When animal snatchers take her friends, Hetty is the only one left to save them.
She may only be small but she is no ordinary hedgehog. Will all her training be enough
to help rescue her friends?
An animal adventure story for children 7 – 11 year olds about friendship, courage and not giving up.
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Read the first 3 chapters of the book here 👇
“Keep up, Hetty,” laughed Rocky.
“Keep up, keep up! I can beat you with my eyes closed,” she yelled back at him, her little legs running as fast as they could go.
She zig-zagged in and out of the carrot tops trying to dodge the mud that was flicking off Rocky’s paws just in front of her.
Once out of the vegetable patch, she threw herself into a ball and began rolling towards the finish line at full speed.
She hurtled forwards, her spikes clipping the edge of Rocky’s leg.
“Aaaahhhh!” he yelled, leaping high into the air.
Hetty was oblivious to Rocky’s cry and carried on rolling right underneath him.
She reached the last obstacle.
Uncurled herself and pushed off from her back legs.
Using her forward motion, she leapt high into the air.
She then somersaulted over the ride-on toy car, landing curled up into a ball.
She rolled on to claim the victory over the finish line.
“That is a new record, Hetty, two minutes thirty-eight seconds and you beat Rocky again,” praised Shadow.
“That’s not fair! I would have beaten her this time if she hadn’t spiked my legs,” he moaned, stumbling behind her across the finish line.
“Ah, stop your whining. I would have beaten you anyway. Spikes or no spikes.”
“I could have beaten you this time, I was in front of you to start with.”
“No, you couldn’t. I was just warming up. Face it, hedgehogs are just better.”
“Well, you’re no ordinary hedgehog. Hedgehogs should be slow and helpless, and they certainly shouldn’t be able to do somersaults.”
“Phst, who wants to be ordinary. There is no fun in that, and I certainly don’t ever want to be helpless.”
“That’s why Hetty trains so hard, so she isn’t helpless,” Shadow added.
“Yes, that’s right. I need to be fit and strong to take on any danger that may come my way… well, come our way,” Hetty replied matter-of-factly.
“What danger’s that, Hetty? A big worm coming from the veg patch to tickle our paws?!” laughed Rocky sarcastically.
Hetty shot him a look.
Sensing he had annoyed her with his comment – and being slightly scared of her – he stopped laughing at once.
“We may all be safe here now, but if one day we do find ourselves in any danger, I want to make sure I am ready to protect us all.”
Rocky, not wanting to upset Hetty further, just nodded in agreement.
The back door of the house swung open and there was a faint rustling noise like that of a food bowl, followed by a familiar little voice. “Rocky! Shadow!”
Rocky’s ears shot straight up, and his tail began wagging away.
“Yay, dinner time!” Rocky shouted as he turned and sprinted towards the house. “See you later, Hetty,” he said, not even turning around to look back at them.
Hetty shook her head. “Typical dog, always follows his belly.”
“Well, if he ran that fast earlier, he would have done a lot better at the obstacle course,” added Shadow.
She and Hetty looked at each other and began laughing. It was true, Rocky only ever seemed to put in an effort when food was involved.
“I suppose I’d better head in as well, before Rocky eats my dinner too.”
“Rocky would take your food too?”
“His favourite thing to eat is our owner’s smelly slippers, so I wouldn’t put it past him to eat my food. He eats anything in sight.”
“Ha ha ha, he does love food.”
“Yeah, he certainly does. Anyway, bye Hetty, see you tomorrow.”
With that, Shadow strolled gracefully across the garden back to the house. Her long, elegant tail swung in the air from side to side as she dodged every muddy patch of the garden, so as not to get her paws dirty. She wasn’t a big fan of dirt and liked to keep herself pristine at all times.
Hetty had not long woken up and, after an early evening of running obstacle courses, she was starting to feel rather hungry herself. The sun was beginning to set, so Hetty headed off on an evening of foraging. Out to the fields she went, in search of the juiciest of worms.
“Oi, get away!” Shadow shouted as she hit Rocky over the head with her well-manicured paw.
“Sorry, Shadow, I was so hungry. You weren’t here and your bowl was just sitting there.”
“Gosh, Rocky, you really will eat anything,” Shadow scolded as she pushed Rocky out of the way and began munching on her food while she still had some left.
After dinner, Rocky played with their owner Lewis, while Shadow went to lie down on the sofa. She walked up and down the sofa sussing out the warmest, most comfortable spot, before curling herself up and dozing off to sleep.
