A story for children aged 3 – 7
By : Maureen Vincent-Northam
Harry longed for a pet of his own, a perfect pet. But he wanted something a little different from the usual pet. Rabbits and guinea pigs were all very well, but lots of people had those. And goldfish he thought were just a little bit ordinary. What Harry wanted was something unusual.
“I don’t think I’d like you to have one of those big hairy spiders,” said Harry’s mum. “Nor those horrible green reptiles that poke their tongues out, and stand about all day looking shifty.” Harry didn’t think he’d like hairy spiders or reptiles either.
“A dog’s the thing,” said Harry’s dad. “One of those great big, lolloping shaggy ones like Mr Ferris has next door. You could take it for walks and teach it to sit up and beg.” But Harry didn’t want a dog like Mr Ferris had. Harry wanted something different.
While Harry was playing in the garden one morning he saw something move among the leaves. A brown something. A brown, prickly something. A brown prickly something that Harry felt would make the perfect pet.
“Hello,” said Harry to the little hedgehog. “Have you come to play?”
“I’m going to call him Spike,” Harry told Mr and Mrs Ferris the next-door neighbours who were peering over the garden wall curious to know who Harry was talking to.
“You’ll never teach him to fetch sticks,” laughed Mr Ferris.
“He isn’t very cuddly, is he?” said Mrs Ferris.
Harry thought Spike was going to be the most exciting pet in the world. But it wasn’t long before he realised that Spike wasn’t a very exciting pet at all.
The little hedgehog didn’t want to play with balls of wool like kittens do or run round and round inside little wheels like hamsters. And Spike didn’t have the slightest interest in fetching sticks.
Of course, Spike didn’t stalk birds like cats did. Harry had seen Mrs Ferris shoo away her cat, Tiddles, when he got too close to the bird table. And Spike didn’t bite the postman’s leg like a misbehaved dog might, which was quite a good thing.
It’s just that Spike wasn’t a very playful pet. He wasn’t an active or sporty or rough-and-tumble sort of pet. In fact the thing Spike seemed to enjoy most was curling himself up into a tight, prickly ball. Harry was a little disappointed.
Then one evening, Harry’s dad brought home a wonderful surprise. “This is
Spike 2,” he said.
And from under his jacket, a puppy’s head appeared; a very inquisitive puppy’s head, with lopsided ears and wiry ginger hair that stood up in all directions. It was a rather unusual looking puppy Harry had to admit; he’d never seen one quite like it before.
Dad put Spike 2 down onto the floor and the excited little puppy circled Harry, wagging his tail so hard that Harry thought it might work loose. Harry knelt on the floor and tried to catch the lively puppy. The pup rolled over and over and then played tug of war with Harry’s shoelace.
Spike 2 was going to be a very playful pet. He certainly looked different and he was certainly unusual. Harry hugged him and somehow he knew that he’d found the perfect pet at last.