Well. The time has come. It has come slightly later than we expected because, if we’re honest, we expected perhaps forty to fifty entries to this competition. And we ended up with well over 300. 300 stories, each roughly 500 words (some more). That’s longer than an average novel (hmm, maybe we could compile them all into an anthology book? Maybe some day).
But we read each and every one until we finally found our winners.
Our final few stories. Can you see your story there?
Reading the stories was a wonderful and exciting experience for the education team, and we came across some recurring themes.
• Children would love to be able to talk to their dogs.
• Attics are scary places for kids, and there are many mysteries lurking there.
• During lockdown, many children love the thought of finding a portal to a magical worlds. Some of the worlds we read about included Dog University, a candy land, an inside out land (where everyone was inside out, eww), and a dog concert featuring Adele’s dog.
• Some children are slightly nervous about aliens landing (see yesterday’s blog)
• While some children just want to find a cure for corona virus.
We also received lots of amazing artwork to go with some of our stories. Drawings of super dogs, or strange magical items and of fairies. We even had one ingenious story about a dog’s lost toy, that featured photos of the dog in various locations as they searched for the toy.
But the one thing we learnt through this experience, is that children just love to write, and have imaginations bursting with ideas. They were so joyful to read. Many of the emails we received expressed how much fun these stories were to write, and how they became family experiences, with the children writing and drawing, and the parents editing and emailing.
A good story is the most joyful thing in the world
We had more than one entry from children who found it difficult to sit down and physically write their stories, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t create them. These children dictated their stories to their parents who then sent them on to us. John Milton wrote a book called Paradise Lost using this method. And Sue Townsend wrote her last few Adrian Mole books via dictation when she lost her eyesight. Terry Prachett did the same with his later books. These wonderful authors are no less writers just because they didn’t type the words, or write them with a pencils, and these short story entries were just as worthy as any others.
Two wonderful books written via dictation
Picking a winner was very hard, so if you weren’t chosen, please don’t be too disappointed. Remember that a good story is subjective. Your favourite book may not be your best friend's favourite book, so you not winning doesn’t mean your story wasn’t good.
And so, enough faffing about, You want to know who the winner is, right?
Well, Our winning story for the Junior category is The Cloud Hunter by Alfie (8) from St Attracta's Junior National school in Dublin. We thought this story was so charming and magical, and it enchanted all the education officers.
The Cloud Hunter
My dog and I were stuck inside on lockdown when little did we know…
We would get to go on some of the most amazing adventures together.
My dog, Sam, is a super playful dog. I love to play with him all day. His fur is light brown and he has some light white on his fur too. His fur is the cuddliest fur in the whole wide world. The type of dog that Sam is, is a Cavachon.
One day, we discovered that when we touched each other, we got to go to places we had dreamt about. During the lockdown, one day we went to the clouds to play together and rolled on the fluffy clouds. We went on a cloud water slide. We got totally soaked and when we touched each other again we were back home.
We went back the next day to see a man called Bob, the cloud hunter, to ask him if there was a cloud golf course up here or a cloud roller coaster?
Bob is stuck up here because his dog ran away. A cloud hunter like Bob, hunts for cloud crabs. He catches the cloud crabs at the bottom of the deep cloudy sea. How he catches them is by going in his cloudy submarine, the seats are as fluffy puppies and the windows are as fluffy as clouds.
His cloudy submarine has robot hands and the hands have a net to catch the cloud crabs in. In the net there is some bait; bacon, and he has a spy that is up above the sea and watches out to see if the cloud crabs are up above or below the cloudy sea for Bob.
The next day, we were back at home when we decided to go out for a walk when we spotted a rainbow. We tried and tried to catch the rainbow, and when we finally caught it, it wanted us to come aboard and we were so happy to go aboard. It was like a big bouncy castle and we bounced our way to the top. There we saw a big rainbow golf course and we had some rainbow lollipops as a delicious treat. We also saw a rainbow river and in the river were some seals. I also got to meet some of my favourite TV characters from full house. The next morning, at home in bed, Sam wanted to go for a walk. We got up and walked to the river where Sam spotted a magical land. My dog Sam jumped right in and gave a big bark back to me and I jumped in after him.
There we saw an underwater dog park, I said to Sam “lets play” Sam barked back that meant Yes, his tail wagging with excitement. I always wished I could speak dog and there was a sign that said “everyone can speak dog in this magical land” so i said, “Hey Sam” and then I heard back “Hey Alfie”, my mind was blown “ BOOM ”.
We got to eat ice cream lollipops and loads of treats, sweets and cakes, there was lemon meringue cake and French fancies. We played dog golf and other dog games like dog football and dog limbo hockey.