Shadow was jolted awake. A noise from outside had woken her up and now she had an uneasy sense something wasn’t right.
It was pitch black in the living room and her owners had long gone up to bed. She could see Rocky over in the corner fast asleep, snoring away in his bed.
There was the noise again.
This time coming from the back door.
Shadow quickly dived off the sofa. Her senses were telling her something wasn’t right.
“Quick, get up, get up!” She shook Rocky, trying to wake him.
“Uh, wh-what’s going on, why are you shaking me?”
“Quickly, get up. I hear noises outside. I feel something is wrong.”
Rocky opened up his mouth to tell her she was imagining things but, before he could reply, they both heard a noise that sounded like a door opening. He leapt out of his bed now on full alert, his ears and tail pointing straight up. Being a Doberman, he looked fierce and ready to attack.
Shadow and Rocky crept towards the back of the house from where they’d heard the sound. They pushed open the kitchen door as they heard what sounded like voices in the utility room. The pair were now both on full alert. As they got to the doorway, a strange man walked round the corner.
“Good doggy, good doggy,” the man whispered to Rocky to try and calm him down.
“Grrrr!” Rocky took a step closer as the strange man started to back away. “Grrr!” He wrinkled his lip up with his growl exposing his sharp teeth.
“Edward, quick, where is that sausage?” said the man in a panicked whisper.
A second figure then emerged from the darkness and came into view.
“Good boy, good boy,” repeated the second man.
Rocky quickly turned his attention to the second man who was walking towards him.
“Grrr!” Rocky wasn’t giving up; he couldn’t be fooled by their sweet talk.
“It’s okay, here, take this,” the man said gently whilst throwing a big juicy sausage at Rocky’s feet.
“Grrr… oooh!” Rocky had started to growl but his stomach took over.
“No, Rocky, what are you doing?” Shadow called after him, but it was too late. Rocky had wolfed the sausage down.
The men stood quietly, a big smile crossing their faces as they looked on at them.
“Shadow, the kitchen is spinning, I don’t feel right,” declared Rocky as he started to sway from side to side.
In no time at all, he had flopped onto the floor and was back to snoring again.
“Arrggh, you silly dog, you really do eat everything. I guess it’s up to me to save us.” Shadow turned away from Rocky to face the men.
She began to hiss and show her teeth. The smile was wiped from their faces as they both took a slow step away from her.
She leapt into the air, her claws outstretched, her legs pointing directly towards the man’s face.
“Oooow!” yelled the man, still trying to keep his voice to a whisper. “Edward, help, get this cat off of me,” he called through gritted teeth.
Edward quickly got out an empty sack from his bag.
“Edward, hurry up,” he ordered. Blood started to drip from his cheek as Shadow held on tightly to his face with her claws.
Edward picked up the pace and threw the bag over Shadow’s body, covering everything but her paws that were still digging into Eric’s cheeks.
“Meeoow!” protested Shadow.
She released one of her paws and clawed at the edge of the bag, trying to free herself.
This was a mistake.
With her grip released, Edward was able to pull her off and drop her into the bag, closing it behind her.
“Meeooww!” Shadow pawed away at the bag, but it was no use. It was made of a thick material, so she knew she wouldn’t be able to slice through it.
Edward turned to look at Eric. “I think you may have a scratch on your face.”
“I just had a cat clinging to my face, of course I am going to have a scratch, you idiot! And anyway, what took you so long with the bag?”
“I… I… I went as quick as I could.”
“Well, not quick enough, now hurry up, we need to get out of here before we get caught.”
The man began walking with the bag by his side as poor Shadow bounced around inside it. After a short walk, she heard what sounded like a door opening.
“Get that cage door open.”
“Yes, boss,” said Edward as he quickly set about opening the door.
Shadow heard the faint click of a cage door and then she felt herself hurtling through the air. She came to a stop when she crashed into the back wall of the cage. She managed to turn her head just in time to see the men pulling the bag away and reaching for the cage door. Still pumped with adrenaline and desperate to escape, she bounced off the wall and went for them again.
Eric managed to click the door to the cage shut just in time.
A smirk started to come across his face as he thought he was safe.
Shadow didn’t stop.
She flew towards the door, her paw stretched out in front of her. It went straight through the bars of the cage towards Eric. She quickly swiped her claws across his hand as the rest of her body slammed into the cage door.
