This is the story of Liisa, an 11-year-old girl living through problems at home and in school. Liisa’s father gives her Pedro the Poodle as a gift at a time when he has left the family to live with another woman. Pedro gets Liisa into many adventures, and introduces her to her neighbor and new best friend Aive, whose father runs a big company and whose mother holds a high position in Brussels. Both girls get into trouble at school, but it only brings them, and Pedro, closer together.
Illustrations by Kirke Kangro.
“You see, if the kid already knows the dog’s name and can clearly pronounce it, then it must mean that fate has decided it!” Mom said decisively. “Maybe Pedro and Martin were friends in a previous life?”
The lady at the shelter smirked, “Well, I don’t know much about previous lives, but in any case the last life of this dog was probably pretty confusing. The owner left this dog and a fancy metal food bowl by the side of the road, and by the way, there actually was a P engraved on this bowl. We called the dog Penny, because you see… this dog’s name is probably not Pedro after all. As a matter of fact, it’s a female dog!”
“So what?” Matu asked in surprise. “I don’t care if she’s female or she-male or he-male or who-male! Pedro told me herself that her name is Pedro!”
“Bow-wow!” yawned Pedro out loud. She didn’t seem to have anything against the name.
The director of the shelter looked at her wristwatch and suddenly got impatient, “Listen, I’m sorry, I’m in a bit of a rush now – you can discuss the name amongst yourselves later. Of course, you can take the bowl with a P on it with you. If you really do want to take this dog, let’s go to the office and get you set up with the poodle’s paperwork.”
“Yes, your Pedro is a purebred poodle – it’s just that her fur hasn’t been groomed for such a long time…”
Wham! – the bag suddenly flew off my shoulder and into her hands. “Catch, Timka!” Aivi called out to one of the boys and threw the backpack into the air. The kid caught it with considerable skill and let it fly towards one of his friends, “Whoosh, pass it to a friend!”
“Here, take it!” the redheaded boy held the book bag out to me, but when I stepped closer, he threw it back to the other kid.
Tears welled up in my eyes. These were tears of anger and self-pity: alone against the three of them, this is so unfair!
“Give me my bag back right now!” I yelled as loudly as I could. Why are there never any teachers in the schoolyard when you need them?
All of a sudden, I heard a friendly bark. Pedro!
“Our dad left again…”
“Did he go to Brussels too?” Aivi raised her eyebrows quizzically.
“No, he lives in Tallinn, but he has a new family. I have a little half-brother, whom I haven’t even seen…”
“Oh my god! Disgusting, isn’t it?”
“Well yeah, but what are you gonna do…”
“No, but it’s not fair! Kids should also get to choose, whenever they are like, ‘Whatever – I don’t like my mom or dad, I’ll just blow this joint and get myself a new mom or dad!’” Aivi’s eyes started to burn with a strange light. “They talk about child protection and whatnot: your dad should be thrown in jail and that’s that! Fine the stuffing out of him and stick him in striped pajamas!”
“Well, I mean, he does still support us, he gives us a ride whenever we really need it. We got Pedro from the shelter with his car,” I muttered quietly, almost to myself.
“So where is the smallest member of the family?” asked the reporter. “And I also would like to see the lady of the house!”
“I’ll call Mom!” I quickly offered to help, but Dad put his hand around my shoulder and said in a serious tone, “You know what, Liisa, let’s not bother your mom right now, I’ll explain it to her later. Tristan and his mom should be getting here any moment – let’s just shoot this little video clip and that will be that, it won’t take too long.”
“Who, Tristan? What clip?” I was startled. Tristan is how they call my half-brother – the one whose fault it is that Dad left us. I had never met him before. There was this one time when I saw them from the bus. Dad was walking at the park with his new wife, pushing a stroller along, but I couldn’t tell from that far off what the baby looked like in there. It couldn’t be. Are Tristan and his mother moving in with us now? But dad didn’t have time to answer my questions – the doorbell rang again and he rushed to answer.
“Your daddy is going to be an important man soon, that’s why we’re making this show about him,” the reporter explained it to me like I was a baby. “Now you’re going to be famous too!”
“Actually, you can also support dogs just by calling,” he said. “When Mom gets home, I’ll ask her to call the most expensive line, several times too. I decided that I’ll call the two-euro line once a day, every day, until Dad gets over being a scrooge. And then I have one more plan, this one more thing that needs to get done…”
“Wow, you sure do like to get things done!” I marveled at all of Aivi’s plans.
“Things need to get sorted out!” she announced in a dire tone. “Actually, my mom is like this too: whenever she starts organizing or doing something, she won’t stop until it’s done. Every time she says that she’s got to get things sorted out, it happens!”
For a moment, Aivi sank deep into thought while looking out the bus window, and then added in a sad way, “Maybe that’s why they’re keeping her abroad all the time, because things have to get sorted out all the time…”
“Wouldn’t your mom like to have you live with her?”
“Wait, Liisa!” Aivi called out. “They took your phone, but it’s me who they want to meet! So maybe the criminals want to kidnap me instead?”
“Usually they kidnap millionaires’ kids, but who knows what they’re doing nowadays,” Aunt Elsa said.
“Well, my dad is pretty rich,” admitted Aivi.
“Have you called the police?” Mom asked.
“Call Spiderman!” Matu recommended.
Aivi burst out laughing, “Spiderman might even help, but the police aren’t going to move a muscle for some old Nokia! The person who stole my cell phone had to know that Liisa is my best friend, so Liisa and I should know this person. The best thing to do is go to the park and meet these dudes! We still have half an hour…”
“Oh yeah,” Aivi said when she finally managed to stop laughing. “Timka the ‘robber’ called last night – he said he’s not mad at all that we left him alone at the shelter. He started to like Minni so much that he’s planning on adopting that weird spotted dog. His mother is supposedly against it, but I’m sure he and Tom will soften her up to the idea. Timo already Googled it – apparently Dalmatians are smart, intelligent, and always ready to defend their families. The fact that Minni also has mutt blood mixed in means that she is especially resistant to diseases.”
“So, you see! You’ve made another homeless dog super happy!” I praised her.
112 Pages, hardcover, 150 x 215 mm, 5.9 x 8.5 in