She began whining and nudging Billy's hand away from it. Billy thought how strange this was, because Mollie hadn't minded him picking up any of the other puppies.

Just then Mrs. Johnson came back with Mollie's food and water. Mollie was so thirsty that she stood and stretched and then left the puppies side to go get a drink of water.

Billy told his mother how strange Mollie had acted when he tried to pick up the fourth puppy. Since Mollie was away for a moment, he reached over and picked up the last puppy.

Billy took one look at the puppy and began to shake. "Oh, oh, it's hurt," he cried, his voice quivering. "Mother quick, help, this one has only has three legs!"

Oh no...Mother, it's hurt, the puppy's hurt!

Billy was so upset at the thought of the tiny puppy being hurt, that he began to cry. Mrs Johnson took the puppy from him and looked it over very carefully.

"It's not hurt, Billy," she said finally. "This puppy was simply born with only three legs instead of four." She assured Billy that the puppy looked perfectly healthy otherwise.

After calming down a bit, Billy stroked the puppy's head, and said, "Since this one is a little male, I'm going to name him Pauly."

Mollie came back to her puppies and looked at Billy with such sad eyes. When Billy laid Pauly down with his sisters, Mollie pulled Pauly closer to her. She began licking the puppy's fur and rubbing her face over his little body. It was as if she knew there was something different about this puppy, and that he would need special attention.

Mrs. Johnson told Billy that they should leave Mollie and her puppies alone for awhile, so they pulled the door mostly shut again to keep out the cold, and then went back into their house.

But why?

Billy went to hang up his jacket while his mother fixed them each a cup of hot chocolate. He was still sniffling a bit as he asked his mother, "What's wrong with Pauly Puppy? How could this happen, Mother?"

Billy's mother sat down at the kitchen table with him. "These things just happen sometimes, honey," his mother said, and she reached over and took his hand.

She explained to Billy that since the puppy had been born that way, he wouldn't know that he was different. She also told him that although the puppy might learn to walk a little more slowly than his littermates, she was sure he'd get around just fine.

During the next two weeks, Billy spent a lot of time with Mollie and her pups. All of their eyes finally opened, and the puppies began to show their own personalities.

Maggie Puppy was very curious, and would get into everything. She wanted to check out anything that moved.

Freckles turned out to be a scaredy-cat. The least little noise would send her scurrying back to mother's side.

Tiny Dandy spent most of her time with Mollie. Dandy was still the runt of the litter, and had lots of catching up to do before she reached the same size as her littermates.

Little Pauly was slower to leave Mollie's side than the rest.
His sisters would seem to be begging him to come and play, wagging their tails and barking at him.



But Pauly just cuddled up to Mollie as if to say he wasn't ready.

The pups were soon five weeks old, and getting cuter every day.

Pauly now began to leave Mollie's side for short periods of time, and sure enough, he hopped right along with his sisters. When the other puppies got ahead of him, they'd often stop to wait until he caught up.

Mollie was going to have just this one litter, and Billy already knew they wouldn't be able to keep them all. Several neighbors had already asked if they might adopt one of Mollie's puppies.

Billy knew that he would soon have to give the puppies up. It didn't bother him too much to be sending Maggie, Freckles, or Dandy away to become part of someone else's family, but Billy realized that the thought of losing Pauly was more than he could stand. Pauly had become very special to him. Billy's friends would come over to play, and they all loved Pauly. The puppy would run and play with the children, and he was keeping up better all the time.

One afternoon a new neighbor from down the street came over to play in the yard with Billy and his friends. The boy, who had never seen Pauly before, took one look at the puppy with only three legs and started laughing and making fun of him! Billy became so angry that he and the boy who was teasing Pauly Puppy got into a shoving match, and Billy almost knocked his playmate down!

Mrs. Johnson heard the neighborhood children yelling and ran outside. Billy, terribly upset, explained what had happened.

Billy's mother gave the boys a good talking-to about fighting, and then sent everybody home.