This was for sure the greatest lockdown with my dog Sam, the fluffiest, furriest dog ever, and the most amazing adventurous days.
What a gorgeous story. Thank you Alfie.
Our winning story from the senior category is called “My Dog Cola” and was written by Emily Richaud from Our Lady's Grove primary school in Dublin. The dry humour in this won us over. Well done Emily
My Dog Cola
My dog and I were stuck inside on lockdown, but little did we know the adventures that awaited us. My name is Sophie, I’m eleven and my dog’s name is Cola. It was just another normal day when suddenly Cola woke up from her sleep. Her ears pricked up. “What’s up girl?” I asked her softly. She gave a sharp bark and ran out the door. I followed her curiously.
“Cola?”, I called.
“Where did she go?”, I muttered to myself. Suddenly Cola jumped out, I gave an involuntary yelp of fright.
“Never do that again!”, I growled angrily.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to frighten you”, Cola replied.
I glared at her. “I wasn’t fright- “, I stopped.
Did my dog just talk? I thought of the best way to find out if I was delusional.
“Can you talk?” I asked trying to act casual but failing to hide the fear and confusion in my voice. Cola who had still been walking, looked back with what looked like amusement in her eyes. “I thought, seeing as I just spoke it would be obvious”, she said cocking her head to one side.
“You are a dog, right?” I questioned.
“I’m not even going to answer that, now hurry up or we’ll be late” she said without looking back.
“For what?” I queried.
She stopped and looked at me like I was as stupid. She spoke slowly like she was talking to a two-year-old.
“Oh, yes, of course, the ritual” I mumbled, determined not to look any stupider in front of my dog. Cola turned round and kept walking. I heard her mutter “What a simple thing she is!”.
We arrived on the green near our house. We were not alone, there were about twenty to thirty dogs there. Some with their owners, some without. They all stood in a circle holding hands, there was a space where Cola and I were to stand. I stopped; Cola looked back.
“Aren’t you coming?” Cola asked with a shade of irritation.
“Cola, this isn’t exactly social distancing so”, I paused, “I’m just going to stay here”.
She stared at me in disbelief.
“You are about to be involved in the most important ritual in the history of mankind and you’re worried about social distancing!” she asked looking as if she was going to bite my leg off.
I thought it through.
“Yeah, sounds about right, I mean the ritual is not going to do much good if we all get the virus, is it now?” I replied feeling quite proud of myself.
Cola took a deep breath and I heard her count slowly to ten. When she was finished, she turned around and walked into her place in the circle. All the dogs started barking. Suddenly I had the irresistible urge to shut my eyes. I could still hear the barking. I woke up from my dream to see Cola barking over me.
Hilarious, and so charming.
But wait, we’ve one more winner. We had a third category that we opened up due to popular demand. This category was for students that attend special schools, and was open to all ages. And our winning story for this category is Tristan (17) from St Joseph’s Special School in Galway. Well done Tristan, we loved your story.
My Dog Calvin
My dog and I where stuck inside on lockdown but little did we know.
My name is Tristan, I study in Saint Joseph in senior 5.
I own a little black and brown dog.
My dog is incredible, he come from a very sunny place called "La Réunion". He was left alone in the street and was adopted by a famous singer that sent him to France in 2009. Since he has been sharing all his love with us.
My dog took the plane twice. But he was never able to pilot the plane.
My dog likes going in the car even if the car doesn’t start. I am sure he can drive
My dog can speak 4 languages, Créole, French, English and of course the barking language. I only speak French and English. I think my mum understands him better than me.
My dog would like to fly, he run and run but cannot take off. He keeps looking at the bird and want to fly with them. That makes him sad. I have been willing to build him some wings.
My dog loves all type of food especially potato. He would run a marathon to eat potatoes.
My dog like to sleep in my bed. He keeps going in my bed while I am not there to ensure no one sleeps in my bed.
My dog has a doggy friend that sleeps on the wall. A dog on a wall, this is crazy!
My dog doesn’t like the postman. I think this is because he thinks he’ll steal his food.
My dog is a clown, he can make joke that only I can understand. He is really funny.
My dog can play the Nintendo but he is really bad, so I deny him from playing.
My dog is a superhero, he wears a special costume, but cannot fly! This is sad.
My dog likes yogurt and think this is a special treat. He gets white with the yogurt.
My dog would like to come to school with me, but this is not allowed.
His name is Calvin and he is my best friend. I love him, This is my dog!
So there you have it. Three wonderful stories by three wonderful writers. Three worthy winners. Each one will receive s Dogs Trust school bag in the next few weeks.
The education team want to thank all the participants of our competition. We hoped you enjoyed writing them as much as we enjoyed reading them.