North Little Rock, Ark. — One day a fat and lazy solid brown cat named Bruce was sitting looking out the window. When he saw his owner, Julie Ann, come into the room to get her jacket, he knew she was going to school.
He slowly climbed down off the window ledge so that he could sneak out when she opened the door.
She did, opened the door, and Bruce ran outside. She had no time to try to catch him because she was already late for school.
As Bruce was walking around in the neighborhood, he started thinking what it would be like to go downtown.
Then he made up his mind. ''I am going downtown,'' he said.
Halfway there he met a big dog who made Bruce's hair stand up straight on his back.
The dog started barking. Bruce started snarling. Suddenly they were tangled in a big fight with a lot of barking, meowing, snarling, and clawing.
But the dog's owner came out of his house and stopped the fight, and after a little while, Bruce continued on his walk.
After a while, he noticed that his collar was gone.
''I must have lost it while I was fighting that dog,'' Bruce said.
He looked up at the sky. The sun was going down, and it was getting dark, for he had been walking for hours. Bruce knew it was getting late, and he wanted to go home.
But one little thing stopped him: he didn't know the way home.
A tear rolled down his face. He was scared. He was lost in a place where he had never been before.
Finally he curled up by a building and went to sleep.
Then sun came up, and it was morning. The sunlight awoke him. He looked up and saw a man standing over him. The man said, ''Another stray! They're all over the place!''
He picked up Bruce, and took him inside his building.
Bruce saw hundreds of cats and dogs in cages. The man put Bruce in one of the empty cages. Bruce knew at once that he was in the pound.
Meanwhile, outside, Julie Ann was on her way to the store with her allowance of three dollars. She stopped when she reached the pound, and took a closer look at a cat sitting in his cage by the window. ''It's Bruce!'' she yelled. She asked the man if she could take him home.
The man said, ''As soon as you get a license tag for him.''
She gave the man her three dollar bills. She took the license tag, and they left the pound.
She cuddled Bruce close to her like a baby, and promised him a new collar when she got her next allowance.
From that day on, Bruce knew he would never again go downtown alone.