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Girl sleeping outside | Source: Pexels
Girl sleeping outside | Source: Pexels

Grumpy Old Man Saves Runaway Girl from Stray Dogs; Finds Her Sleeping in His Front Yard the Next Day — Story of the Day

Yevhenii Boichenko
May 28, 2024
11:15 A.M.

Robert had been living an isolated life since his beloved wife passed away years ago. Nobody could warm his heart or even come close to his house—nobody but a little girl Bella, who saw something in him that nobody else did. With dedication and sincerity, she managed to change his life forever.

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Robert lived alone in a dilapidated house at the end of the street. The house, with its peeling paint and overgrown yard, stood as a testament to his loneliness. After his wife passed away, Robert shut himself off from the world. He had no children or grandchildren to visit him, no one to care for. His neighbors knew better than to try to engage him in conversation, for Robert valued his solitude above all else.

One evening, as Robert sat in his worn-out armchair, his old dog, Lucky, started behaving unusually. Lucky was a faithful companion, but tonight he seemed agitated, barking and pulling at Robert's pant leg.

"What is it, buddy? What's wrong?" Robert asked, looking down at the old dog. Lucky barked again and tugged harder, urging Robert to follow him.

"Swear to god, Lucky. If it's one of your stupid bones again..." Robert grumbled, getting up from his chair. He followed Lucky out into the dark backyard.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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As they ventured deeper into the yard, Robert heard a commotion. "Don't come near me! I'm gonna kick you!" a girl's voice screamed, followed by the sound of dogs barking fiercely.

Robert quickened his pace and soon saw a young girl, around ten years old, surrounded by a pack of street dogs. Without hesitation, he ran back into his house and grabbed his hunting rifle. Rushing back outside, he fired a shot into the air, causing the dogs to scatter and run away.

"Not that brave now, huh? Filthy animals," Robert muttered, lowering his rifle. Lucky barked in agreement, wagging his tail. "I am not talking about you, buddy. You are alright." Robert turned to go back inside, seemingly ignoring the girl who stood trembling nearby.

The girl, mustering her courage, rushed to Robert and stood in front of him. "My name is Bella! What's your name?"

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Robert stopped in his tracks and sighed heavily. "My name is Nonya."

Bella tilted her head in confusion. "Nonya? That's a funny name."

"Nonya business!" Robert retorted, gently shoving the girl aside and heading back to his house.

Bella's eyes widened with surprise and frustration. "Let me in!" she shouted.

Robert turned around, his face stern. "What!? No! Go back to yours!" He slammed the door shut, leaving Bella standing alone on the doorstep.

Inside, Robert leaned against the door, trying to calm his racing heart. Lucky looked up at him with curious eyes, as if questioning his actions.

"Don't look at me like that, Lucky," Robert said, his voice softer now. "It's not my responsibility."

But even as he said the words, a pang of guilt tugged at his heart. He glanced out the window and saw Bella still standing there, a small figure in the growing darkness. For a moment, he considered opening the door, but the years of isolation and the walls he had built around his heart were too strong.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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He turned away and walked back to his chair, trying to push the image of the girl out of his mind. But as he sat down, the house felt emptier than ever, and the silence was no longer comforting but oppressive. Robert picked up an old photograph of his late wife and stared at it, wondering what she would have done.

"Things were simpler back then, weren't they?" he whispered to the photo. Lucky curled up at his feet, offering silent companionship. Robert sighed and leaned back, closing his eyes, but sleep wouldn't come easily that night.

In the morning, Robert stepped outside, hoping to enjoy his usual routine of reading the newspaper in peace. The morning air was crisp, and the quiet was comforting. He settled into his rickety chair, the newspaper crackling as he unfolded it. Lucky, his old dog, trotted ahead, sniffing around the yard as usual.

But today, something was different. Lucky began sniffing around the boxes in the front yard and started barking insistently at Robert.

"Not this again, buddy. We are not doing it," Robert muttered, trying to focus on his paper. But Lucky's barking didn't stop. It grew louder and more urgent, pulling Robert's attention away from the news.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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"Uhh. You are driving me crazy, buddy," Robert grumbled, reluctantly standing up and putting the newspaper aside. He walked over to where Lucky was barking and then froze. His face changed from irritation to surprise as he saw the young girl from the previous night. Bella was curled up, sleeping in one of the boxes by the door. She stirred awake from the barking, her eyes slowly opening. When she saw Robert and Lucky, she sat up, petting Lucky and smiling brightly at Robert.

