Children

Brownie saves the day

Aparna sat up in bed and stared at the skinny brown dog in Papa’s arms.

“What breed is it?” she asked excitedly, putting one hand out to touch it.

“It’s a rescue dog; a street dog,” he said.

“But I wanted a pure breed!” Aparna wailed.

“You’ll soon love Brownie; he’s just around six months old and you’ll be able to manage him, as he grows. You can take him for a walk…”

“I can take him for a walk?” asked Aparna, her eyes widening in delight.

“When you’re well again…” promised Pa.

While Aparna was recovering from her long illness, Brownie grew plumper and bigger. He seemed to understand everything. Aparna sometimes sat in the garden with him, throwing a ball and laughing happily, as he jumped to catch it.

Sonia’s surprise

Then one Saturday morning, several weeks later, Ma and Pa awoke to shrieks from Aparna’s room. They dashed in and found Sonia, Aparna’s elder sister, standing on her bed in her shoes while Brownie danced around, yipping with delight at this new person in his life.

“Get it away from me!” she screamed.

“Get your shoes off the bed!” cried Ma. “What is wrong with you?”

“There’s a dog in the room!” screeched Sonia. “That’s what’s wrong!”

Aparna piped up, “He’s my dog, Didi. His name is Brownie and he’s great!”

“How could you do this?” cried Sonia, glaring at her parents. “You got her a dog when you know I don’t like them! I’m moving into the spare room right now. I can’t bear the smell in here.”

“But you’re in college, Didi,” said Aparna. “You’re not here!”

“What do I look like? A ghost?” snapped Sonia, waving her arms threateningly at Brownie. “Get away, you filthy fleabag! I hope it hasn’t been sleeping on my bed!”

“He’s not filthy!” cried Aparna. “And that’s not your bed when you’re not here!”

“I’m moving into the spare room right now!” snapped Sonia. “I can’t bear the smell in here!”

It was lunchtime before peace returned to the house and Sonia recovered enough from her shock to join them at the dining table. “Your surprise visit home turned into a surprise for you, huh, Didi?” said Aparna.

Sonia grunted and looked warily around to make sure Brownie wasn’t near her. For the next 24 hours, Pa made sure he stayed out of her line of vision.

Brownie saves the day

On Sunday evening, Pa and Ma went out and Aparna was alone at home with Brownie. Sonia had cycled to her friend Bhavna’s house. When she was returning a little after dark, a group of stray dogs were on their way to be fed at a neighbouring house. One of them went for her cycle tyre and the others followed, snarling and snapping.

To the rescue

Hearing Sonia’s screams, Aparna went into the garden with Brownie. Before she could say or do anything, Brownie jumped over the wall and raced towards Sonia.

He went for the leader of the pack in a flash of fur and fangs. All the dogs lost interest in Sonia and turned their attention upon him. Sonia didn’t wait. She pedalled in through the gate held open by Aparna. Then both of them shouted for Brownie, terrified that he would be torn to pieces by the angry dogs. Just in time, however, the neighbour put the food out and the entire pack lost interest in Brownie and ran to eat.

“Thank goodness they got their food!” said Aparna, as Brownie came back over the wall, looking unscathed except for a missing patch of fur on his rump.

“But if they weren’t being fed, those dogs wouldn’t be hanging around here,” snapped Sonia. She turned to enter the house and almost fell over Brownie.

She looked at him in exasperation. “You’re always in my way, aren’t you, Brownie?” she said. Then she leaned down and patted him. “But I’m really happy you are! You saved me!”


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 3:50:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/how-does-sonia-get-over-her-dislike-of-dogs-a-short-story-by-cheryl-rao/article34766273.ece

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