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Mitzy's Homecoming


Illustrated by Anja Grote
Book #1 of Pet Pals



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About The Book

The Critter Club meets Animal Planet’s Amanda to the Rescue in this tale of three furry friends living at an animal shelter in this sweet, fun-to-read Aladdin QUIX chapter book that’s perfect for emerging readers!

Mitzy is so excited to have a weekend away from Whiskers Down the Lane Animal Shelter! That is, until she leaves her purple ball behind, and her three best buddies, Luna, Gus, and Buttons, make it their mission to reunite Mitzy with her favorite toy. Will the pet pals succeed in bringing Mitzy and her ball—and their friend group—together again?


Chapter 1: Four Furry Friends 1 Four Furry Friends
“For the last time, stop licking my ears!” Luna hisses the warning with a twitch of her whiskers.

“They are filthy,” Mitzy protests. “I am cleaning them for you.” She pushes her curly white snout through the grate separating their cages, and sticks her tongue toward Luna.

“BLECH.” Luna marches to the far corner, out of reach of Mitzy’s slobber.

“Alert! Alert!” Gus springs up, his long shaggy tail straight with attention. “Intruder approaching! I repeat, intruder approaching!”

“It is a kid!” Mitzy dances with excitement. “I love kids! Kids love me!”

A woman and young boy come into the lobby. Mitzy’s round brown eyes beg them to meet her glance.

“Welcome to Whiskers Down the Lane Animal Shelter,” Ted greets them. “Are you here to find a new family member?”

“My son, Dustin, has been begging for a dog,” the woman says, placing her hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“I am a dog!” Mitzy bounces higher.

“But I’m not sure he’s ready for the responsibility,” Dustin’s mom continues. “So we just came to look today.”

“I see,” Ted begins. “Well, if you’re not prepared to adopt yet, we offer a fostering program where you can bring a pet home with you for a few days. It’s like a mini-vacation for the animals so they have some time out of the shelter.”

Dustin’s mom nods. “I think that might be a good way for Dustin to see how much work it is to own a dog.” She glances at Gus, who is still barking. “But we can’t host any big dogs. Our apartment isn’t large enough.”

“I am small!” Mitzy squeals, her short tail wagging at top speed. “Here! Over here!”

“You’re coming on a little strong,” Luna observes, but Mitzy ignores her. Instead, she grips her favorite purple ball in her teeth and gives it a playful SQUEAK.

Dustin laughs. “Can I meet this dog?” he asks Ted.

“Yes!” Mitzy twirls in a circle. “Yes, you can!”

“Dustin, how about cats?” his mom asks. She strokes Luna’s head with her finger. “They’re easier to care for—yow!” She yanks her hand away. “She swiped at me!”

“Sorry. Luna can be feisty,” Ted admits. “We also have a kitten on this side.” He taps the cage beside Gus, which contains a lumpy blanket. “Buttons is a tad shy.”

“No cat,” Dustin insists. “I like dogs.”

SQUEAK, SQUEAK. Mitzy tosses her ball aside as Ted unlatches her door. Then she takes a flying leap into Dustin’s arms.

“Whoa!” He wobbles as he catches her.

“Hello!” Mitzy pants hot breath on Dustin’s face. “Do you have any treats?”

“Mitzy is a toy poodle,” Ted explains. “She’s very affectionate, and she still likes to have fun, even though she’s one of our older pets. She takes a few medicines to help keep her healthy.”

As he speaks, Mitzy tickles Dustin’s chin with kisses, which makes him giggle. “Can we take her?” Dustin asks.

His mom shakes her head. “Let’s see who else is here first.”

With an unhappy sigh, Dustin returns Mitzy to her cage and follows Ted to the back room.

A few silent seconds pass before Buttons whispers, “Are they gone?”

“Indeed,” Gus answers. “I have protected us once again!”

Buttons slinks out from his blanket and spots Mitzy looking at the ground, her eyelids droopy with sadness. “What’s wrong, Mitzy?”

Mitzy plops her chin onto her paws and whimpers, “I thought that boy was going to play with me. I want to run and jump and fetch my purple ball.”

“Somebody will play with you soon,” Buttons tells her. “I promise.”

Mitzy turns away. “You cannot promise something that is not true.”

About The Author

(c) [Tammy Bradshaw]
Allison Gutknecht

Allison Gutknecht is the author of multiple books for young readers, including the Pet Pals series, Sing Like Nobody’s Listening, Spring Break Mistake, The Bling Queen, and the Mandy Berr series. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she earned her master’s degree in children’s media and literature from NYU. Allison grew up in Voorhees, New Jersey, and now lives in New York City.

About The Illustrator

Anja Grote

Anja Grote has been a freelance illustrator since 2011. Before that, she worked as a graphic designer for six years. Anja lives with her husband, son, dog, a few fish, tons of vegetables, bees, and a few trees near Cologne, Germany.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 11, 2021)
  • Length: 80 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534473980
  • Ages: 5 - 8
  • Lexile ® 560L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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More books from this author: Allison Gutknecht

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More books in this series: Pet Pals