It was cold outside, and Dolly had made herself a small Chihuahua-cave out of fleecy blankets under her desk. Inside the cave it was warm and she could curl up and sleep, or stretch out and pretend to be asleep while she watched the world go by. It was ideal for a doggy detective.
She was about to stretch out again when a pup walked into her office and sat down on the floor in front of her desk. Dolly sat up, a little reluctant to leave her cave behind, and barked a greeting.
The pup cringed, one paw lifting up and covering his left eye. He stayed like that until he was sure that Dolly wouldn't bark at him again, and then slowly put his paw back down.
'How curious,' thought Dolly, but she was a professional and so said,
"What can I do for you?"
"I hear you solve crimes," said the pup, his eyes huge and moist. "My mummy's been taken away and I want her back."
Dolly was taken aback a little. Who would steal a puppy's mother?
"Do you know where your mummy went?" she said gently.
"The Wuffuluffagus took her!"
Dolly was more than a little taken aback this time. Everydog knew about the Wuffuluffagus, a terrible monster that lurked in shadows, growled in the night, and smelled so terrible that no-dog would go near it. Could the Wuffuluffagus really be somewhere nearby?"
"When did... did the Wuffuluffagus take her?"
"She was out for a walk, near the Scary Orchard. I don't go there alone, I only go with my mummy."
The puppy looked like he was ready to cry, and Dolly could understand why. The Scary Orchard was not a nice place to go alone.
"I'll take your case," said Dolly quietly. "It'll cost you two bones, and any expenses I might have."
The pup started thanking her, attempting to lick her with gratitude, but Dolly wasn't paying attention, already worrying about having to go the Scary Orchard and find the pup's mother.