Charo was walking with Margherita down the streets of New York.
He was invited to do some shopping with her.
Just then, a man and a dog came along.
It was Margherita's friend, Coupe and his owner, Roger.
"Good morning, Margherita. Going on an errand? Good dog."
"How's it going?"
"Couldn't be better. How about you?"
"Hmm, not bad. I didn't know you had a little one. Is he a new pup?"
"Oh, no, no, no. Coupe, this is Charo. Charo, this is Coupe. Charo came all the way from Japan."
"Wow! Really? Nice to meet you, Charo."
"Nice to meet you."
"Okay, we've got to go now, Coupe. Watch out for the cars, you two."
"Thank you. And take care. Ciao."
As they walked further, a young woman passed by, waving her hand to Margherita.
"Hey there, Margherita. How are you today?"
"Good to see you, Pinky. I'm fine, I'm fine."
"That was Pinky."
"Pinky. You have many friends."
"Of course, I do."
Soon the two dogs were in front of a store.
"Okay. Here we are. Now, stay right beside me and don't get lost. Stay with me."
"Okay, I understand. I stay with you."
Charo had never seen a dog shopping so he was very curious.
After the short bark, Margherita just sat there nice and quiet.
Then, somebody from inside open the door.
"Hey, Margherita! You came shopping for Rosa again. Good dog! Good dog!"
John patted Margherita on the back and scratch behind her ears.
He then, saw Charo.
"Hey, where did you find this little one? You're so good at making new friends. Maybe someday you can tell me the secrets."
John let the two in.
They walked through narrow aisles.
"He is John. He is the manager of this place. He's such a sweet guy, but the day I met him, wow, he seemed so mean!"
"He shove me out into the rain and it was pouring too.
"He said things like 'Don't you dare come inside my shop again' or 'I'm the one to decide whether you can shop around here or not.'"
"That's... I can't believe it."
They got to the counter, John stooped down took out the usual note from Margherita's basket and started to read it out.
"Now, let's see. Basil ... shrimp ... cheese ... okay. It's the usual cheese, right?"
"Oh, yeah, got it."
John left to get the items while Charo stared at his back.
He seemed amazed.
"John. Does he understand us?"
"Oh, no. It's always mozzarella. He just likes to have a conversation. You know, that's how friends are."
John picked up one thing after another, came back and put them into Margherita's basket.
"I know it's a bit very heavy but you can carry it, right? You're such a strong girl."
With Margherita's bark, John took out a small piece of cheese from his pocket and offered it to her.
Margherita licked it off his hand happily.
It was something they always did, as if they confirm each other's friendship.
"Thanks, John. See you."
John opened the door and the two dogs were out on the street again.
Charo looked back and saw John still waving at them.
"How did you become friends with him?"
"Well, it's a long story. You see, Rosa once caught a terrible cold. She was running a high fever but we had to keep the restaurant open. She checked the stock of food and there were several things missing. So I took off to the store with Rosa's small note in my basket. It was pouring outside. At first, John just kicked me out into the rain."
"Did he really?"
"Oh, yes. Still, I didn't give up. I waited and waited, until finally, John came out, noticed my basket and the note and apologized. That was what we made friends."
"Wow, that's great."
"Yes, friends are great. They care for you and support you. Not because they want something return but because they love you. Friends are something really special."
"And it was Rosa who talked this to me. She was the one who took me in, you know."
"Took you in? Then you were..."
"Yes. I was abandoned. But Rosa found me. Brought me to her place and fed me. She has kept me since, and really, really cares for me. That's why I always want to help her. I would do anything for her."
"I was abandoned, too."
"Oh, I thought you were just lost."
"No, at the beginning, I was left in the park. Shota saved me."
"Oh, then we're in the same boat. Friends."
"Friends are what make life worth living. You understand?"
Charo was able to smile again.
Margherita's very casual way of cheering him up was working.
Just then, Margherita spotted a wonderfully charming puppy.
"Wow! Look at her. Isn't she something?"
"Her ears, so pretty."
"Good morning, beautiful."
But the papillon didn't answer.
"Oh my. She's shy. But she sure is cute. Well that, ready to head back."
Charo followed Margherita but he was still thinking about that girl dog, not knowing that she would become one of his very best friends.