A big, scary monster stared at Peggy the pug with wild yellow eyes. It roared loudly, showing its sharp teeth. Just as it was about to gobble her up, Peggy woke from her nap with a start.
Phew! thought Peggy. It was just a dream. But then she opened her eyes and jumped up in fright. Something scary was coming straight down the hallway toward her. It wasn’t a monster, but it was almost as bad—the vacuum cleaner!
“Sorry, Pegs,” called Dad over the noise of the vacuum. “I know you hate this thing, but it’s Saturday.”
Every Saturday afternoon, Peggy’s family did chores. Fleeing from the vacuum cleaner, Peggy ran into the living room. Chloe was cleaning the windows while her older brother, Finn, dusted. Ruby, the youngest, was tidying her toys away.
“I’ll help too!” said Peggy, picking up a teddy with her teeth and dropping it into a basket. Of course, to the humans it just sounded like barking.
Mum came into the living room and peeled off a pair of yellow rubber gloves. “The kitchen’s done. How are you lot getting on in here?”
“Nearly done,” said Chloe.
Peggy retrieved a train from under the sofa and dropped it onto Ruby’s lap. Ruby patted her on the head and chuckled. “Peggy’s helping too.”
“Can me and my friends make pizzas tonight?” Chloe asked as she squirted spray onto the windows and cleaned it off with a paper towel.
Mmm, pizza. Just thinking about it made Peggy drool in anticipation.
“Of course,” Mum said.
“And can we make popcorn and watch a scary movie?” asked Chloe. “Pleeeeease—it’s almost Halloween.”
“Yes,” said Mum, laughing. “That’s all fine.”
“Who’s sleeping over tonight?” asked Finn, running the duster over the shelves.
“Ellie and Hannah,” said Chloe. “We’re going to sleep in the living room. With Peggy, of course.”
“Yay!” barked Peggy. She and Chloe had been best friends ever since Chloe’s family had adopted Peggy from an animal shelter. Peggy loved everyone in her family, but she and Chloe had always shared a special bond.
“Can we stay up really, really late?” Chloe asked.
“As long as you don’t keep the rest of us up,” replied Mum.
“Me too,” begged Ruby, jumping up and down. “I want to stay up late, too!”
“No way,” said Chloe. “You’re only in kindergarten. You’re too little for a sleepover party.”
“You can stay up a bit later than usual, Rubes,” said Mum, “but this is Chloe’s sleepover.”
“Not fair,” Ruby said, pouting.
“You’ll have your own sleepovers when you’re older,” Mum promised her.
“You aren’t allowed to bother us either,” Chloe told her big brother.
“Don’t worry,” Finn said, flicking her with the duster. “I don’t want to hang out with you and your stupid friends, anyway.”
“Good,” retorted Chloe, sticking her tongue out at him. “Because you’re not invited!”
Peggy couldn’t wait for Chloe’s friends to arrive. She ran over to the window, jumped up, and rested her front paws on the sill. Pressing her flat, black nose against the glass, she looked out at the front garden. The trees were ablaze with red, gold, and brown leaves, but there was no sign of Chloe’s friends on the path.
“Peggy,” sighed Chloe. “I just cleaned that!” She squirted cleaning spray onto the window again and wiped away the smudge Peggy’s nose had left on the glass. “I want to get it done quickly so I can get ready for my sleepover.”
“It’s safe to come out, Peggy,” said Dad, poking his head around the door. “I’ve finished vacuuming. Anything else need doing?”
“Nope,” said Mum. “That’s everything. Great job, everyone.”
“Come on, Peggy,” said Chloe. “We need to plan for tonight!”
Peggy hurried after Chloe, climbing the stairs as fast as her short little legs could go. Sitting cross-legged on her bed, Chloe took out a sparkly notebook with a unicorn on the cover and began to make a list.
“Pizza… pampering… popcorn,” said Chloe as she wrote.
Peggy thought it all sounded fun—especially the pizza and popcorn! She let out an enthusiastic yip.
“Hmm… Am I forgetting anything?” Chloe wondered out loud.
Peggy chewed on the corner of Chloe’s pillow thoughtfully.
“Oh, that reminds me!” Chloe said, tugging the pillow out of Peggy’s mouth. “We need to have a pillow fight, too!” She quickly added “pillow fight” to her list and gave Peggy a cuddle. “Thanks, Peggy. I don’t know what I’d do without you!”
At six o’clock the doorbell rang. Barking excitedly, Peggy ran to the door, wagging her curly tail.
“I’ll get it!” cried Chloe, flinging the door open. Her friends Ellie and Hannah stepped inside, each holding a backpack and a sleeping bag.
“Hi, Peggy,” said Hannah, crouching down to give her a pat. “Princess says hi.” Princess was Hannah’s pet dog. Peggy felt a bit sad that Princess wasn’t coming to the sleepover, too, but the playful little terrier could be a bit naughty. It was probably for the best.
“Come on, guys,” said Chloe. “Let’s make pizzas!”
The girls headed into the kitchen. After washing their hands, they each took a small ball of the dough Dad had made earlier and rolled it out on the counter.
