When a new neighbor moved in across the street, Liam just wanted to get to know him, but his dog, Pearl, scared the man. They argued about Pearl until she became very ill from rat poison. Liam knew immediately who had done it and wanted justice.

“Hey you!” Liam waved as he crossed the street and jogged a little to greet the new man moving into the house in front of him.

“Hello”, the man turned around with a box in his hand and was surprised that the neighbors were already passing.

“I’m Liam. I live over there. Do you need help?”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Brock,” the man said. “Oh no. That’s the last box. The movers did everything else.”

“Cool. I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you that this is a really friendly neighborhood. We help each other, so call me if you need me,” Liam nodded, but just as he was about to head back home, he heard he bark his dog Pearl and come closer.

“If that thing comes near me or into my house again, I’ll make it disappear! Do you understand me?”
She was a beautiful golden retriever and Liam’s pride and joy. He and his wife Darla adopted her a few years ago. Before her, he didn’t know how much he could love a dog. What’s more, he had no idea how clever they could be.

Pearl was a genius, so he looked up dog shows and competitions and began training them. She was soon winning all the competitions in the county and Liam couldn’t be happier. It was a nice change from his monotonous desk job.

Pearl was also the cutest girl and everyone in the neighborhood loved her. She had probably spotted him across the street and wanted to make a new friend.

“Hey girl. You can’t go outside without my permission,” he called as the dog ran to him. He turned to Brock to explain about Pearl, but the man was no longer at his side. “Brock?”

“GET THAT THING OFF MY LAWN NOW!” Liam heard a powerful, angry scream.

“What?” he said quietly, taken aback by the outburst. But he took Pearl’s collar and headed for the neighbor’s front door.

To his surprise, Brock was sitting on his couch with his legs drawn up. His hand was on his chest and beads of sweat ran down his face. Liam thought his new neighbor was having a heart attack and wanted to help him. “GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE WITH THIS DIRTY ANIMAL!”

Liam’s eyes widened in shock. He had never seen anyone react that way to their dog. Pearl was a darling. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. “But Brock, wait. She’s friendly. I -”

“GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!” Brock continued to scream in disgust, and Liam could do nothing but leave. He went to his house, gave Pearl a treat because he felt horrible that someone had called her dirty, and stared out the window.

He was still worried about his new neighbor, but Brock cautiously exited the house a few minutes later, grabbed something from his car, and went back inside.

“Sounds like the neighbor had a panic attack,” Darla said as he recounted what happened later in the day.

“A panic attack over Pearl? That’s impossible,” Liam scoffed as they put the groceries away. He turned to his girlfriend, who was lying on the couch but had perked up her ears when she heard her name.

“Not everyone likes dogs, Liam,” Darla smiled.

“It’s not just that you don’t like dogs,” he said, using quotation marks. “He was screaming and laying his legs on the couch like Pearl was going to eat him or something.”

“We should just keep Pearl away from him,” she told him emphatically.

“Certainly,” he agreed and they walked on.

A few days later, Liam Pearl was exercising in his front yard. His neighbor’s twin girls Betty and Barbra had decided to come over and play with his dog. He allowed it because it was amazing to see how much fun they were having with his amazing girl.

Her mom, Olive, had also come and quizzed Liam about the upcoming competition. They also talked about other things like the upcoming neighborhood festival and how their kids were struggling with math. It was a pleasant afternoon until they heard someone scream.

“Take the dog away from the girls! It’s dangerous!” They turned and saw Brock getting out of his car halfway and pointing at them.

“What?” Olive wondered confused.

“Brock, it’s all right. Pearl won’t hurt the girls,” Liam called, using his hands to cup his mouth.

“NO! GET HER AWAY FROM THE DOG!” Brock screamed some more and the twins rushed towards their mother in fear.

“Brock, you scare the kids. They’ve played with Pearl a lot. She’s a good dog. She doesn’t hurt anyone,” Liam said, getting even angrier. Being afraid of dogs was one thing. This was just… harassment.

Pearl had been distracted by a ball, but she saw Brock and wanted to go to him. “NO!” the man yelled, getting back in his car and shutting the door tightly.

“This is just ridiculous,” Liam threw his hands in the air, calling Pearl back and grabbing her by the collar. “There. I have them. You can go to your house and mind your own business!”

“That was attempted murder, officer!” Liam almost cried.
“What’s going on here?” Olive asked, shielding her girls from the new neighbor.

“He’s scared to death of dogs for some reason,” Liam said.

They then saw Brock get out of his car and point his finger at them again. “If that thing comes near me or into my house again, I’ll make it disappear! Do you understand me?”

This statement made the hairs on the back of Liam’s neck stand up and he wanted to yell at the new neighbor. But he heard Betty start crying from fear and didn’t want to scare her any more.

He could only give Brock a menacing look before ushering Olive, the twins and Pearl into his house. Olive managed to calm down one of her girls and they played with Pearl again. Darla hadn’t seen the whole exchange but had heard the last part.

“Does he want to hurt our dog?” she asked quietly in the kitchen where she, Olive and Liam were eating coffee and biscuits.

“That’s what he said,” Olive murmured unhappily.

“If he or anyone ever hurts Pearl, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Liam shook his head, but Darla took his hand reassuringly and they tried to put the topic aside.



his wife yelled through the phone, and Liam knew immediately something was wrong. Not prone to hysteria, she was usually the voice of reason in her home. Something terrible must have happened that she called him in the middle of the day and screamed in a tone like that.

He rose from his chair and immediately gathered his things. “So what’s going on?”

“Pearl is sick! Something is wrong. She came into the house and started vomiting, breathing heavily and almost couldn’t walk. I’m taking her to the vet right now!” Darla explained, trying to calm down.

“I’ll meet you there!” he promised and hurried away. He would explain things later at work.


“I don’t know exactly what happened, but the dog swallowed poison,” Dr. Carrigan, her trusted vet. They were already treating her with intravenous drugs and doing some blood tests.

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