What does 'normal' mean?

Mistress’s friend has a dog called Colin and he’s one of my chase-friends which means we take it in turns to chase each other round the woods. It’s a good game because Colin’s very springy but I’m faster than him. We hadn’t seen him for a while and I heard Mistress telling someone that he’d had a bad accident. Imagine my shock when I heard he’d tried to chase the lawn mower, his foot got trapped under it and had been cut right off! Poor Colin How do you play chase with only three feet? We hadn’t seen him all winter because he was in a hospital for animals – a Veterinary Hospital.

Well, today Mistress told me that we were going out to meet an old friend and when we got to our play spot in the woods – there was Colin! He looked happy as ever but he did have something a bit different on the end of one of his front legs, where the foot used to be. Mistress said it was a false foot made of metal and plastic – whatever they are. She said that the vet had fixed it in place. It smelt okay to me, Colin didn’t seem bothered and we had a great game, just like we always do.

But on the way home we passed some people and they were shouting at Mistress and at Colin’s human, Katie. They were yelling and pointing at Colin’s new foot and saying, “That’s awful, it’s not normal! That’s cruel, that is. Shouldn’t be allowed!”

I wondered, “What’s this ‘normal’ word?”

Mistress told them there were plenty of humans with false legs and feet and they were in the Paralympics – running faster than people with real legs. “So why can’t dogs and cats get mended too – just like people?” she said.

Colin wagged his tail and bounced up and down on his new foot and Katie said, “Thank goodness for that clever vet. Colin’s back to normal!”

So I thought, “That must be it, ‘normal’ means bouncy and happy!”

This got Mistress thinking.

Here’s a few ideas:

Hover paws: You buy a set of pull-on hover boots for your dog and have a very interesting day. Write your diary entry for the best day ever.

The Holodog: If you can’t have a live pet you could get a holodog – like a hologram but it’s a dog and goes everywhere with you. Do you need to keep it hidden at school and what happens at playtime?

The Best Friend: Your Dad’s a soldier and he’s a dog handler with a Search and Rescue Team in the army but he and the dog get injured during combat. What does his dog do?

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