“Hey, watch this!” said Finn, coming into the kitchen. He picked up a circle of dough and tossed it into the air with a flourish.
PLOP! The dough landed on Peggy’s head, covering her eyes.
“Help!” she barked. “I can’t see!”
“Oops! Sorry, Peggy,” said Finn as he took the pizza dough off her head. “I meant to catch that.”
“Muuuuummm!” shouted Chloe. “Finn’s pestering us!”
“It’s okay,” said Ellie. “He’s funny.”
“And kind of cute,” Hannah whispered, blushing.
Looking horrified, Finn ran out of the kitchen.
“Well, that got rid of him,” said Chloe.
The girls spread tomato sauce onto their pizza bases, then sprinkled on some cheese and other tasty toppings. Peggy waited patiently by their feet, gobbling up any bits of cheese and pepperoni that fell onto the floor.
After dinner, the girls and Peggy went upstairs to Chloe’s room. Singing along to pop music, they styled each other’s hair and painted their nails. Peggy sniffed a bottle of hot-pink nail polish curiously as Ellie braided Chloe’s hair.
“I think Peggy wants us to paint her claws,” said Hannah, giggling.
“That wouldn’t be good for her,” said Chloe. “But we can do her hair.”
Using a special grooming brush, the girls took turns to smoothing down Peggy’s soft, tan fur. Ahhh, this is lovely, Peggy thought happily. Then, as a finishing touch, Hannah clipped a pink bow on to her collar.
“You look gorgeous, Peggy,” said Ellie.
“Let’s get into our pajamas,” said Chloe. “And then we can watch a movie!”
The girls got changed and trooped downstairs into the living room with their pillows and sleeping bags. Mum and Dad were reading Ruby a story on the sofa, while Finn played a computer game.
“Ready for some popcorn?” asked Mum, looking up.
The girls nodded excitedly.
In the kitchen, Mum poured popcorn kernels into the popcorn maker, and then—POP! POP! POP!—fluffy white popcorn came spluttering out of the machine.
“What are we going to watch?” asked Ellie as they went back into the living room with a big bowl of buttery popcorn.
“How about The Swamp Monster’s Revenge?” suggested Chloe, flicking through options on the screen with the remote control.
“Are you sure?” asked Finn, raising his eyebrow. “I’ve seen that—it’s scary.”
“We won’t be scared,” boasted Chloe.
“Can I watch too?” asked Ruby, yawning.
“It’s time for you to go to bed,” said Mum. “Come on—we’ll tuck you in.”
Once the others had left the room, Chloe and her friends switched off the lights, turned on the film, and snuggled up on the sofa with the bowl of popcorn between them. Chloe settled Peggy on her lap, and all three girls fed her pieces of popcorn as they watched the film.
Peggy liked the popcorn, but she didn’t enjoy the movie. It was about a slimy green monster who lived in a lake and gobbled up anyone who went into the water. Peggy had to cover her eyes with her paws during all the scary bits. She could feel Chloe trembling, too.
As the movie neared the end, Peggy’s ears pricked up. Something was creeping along the living room floor, slithering closer and closer. It was the swamp monster!
“Raaaaaaaah!” the monster roared, reaching out a hand and grabbing Chloe’s ankle.
The girls shrieked at the top of their lungs. Peggy knew she had to save them!
“Grrrrrrrrr!” she growled, pouncing onto the swamp monster.
“Calm down, Pegs,” said a familiar voice. “It’s just me.”
Chloe turned on the light and revealed Finn, who was laughing so hard, he could barely stand up.
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” gasped Finn, clutching his sides. “I thought you said you weren’t going to be scared!”
“Aaargh! You are so annoying!” Chloe threw her pillow at her brother.
“Pillow fight!” cried Ellie, grabbing her pillow and flinging it at Finn.
He threw the pillow back at her, but missed and knocked over the bowl of popcorn.
“Take that!” shrieked Hannah, standing on the sofa and bopping Finn on the head with a cushion.
Soon pillows and popcorn were flying all over the living room, as the children shrieked with laughter and Peggy ducked for cover. Suddenly Mum and Dad appeared in the doorway in their dressing gowns, looking cross.
“Okay, break it up,” said Mum.
Dad sighed as he looked at the mess on the floor. “I only just vacuumed this afternoon.”
Wanting to be helpful, Peggy gobbled up as much of the popcorn from the floor as she could.
Dad switched off the television. “Time to get some sleep, kiddos.”
“Awwww!” protested Chloe. “But it’s not even midnight yet.”
“Bedtime,” Mum said firmly.
Once Mum, Dad, and Finn had gone upstairs to bed, the girls spread their sleeping bags out on the living room floor and climbed inside them. Peggy squeezed in between Chloe and Hannah. They were all snuggled up so close that Peggy could feel them breathing as they whispered secrets in the dark. It reminded her of when she was a puppy, nestled together with her brothers and sisters.
Sleepovers are fun! thought Peggy as she burrowed closer to Chloe. Then, closing her eyes, she fell into a deep, contented sleep.