Once upon a time there was a dog named Huleekalabulee. His mom called him Hubu or Hubee, his brother Jurgen called him Hube, and his sister called him Bulee. Huleekalabulee’s sister was named Venus.
One morning Huleekalabulee’s mom served Venus and Jurgen and Huleekalabulee their breakfast and said, “Well today you are all one-year-old and you will have to find new homes because I am officially done being your mom. You can come visit me on Dogmas Day and for Dogster and Doggiving, but for the other days you’re on your own.”
“Fine,” said Venus, who was a very beautiful dog and looked more like Mom, who was a Golden Retriever, and less like Dad who was, according to Mom, a big brown mutt. “Jenny Jones who lives next door adores me. I’ll go live with her.”
“Whatever,” said Jurgen, who was quite handsome and looked like a giant Cocker Spaniel. “Mr. Zimbalist who lives across the street already built a house for me in his backyard. I’m outta here.”
“What about you Hubee?” asked Mom. “Where will you go?”
“Well,” said Huleekalabulee, who was an affable big brown mutt, “I guess I’ll do what the dogs in all my favorite dog stories do. Go on a quest to find my person.”
“Good luck with that,” said Jurgen, sneering cynically. “Those are just fantasies, you know. In reality most mutts end up lost and desperate and hungry.”
“Yeah,” said Venus, also sneering cynically. “That’s why Jurgen and I pretended to like Jenny Jones and Mr. Zimbalist. So we wouldn’t end up lost and desperate and hungry.”
“It’s true, dear,” said Mom, who liked Huleekalabulee and found his naiveté charming. “It’s a person-eat-person world out there. You’d better find a person while you’re still kind of cute.”
And so after breakfast, Huleekalabulee packed his saddlebags with his favorite squeaky toy and seventy-seven big hunks of turkey jerky and embarked on his quest.
For starters he walked as far as he usually went with Mom’s humans, Alex and Monica Kronkite, which was to the top of Bullwinkle Butte. From there, Huleekalabulee could see the whole town spread out below him, with mountains to the north and south and east, and the ocean to the west.
“Wow,” said Huleekalabulee. “What a great big world it is. I guess if I could live anywhere I’d like to live near the beach. So that’s where I’ll begin my search for a person to call my own.”
He started down a path going west and only went a little way before he came upon two old mutts blocking the path. One of the old mutts was black, the other a dirty blond.
“Slow down,” said the old dirty blond mutt. “Where are you going?”
“The beach,” said Huleekalabulee. “I’m questing for a person to live with.”
This was so funny to the two old mutts, they laughed for five minutes until the old black mutt said, “Hey, what’s your name?”
“Huleekalabulee,” said Huleekalabulee.
Hearing Huleekalabulee’s name made the two old mutts laugh for another five minutes until the old dirty blond mutt said, “What are you… Hawaiian?”
“Not that I know of,” said Huleekalabulee. “My mom is a Golden Retriever and my father was, according to my mom, a big brown mutt.”
“A bit of advice,” said the old black mutt. “Out here in the rough-and-tumble person-eat-person world, you need a rough-and-tumble sort of name.”
“Or at least a shorter name,” said the old dirty blond mutt. “Who can remember Hakableebleenoonoopoopee?”
“But my name isn’t Hakableebleenoonoopoopee,” said Huleekalabulee. “My name is…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said the old black mutt. “Whatever it is, it should be shorter.”
“What are your names?” asked Huleekalabulee, wondering if either or both of them had a person or people.
“I’m Butch,” said the old dirty blond mutt.
“And I’m Garth,” said the old black mutt.
“It was a pleasure meeting you,” said Huleekalabulee. “And now if you’ll excuse me I want to get to the beach before…”
“Not so fast, kiddo,” said Garth, growling to add menace to his speech. “Why should we let you go by without biting you?”
“Why would you want to bite me?” asked Huleekalabulee. “We just had a lovely interlude full of laughter and potentially helpful advice. Why spoil such a happy time with conflict?”
“He makes a good point,” said Butch, nodding. “I haven’t laughed so hard in years. Not since that person, remember? The jogger? Stepped in my fresh pile of poop and slipped and landed on her face in your fresh pile of poop?”
“Now that was funny,” said Garth, remembering the glorious moment of their poop triumphant. “Okay Hukunanazulu. Go on. And good luck. You’ll need it.”
“One more bit of advice,” said Butch, as he and Garth stepped aside to let Huleekalabulee go by. “If you go to the beach, people will call the park rangers, and if they catch you…”
“You don’t want to know,” said Garth, ominously.
“Only dogs belonging to people are allowed on the beach,” said Butch. “Dogs on leash.”
The path took Huleekalabulee down from Bullwinkle Butte into a part of town where he’d never been before. The houses here were much bigger than the houses in the neighborhood where Huleekalabulee grew up. And around each yard was a tall fence or wall, and the driveways were gated, and those gates were closed.
“Smells very unfriendly here,” said Huleekalabulee, wrinkling his nose.
And just as he was about to leave the street of giant houses, a very large dog with pointy ears and shiny black fur came rushing through the one gate that wasn’t completely shut, and stood between Huleekalabulee and a neighborhood of small pretty houses where human children were playing happily on little lawns and there were no fences or gates.
“Hold it right there,” said the very large shiny black dog. “Just where do you think you’re going?”
“To the beach,” said Huleekalabulee. “Dog willing and the creek don’t rise.”
“Not likely,” said the big pointy-eared dog, his voice full of growls. “I’m a professional attack dog and it is my job to try to bite you and possibly kill you.”
“Why would you want to do that?” asked Huleekalabulee, aghast. “I’m just a lost one-year-old who will never ever ever never ever never ever come back here. And I will give you ten pieces of delicious turkey jerky.”
“Make it twenty pieces and I’ll put on a convincing snarling and lunging act but not bite you,” said the big galoot.
“Twenty it is,” said Huleekalabulee, shaking out twenty pieces of turkey jerky from his saddlebags.
“Yum,” said the big black dog as he chowed down. “By the way, what’s your name?”
“My name is…” And then Huleekalabulee remembered Butch and Garth’s advice. So instead of saying Hulee etcetera, he said, “Hercules.”
“Bit of advice,” said the big black pointy-eared devourer of jerky. “With a name like Hercules you better be one mighty strong canine or lots of dogs are gonna try to kick your butt.”
“Thanks for the tip,” said Huleekalabulee, hurrying away. “I’ll definitely consider alternative monikers.”