The Paw Academy

What happens when a girl joins something she hates the most?


8. Pre-Training

“Seraphina! Seraphina, wake up. South Carolina and the Director want to see us.” I moaned rolling over “Seraphina, come on.” She groaned climbing on top of me, if she wasn’t a fox; she would have crushed me. “Come on, let’s go.” She began to push me toward the edge of my bed “Ok ok, I’m going.” I sat up, climbing over the side of my bed to the floor. I walked into the bathroom. “Why do they want to see us anyway?” I began to brush my hair. “The note didn’t say. But then again I didn’t read the entire thing.” I paused “Note?” I started combing my hair with my claws. “Yea, here I’ll read it to you:

“Good Morning, I want to start off by saying Welcome to the Paw Academy, where everything is real! I would like to speak to you all this morning, or like see what I will be dealing with for the next nine months or so. South Carolina will meet you all in the yard and will be taking you to the training grounds where I will be seeing what you can and can’t do. Good Luck!


           Director Washington


“Oh.” I stepped out of the bathroom “Let’s go I guess.” Elaine opened the door and Geoff was pacing back and forth “Come on Geoff, just do it already.” I looked at Elaine “Uh hey Geoff.” He stopped pacing looking at the both of us “Oh hey Seraphina. Elaine. On your way to the yard?” Elaine stepped in front of me “Yes, we are.” She started down the stairs as I closed the door and started to follow her. He walked next to me “So have you asked any of Blyke today?” he asked looking at me “No, I haven’t. “Why?” he looked at me with concern in his eyes. “He didn’t come back.” “he didn’t come back to the cabin last night?” “No. I thought he came to your cabin so I didn’t worry…as much.” We both stopped sitting somewhat near Elaine “That’s odd.” Suddenly random conclusions come to mind and I began to panic “You don’t think he’s hurt, do you? What if he’s hurt?” Soon my imagination had taken over. “I don’t think he’s hurt.” I continue to imagine terrible things happening until Geoff finally nudged me out of my trance. “Can I ask you something?” he looked ahead not looking at me. “Yeah?” I looked at him with a smile “Do you have a thing for Blyke?” he asked still not looking at me “No.” I laughed “We’re just friends. Nothing more, I wouldn’t want to ruin our friendship.” My smile faded thinking back to my pup hood. “Oh, what about Ryder?” he finally looked at me and I looked back at him “Of course not, what would make you think I would ever go with him?” He looked at me surprised by my outburst “Because he said he asked you out last Arlo at the party and you said yes. I began to flush “I never said yes to Ryder. He walked off before I could say anything but I still would have said no.” I looked away from him staring at the ground. “Alright everyone!” South Carolina and the Director walked past me and Geoff and continued on until he was standing in front of us all “Line up! Side by side facing forward like I was standing in front of all of you.” Everyone stood up facing forward but wasn’t exactly aligned. “Ok, that’s not that bad but try to get less space between you and the dog next to you.” He barked before the director cleared her throat. “Everyone sit.” Some sat down while others staggered “Maybe I didn’t make myself clear, sit down. Everyone.” Everyone sat down quickly “Now, Director Washington has some uh…advice for you all.” He sat looking at us all while the director stood up “Ok as most of you or majority of you have seen me before. Some from a college and career fair and some from last Arlo’s shindig, but! The type of behavior from last Arlo is not tolerated at PA and will not be tolerated. That type of behavior….” She sighed “That could have and would have gotten you all killed.” She began to pace back and forth still looking at us. “Like I said in my note that was sent to all of you, this is real! Not some pup training program. Every day is a day that you all could die, right where your sitting or while your training or when you’re out of the field but we won’t…. I won’t send you out there until you’re at least 5 months in. That’s a promise.” She walked off not looking back at any of us. “Ok, any questions? No? Good. Seraphina, come here.” I stood quickly walking toward my brother. I made eye contact with him as I stood in front of him. “First off!” he turns away to look at everyone else. “You need to be able to give eye contact to your instructor. So, we’re going to play a little game the cadet’s like to call ‘Look Away’. Starting with Seraphina here.” He began to consider my eyes like they were prized processions but the price insulted him. We continued this little game until I couldn’t keep it together anymore. “Very good. One other thing.” He looked at the line of them still standing side by side. “Before any of you get any ideas or questions on anything, Seraphina here.” He waved his tail toward me and rested it on my shoulder “She is younger sister.” I caught my breath as some gasped. “B-but I won’t be taking any paw helpings, I will train with the rest of you as an equal.” I glanced at every one then back to my brother who smiled “You can go back now.” He pointed with his tail. Only me, Geoff, and Arlo ended up going back to our original places. Everyone else stood next to and behind Josh. “As you all can see these three are the only ones who can hold solid eye contact. Your homework is to be ready by next week or for every day you can’t do it is every Arlo you won’t be in your cabin. You will be sleeping in there.” He pointed his tail toward the trees almost in the same direction as the place Ed threw that party. “Do I make myself clear?” He looked at all of us with a serious expression. “Yes sir!” Everyone shouted simultaneously. “I’m impressed, first years usually don’t say it together.” He chuckled “Now all of you are to wait here for Coronal Hawaii. And you three, go meet with Director Washington in her office afterwards.” He said before walking off towards what I think was his office. I looked after him as everyone else began to talk amongst themselves.  “Don’t get comfortable everyone. He was just getting you started.” Everyone turned their heads to see a broad tan male walking to stand in front of us. His dark blue eyes giving no emotion. “You three.” He looked at me, Geoff, and Arlo. “In a row, in front of me. Next to each other.” The three of us said nothing and got into our places. “The rest of you line up behind them.” Everyone slowly stood making their way to stand in their row. “Now everyone, walk together. Stay on step with the person next to you and in front of you.” He stepped off to the side to watch us.


I walked up the stairs to my cabin “Hey! Seraphina!” I turned around to see Elaine running up to me “Yeah, what’s up?” she stopped panting “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the cafeteria?” I shook my head “No, I’m fine.” She looked at me with a confused look “Well, alright then. If you say so.” I pushed the door open walking inside. “See you later Elaine!” I shouted before closing the door. I sat down looking around the cabin thinking to myself ‘How did I get here? The same place as Josh. I haven’t seen him in five years.’ I sighed. ‘And Rugby who I haven’t seen in fifteen.’

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