By Georgia Lohan
Once upon a time there was a girl named Dasha. She was a beautiful little girl with long, flowing brown hair. She was always happy and enjoyed spending time playing with her blue-eyed best friend, Natasha, every day. The two would go on imaginary adventures together after school in the countryside surrounding Dasha’s house. They would run over the hills, climb trees, and discover a new story around every turn. Dasha couldn’t imagine her life being any better. But then one day after school Natasha told Dasha that she had some bad news.
“My family is moving away,” Natasha told her.
“I will live so far away that I will not be able to play with you anymore, and I will be going to a different school.” The two friends hugged and then played together for the last time before Natasha moved away.
Dasha cried that night and every night that week when she went to bed. She already missed her best friend so much, and she felt all alone.
Then one day, when she arrived home from school, her parents had a surprise waiting for her. It was a dog named Charlie. He was brown and white and had large brown puppy eyes. Dasha thought he was cute, but she still felt sad inside. She liked Charlie, but she still missed Natasha.
“Why don’t you take Charlie outside to play until dinner?” Dasha’s mother asked as she started to cut up some vegetables for the meal.
Dasha put Charlie’s bright red collar around his neck and opened the front door. Charlie’s tail wagged, and he excitedly ran out the door with her close behind him. Dasha slowly and thoughtfully walked along the long, winding trail while Charlie happily dashed back and forth looking at everything in his new world. Charlie seemed so happy as he took in everything around him. Dasha started to notice there was something special about him, but she couldn’t quite figure out what it was. She decided to keep her eye on him to see if she could figure it out.
Over the next few weeks, she played with Charlie every day after school, and it didn’t take her long to figure out why Charlie was so special. He never got upset about anything. If he wanted to keep playing outside but it was time for dinner, he trotted in right after her anyway, still wagging his tail. It didn’t matter what was going on; Charlie was always happy.
Once Dasha gave him a new toy, and the neighbor’s big black dog came over and took it away from him. Charlie let the other dog have the toy and happily found an old red chewy bone to play with instead. There was nothing that seemed to shake Charlie’s happiness.
One day when they were sitting together in the long grass and wildflowers, Dasha started to cry. She still missed Natasha so much. Then she saw Charlie sitting there with those big, happy eyes. He seemed to be smiling at her. His wet nose nuzzled against her hand, so she began to pet him. Then she realized that she could be like Charlie.
Charlie was happy all the time. He was happy when he got what he wanted, and he was happy when he didn’t. Dasha decided at that moment that she was going to choose to be happy too, just like Charlie.
From that day on, Dasha chose to have a good attitude each day. She wrote Natasha a letter and told her all about Charlie and how he had showed her how to be happy when she missed her friend so much. Natasha and Dasha became pen pals and wrote to each other every week. Dasha started to make new friends too, and she took them on adventures in her big backyard after school every day with Charlie close behind.
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