When they saw the puppy, they wanted it. But did the puppy want them?
Vinay and Reena jumped off the bus. And both of them saw the little puppy. It was crouched in the bus shelter, scratching itself lazily. A pale brown, with a little black nose.
“Oh look!” Vinay pointed at the same moment as Reena said, “A puppy!” The puppy heard their voices and came dancing towards them. It looked up into their faces and gave a little bark. The bark completely captivated the two children.
Vinay said, “I want this puppy!” just as Reena declared, “I am taking this dog home!”
Vinay was surprised but he repeated, “I want this puppy!” Not to be outdone, Reena announced firmly, “I want it!”
They stared at each other, a little confused now. In the three years of their friendship all disagreements had usually resolved themselves with ease. They waited for the other person to back off and say, “You take the dog!”
But there was silence as the two children stared at the puppy, sitting on the ground, his head cocked to one side. “He is so cute!” Reena said, “and I want him!”
In his imagination Vinay was already playing with the dog. He scowled at Reena and said, “I want to play with him!”
“We need a guard dog because there have been so many thefts,” Reena said, confident that this reasoning would be accepted without question.
But Vinay was in no mood to listen. “I'll name this dog Brownie and play with him!” he planned.
“No you won't!” Reena said instantly, “Because he isn't your dog and that is a silly name!”
“He is mine!” Vinay declared, furious that Reena thought Brownie a silly name, “and I am taking him home now!”
The dog had been staring at them, his head moving from one angry face to the other. Now, when Vinay lunged forward to grab it, the dog retreated, growling softly.
“See?” Reena crowed, “Your Brownie doesn't want to go with you! I'll take it!” And she bent, confident that the dog would leap into her arms. But the dog only retreated further. Now it was Vinay's turn to laugh.
“So, the dog doesn't want to go with either of us?” Reena said, surprised. The dog pranced forward at this, its mouth stretched in a smile. It made a playful dart at Reena and then bounced towards Vinay. Then it sat down, as if happy at a task well done.
And then it hit both of them. “The dog wants to belong to both of us!” they said.
“But…how?” Reena wondered.
“You can keep him at night so he is a guard dog!” Vinay suggested.
“You can have him during the day,” Reena said.
They stared at each other, amazed at how easily everything had been sorted out. “Our parents will be happy!” Reena grinned.
“We will be happy too!” Vinay added. They looked at the dog, rushing around madly.
But the happiest person, they both knew, would be the little dog!