She never liked her dog. She would fill his water bowl for him sometimes when her mom tells her to, but she never liked that dog. Her name is Vicki and she is 8 years old girl studying in 3rd standard. Her teacher in class had explained once how a dog can be a best friend, so Vicki asked her mom for a puppy. Vicki loved that puppy in the beginning, but few months later he chewed on her cricket ball, later he chewed on her favourite shoes. One day Buddy chewed on her homework. So Vicki didn’t seem to think Buddy as her buddy. Whenever her friends visited her house, they adored Buddy, which annoyed her. In front of her friends, Buddy was nice. Buddy never tried to steal their food. No body lost their shoes. So Buddy was their favourite. They demanded his presence all the time and brought treat for him.
One day Vicki asked her mom, “Mom, can you please take Buddy back and get me some other pet?” Her mom said to her, “No honey, he loves you. You play with him. Take him for a walk. Be his friend.” Vicki knew that there was no way to get rid of him. But then she thought maybe she could also have another pet of her choice, one she would really like. But this time she had to choose wisely. She started thinking which pet would be good for her. She asked her teacher about birds and cats, and what they eat and how they live. She gathered so much information but she couldn’t make her decision.
On one Sunday afternoon she was sitting by her window and looking at backside of her house. It was an old farm full of trees. She could see squirrels running. She could hear birds chirping. Suddenly she saw something amazing. A baby elephant. He was chasing all the birds. “He is so cute”, she said to herself. She thought, “He is perfect. He can walk himself like he is doing now, so she doesn’t have to take him for a walk. He himself can find birds to eat, so she doesn’t even have to worry about feeding him. And he is already so big, so he probably won’t grow more, so there will not be any surprises later.” She got excited. She went to backside of her house and ran towards the baby elephant. She stood in front of him and stared at him while he stared at her. She touched his trunk. He stayed still. He was same height as her. He started pushing her and she fell down. He saw a bird and started chasing it. She stood up and started chasing the baby elephant. For few minutes they ran in circles. They stopped when baby elephant tripped and fell, which he enjoyed. He just lay there in sun and Vicki asked, “Will you be my Buddy?”
In answer to this he just hit her head with his trunk. She took it as ‘Yes’. She held his trunk with her both hands and started pulling. But she couldn’t make him move and she started laughing. But her laughter disappeared when she saw one giant elephant with big elephant teeth and huge trunk approaching towards them. She got scared and she ran towards her house. Baby elephant stayed there without any fear.
Vicki saw her mom outside the gate. She ran towards her and hugged her. She took her mom to the window and showed her the giant elephant. They both sat by the window. Suddenly, the giant elephant started kicking the baby elephant. Vicki got so worried. Her mom told her, “Don’t worry. She is his mother. She won’t harm him.” They both kept sitting by the window and observed baby elephant and mama elephant. Later Vicki said to her mom, “I like this baby elephant. Can we keep him?” Her mom laughed and said nothing.
Vicki’s idea about having a baby elephant as a pet was fading. But she was fine because she was meeting him every day. After school she sat by the window and waited for her new buddy and he always showed up. Every evening they communicated through the window. This way she was also protected from the giant elephant. She named her new buddy ‘Big Buddy’. She talked to him every day. She told him school stories and he listened patiently. She told him how Buddy chewed everything she liked and how much she disliked him. He was a perfect friend for her, he was always a good listener. She touched his trunk, gave him food to eat. She saw what was inside his mouth. She touched his teeth, she pulled his ears. And it all happened in the supervision of mama elephant. Big Buddy was always there for her and sometimes they talked till dinner time. Sometimes she had her dinner by her window watching him while he kept rolling on the grass.
Many weeks went well for her and Big Buddy. But one day she saw a herd of elephants. There was Big Buddy and other baby elephants also. She immediately recognized him and called his name. And as nice friend as he was he came running to greet her. But that day he didn’t stay longer. He left with other elephants in the same direction.
The next day after school she waited for him. She waited for him every day for days, but there was no sign of him. Her mom knew Vicki was upset. But she couldn’t do anything. She told Vicki to play ball with Buddy or invite friends over but Vicki was too upset to entertain friends. She kept quiet. After 10 days she lost her patience. She started crying looking outside, holding the grill of her window. Her mom came running and asked, “what is the matter honey?”
“I lost my friend.”
“No. You didn’t lose him. He is just not around now. But he will come.”
“I wanted to keep him in our house but you didn’t let me. If you had, he would still be here.”
“He cannot be a pet. Elephants stay in jungle. Jungle is their home.”
“But now I will never see him again.”
“Yes, you will. He will come back. He will always remember you.”
“But what if he never comes back?”
“He will. Have trust in him.”
“But what if he breaks my trust.”
“Then, you trust harder.” “Come with me. Let’s feed Buddy. He is hungry.”
Vicki stopped crying. She went with her mom. Her mom put food in Buddy’s bowl and instead of eating food he started chewing on the carpet. She saw it and sighed and went to bed to sleep.
Next morning, her mom sent Buddy to her room to wake her up. And he did a good job at this by barking in her ears. She woke up at once. She opened her eyes and Buddy was standing on her bed with his tongue out and wagging his tale. She got up from bed and got ready for school. Her mom sent her school bag and lunch box to her through Buddy. In afternoon, when she returned from school, Buddy met her on the road and walked back home with her. Her mom had trained Buddy for this and for other things also to cheer Vicki up and to make up to her for her lost friend.
In evening when Vicki was sitting at her usual place by the window, she saw her mom playing fetch with Buddy. Her mom asked Vicki to join them. Playing outside with her mom and Buddy seemed fun, so Vicki decided to join them. When she came outside, Buddy jumped on her and started licking her face. She realized that Buddy still liked her, even though she was never nice to him. Vicki started spending more time with Buddy. She went to market with her mom and bought toys for him to chew on, to make sure all her own belongings were safe and she didn’t have to hate him again.
Few months had passed. Vicki was having fun in school and at home, but still sometimes she thought about Big Buddy. She still hoped that one day her friend would show up at her window and then she would tell him about all things that happened in her school, her new friends and Buddy. She missed him.
And one day, to her surprise, she saw a herd of elephants outside the window. She jumped in joy and started staring at them. Her eyes were trying to find her friend among those elephants. There were so many baby elephants and mama elephants but her Big Buddy was not there. She got hurt. She went to her mom to bring her to show her this and to tell her that her friend had not returned. But her mom was talking on phone. She waited for some time for her mom to finish the call and then gave up. When she returned to the window, she saw a trunk of an elephant stuck in grill of the window. It was a big trunk. It was a big elephant. At first, she got a little scared. But then she came closer and looked him in the eyes. She realized that he was her old friend. Big Buddy had gotten big. She was so happy to see him. She with help of her mom helped him take out his stuck trunk from the window while Buddy barked at him for no reason.
She talked with him for an hour. She told him everything she wanted to. She gave him food to eat. She kept talking while he stood at her window looking at her. She was so grateful that he still remembered her. She touched his ears and his face and she said, “Thank you!” After a while herd started moving and Big Buddy bade good bye and followed the herd hopping and running.
Vicki’s trust was built on him. She knew then that whenever his family would be around, he would definitely visit her, because he also loved her. And until he visited her next time, she had Buddy who also had started to become her best friend.