A very long time ago, in 1899, near a small Vermont town, a little girl lost her puppy named Reds and, for as long as she lived, she looked for her dog every day.  One day, the little girl got very sick and although everyone tried to save her life, there was no hope. Doctors did not have the good medicines that they do now.  So, she died and, according to those who tell the story, today, she became a small Vermont ghost that only children and animals can see. 

On January 2nd of 2011, it was very cold and icy in South Hero Vermont.  A young girl walked along the dark road which was lit by few stars.  Her name was Rachel.  She was not lost but she had never been out by herself this late at night. She was worried about what her family might think when they found out that she was not at home.  Because her Mom and Dad would be scared, they would be mad at her, too.  Earlier that night, after eating dinner, she had heard a strange noise in the yard behind her house.  She meant to just go outside to see what had made the unknown sound.  At first she thought it might be a dog’s whimpering, but then she heard her name being called and, of course, animals can’t talk. “Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, RACHEL!  I need you. Where are you?  Come here and see me NOW.” Rachel put on her ski jacket and gloves and opened the back door.  As she walked into the back yard, she saw a reddish-blonde haired girl that was just her size. The girl, who was carrying a small blue baby blanket, smiled at her and then started to walk away.  Lifting her hand, the girl pointed down the road. She never spoke another word.  Rachel began to follow her.  She could hear the sound of her own shoes clipping and clopping along but there was no sound from the little girl that she was following. It was deathly quiet.  Sometimes she could see the strange little girl just ahead of her and sometimes she couldn’t see her at all but she could always smell her.  She smelled just like burned toast and the smell circled around Rachel’s head with every step she took.  Then as Rachel came to a corner she clearly saw the little girl pointing to a grassy spot on the side of the road. When she looked, Rachel saw a tiny puppy with reddish-blonde hair wrapped up in the baby blanket that the strange little girl had been carrying. The little girl was gone and the smell of burned toast was gone, too. Rachel picked up the puppy and carried him home. She slipped in the back door and went straight to her room. No one seemed to know that she had been gone.  She and the puppy went to sleep in her nice warm bed.  In the morning, the puppy was missing.  Rachel then told her Mom and Dad about the strange little girl and the puppy and everyone agreed it was just a dream.  Later that morning, Rachel heard a scratch on the door and, when she opened the door, a puppy, just like the one in her dream, barreled in. It was carrying a small blue blanket in its mouth.  The puppy jumped into Rachel’s arms and started licking her face.  Well, said her Mom, “I guess this puppy is real and he has come to live in our house.”  “His name is Reds”, said Rachel smiling.  Then, she thought about the little girl who led her to the puppy and the smell of burned toast circled around her head!        

By Judie Stohler