The Case of the Missing Munk - Part I
Updated: Mar 16
My mom and dad scolded me for being too excited. I suppose I had given them good reason to be cross with me. I was getting impatient waiting for my parents to open the car door. I couldn’t contain my excitement a whisker longer and started jumping around like a maniac, accidentally thumping them with my long floofy tail. It must have been a little funny because while my mom scowled at me, my dad was laughing behind his hands, trying not to let anyone see him enjoying my silly antics.
Overall, I thought I was being a good boy, considering they were taking me to the Mill o’ Kintail conservation park, one of my favorite places on earth – that doesn’t involve me swimming. There was a river there, but it was much too fast and dangerous to swim in, so I kept to the trails, searching for new sniffs. There were tracks made by people, and other dogs, and birds, and squirrels, and raccoons. Oh, my dog, there were always so many new, exciting scents for a golden retriever like me to follow.
As much as I loved traveling to the park, today was going to be even better because my mom said my munks, Chippy, Nutsy, and Cheeks could all come along for the adventure. Sure, these crafty striped devils had started off being my nemeses. After all, they had stolen chapters from my dad’s story, leaving him heartbroken and miserable. But I learned the little rascals were just bored and wanted to have a bit of fun. I could relate to that, and ever since, we’ve become best buddies, spending quality time together, watching TV, running around the house, and even sleeping together in my mom and dad’s big comfy bed.
Once I calmed down and gave my mom “good eyes” as she called it, she allowed me to get into the car. I gathered my munks around me, and before long, we were off to the park. I just knew I was going to have the best day.
Even though my parents said we’d be there in just a few minutes, it felt like an eternity before we pulled into the parking lot. I immediately knew when we were there. The tall pine trees, the open fields, and the sound of the river roaring in the distance all spoke to me and my nose. While I was doing my best to not lose my mind, my little munk buddies looked nervous. They hadn’t been out too much, because it had been too cold and the snow too deep, but after the big melt we just had, they’d be able to safely run around with me, and take in everything the Mill o’ Kintail had to offer.
When my dad opened the hatch of our car, I burst out, knocking him over. He said something to me, but I wasn’t paying attention. I needed to take care of some personal business, immediate-like, so that I could concentrate on my investigation of park news – yes, that means I’m going to sniff my brains out!
By the time my parents had gotten themselves ready to start their hike, me and the munks were ready to get underway. I felt a bit embarrassed that I needed my mom and dad along, so I asked permission to walk on ahead, without being on a leash – I have exceptionally expressive eyes, don’t you know? Well, my mom said it was okay because it appeared that we were the only ones there, so me and the munks took off to start our adventure.
Oh, my dog, we were having so much fun. We romped down the trail that led close to the river. Cheeks was off investigating a scent that he said “smells like dinner” while Nutsy and Chippy were climbing up tree trunks and launching themselves into deep piles of snow. Sometimes, my little munk buddies would get stuck in the snowbank and I’d have to use my powerful paws to dig them out, like a heroic golden excavator. On one such rescue mission, I accidentally caught Nutsy with my paw and launched him into Chippy, sending the two of them heads over tails into yet another snowbank.
We all laughed hysterically until my munk buddies started pelting me with tiny munk-sized snowballs. When one of them hit me right in the snoot, they thought I would be angry, but it only made me laugh even harder. My little buddies were so full of mischievous fun that I just couldn’t help myself.
After we finished our snowball fight, we started exploring near the river, making sure to not venture too close. Even though I’m an expert swimmer, the river was too fast, even for me. But if my munk buddies fell in, they’d be in serious trouble. I would never let that happen.
Nutsy was trying to say something to me, but it was impossible to hear his tiny voice over the sound of rushing water. Never before had I’d seen the river so fast and swollen. It was mesmerizing to watch the frothy water flow past. As I stared intently at the chunks of ice racing by, I imagined little penguins on them, each off on their own adventures.
“Master Gizmo,” Chippy said. He had climbed up on my back to put his mouth closer to my ear. “We’ve lost Cheeks! We can’t see him anywhere.”
I groaned quietly to myself. Like me, that little munk was always goofing off, stuffing his face with things he shouldn’t be eating. Why would today be any different? Or worse, he was playing tricks on us, making us search for him while he sat on a tree limb, quietly laughing his face off at us.
It was at that moment in time, while I was thinking badly of Cheeks, that I caught sight of Nutsy. His eyes were wide and glassy, while his tail was tucked up close to his back, vibrating so quickly it was difficult to focus on it. He was frantically pointing up into the branches of a tall oak tree.
My puppy heart raced at the sight. Two large squirrels had Cheeks by the scruff of his neck, and they were dragging him through the treetops.
“I’ll get him,” Nutsy said. “I’ll not let them take my brother.” The red-faced chipmunk grabbed a small stick, wielding it like a tiny, blunt sword. “I’ll make them rue the day they messed with our family.”
“There’s too many,” Chippy yelled, pointing up to another tree with three of the biggest squirrels I had ever seen. “If you go up there, they’ll take you, too!”
“We’ll follow them,” I said, laying down on the ground, never taking my eyes off the squirrels who were holding my munk hostage. “Climb onto my back. Once we find out where they’re taking him, we’ll figure out a way to free him.”