"So, you think you might actually get one?" Giselle asked
me as we walked along Rainbow Lane. "That's so exciting! You deserve it, you know.
You've wanted it for so long."
I grinned happily at the red Uni. Giselle was
always so encouraging and optimistic - that was why she was my best friend.
"I think so," I said, in reply to her question.
"My parents are acting as if they're planning a big surprise. And I actually
saw them go into the Petpet Shop! Plus, my dad keeps throwing out all these
silly, obvious hints."
"That's so cool!" said Giselle happily. "You're
getting a Doglefox. I hope it will get along with Justine." She reached into
her bag and patted the Mazzew. "I'm sure it will. Any friend of mine is a friend
As we stopped at Giselle's house, I could see
my reflection, that of a blue Aisha. I frowned at the way my ears turned up;
I had never liked those ears. But I was in too good a mood to think about that.
After all those months of waiting, I might actually be getting a Doglefox! The
first time I mentioned it, my parents had come up with all sorts of reasons
why I couldn't have one; we had no room, they were too much trouble, my siblings
would all want one if I got one. But all that time in the debating team at school
had paid off: I might be getting one for my birthday tomorrow!
"I'm so happy for you," said Giselle, smiling.
"Promise me you'll tell me as soon as you see it."
"Of course!" I said. I waved goodbye to her,
and continued up Rainbow Lane, thinking about the past few months.
"Is there anything you want for your birthday?"
asked my mum. "You're growing up so fast; I can't think what's suitable for
I grinned at her. "I've been thinking..." I began,
"and looking in the shops - what I really, really want is a Doglefox."
My mum looked startled. "Nicola, you remember
what we said when your brother wanted a Petpet?"
"I know, I know," I replied pleadingly. "But
I'd take care of it myself and I'm sure the yard would be big enough..."
"It wouldn't be fair on Jason, either," my mum
reminded me. "Nicola, we really don't have enough room. I'm sure you could look
after it, but a Doglefox would cost a lot of money, too..."
"I could pay for half!" I interrupted, but she
"What about a Pfish?" she asked. "They're not
much trouble, and if your brother wants one, we could even have two."
I sighed. "They're no fun. Please, Mum? Giselle
has a Mazzew, and her house isn't much bigger than ours, and I'd share my Doglefox
"Absolutely not," said my mum, and that was that.
A month before my birthday, I brought the subject
"You know, Mum," I began, "Doglefoxes are really
"Please don't bring up the subject," she said
firmly. "You won't be getting a Doglefox."
"Or a Mazzew?" I asked, thinking of Giselle's.
"Anything that's more trouble than a Pfish, you
won't be getting," she said. "Nicola, can't you understand that a Doglefox is
out of the question? We aren't Doglefox Neopians; we are Pfish Neopians."
"Meaning?" I inquired.
"Meaning that some people just aren't suited
to Doglefoxes, or Mazzews or the like, and some people are. We are Pfish Neopians,
which means we have Pfish."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I
"We couldn't cope with a Doglefox in the house.
Your father and I don't like Doglefoxes or Mazzews, or other Petpets that can
be quite energetic."
"Won't you please consider it?" I begged.
My mum sighed. "Will you stop pestering me if
"Maybe," I said, determined to not give up yet.
"I really do want a Petpet."
"I'll talk to your father tonight. But don't
get your hopes up."
However, I had no intention
of obeying her. After our conversation, I had such high hopes that I could almost
feel my new Doglefox sitting on my lap. "What should I call it?" I wondered.
Giselle's Mazzew was called Justine, and my cousin's Buzzer was called Honeybee.
My cousin didn't have much imagination.
There were so many things to consider. Boy or
girl? Would it be honey-coloured, like the one next-door, or dark chocolate
brown? I had only ever seen the ones that were honey-coloured, but Giselle said
she thought that some were chocolate brown. What would I call it? Where would
it live? Would it sleep in my room? Should I save up for some kind of Petpet
bed? Giselle's Mazzew had the Deluxe Canopy Petpet Bed, a birthday present from
Imagining my new Doglefox was so much fun, I
thought I might be almost sorry when I actually got it. I quickly changed my
mind - getting the real thing would be better than any imagination!
I opened the front door of our house and stepped
inside. My brother was busy tormenting my sister ("Look, there's a Cooty on
you! And there's another one! You've got the plague!") and - my heart gave a
leap - my mother was busy reading, 'The Ultimate Petpet Guide'. She quickly
closed it when she saw me.
"Hi, Nicola," she said smiling. "Jason, leave
your sister alone. Looking forward to your special day tomorrow?"
"Definitely," I said happily. I could almost
see my new Doglefox already.
"I hope you like your main present," said my
mum. "I think you'll be pleasantly surprised."
I smiled at her. 'Pleasant' was an understatement,
and it would hardly be a surprise, since I knew I was getting it. Wait until
"I'm sure I will be," I lied. I couldn't help
"It's here!" announced my dad as he walked through
the door. He stopped as soon as he saw me. "I mean - the, er, groceries are
here. Yes, that's what's in this box."
"Funny, how the groceries are in a box," I teased.
"One would think you were carrying something alive."
"Come to think of it, I thought the leeks looked
particularly suspicious," he said considerately. "Perhaps I'll have some assistance
from my wife?"
My parents got up and left the room, whilst I
was laughing at the bewildered expressions on my siblings' faces.
I woke up the next morning feeling ecstatic.
The day had come! My Doglefox had come at last!I ran down the stairs in my pajamas.
Everyone was up and crowded around the same 'grocery' box.
"Why does she get one and I don't?" demanded
my siblings, but my mother shushed them. She turned to me and smiled. "Here's
the birthday Aisha! Come and open this box... and look at your new friend."
I went up to the box where my Doglefox was. Knowing
that I must make this moment last, slowly I opened it to see...
A rather bored-looking Pfish staring up at me.
"I know how much you wanted a Petpet," said my
mother, beaming. "So, we thought we would get you a Pfish. Yes, Nicola, I know
you had your heart set on a Doglefox, but it's better to have a Pfish than no
Petpet at all, don't you think?"
I gazed listlessly down onto what should have
been my Doglefox.
"You - you don't like it?" asked my mother, anxiously.
I looked up into her nervous face, and suddenly realised; she had tried so hard
to make me happy, it was only fair I did the same for her.
"Of course I do!" I exclaimed. "I never thought
I would actually get a Petpet at all! And I'd rather a Pfish that you gave me
then a Doglefox I bought myself."
"That's all right, then," said my mother, relieved.
"I was so afraid you wouldn't like it."
"We bought the nicest Pfish there was," said
my father, winking. "Better than a Doglefox, any day."
"Of course," I agreed, reaching into the tank
and touching the scales of my brand-new Pfish. I decided to name him Doggles...
so I could imagine...
Giselle, and everyone else at school, couldn't
understand how I could be so happy with just a Pfish. But I knew that a Doglefox
in the house would be difficult for my parents, and a Pfish was no trouble at
all. My siblings didn't like Pfish, so I didn't have to share it with them.
But most importantly, my parents were happy, and even if I wanted a Doglefox,
the want wouldn't have lasted long. After all, my parents are Pfish Neopians,
and it's only natural, being their flesh and blood, that I should be one too.