Little Sally whined softly while Susan bought an ice cream from the ice cream seller. Sally, the little puppy did not like the look of the scruffy guy who was smiling shiftily at the children crowded around his cart. Her doggy senses were giving her bad vibes but the children chattered happily as they handed coins and notes to the ice cream seller.
Susan’s father had brought Sally as a present for her sixth birthday and the two adored each other and were always inseparable. The only time the two were apart was when Susan went to her kindergarten school.
Sally would wait mournfully all morning with her silky head on her front paws till she would hear the horn of the school bus. Then she would tear down the street to welcome Susan home. All day long, Sally followed Susan like a faithful shadow. She even slept in a little basket in Susan’s room at night.
After buying their ice creams, the children went away in ones and twos. Susan also turned away, tugging at the wrapper with her little fingers.
“Hey, little girl, you forgot your change,” the ice cream seller called her back. “Come with me, I’ll get you the money from my van.”
Busy licking the ice cream, Susan followed the man to the back of the van. She looked up with fright when another man pulled her quickly inside the van. Before she could yell or react, the man had put a sack over her head and closed the doors of the van. The ice cream seller quickly got inside too and drove off.
Sally barked and yelped but the street was quiet and deserted. Sally started following the van as it sped away. On and on it went, past the dainty houses, the tiny shops, the green fields and the farm-houses. Sally’s little legs felt tired and heavy but she knew in her doggy heart that her mistress was in trouble.
Finally, the van stopped outside a ramshackle house. The two men dragged the frightened little girl inside where a shabby old woman was busy washing dishes.
“Here she is, ma,” said one of the men. “Take care of her while we send the ransom note to her rich daddy.”
Meanwhile, Sally tried to follow the men inside but found the door locked. Her keen nose picked up the smell of her beloved mistress. She turned away from the door and started running back all the way to Susan’s house.
Susan’s mother stood in the garden, looking extremely worried. She had asked all the children whether anyone had seen Susan but nobody had a clue. All that could be seen on the street was melted ice cream. She called Susan’s father who immediately informed the police. By the time, the policemen arrived, Susan’s parents were sick with worry.
Sally limped up to Susan’s father and tugged at his trousers. He was talking to the policeman and tried to shoo the little dog away and even kicked her once when she wouldn’t let go.
Susan’s mother picked up the little dog. “Do you know where she is?” she asked with tears in her eyes.
“Were the two of them together all afternoon?” asked the burly policeman “Oh yes, they are inseparable.”
Sally would not calm down. She barked and yelped and kept on running towards the door and then returned to tug at their clothes.
“I think she knows something. Come on little dog. Tell us where your mistress is,” the policeman patted Sally on her head and opened the door. Sally tore outside and barked excitedly.
Without wasting a moment, they all got into a couple of cars and followed Sally. Sally ran and ran once again past the houses, the market and the fields till they reached the farmhouse. She stopped near the fence and whined softly. The police then took control. They made Susan’s parents wait in the car while they approached the house from all sides. One of the constables kicked down the door and quickly nabbed the two men and their mother while they were still quarrelling over the ransom note.
As soon as the door went down, Sally rushed inside and made a beeline for one of the rooms where she could sense her mistress. A policeman unlocked the door and found Susan inside. The little girl was frightened, but unhurt. Her parents were extremely happy to have found her and hugged her and her brave little dog tightly.
When they reached home, the neighbours and their children had all gathered outside Susan’s home to welcome her back. The police chief looked at the young group and addressed them:
“Children, you must remember not to stay outside on the streets alone. When outside your home, you must stay together in a group and older children should see to it that younger ones go home safely. It is better that your parents or some other adult buys ice cream and toys from street vendors for you. Never accompany a stranger to his car or inside a house.
“I am sure you know that you should never to talk to strangers nor accept toys, gifts or any sweets from them. So from now on, will you all look out for each other?”
“Yes, we will!” the children replied in a loud chorus. I hope you all will too!