Chigger was such a little dog. He did not mind being little too much. Chigger could hide in some really great places that the big dogs could not reach; but, Chigger could not do a lot of the things the big dogs did.
Chigger could not pick up the whole newspaper and carry it into the house. If he tried to carry it a piece at a time, his owners got angry.
Chigger could not herd the farm animals. The cows butted him away with their heads or swatted him with their tails. The horses pushed him away with their noses and snorted at him. The sheep were terrible. They just ignored Chigger, as if he were not even a dog!
Chigger thought the chickens were the worst of them all. He could not even chase the chickens like the big dogs sometimes did. When he tried, the chickens did not run. The hens pecked his nose and ears and the roosters spurred him.
The only thing Chigger could do to have fun was to play with the cats. Oh, Chigger knew that dogs and cats were not supposed to play together; but, he found out that kittens did not know what dogs were until they got old enough to be on their own. Chigger started playing with the kittens, when they were even tinier than he was.
Chigger was careful never to hurt the kittens; and, by the time they became cats, they didn’t think of Chigger as a dog. To all of the farmyard cats, Chigger was just an ugly kitten. After all, Chigger was too little to be a dog.
It was okay with Chigger that all of the farm animals ignored him except the cats. It made him sad that the People ignored him. Chigger’s People had paid a lot of attention to him, when he was a puppy. Chigger guessed that a puppy that never grew was of no use on a farm.
One day a big, mean stray dog showed up on the farm. He was a very big and very mean dog. He snapped and bit at the horses, cows, and sheep. The stray chased all of the chickens, and fought with all of the farm dogs. Then he chased Chigger’s friends, the cats!
The cats ran everywhere trying to get away; but, the stray dog was so fast that he seemed to be everywhere. Chigger had to help!
Chigger ran at the stray dog, barking and growling all the way. The stray was surprised to see such a little dog attacking him. The stray stopped long enough for the cats to get away; but, now, Chigger was in danger.
As the big, mean stray dog started for the little dog, Chigger looked for a place to hide. The only hiding place Chigger could see was a hole just above the forks in a maple tree. Chigger thought it must be safe; because, two of the cats were in the branches above the hole.
Quickly, Chigger ran straight under, and between the legs of the big, mean stray. When chigger reached the tree, he did not even stop. Chigger jumped and dug into the bark with his claws as he landed against the tree. He just kept moving and soon Chigger reached the hole. He was safe!
The big, mean, stray dog stood at the foot of the tree looking up at Chigger and barking. Chigger looked down and barked back at the stray dog.
The noise finally was noticed Chigger’s People. The People soon had the stray dog penned up waiting for the dog-catcher.
The cows, sheep, horses and chickens calmed down quickly. The farm dogs slowly crept back to the farmyard. Shame at being run off by the stray showed by the way the dogs hung their heads, and tucked their tails between their legs.
Last to come out of hiding were the cats. The People called the cats and kittens from under the house, and out of the trees. Were they surprised, when Chigger popped from the hole in the maple tree!
Chigger carefully moved from the hole to a branch below. The People stood open-mouthed as he continued his slow descent to the forks of the tree.
Chigger stood in the forks of the maple tree, wagging his tail. He was the center of attention. As he jumped to the ground, the People surrounded him.
The people praised Chigger for his bravery and courage in saving the cats, and his intelligence in saving himself.
Chigger was star! The newspaper sent a reporter; and, Chigger happily climbed the tree, while a picture was taken. Finally everyone knew what Chigger had known all along – being smart or brave has nothing to do with size. Just because Chigger was the littlest dog, did not mean he was useless. All Chigger had ever needed was a chance to show what he could do.