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Unleashed

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A Kentucky Adventure by Leigh Anne Florence and illustrated by Chris Ware

 

CHAPTER 1
“Well, Woody, it looks as if all your numbers are higher than last year,” the doctor said as he went over my test results.
“That’s awesome!” I exclaimed, puffing out my chest.
Doc Albert chuckled before she spoke. “Actually Woody, it’s not like exams in school where higher numbers mean better grades. With medical exams, higher numbers aren’t usually a good thing.”
“I don’t understand,” I said, looking back and forth from my parents to the doctor.
“Well, your blood sugar, your cholesterol and your weight are all higher than they were last year. Those three things tell me you aren’t eating right or exercising enough. And for you to be healthy, that has to change.”
I felt a tear come to my eye, but I didn’t want to cry in front of my parents, my sister or the vet, so I played it cool.
“I must have allergies too,” I said, wiping my eyes and drying my sniffles.
“It’s not the end of the world, and you’re certainly not in trouble, Woody,” Doc Albert assured me. “It’s a wake-up call. It’s your body telling you to treat it better.”
“What did you score on your tests, Chloe?” I asked my sister.
Doc Albert answered for her. “Though Chloe hasn’t gained any weight, her cholesterol and her blood sugar were also a tiny bit higher than last year.”
“What is co - co?”
“Cholesterol,” Doc Albert said, trying to help Chloe pronounce the difficult word.
“Yes, cholesterol,” Chloe repeated. “What is it?”

I was wondering about that, too, so I was happy my sister had asked.
“Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance made in the liver and other cells, and found in foods like eggs and meat,” Doc Albert explained. “Our body needs cholesterol to work properly, but if we get too much cholesterol it can clog up our arteries and make it harder for our heart to pump blood.”
I thought about my eating habits and all the times I helped Chloe finish her dinner. Then I thought about my favorite foods: Vanilla Woofers, pupsicles, popcorn, puparoni pizza, bacon, ice cream, pudding pups, meat, cheese, eggs, the very thing Doc Albert said was filled with cholesterol.
“Sure I have a hearty appetite, but I’m a busy guy,” I said to my doctor, trying to convince my parents and myself. “How many other black and tan wiener dogs from Kentucky do you know who write books and travel around the beautiful Bluegrass State with their wiener dog sister and Mom and Dad? Have you ever met another dachshund who spends his days in schools and libraries talking to children and adults about keeping a positive attitude, being respectful and working hard to achieve their goals? I work hard “and I need my strength to keep going. I need food to run just like a car needs gasoline to run,” I said, proud of my point, hoping it didn’t come off as disrespectful.
“That’s a great point,” Doc Albert said. “But would you fill your car up with apple juice or water?”
“Of course not!” I answered as we all laughed. “It wouldn’t run, silly.”
“Well, the food you are putting in your body is just like filling your car up with apple juice. It might fill the tank, but you won’t go anywhere,” Doc explained.
As valid as I thought my argument was, Doc Albert made a much stronger point.
“Sit tight while I get your prescriptions ready, pups,” Doc ordered as she left the exam room. I hoped the medicine wasn’t some nasty, smelly stuff that made me hold my nose so I could swallow it.
Doc Albert returned carrying a large brown cardboard box, securely taped, that was bigger than Chloe and me. “Here you go, pups,” Doc said as she handed the box to Dad. The top of the box read “Rx for Woody and Chloe. Take as directed.”
“What does Rx mean?” I asked, trying to pronounce the word that didn’t have a vowel in the middle of it.
“Rx is an abbreviation for medical prescription,” Mom explained. “And you know what a prescription is. It’s a recipe for getting well.”
I didn’t know what was in the box, but one thing was for sure. It was the biggest recipe I had ever seen.

Go to www.kypress.com to hear Woody read each chapter and try the interactive chapter activities.
Thanks to Kentucky Utilities/LG&E, Kentucky Office for Adventure Tourism, Kentucky Press Association and Newspaper in Education for helping to make this statewide literacy project possible.