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by Sharlene Leker



I always wanted a pet. Each time I asked, my mother recited the usual excuses: she was allergic to cats, dogs ate too much, hamsters were nothing more than rodents, and fish smelled. . .well. . .fishy. I had no luck in convincing my mother that I needed a pet.

Saturdays are Mama’s usual day for shopping and running errands and I always tag along in hopes of being granted a special treat. We were casually strolling through the mall when suddenly, right in front of the pet store window, I stopped dead in my tracks. I saw them through the smudged glass, all of them seemingly chanting, “Pick me! Pick me!”

“Can we pleeeese go inside?”  I begged. “I just want to look around.”

Mama stood in silence and I crossed my fingers while I anxiously waited for her reply. 

“Remember, you’re only here to look.” She instructed.

I agreed! My crossed fingers and short prayer proved to be the perfect combination to grant my plea.   

We entered the store and I ran straight to the window display. There, huddled together in the corner were all different sizes and colors. Some were pure black, some brown, some white. But the one that caught my eye was the smallest of the bunch. Some might even call him the “Runt”. He was gray with a spattering of black spots. I picked him up and held him in my hands and immediately felt the connection that only a human and pet can feel. Was it love at first sight? I think he felt it too.

“Can I please keep him?” I begged.

“You know how I feel about pets.” Mama replied. “You promise to take care of them but after a while you lose interest then I’m stuck with the responsibility.”

“But I’m older now. It’s been a long time since we had the cat that made you itch and sneeze, and the Saint Bernard that ate more than our entire family, and the hamster that escaped from his cage and ran amok throughout the house and the goldfish that. . .

“Okay! Okay! I get it.” You are older now and take your responsibilities seriously.

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other as I nervously waited for an answer.

“He will be your responsibility. It’s up to you to see he’s taken care of. If you neglect him, I will toss him outside into the garden.”

I could hardly believe what I was hearing! “You mean I can keep him?”

I immediately named him “Spot”. I held him on my lap the entire way home.

I pampered Spot with a warm bath and chose a fluffy towel for his bed. He seemed happy but it wasn’t long before I noticed a problem. He was shy. Not just shy, but painfully shy. Every morning I held spot, petted him and encouraged him to be more assertive. This routine went on for months. 

Each day when I got home from school, I immediately called out, “Spot, I’m hoooome!” This particular day I entered my room and I couldn’t believe my eyes! My encouraging words must have done a world of good because my pet rock just became a LITTLE BOULDER!

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