September 15, 2021
When I was eleven years old, I spent the entire summer breaking into my next-door neighbor's house.
I was a lonely kid when I was eleven. I was shy and didn't make friends easily, especially since my parents had just moved to Colorado when my dad got a big new job in Denver.
It was summer, and instead of being with my friends, I was two thousand miles away in our big new house. My mom had found herself a great new job too, so the only company I had was the housekeeper.
Mrs. Delgado was a busy woman too, and she was too busy to talk to me. She told me to run off and entertain myself and come to the kitchen when I was hungry, so that's what I did.
One day, I was sitting at my computer when I heard a strange noise that seemed to come from the garden. I looked and looked but there was nothing. Still, that noise continued.
I was intrigued enough to leave my video game and go outside. Now I could hear whining! It sounded like a puppy! I had been begging my parents for a dog for as long as I could remember, but they had always said no.
Did the next-door neighbor have a dog? Maybe I could make friends with it! I peeked over the hedge dividing our gardens but there was no dog in sight. I looked around to make sure no one was watching and climbed over.
There was no dog in the yard, but that whining continued. That was when I looked into the big picture window that overlooked the pool. There was a puppy in there!
A sad-looking puppy was pressing its nose against the glass, then it raised a paw in an imploring gesture. Poor thing, I thought, locked up all day. At least I was free to roam around.
I knew the woman next door came home at the same time as my dad, which meant that the poor pup was all alone all day. Now that he'd seen me, the puppy was crying even more, and waving its tail.
I had to get it out. I walked around the house, but it was all locked up. Then I spotted an open window on a first-floor balcony, and there was a huge tree standing right next to it.
I'm not usually a brave kid, or very athletic, but I had to help that dog. I started climbing up that tree, and at first, it was easy. I started inching along one of the branches closest to the balcony, and that's when I realized how high up I was.
Eric discovered how brave he was when he 'rescued' Pear.
I closed my eyes and clung to that branch. I had to do this! I had to help that dog! So I opened my eyes and moved carefully until I could jump into that balcony and open the window the rest of the way.
I walked through the empty, silent house and made my way downstairs to the puppy. The minute it saw me it went wild with excitement! We romped around that living room for hours, until it was time to go home.
"I will be back tomorrow," I told the puppy, "I promise!"
I came back every day. As soon as the neighbor and my parents left for work, I'd be over the hedge and climbing that tree. I became an excellent tree-climber.
The puppy and I (I called him Pear) played for hours. One day I saw his leash lying on the table and I had an idea. I put on the leash and took him for a walk.
From then on, Pear and I started taking long walks every day and I ended up meeting many of the neighborhood kids because they all wanted to play with Pear.
My parents would ask me how I was spending my day, and I'd say I was playing video games. My mother frowned at me. "You look so brown," she said, "and fit. Have you been playing in the garden too?"
"Yes, mom," I told her, "and taking some walks." And that was that. I was just lucky that they were so busy settling into their new jobs because my mother has an eagle eye that misses very little.
But Mrs. Delgado, the housekeeper, did complain about the dog hairs. "Where do all these dog hairs come from? There's no dog!" I just laughed to myself and said nothing.
Then one day, everything fell apart. I had taken Pear for a walk and we met up with another kid and his dog and the four of us had a great time, racing and playing in the park.
Then I noticed the time. My neighbor would be back from work and so would my parents! Pear and I raced down the street, but it was too late. My next-door neighbor was standing on the porch sobbing.
"Someone stole my dog!" she cried. "Someone broke in and stole my dog!"
My parents had heard her and they were hurrying over. I was trying to decide what to do when my mom spotted me. "Eric!" she cried. "What are you doing with that dog?"
"MY DOG!" screamed the neighbor. "You took my Gobby?"
"He was crying," I tried to explain. "I felt so sorry for him, so I took him for a walk. I didn't take anything, I promise!"
The neighbor was cuddling Pear. "My sweet Gobby!"
"I didn't know that was his name," I said. "I call him Pear because of that mark he has on his shoulder."
At the sound of his name, Pear perked up his ears and barked. The neighbor gasped. "Pear," she said, and the dog licked her face. "It looks like he likes that name."
My parents were looking daggers at me, and my dad told me I'd better apologize and never do it again, but the neighbor said, "Please don't scold him!"
She turned to me: "It's very bad that you secretly climbed into my house, but I shouldn't have left my dog at home alone like that." She reached into her pocket and pulled out a key.
"This is for you. From now on use the front door when you come to play with Pear or take him for a walk, OK? Only for God's sake, lock the door!"
So I did, and for the summer, Pear and I played together every day and had some crazy adventures. Best of all, my parents have promised that they will think about my having a dog because I'm so responsible.
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who discovers his youngest son isn't his and keeps the secret his whole life.
This account is inspired by our reader's story but written by a professional writer. All names have been changed to protect identities and ensure privacy. Share your story with us, maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.