Edgar Barfuß, strapping 84 years old and owner of the odds and ends shop, woke up the next morning because he felt breathless. But who should breathe it? He hadn’t shared his bedroom with anyone since his wife Elli died two years ago. Irritated, he opened his eyes and saw two dark dog eyes. Suddenly he remembered that he had fetched little Tinka out of the pouring rain the night before. Somehow it felt good not to be alone anymore. When Tinka realized that the person who had let her into his house was finally awake, she began to wag her tail vigorously. “It’s okay,” Edgar said to her with a smile, “We’ll go in a moment.” Surely, she had to go out, he thought. Also, they need food. But how should he go for a walk? She was wearing a collar, but of course she had come without a leash. Then it occurred to him that there must still be Robin’s leash. How long has it been since your dog died? Twenty years, sure, but they had never given the leash away, as if they knew it would be needed again. Like this morning.
When Edgar stepped outside the shop door with Tinka on a leash, glorious sunshine awaited them. Nothing reminded of last night’s thunderstorm. Tinka went with him as if it had never been otherwise. On the way they got food for Tinka, did one more lap through the park and went home again. Finally, it was time to open the shop. He remembered his promise from last night that he would never let Tinka down and his concern as to whether he would be able to keep this promise when Tinka suddenly ran off. Edgar involuntarily let go off the leash. Tinka ran straight to a girl who was standing in front of the closed door to the odds and ends store to greet her enthusiastically. The first thing Edgar noticed about the girl was her fiery red hair, glistening in the sun. As he got closer, he also saw the freckles and a joy that made her face shine as well. “Hello!” she said, “I’m so glad I found Tinka again. I thought she’d been run over or frozen to death or caught by unscrupulous dog breeders.” “Hello!” Edgar said, “As I see it, Tinka likes you very much. Wouldn’t you like to come in and tell me how you know her?” “I’d love to,” the girl replied. Tinka never left her side. Sometime later they sat in the cozy corner in front of the fireplace and enjoyed their tea. “My name is Fenella Farquhar,” the girl began to say, “Mrs. Dr. Wächter lived not far from us. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a dog. One day I met the two while walking and Tinka immediately ran up to me and greeted me as if she had known me forever. And then Inge, i.e. Mrs. Dr. Wächter that she wasn’t so good on her feet anymore and was looking for someone who might go for a walk with Tinka from time to time. You can’t imagine how excited I was about this offer. And suddenly they were gone, both of them. I didn’t know what to do, just that this horrible woman who appears to be her daughter would have loved to see Tinka drop dead so she wouldn’t be in trouble. I was already very desperate when I remembered that Mrs. Doctor was always with you with Tinka. So, I hoped the little one would have run to them. And that’s how it was then.” “I’m very happy that you found us,” Edgar said thoughtfully, “You’re coming like a gift from heaven, because as you can see, I’m not the youngest anymore, so that I’m also worried about what will happen to Tinka when I can’t be like this anymore.” “So, I can go on walking with her?” asked Fenella. “I would be very happy about it,” Edgar explained carefully, “because I promised her that I would never let her down, but at my age you never know and if something should happen to me, I know she is in good hands.” “That sounds wonderful,” said Fenella. “I just hope the heirs don’t cause any problems,” Edgar added, not knowing that his concern was entirely justified.