Gift-Fic: Doggy Does Better with Twins
by: Flaming Trails

Ding-Dong! “Arf! Arf! Arf!”

Lisa stepped back as the doorbell’s chime faded into the scuffling of four eager little paws, followed by the thump-thump of hurried footsteps. “Easy, boy!” the familiar voice of one Victor Van Dort called. “Easy – careful! Don’t crash into the wall! Sit! Sit, boy! Yes, good Lightning…”

Lisa giggled as the door finally opened. “Hi Victor. I see there’s one member of the family still getting enough sleep.”

Victor managed a half-hearted glare through eyes darkened with exhaustion. “Oh, don’t let him fool you,” he said, retrieving Lightning’s leash from its hook by the door. At his feet, the corgi vibrated, eager to be released from his sit. “He’s been up all night, just like the rest of us. He’s just better at making it up than Alice or I am.” He reached down and scratched Lightning behind the ears. “Isn’t that right, silly puppy?”

“Hey, you’re the one who made those loud babies,” Lightning informed him in a series of short barks, tail wagging. “Your own fault you can’t get to sleep.”

“Oh, cut him a break, Lightning,” Lisa said, crouching down to get closer to eye level with the tiny dog. “He wasn’t expecting two at once, you know.”

Lightning cocked his head, unimpressed. “I had five siblings. My mother never complained.”

“Humans and dogs are pretty different, if you haven’t noticed. How long did your mother actually have to take care of you?” Lisa scruffed up Lightning’s fur, then looked over at Victor. “How are things going with the twins?”

“It’s – been an adjustment,” Victor admitted, rubbing the back of his head. “I mean, Alice and I did our best to prepare, but – you really don’t know how you can handle two infants and a toddler until you’re in the middle of it. There’s always someone crying, or needing a change, or…” He pressed his fingers against his temples. “At least we’ve gotten Vincent and Lorina on a feeding schedule! Chester’s just throwing anything he doesn’t approve of on the floor.”

“It’s the best,” Lightning said, bouncing on his front paws.

“Oh, yes, of course you approve,” Victor replied, interpreting his pup’s language before Lisa could even think to lend a hand. “At least you keep us from having to worry too much about clean-up!” He shook his head. “We’re just – taking it day by day. We love them all, but…” He sighed, face falling. “I said I didn’t want my children raised by strangers, but right now, it’s looking like the only solution.”

“It’s fine – if you need help, you should get it,” Lisa assured him, standing up so she could pat his shoulder (which took a bit of stretching still). “You hiring a nanny to share the load isn’t anywhere near the same as your parents abandoning pretty much all child care to one. And you know, I’m here to help however I can.”

“I do, and it’s most appreciated.” Victor knelt down and attached the leash Lightning’s collar. “I’m sure Lightning appreciates it too.”

“Nice to get away from all the crying,” Lightning agreed. He licked Victor’s face. “Still wish you could take me, though.”

Lisa relayed the message, which got a sad smile out of Victor. “I wish I could too – but I’m needed more here at the moment,” he said, stroking Lightning’s head. “We can’t leave Alice to deal with this all alone, can we?” He lightly booped the corgi’s nose. “But tell you what – maybe Saturday, if the weather’s good, we can get together with the Browns and McFlys and have a day out at Wonderland Park. How’s that?”

“That’d be great!” Lightning barked, tail blurring with eager joy. “Go run run run all over the place!”

“Yeah, I thought you’d like that.” Victor turned back to Lisa as he stood. “Thanks for that. You’re welcome to come too, if you want. So long as you don’t mind the possibility of being dragged into diaper duty.”

“I’ll see what my schedule’s like,” Lisa promised, before taking the leash from him. “But right now, I’ve got a different duty to fulfill.” She gave the leash a tug, smiling. “Come on, Lightning – let’s go paint the town red!”

The End