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A Double Dose of Driving Dogs

“These chocolates are covered in tooth marks!” complained Kimi.
All the same, she insisted on eating half of them before she left the house with
Horace at midnight. With the snake draped around his neck, and two hamsters
hanging on his ears, Horace cantered down the silent streets to Ragbag’s house. Boo
was out of plaster now, and swung from ear to ear pretending to be Tarzan.
Ragbag was waiting for them. “The humans are asleep,” she whispered. “Have
you got your burglar?”
“Here she is.” Once he had posted Kimi, Horace was on tenterhooks until the
snake emerged through the letterbox with the key in her mouth.
“Easy peasy,” she sniffed.
Ragbag pulled the tarpaulin away from the lawnmower. Then she dragged a
wooden clothes airer out of the porch.
“I’d thought we could leave this in the lawnmower’s place,” she said, “with the
tarpaulin draped over it. Then my human won’t realise that it’s missing.”
“Excellent idea!” Horace put the key in the lawnmower’s ignition and started up
the engine. When he wriggled onto the seat, it felt like a smaller version of the tractor
he had driven after his car ended up in a stream.
“Welcome to the Houndmobile!” he announced joyfully. “All aboard!”
After pulling the tarpaulin over the clothes airer, Ragbag and Silverside squeezed
onto the lawnmower’s seat next to him. Tickety and Boo sat on his shoulder, while
Kimi curled up in the grass box.
Horace drove the lawnmower sedately down the drive. Compared to the tractor,
this was easy. O nce he was on the road, he opened the throttle.
The result was disappointing. The lawnmower barely speeded up. It went no faster
than a strolling poodle.
“Come on, Horace!” squealed Boo in his ear. “Speed up! Step on the gas!”
Horace tried. The engine coughed and chugged. The lawnmower went from
strolling speed to ambling speed.
“That’s as fast as it will go,” said Horace.