Brian, a young boy, had a hard time making friends. His father Gary, a police officer, tried helping his son bond with his peers, but Brian had his own things. In fact, Gary did a lot in order to help his son build his self-confidence, but the more he insisted, the more Brian pulled away.

As Brian was way too insecure to go to and from school all by himself, although it wasn’t that far from home, Gary would always drive him. During the winter, while waiting for his dad, Brian was reading at the library, and when the weather was hot, he would wait outside the school.

Over time, Brian made friends with a homeless man named Carl and his dog Goblin. He would see them every day while waiting so he decided to bond with the animal.

Decide

One day, when Gary went to pick up his son, Brian was all smiles. He told his father to come closer so that he could see all the tricks that the Golden Retriever could do. He knew how to give a high-five and how to dance.

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Gary was surprised to see that his boy made friends with a furry animal. But then, Brian explained that the dog belonged to Carl, the man begging on the street near the school, and Gary got mad. He certainly didn’t want his boy to be around the homeless man.

“Come on, now, it’s time to go,” Gary told Brian and added, “Listen, Brian, I want you to stay away from that man and his dog, OK?”

“Carl’s OK and I love Goblin!” Brian protested.

“Well, I’m sure Goblins’ a good dog, but I don’t want you befriending vagrants, Brian. Do you understand?” the father said. When Brian tried to defend Carl, his dad simply said, “Not another word.”

Despite his father’s warnings, Brian continued being around his newly-made friends, and Gary learned that when his wife told him that food went missing from the house. It was very obvious that Brian was stealing it so that he could give it to Carl and Goblin.

Gary loved the idea of his son being around the dog. What he wasn’t happy about was that the animal belonged to a vagrant.

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Two days later, Gary got off work early and when he arrived at the school, he caught Brian outside the gates. He had a bag in his hand and he was saying: “Hey guys, I have your favorite spaghetti, Carl. And for you boy, your favorite sausages!”

“BRIAN!” he thundered. “What are you doing?”

“Get away from that man,” Gary shouted. “Get into the car!”

That night, Gary and his wife talked to Brian of the dangers of befriending a man like Carl. “Dad, I know about stranger danger and bad touching. Carl is NOT like that, he’s nice. You can tell he’s a good person because Goblin loves him so much, and Goblin’s the BEST, smartest dog,” Brian answered back.

“Brian,” Gary said quietly. “I’m sure Goblin’s a great dog, but you know what? Hitler had a great dog and he loved him, and I’m sure the dog loved him back. A good dog does NOT make this vagrant a good person. Please stay away from him, Brian!”

“NO!” shouted Brian, and he pushed back his chair. “Carl is my friend and I love Goblin! Why do you always have to spoil everything? I HATE YOU!”

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A few days later, Brian was woken up by loud barking. When he took a look out of the window, he saw Goblin outside. He rushed towards him and could see that the dog was in distress. He kept asking where Carl was. Afraid that something could have happened to him, Brian did something he had never done before. He took Goblin and the two went straight to the station where his dad worked. This was the first time Brian walked that much all by himself.

Gary was stunned when he saw Brian at the precinct with the dog by his side. “Brian!” he gasped. “What are you doing here? How did you get here?”

“Dad!” he cried. “I think something bad happened to Carl. Goblin came looking for me and he’s very scared…” But Goblin wasn’t looking scared, he was looking up at Brian’s dad and growling.

Brian had never heard Goblin growl before. “Dad!” he asked. “What have you done?”

Gary flushed. “Carl was loitering near a school and he was warned off twice, so we arrested him!”

“But dad!” Brain cried. “He did nothing wrong! He’s not well, he needs help…You don’t know anything about him! He’s a veteran and he was in the bomb squad and he worked with sniffer dogs to find explosives. That’s why Goblin’s so well trained. He’s a good man and you arrested him because he’s sick!”

“He’s not SICK!” Gary cried angrily. “He’s a bum!”

Brian had tears in his eyes. “No, dad,” he said softly. “He doesn’t drink or anything, and most of the time he talks to people who aren’t there. He needs help.”

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Realizing the mistake he did, Gary felt ashamed of himself. It was then that he decided to do what his son begged him to.

Gary tracked down Carl’s sister and learned that she was desperately looking for him. He made sure they reunite and she helped him get the medical help he desperately needed.

Carl was sent to a mental health clinic and Goblin went with him to keep him company.

One day, Gary came home with a huge smile on his face and a strange lump under his jacket. He lifted out a wriggling puppy and presented it to Brian. “There you go,” he said. “You have to name him!”

Brian started crying tears of joy. “Goblin,” he gasped. “His name is Goblin Two!”

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