Peggy the pug was flopped under the big oak tree in the back garden, panting in the shade. It was soooo hot! On summer days like today, she wished her short, tan-colored fur wasn’t quite so warm and cozy. A fly buzzed around her nose, but Peggy couldn’t be bothered to swat it away with her paw. She lolled on the grass and thought about cold things, like the kitchen floor tiles… snow… and ICE CREAM!
“Peggy!” someone called from the house, interrupting her vanilla-flavored daydream.
Hearing her friend Chloe’s voice, Peggy sat up and wagged her curly little tail. She always had energy to play with her best friend!
Chloe and her little sister, Ruby, came running over, flushed and sweaty.
“Guess what!” said Chloe, crouching down to stroke Peggy. “School’s out! It’s the summer holidays!”
“No more homework until September!” sang Ruby, doing a cartwheel on the grass.
“Yippee!” barked Peggy excitedly. She would see more of Chloe and Ruby—and their big brother, Finn—over the summer holidays. She missed the kids when they were at school.
Dad came out, holding a big black poster board with brightly colored balls of different sizes glued to it. “How was your last day of school?” he asked the girls.
“Fun!” said Ruby. “We got extra playtime, and I got a certificate for being a Super Helper.”
“Well done,” said Dad. “By the way, what is this thing? I found it in the kitchen.”
“Oh, that’s my solar system project,” said Chloe. “I made it in science class this term. My teacher said I could take it home.”
“Oh,” said Dad. “It’s… very big.”
“Not compared to a planet,” said Chloe. “Did you know that Neptune is four times the size of Earth?”
“Is that so?” said Dad. “Well, this was certainly taking up most of the kitchen table.”
“I’ll keep it in my bedroom,” said Chloe, taking her solar system from Dad. “Is it okay if I go to the park? Everyone from school is meeting up there.”
“Can I come too?” pleaded Ruby.
“And me!” said Peggy, but to the humans it just sounded like barking.
“Sure,” said Dad. “Finn just texted to say he’s hanging out at the park with some friends. I’ll ask him to keep an eye on you.”
Chloe took her solar system project up to her bedroom. Then she packed a bag with some snacks and clipped on Peggy’s lead, and they headed to the park. The sidewalk felt hot against Peggy’s paws as she trotted along by Chloe’s side.
“Look! There’s Finn!” said Ruby as they went through the park gates. She waved to her big brother, who was kicking a soccer ball around on the grass with his friend Zach. Peggy tried to chase after the soccer ball, but Chloe tugged on her lead. “This way, Peggy. I’m meeting Ellie and Hannah.”
Ruby spotted some of her friends from her kindergarten class on the playground and ran over to join them on the merry-go-round. Just looking at them spinning around made Peggy feel dizzy!
Chloe’s friends were sitting on the grass near the playground, making daisy chains. Peggy was delighted to see that Hannah had brought her little terrier, Princess, along.
“Hi, Peggy!” yapped Princess. She had a yellow bow in her fur that matched Hannah’s sundress perfectly.
As the two little dogs sniffed each other happily, Chloe sat down with her friends.
“I’m so glad it’s the summer holidays,” said Hannah, putting her daisy chain around Princess’s neck.
“Me too,” said Ellie. “My family’s going camping for two weeks. We’re sleeping in a tent and hiking every day. At night, we’re going to roast marshmallows on the campfire.”
“That sounds fun,” said Hannah, fanning herself with her sun hat. “I’m going on holiday to Spain. We’re staying in a hotel that has two pools—one of them even has a water slide.”
“Oooh!” said Chloe. “That’s so cool.” She frowned. “But what about Princess? Can she go on the plane with you?”
“Princess is going to stay in a kennel while we’re away,” said Hannah, stroking her dog’s head. “She really loves it there, with all the other dogs. It’s just like a holiday for her, too.”
Princess groaned and rolled her eyes. “I hate it at that kennel,” she told Peggy. “It’s awful. I have to sleep in a cage, and all the other dogs are constantly barking.”
Peggy felt sorry for her friend. A kennel sounded a lot like a dog shelter. She had been in one of those before Chloe and her family had adopted her. She’d never felt so scared and lonely before.
“At least it’s only for a bit,” Peggy said, trying to reassure her. “You know Hannah will come back for you.”
“Where are you going on holiday, Chloe?” asked Hannah.
Chloe shrugged. “I don’t think we’re going anywhere this year. My mum’s been so busy setting up her café.”
Chloe’s mum ran a café called Pups and Cups, where people could bring their dogs and buy tasty treats—for dogs and humans.
“That’s too bad,” said Ellie. “But at least you always get lots of yummy snacks from the café.”
“True…,” said Chloe, reaching into her bag and taking out a plastic container of chocolate chip cookies that she shared with her friends.
“Hey,” yapped Princess. “What about us?”
Peggy whined hopefully, and Chloe took out another container. She gave Peggy and Princess each a bacon-and-peanut-butter-flavored dog biscuit shaped like a bone.
They stayed in the park until the sun began to set, and then Finn rounded up his sisters.
“Tomorrow I’m going to sleep late,” he said, bouncing his soccer ball up and down as they walked home.
Sleeping late sounded good to Peggy. She was exhausted after playing with Princess.
As they came up the front path, Mum was just getting home from the café. “Hi,” she said. “I ordered pizza. It’s too hot to cook today.”
When the pizzas arrived, Peggy’s family sat down at the table and tucked into their dinner.
“I love pizza!” said Ruby, biting into a slice and getting tomato sauce all over her face.
“Zach is going on holiday to Italy with his parents,” said Finn. “I bet he’ll eat pizza every single day.”
“I wish we were going on holiday,” said Chloe, sighing as she picked a mushroom off her slice of pizza.
Mum and Dad exchanged looks. “Actually,” said Mum, grinning, “we have some good news. The café’s been doing pretty well, so we’re going to the seaside for a week.”
The children stared at their parents in disbelief.
“No way!” shouted Finn. Chloe and Ruby shrieked with excitement. It was so loud that Peggy had to cover her ears with her paws!
“We’re staying in a place called Mermaid Cottage,” said Dad, showing them a picture on his phone. “It has three bedrooms and it’s right by the beach.”
Chloe’s eyes widened as she looked at the screen. “It’s so cute,” she said.
“I can’t wait for a break,” said Mum. “I’m going to lie on the beach and read in the sunshine.”
“Not me,” said Ruby. “I’m going to build sandcastles.”
“Do you think we could go deep-sea fishing?” asked Finn.
Dad nodded. “Definitely.”
“I’m going to go swimming every day,” said Chloe. Then she added, “And maybe I’ll even get to see a mermaid.”
Everyone was excited about the holiday—except Peggy. Would she have to stay in a dog kennel like Princess?
“Wait a minute,” said Chloe, as if she’d read Peggy’s mind. “Who will look after Peggy?”
“We will,” said Mum. “She’s coming with us, of course.”
“Did you hear that, Pegs?” asked Chloe, scooping Peggy onto her lap. “You’re going on holiday!”
Peggy gave a bark of joy and wagged her tail. She’d never been to the seaside before, and she couldn’t wait!