A Valentiny Story: Stella & Sparky and the Last Valentine

Today’s a very special day. It’s the day when we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birth and Lunar New Year 2021. It’s the Friday before the long-awaited Presidents’ Day Weekend, and it’s one day closer to spring. But most especially, it’s the day when children’s writers around the world submit a story to…  

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

Now for those very few of you who may not be familiar with this special contest, you’re in for a real treat. Each and every one of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of the maximum 214-word stories for children (ages 12 and under) features a character who is feeling BRAVE!

To read these fabulous stories, hop on over to Susanna Hill’s blog. It’s free and pairs perfectly with hot cocoa, cookies, candy from your sweetheart, or your treat of choice. And if you leave a comment on a story you enjoy, you’ll warm the heart of its creator.

As to my entry, I’ve taken this opportunity to feature two characters who have been roaming around in my brain for quite some time: Stella, a miniature horse, and Sparky, a small but spirited pup. They’re based on real therapy animals who live and train at a ranch in Montana. Without further ado, may I present…

Stella & Sparky and the Last Valentine

(213 words)

Stella and Sparky delivered Valentines to the library Ready Readers, to young patients at Cancer Care, and to wounded soldiers at the Veterans Hospital. When they finished, one card remained.

“Let’s give it to Mrs. Stinkenblum.”

“That grump never smiles!”

“That’s why she needs it!”

“But she lives on the other side of the valley.”

“Easy-peasy! I’ll nudge the paddock gate open. You sniff out the trail. We’ll cross the snowy fields, tiptoe past the wolf’s den, and be there in no time!”


“What’s that noise, like the snorting of…”


“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”

“Once I dig out of this snowbank.”

“What’s that noise, like the rumbling of…”


“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”

“Once we scale these boulders.”

“What’s that noise, like the growling of…”


“Whew! That was too close!”

“I. Give. Up!”

“But we’re so close. Be brave!”

“Look! Mrs. Stinkenblum’s house!”

“Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“What’s that noise?”

“Snorting? Rumbling? Growling?”

“With hairy arms!”

“Slimy red nose!”

 “Gaping mouth!”


“Stella! Sparky! It’s me, Mrs. Stinkenblum, in my furry robe, with such a bad cold. Ahhh-choo!

But this lovely Valentine is the perfect medicine. Thank you!”

Wide smiles spread across everyone’s faces.

6 responses to “A Valentiny Story: Stella & Sparky and the Last Valentine

  1. Great story! Good luck with the contest.

  2. Such a fun ending. Terrific!

  3. aww! that was a dangerous journey for a sweet response.

  4. I loved your story. Just the right amount of tension to send shivers down the girl’s spine. And, it’s full of heart!

  5. It kept building and building to where you have to gasp at the big monster, and then gasp in relief that it’s just a big robe.
    Fun story 🙂

  6. I’m glad they made it! Happy belated Valentiny day! Your story made me laugh at the end, picturing the slimy red nose and gaping mouth of Mrs. Stinkenblum.

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