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As you enter the kitchen, a tiny bundle of yellowy fluff skitters across the floor and lands at your feet. A few seconds later a slightly bigger bundle of yellow fluff follows suit, this one soaking wet and nearly knocking you over.
You've just met Barks and his Alkenore, Adore.
Valentine Barks is a tiny baby Gelert with one unique talent. Mess. His owner likes to say he attracts dirt. After just a few moments of play in the garden the once clean Gelert puppy will come in all muddy and brown with feathers and dried leaves tangled in his fur. At least Adore usually manages to stay clean by fluttering a few feet off the ground.
This wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't for the one thing Barks hates most in the world. Baths. Judging by the soap between his ears and his dripping wet fur, it looks like he's just escaped from one now. Barks likes baths even less than he likes Kadoaties, and you can't chase a bath up a tree if it dares to come near you.
It looks like the little gelert has gotten away with it this time, though. Upstairs you can hear his owner Paper_Valentine sighing as she pulls the plug to let the dirty water drain away. Now she just has to clean up the water he splashed all over the bathroom as he escaped. Keeping a neohome tidy is hard enough at the best of times, when it's the home of Valentine_Barks, tidiness is an impossible dream.
Now the puppy and his petpet are settling down at the kitchen table. Adore had helpfully got the art supplies down from where they're kept on the highest shelf, and Barks is uncapping the glue and mixing up paints. This is his favourite thing to do, Valentine Barks just loves painting. All round the house his owner has framed multicoloured paw prints that he drew when he had just been adopted. His art projects don't always go to plan, however. Bark's brother, Valentine Paws, has learnt to stay out of the way when Barks is in a creative mood. Get too close and he might end up glued to the couch again, or with paint stains on his plushie green body.
Sure enough, there is already paint and paper everywhere. Little red paint spots are flecked across the table, and there is a small puddle of glue oozing onto the floor. Adore has been walking in the paint pots, and now there is a rainbow coloured trail of tiny alkenore footprints going up the side of one of the cupboards. You can hear footsteps on the stairs and wonder what the reaction will be when Bark's owner sees all this...
Sure enough, the expression on Paper_Valentine's face is a picture of exasperation and frustration. "Valentine Bartholemew Barks!" she cries, "What have you done now?"
The little Gelert puppy looks worried, she only uses his full name when she's really, really mad. Nervously he trots over with a piece of paper in his mouth, watching with big brown eyes as his owner takes it... and smiles.
Who wouldn't forgive a baby Gelert who has just made you a beautiful valentines card with a huge heart on it? Paper_Valentine laughs and scoops Barks up into her arms, hugging him. It can wait until later to tell the paint covered puppy that he has to have yet another bath!
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