“Aahhh, the stupid cat got me again!” Eric exclaimed, whipping his hand away. A pool of blood started to form on its surface.
A smirk crossed Edward’s face as he began to laugh.
“What are you laughing at?!”
“Nothing, sorry, boss.”
“Good, well hurry up, we need to get that dog in the van before anyone wakes up and catches us.”
Shadow watched as they closed the van door. She could hear them walking away.
A little while later, the van door opened up again and the men began trying to lift Rocky on board. Edward stood inside the van, pulling, while Eric stood on the ground outside trying to lift Rocky up to him.
“Come on, pull him up, we haven’t got all day.”
“I’m trying but he’s heavy.”
“Put your back into it. And hurry up and get that cage door open,” Eric ordered.
In a panic, Edward let go of holding Rocky to open the cage door.
Rocky’s lifeless body fell straight to the van floor. His head bounced off the ground with the force. The majority of his body was overhanging the van door in Eric’s arms, who began to lose his balance. The weight of Rocky’s body slid out of the van towards him.
Without any time to respond, Edward watched helplessly as Eric began to topple backwards.
Rocky’s body flopped out of the van and landed directly on top of him.
“Owww, you idiot, why did you let go?”
“You told me to open the cage door.”
“You have two hands, you idiot, now hurry up and get this dog off me.”
Edward jumped out of the back of the van to see Eric lying trapped underneath Rocky’s sleeping body. He was a small man, measuring only 5ft 2” in height, and was dwarfed by Rocky’s long, slender body lying across him. All Edward could see was his legs and arms moving about trying to get free on either side of Rocky’s body. Eric tried to push Rocky off himself, but the dog was so heavy he couldn’t lift him by himself.
Shadow burst into laughter, rolling around in her cage watching the two imbeciles in front of her fumble about. Deep down, she felt bad that Rocky had been dropped and was worried about what was happening, but at that moment she couldn’t stop the laughter.
Who were these two idiots and what did they want with them?
Finally, after lots of to-ing and fro-ing, the two men managed to get Rocky into the van. They loaded him into a big cage and locked it behind them. Once they were satisfied he was secure, they shut the door and climbed into the front. The engine roared into life and Eric slammed his foot on the accelerator, the van jerking away at speed.
Shadow felt her cage slowly slide along the metal shelf it was perched on. Eric then made a sharp turn and she felt the cage slide back the other way, while also sliding slightly forwards. The cage came to a stop slightly overhanging the shelf. Worried it might tip over, she moved to the back of the cage with her paws stretched out to the walls for stability. For a while, the van went along smoothly, and the cage stayed where it was on the shelf. Shadow began to relax.
The cage suddenly jumped up in the air and landed a bit further forward.
Once again, the cage flew into the air and moved even closer to the edge.
“Boss, shouldn’t you be a bit more careful going over the bumps?”
“Of course not, we’re in a rush and these stupid bumps aren’t going to slow us down.”
The van flew over the last bump. Shadow was thrown into the air. Her cage hurtled off the shelf and flew forward into the front seats. It hit the dashboard sideways and came to rest right next to Eric’s leg. Being a cat, Shadow landed on her feet. Reacting quickly, she put her paw through the cage bars. She flung out her sharp claws and once again took a swipe at Eric, managing to scratch him across the top and side of his thigh.
“Owww!” he wailed as he subconsciously turned the steering wheel.
The van hurtled to the right, mounted the curb and went crashing into a lamppost.
Shadow’s cage went flying forwards. It tipped slightly and slid down between the seat and the dashboard, where it came to a stop, wedged in.
The men looked at each other in shock. Eric rubbed his head. It was hurting from banging it on the side window in the crash. He was glad that the glass hadn’t broken, else he might have been thrown out of the van.
Edward, although shocked, was unharmed. He had sensibly put on his seatbelt, which saved him from being thrown around the van.
After the initial shock, anger started to grow inside Eric.
“That is it! I have had enough of this cat! I don’t care what the boss says, I am not taking this cat any further!”
Eric opened his door, grabbed the cage and hurled it out. The cage broke through the top of a bush and came to rest in the middle. Shadow was a bit shaken up but luckily not hurt. The cage door had remained intact during the crash and the fall through the bush, leaving her stuck inside the cage with no way of getting out. From the bush, she could hear the sound of Eric laughing crazily as he shut the door and drove away.
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