When the two of them went back inside, Billy's mother tried to make Billy understand that some people simply don't know how to accept things that they feel aren't normal.

Pauly seemed very normal to Billy; they had become the best of friends. Billy and Pauly went everywhere together. They slept together, played together, and ate dinner at the same time.

Any time you saw Billy, you'd see Pauly Puppy hopping along behind him. When they went to the park, and people sometimes stared because Pauly had only three legs, Billy didn't care, and neither did Pauly Puppy.

"I guess they think you're strange, Pauly, but that's just because they don't know how special you are," Billy told his puppy.

Pauly wagged his tale and licked Billy's face.

Billy talked his parents into letting him keep Pauly. They all knew that no one could love Pauly the way Billy did.

Maggie, Freckles, and Dandy all went to loving homes, where Billy and his family knew they would be happy and well cared for.

Pauly had taught Billy a great lesson. Never again would he stare or point at someone who was different, because Billy was beginning to understand that people really weren't really very different at all; they were all just like him, because everybody has feelings, even puppies.

Mrs. Johnson was so proud of her son for having learned so quickly that what's on the inside, is a lot more important than what's on the outside.

Somehow, it seemed that Pauly was sent to Billy and his family for a reason, and Billy couldn't imagine growing up without him.

By B.J. House - Copyright 1999

About the Author: B.J. House lives on a 100 acre ranch in a small town in Texas. B.J. began writing for her own pleasure and that of her family, and early-on was recruited to help her children with their own writing projects for school. BJ and her husband of 32 years share a love of the outdoors. They own their own company, and that allows them to work together every day. They have three grandchildren, (two girls and one boy, all two and under). B.J. sums it all up, "Life is good," she says. You may contact B.J. at (See new email address below)

AUTHOR UPDATE September 2013:
The talented B.J. House, (the representative sample of her writing shown above has been a featured tale on Bedtime-Story since 1999), recently wrote to tell us that not only has she created an entirely new version of her original story, and it's one we're quite certain you'll also like, but that her new story, "What's Wrong With Pauly?" has just been published in hard cover format! It's available on both and B.J. worked with Paul Cash, a talented first time Illustrator on her new book. We think you'll like his artwork as well.

B.J.'s new story is described this way:
"Billy Johnson doesn't give it a second thought when he joins in with his friends making fun of a little girl in a wheelchair. Then Pauly comes into his life, and Billy not only learns a valuable lesson about compassion and acceptance but he gets a new best friend! Grades 3-4"

B.J. is receiving rave reviews on her new book. Add a copy to your own library then drop her a line and tell her how much you like BOTH of her stories. B.J. has a new email address and you may now contact her at

About the Illustrator for B.J.'s Bedtime-Story tale, "What's Wrong With Pauly Puppy?"
Jeff Meyers is a talented writer and a talented illustrator. Jeff makes his home in Ohio. He enjoys writing fiction for all ages and has been drawing and painting all his life. His artwork includes cartoons, illustrations, computer graphics, and still life drawings. When he's not working at his computer, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. Jeff has wonderful examples of both his artistic as well as his writing talent on display throughout Bedtime-Story. Check the Author/Illustrator directory for a complete listing of Jeff Meyers work. Contact Jeff at or visit his new website: The JEFFWORKS for Creative solutions to your communication needs.


- (in stink tiv lee)- Instinct is an inborn pattern of behavior, often responsive to specific stimuli. What does that mean? Well, you know that every winter, birds fly south to where the weather is warmer, don't you?. Birds do that instinctively, in response to a change in the temperature. In other words, it's something they do automatically, without thinking about it or without anybody having to tell them. When an animal is about to give birth, they instinctively look for a quiet, warm, safe place. Here's another example: When your parents or grandparents drive a car, if you were sitting next to them in the front seat, and if an elephant suddenly ran in front of the car, they would probably instinctively step on the brakes and throw one arm in front of you to protect you. They would also wonder where the heck the elephant came from. I know I would.

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