Candy was walking on Pony's Hill. Spontaneously she started to whistle, her habit. Only to stop abruptly as she hit by the grim reality. Pouppe wouldn’t come running and sit on her shoulder. Ever.
Before Albert went abroad, he had left Pouppe to her. She and the adorable skunk had been inseparable ever since. Too bad, time finally caught up with him.
They buried Pouppe on Pony's Hill. That was last month and Candy had cried everyday ever since. Annie, Patty, and their husbands Stear and Archie came. Stear stood quietly, digging the hole for Pouppe’s little body. Archie planted a flower nearby.
“He’s been around longer than most skunks, Candy,” said Patty.
“You should be grateful for that, Candy,” Annie added.
They were right She should thank for the time she had together with Pouppe. He had given her so much happiness.
Annie, Patty and their husbands stayed for a week to accompany Candy before they left abroad to join Mr. and Mrs. Cornwell. Stear and Archie were working now with their parents. Candy stayed in Pony’s Home. She worked in a nearby clinic and helped Ms. Pony and Sr. Lanne taking care of the orphanage.
Before Patty and Annie left they suggested Candy get another pet.
“I will, eventually,” answered Candy.
Of course nothing could ever replace Pouppe. At that thought, tears were building up and she started to cry again.
Suddenly something brushed her feet. Candy startled and a little puppy was sitting on her leg.
Candy wiped her tears. The sun started to set. She probably had been crying there for an hour. She turned back at the little ball who’s staring at her.
“Hello!” said Candy. The puppy lifted her paw and wagged her tail. “Are you lost little darling?”
Candy looked around. Since there’s no one there, she took the puppy back to Pony’s home and took care of her. Ms. Pony, Sr. Lanne, and the children all loved her too. They called her Charity.
Weeks passed and one day Candy was playing throwing and picking up stick with the pup. Charity jumped catching the stick and ran to Candy’s arms. Giggling, Candy hugged her.
“How do you like Charity?” asked Sr. Lane who’s been watching them.
“She’s my baby,” said Candy, scratching Charity behind her hears. Without Charity, it would be very hard to live in Pony’s home where everything reminded her of Pouppe.
“Okay. Then…,” Sr. Lanne pulled a yellow envelope from her pocket, “he asked me to give you this if you liked her.”
“H-he? What-,” Candy gasped. She was so taken aback that it took her a while to un-tangle her trembling fingers and opened the envelope.
Candy stared at the paper in utter disbelief while, watching her, Sr. Lanne waited patiently.
“How-,” Candy mumbled in disbelief, “Charity is from Neal?”
Sr. Lanne nodded. “The man said his name was Neal,” answered Sr. Lanne. “Who is he? He seemed to care so much about you.”
“He’s my-” Candy was about to say Neal was her worst enemy when she looked at Charity who’s laying down on her feet. “Friend…,” Candy breathed, “We are friends.” From now on, added Candy silently to herself.
Candy got up abruptly. Sensing her movement, Charity straightened up. She readily got up and followed Candy who’s running to her bike outside. “Sr. Lanne, I go to Mr. Cartwright’s ranch to borrow his phone. I will invite Neal to lunch!”
“Try to come back before dark, dear,” Sr. Lanne waved.
Without you dear Pouppe, there’s no Charity.
Charity looked up at Candy who’s watching her from her bike. In spite of the efforts to run and keep up, her eyes were warm and kind.
“Thanks Charity,” cried Candy. Woof! “You make me understand the meaning of accepting someone as a friend.”