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Hello, I'm Tom.
Do you like dogs?
Me too. I absolutely love dogs, and tonight's bedtime story
is about a very special little waggy-tailed friend
looking for someone to play with. And it's called Fleabag
and it's written and illustrated by Helen Stephens.
There once was a dog who had no name.
And he had no home.
What he did have was fleas.
SCRATCHING But they weren't much company.
He lived all alone in the big city, and found his dinner
wherever he could.
He liked to bark at the huge blue things that thundered past.
TRAIN RUMBLES PAST WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!
And run in the big green place, where he saw lots of other dogs.
The other dogs all had people to take for walks.
He wished that he had a person, too. BARKING
Sometimes, he tried to join in the other dogs' games,
but their people called him Fleabag.
Told him to shoo!
Then one day...
he saw a boy with a ball, but no dog.
The boy's big person was busy, and he had no-one to play with.
That didn't seem right.
So when the boy threw his ball, the dog ran as fast as he could
across the green stuff, through the pink things
and caught it.
FLEABAG PANTS That was fun.
He'd never done playing before.
The boy looked very pleased.
He tickled the dog under the chin.
The dog liked that, he'd never been tickled before.
"Don't touch him, Bob," said the boy's big person.
"He's all mucky."
"I don't mind," said Bob. "I like him."
Over the next few days, the dog looked out for his boy
and the boy looked out for his dog.
The boy's big person was usually
too busy to notice, and they became great friends.
But then one day...
the boy didn't feel like playing.
He was too sad.
He told the dog that his family were moving house the next day.
They were going far away and he wouldn't be able to play
with the dog ever again.
The dog waggled his eyebrows as if he understood,
but he didn't really.
Then the boy's big person called out, "Come on, Bob, home time.
"Leave that little Fleabag alone now."
"I have to go with my mum," said the boy.
"I'll miss you."
And he shook the dog's paw.
Then the boy followed his mum, and the dog followed his boy
all the way home.
That night, the boy couldn't sleep.
When he looked out his window, he could see his dog,
sitting far below.
"I can't leave you behind," he thought.
And he decided to do something very scary.
He picked up his suitcase, which was already packed for the move,
stuffed a few biscuits in his pockets,
and he tiptoed out of the flat.
He was scared as he scampered down the stairs.
He was scared as the heavy door shut behind him.
DOOR SHUTS And he was scared as he ran
to meet his friend.
"Come on, boy," he said bravely, "we're running away!"
The dog was very confused.
What was his boy doing outside in the dark?
He should be safe indoors with his big people.
FLEABAG WHIMPERS He sat very still.
"Come on," said the boy.
But the dog wouldn't move.
"Biscuit?" said the boy.
But the dog wouldn't budge.
"I'll just have to carry you," said the boy.
But the dog wriggled free and tried to pull his boy back home.
Then he ran round and round and round barking.
WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!
"Shh," said the boy, "You'll wake up Mum and Dad."
That seemed like a good idea.
So the dog went, "Woof, woof, woof! Woof, woof, woof..."
..until a light went on...
and a worried face looked out.
The boy's big people seemed rather cross and they sent him
straight back to bed.
Then one of them said,
"I suppose this little Fleabag can sleep here tonight."
"I think he deserves to," said the other.
"He did look after Bob."
The dog was very excited.
He'd never slept in a real bed before.
The next day, the family took everything out of their flat
and put it in an enormous van.
Then, when the van was full, they got into the car.
The dog was worried.
Were his people going somewhere without him?
Then the man said, "Come on, little Fleabag,
"hop in, you're coming with us."
And that's how the dog with no name found a home.
The dog soon settled in. Dad got rid of his fleas, which was good.
Mum got him nice and clean,
which wasn't so good.
Then Bob got him nice and dirty all over again.
The dog listened while his family tried to think of a name for him.
"Scruff," said Mum.
"Spike," said Dad.
"Ga-ga," said the baby.
But the only name that stuck...
LAUGHTER AND BARKING
What a lovely little dog. It's a perfect name for him as well.
I'm sure Fleabag will be going on lots of adventures
with his new family.
But now it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own,
in your dreams.
So cuddle up to your snuggly friend and drift off to sleep.
I'll see you soon for another bedtime story.
Tom Hardy and his dog Woody invite you to join them for tonight's bedtime story about a wonderful friendship between a young boy and a scruffy little dog.