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A SHORT STORY FOR KIDS
10. ADOPTING MARCUS.
Sahir and Piyush ran all the way to the field, panting as they reached it. The day was hot; the sun had risen with all its fiery strength to dry up the paddy grass. The field had just been reaped by Farmer Pandurang the week before. There was the smell of hay; the boys sniffed it happily as they made their way to a flattened patch. This was their makeshift cricket stadium.
“Toss the ball, Sahir.” shouted Piyush, as he positioned his bat for a strike. Sahir rubbed the ball against his thigh, then took a run down to the crease and pitched the ball in his best friend’s direction. The crack of the bat resounded in the empty field as Piyush hit a ‘sixer’ in the direction of the boundary. Sahir, doubling up as a fielder, ran to get the ball.
As he approached the area where the ball had landed, he heard a faint whine. Ignoring the sound, Sahir searched carefully for the ball. Having found it, he was turning back when he heard a second, more plaintive, whine.
“Piyush, come here quickly. There seems to be an animal in pain somewhere in the bushes.” Sahir yelled. They both searched the area thoroughly. A tiny puppy was caught in the thorny brambles of the thick bushes. It was struggling to extricate itself. The boys helped it out even though the thorns poked them terribly. Then they ran home with it to show it to Sahir’s mother.
“Mama, Mama, come, look!” cried an excited and concerned Sahir. His mother saw the state of the poor animal and quickly fetched some first aid for it. Sahir poured a little milk in a bowl which the famished mite gulped down hungrily.
“Now we must find out who has lost this puppy.” said Sahir’s mother. “We can’t keep it with us, you know.” Sahir was very disappointed to hear this as he had already decided to request his parents for the little pup to be his pet. But he also understood why his mother had said they had to find its owner.
The next day, Sahir and his mother took the injured pup to the animal shelter. They also made a report at the police station before they returned home. Sahir was sad, but he knew that the puppy would also miss its mother. He tried to forget the puppy but everyday whenever Piyush and he went to the field to play, he kept hearing a whine that sounded so much like that of the puppy. This made him very unhappy.
After a while, Sahir’s mother noticed that he was not his usual happy-go-lucky self and she asked him what was wrong. “I keep thinking of that little puppy, Mama. Can we see if they have found his mother or not?” pleaded the troubled boy.
So the mother and son made their way once again to the Animal Shelter. On enquiring, they discovered that the puppy had been abandoned. The police said no one had come for the puppy. Sahir eyes lit up. “Does that mean you can now give him up for adoption?” he asked, with great hope in his heart. “Of course, we can. If we can find the right person to take him home, that is.” answered the lady-in-charge with a knowing smile.
Sahir looked at his mother, who gave him a go-ahead nod and went in to complete the paperwork. The puppy gave a delighted yap to see his rescuer and licked the palm Sahir extended to him through the cage bars. “At last, Marcus, you are going home!” whispered the young lad excitedly as Marcus shook his scraggy tail in ecstasy.
And thus it was that Marcus, a poor abandoned puppy, became Sahir’s first pet. In time to come, Sahir adopted many more pets for he had a big heart and the number of animals and birds far outnumbered the people in his home. There was Coco the parrot, Frisky the goat, Crush the turtle and Miaw the cat. When his parents bought a cow, Sahir named her Maya and the calf she gave birth to two years later was named Mala. Last I heard of him, he had rescued an injured squirrel and released it back to the wild. The lady at the animal shelter was always happy to help out and trained the boy to administer first aid to injured animals. She also taught him how to catch snakes and release them into the wild. Sahir said he hoped to be a vet one day so he could help animals like Marcus and others find good homes and health care.
MORAL: We have a responsibility to care for those who are abandoned, especially for wounded, hungry animals and birds, and to give them a home in our house and heart. (810 words)