Peter's ghost dog

Once upon a time there was a boy called Peter. Peter went to pre-school but when he wasn’t at school he sometimes felt lonely. All his friends had brothers or sisters or dogs or rabbits, but Peter only had his toys and books.

Peter’s birthday was getting near so he asked his Daddy if he could have a dog. “Hmmmm,” said Daddy, “we live in a flat and me and Mummy have to work and soon you’ll go to big school so there won’t be anyone to take the doggy out. It really wouldn’t be fair to the dog.” Daddy noticed Peter looked sad so he added, “soon, if we all work hard and make money we can move to a big house by the seaside, then you can have two dogs if you like.”

Peter went to his room. He cried and cried. He didn’t want two dogs some time in the future. He just wanted one dog now. Just then Peter noticed a little brown dog sitting on the corner of his bed. It was looking at him lovingly. Perhaps the dog had come in through the open window. Peter picked it up and hugged it. The dog snuggled into Peter’s shirt.

What could he do? If he told Mummy and Daddy they’d make him give the dog back. But he couldn’t do that, it was already his best friend. So Peter made a bed for the dog out of a cardboard bix and kept it under his own bed. He decided to call the dog Sniffy because it always had a wet nose. He would save some of his own dinner to give to Sniffy.

Next day Peter wrapped Sniffy in his coat and took it to show his friends in the park around the corner. His friends just laughed. Peter realized they couldn’t even see Sniffy. He didn’t care. He knew Sniffy was real, but he also knew Sniffy was a very special doggy.

Over the coming weeks and months Peter and Sniffy spent hours and hours playing together. In his room, and in the park. But still no one else could see Sniffy. Peter’s Mummy became worried because he was spending s much time on his own. She even took him to see a doctor who asked if anything was wrong. Of course Peter couldn’t tell him about Sniffy. The doctor just told Mummy not to worry.

The next year Peter changed from pre-school to big school. Now he went to school all day and every day. He started to make new friends and was busy with homework and the school clubs he’d joined. He began to spend less and less time with Sniffy until the only time he saw him was when they cuddled together in bed at night.

One night when Peter went to his room Sniffy wasn’t there. Peter called for him, but he didn’t come. Peter started to cry. He felt sorry that he’d neglected his best friend. All of a sudden Sniffy was beside him on the bed. “Sniffy,” said Peter, “where have you been? I’m sorry I haven’t had time to play with you much I’ve been so busy at school.” Peter was shocked when Sniffy started to talk. “It’s OK,” said the little brown dog, “I was your friend when you needed me. But now you’ve started to make other friends and that’s good. Now I have to go to help other little boys and girls who feel lonely. But don’t worry, I’ll never be far away. You only have to think about me and I’ll be beside you and you can stroke me.

Peter felt sad, but he remembered how he’d felt when he first met Sniffy. He wanted Sniffy to help all the other children who felt the same. Now he had his new school and friends and plenty to keep him busy. But he was happy to know that Sniffy was only a thought away.