Daniel was walking home from school one day when he heard the loud yelps of a dog. On rounding the corner, he found a group of boys throwing stones and sticks at a small light brown Boxer.
“Hey! Stop that!” yelled Daniel. He hurtled between the boys and the dog, waving his arms.
“What are you doing? Why are you hurting it?” he bellowed at the boys, who stood in a group, laughing at their antics.
“What is it to you? Shove off!” A tall boy standing in the front yelled back. It was Kurt. He was a bully who picked on the smaller kids at school. Nobody dared to stand up to him because he towered over them.
“You shouldn’t throw stones at him. It’s cruel!” Daniel tried to make him see reason. His heart was quivering in fear as he took in the thunderous expression on Kurt’s face.
“Aw! Where is the fun in that? Look at him! It is so filthy! It is probably infected. We are only trying to make it go away,” he argued. The boys all stared back at Daniel with sullen faces.
Daniel knew that arguing with them was not going to help him so he turned around and took a step towards the shivering creature.
It growled low in its throat as Daniel came close. So, Daniel stopped a few feet away from it.
“Get away! You are ruining our fun!” Kurt shouted.
“Run, Kurt,” Daniel warned him, his expression fierce, “or I will hit you with this stone right on your stupid face.” His voice dropped to a threatening murmur. Inside, Daniel’s heart quaked in fear lest the boys started pelting him with the stones instead.
Kurt smirked at first, but when Daniel lurched with the stone toward him, he and his friends quickly ran from there, screaming.
Daniel’s shoulders slumped. He sighed in relief and dropped the stone. He turned to focus on the dog again.
How was he going to coax the dog to come with him?
Suddenly, he had an idea. He opened his bag and retrieved his lunch box. He took out a biscuit that was left over from lunch and extended his arm, to offer it to the dog.
The dog eyed it greedily but did not come near.
Daniel put the biscuit down near him on the stony pavement and stepped back. The dog looked warily at Daniel with clear brown eyes.
Daniel waited patiently while the dog sniffed at the biscuit. Its tongue lolled out but, still, it did not move. Daniel understood his hesitation. It was probably scared that it was a trap and he would be beaten again.
After many minutes of watching Daniel stand patiently and doing nothing, it finally came forward and lapped up the biscuit. Chewing hungrily, he looked up at Daniel as if to say, “More please!”
“You want more, don’t you?” Daniel smiled down at his big brown eyes. It wagged its tail and its tongue hung out.
“Come with me, little guy. I will take you home. I have more biscuits there.”
The dog followed close at Daniel’s heels the whole way and by the time they reached home, it was fair bouncing along.
“What should I call you, little fellow?” Daniel asked as it reclined on the floor of the kitchen, munching ravenously on biscuits which Mom had given.
“Brutus? Pete? Tom? Andy? Martin?” Daniel thought about it hard, trying to find something suitable.
“Mom, what should we call him?”
“Hmm. How about Bruce? Or Buddy?” Mom suggested.
“Buddy sounds nice,” Daniel took in its small form and light brown ears which were pricked up as if to listening to what was being said.
“Buddy. Do you like this name?” Daniel bent down in front of him and patted his head. He scratched behind his ears and the dog licked his hand.
“I think he likes the name, Mom. We will call him Buddy.”
Buddy became Daniel’s best friend. He would follow Daniel around constantly. Wagging his tail, his tongue lolling out, Buddy would even jump into bed with Daniel at night when he went to sleep. Even though, he had his own little bed on the floor with a soft cotton green blanket with smiley faces on it.
It was a dark moonless night, when a man dressed in dark clothes entered quietly in the neighbourhood where Daniel lived. He moved like a shadow from house to house, peering in at people sitting on sofas, watching TV or cooking.
At last, he stopped at the window of a nice house with a grey tiled roof and white painted windows and door. There were flowers growing in brightly painted pots on the porch.
A young boy, around ten years old, sat on the sofa and played video games. His auburn hair and thin gangly frame caught the man’s attention. He seemed to be alone in the house as all the lights were out.
He knocked over a pot on the porch and hid behind the railing, waiting for the boy to come out. Sure enough, the boy opened the door and stood looking down over the broken pot with a confused expression.
That’s when the man pounced on him. He threw a sack over the boy’s head to mask his cries.
“Let me go! Help!” The boy struggled with all his might but the man was twice his strength and the sack muffled his screams.
“Shut up! Or I will kill you!” the man hissed and shook the boy hard.
The boy did not stop struggling and the man quickly made his way down the driveway and turned left where he had left his car.
The boy continued to wriggle out of his hold and would not stop yelling.
Just as the car came into view, something dark and small pounced on the man. It bit his nose and scratched his face. A dog!
The man howled in pain and dropped the boy onto the road. He tried to fight off the dog but it continued to attack him.
The man ran forward to his car but stumbled and fell. The dog had gripped his pants and would not let go. Meanwhile, the boy had thrown off the sack and ran screaming down the street for help.
Lights started flashing in houses as people heard his cries.
The man tried to push the dog away but its grip was too strong. His teeth burned into his flesh and stars danced in front of his eyes.
“Buddy! Don’t let him go!” Another boy came bounding down the street. As he got closer, a police car drew to a halt right beside the scene. Two burly policemen jumped out.
“Buddy! Buddy! You can let go now!” the boy pulled at the dog’s collar. But Buddy refused to give in. He continued to hold on to the man’s pants, growling all the while.
Daniel bent down and ran his hand soothingly up and down the dog’s back, to make him settle down.
The police grabbed the man and he stood upright, crying and hollering. His left leg was bleeding and he stood on his right leg, limping.
“It is Kenny, the kidnapper!” exclaimed the police officer.
“Oh, boy! So, it is! Up to your old tricks again, hey, Kenny?” the other officer said as he snapped handcuffs around Kenny’s wrists.
“That dog! That beast! It bit me! It bit me!” Kenny cried. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he winced in pain.
“Serves you right, Kenny! Was he trying to get you this time?” the officer faced Daniel and asked, while Kenny was dragged, limping and howling, to the police car.
“It was not me, Officer,” Daniel replied.
“It was me,” a voice came from behind Daniel.
When Daniel turned, he found Kurt standing there.
“Kurt?” Daniel was shocked. The boy was trembling slightly.
“The man broke a pot on our front porch. When I came out to investigate, he threw a sack over me and was carrying me away. My parents are not at home so there was nobody to help me. Thanks to the dog, I was saved.”
Kurt’s gaze landed on the dog. Shame and guilt were apparent on the boy’s face.
Daniel scratched behind Buddy’s ears and the dog wagged his tail and licked his cheek.
“He is the same dog you were throwing stones at, Kurt,” Daniel told him, “I named him Buddy because he is such a good friend.”
Kurt kneeled in front of Buddy and patted his head lovingly.
“I am sorry, Buddy, for my behaviour the other day. Thank you for saving my life.”
Buddy barked as if to say, “It is alright. Now we can be friends!”
Kurt ran his hands over the dog’s back. “Let’s go home and find you something to eat, hey, Buddy. I bet you are hungry!”
Buddy barked again and circled around both boys in joy.
He got a nice bone for saving Kurt’s life. Kurt and Daniel became good friends from that day.