Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentors: Fiona McLaren and Dionne McCulloch
Mentee: Joe McCourt
Title: OLIVE UNNEEDED
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Animal Adventure
Word Count: 49,000
Olive the Sheltie can’t make her humans happy. After failing to impress them as a Retriever dog, Police dog, Guide dog – even Cadaver dog – she sets out for Scotland to become a Herding dog. When she’s captured and used as bait in a dog-fighting ring, Olive risks her life to escape and rescue the strays caged with her. She learns that to be valued, all she needs to be is a Loyal dog.
Ready … set … GO!
As she did every morning, Olive slammed through the dog door and ran wildly into the yard, barking and spinning like a top. “OUT! OUT!”
Two visiting squirrels dropped their acorns and scattered.
“Shouldn’t you be herding sheep, SHEEPDOG?” spat the chubbier squirrel when he was safely up a tree.
The second squirrel jeered from behind a fencepost, “Sheep? Look at ‘er! She’s too puny to herd wooly caterpillars!”
Olive ignored their taunts. “Set paw in my territory again and I’ll corral you both into a garden hose! Then I’ll turn on the water and watch you—” Olive stuck out her tongue and blew “—THFFBT become flying squirrels!”
With a haughty snap of her head, Olive padded back through the dog door, eager to see Henry.
Henry had taught Olive all about woodland creatures and how much fun it was to chase them. He was an old dog now and lately only wanted to sleep.
“Squirrels, Henry! HUNDREDS of them—’ Olive began as she burst into the kitchen. Her intention was to describe in vivid detail how she had herded them into a row and made them dance a Scottish jig, but the sight of her food bowl snatched her attention. She sniffed it, oblivious to her human speaking solemnly into the phone.
“How soon can you see him?”