"Not you again!" Robert exclaimed, his voice a mix of frustration and disbelief. "What did I tell ya!? Go back to your parents!"

Bella shook her head stubbornly. "Let me stay! I will clean the house for you!"

"No," Robert said firmly, trying to keep his voice steady.

"I will clean the mess you made on your lawn," Bella offered, her voice hopeful.

"What mess?" Robert asked, puzzled.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Bella stood up and spread her hand towards the lawn, which was in a horrible state. The grass was tall, and trash was scattered all over the place. It was clear that the yard had been neglected for a long time.

"No! Go away!" Robert shouted, his patience wearing thin. He couldn't believe the nerve of this girl, showing up again and thinking she could fix everything.

Bella's face fell, but she didn't move. "Please, I can help," she pleaded, her voice soft and sincere.

Robert's anger flared. "I said no!" he barked. He turned on his heel and marched back inside the house, slamming the door behind him. He picked up his newspaper, but the words blurred before his eyes. He couldn't focus. The image of Bella standing outside, her hopeful eyes staring back at him, was burned into his mind.

Lucky looked up at him with a mix of confusion and reproach. Robert sighed heavily, feeling a pang of guilt. "Don't look at me like that, Lucky. It's not my problem," he muttered, more to himself than to the dog.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Robert settled back into his chair, trying to immerse himself in the newspaper, but a strange noise from outside drew his attention. With a sigh, he peered out the window and saw Bella still there, gathering trash in the yard. She was diligently picking up litter, her small hands working quickly as she tried to tidy the place.

He frowned, hoping she would leave on her own if he ignored her. Robert walked over and closed the windows, shutting out the sight of Bella. He returned to his chair, trying to focus on the news, but the distant sounds of rustling and movement outside kept pulling him away.

Suddenly, a new sound erupted, louder and more alarming—the unmistakable roar of a lawnmower. Robert's heart raced as he jumped up and rushed outside. As he burst through the door, he heard Bella shouting, "Oh no... Everything is under control over here..."

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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But it was clear that nothing was under control. The lawnmower was moving wildly around the yard, with Bella chasing after it, desperately trying to grab hold of the handle. The machine careened through the tall grass, leaving uneven patches in its wake and knocking over anything in its path.

"Bella, what are you doing?!" Robert shouted, his voice a mix of anger and worry.

"I thought I could help!" Bella cried, her voice strained as she struggled with the lawnmower. She finally managed to grab the handle, but it was too late. The yard was a mess, and the lawnmower sputtered to a stop, its job unfinished.

Robert's face turned red with frustration. He marched over to Bella, who stood panting and looking up at him with wide eyes. "Give me your parents' number," he demanded, his voice stern.

"No, please! Don't call them!" Bella pleaded, tears welling up in her eyes. "I just wanted to help. I didn't mean to make things worse."

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Robert's heart softened for a moment, seeing the genuine fear and sadness in Bella's face. But his anger quickly took over again. "I don't care. This is too much. Give me the number."

Bella hesitated, then reluctantly recited her parents' phone number. Robert pulled out his phone and dialed, ignoring Bella's quiet sobs beside him. He paced back and forth as the phone rang, his mind a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.

When someone finally answered, Robert spoke quickly. "Hello, this is Robert, your neighbor. Your daughter Bella is here, and she needs to be picked up. She's caused quite a bit of trouble."

He hung up the phone and turned to Bella. "They'll be here soon. You can wait inside." He led her to the porch, where she sat down, tears streaming down her cheeks. Robert felt a pang of guilt but pushed it aside, telling himself he had done the right thing.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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A few minutes later, a beat-up old car pulled up in front of Robert's house. The engine sputtered to a stop, and a man stumbled out, swaying slightly. Robert immediately smelled the alcohol on him. The man’s clothes were rumpled, and his eyes were bloodshot. He took a moment to steady himself before approaching the porch.

“Hello, I am Tommy... Where is Bella!?” Tommy's voice was aggressive, and he was noticeably shaking.

Robert frowned, feeling a surge of protective anger for Bella. “What’s with the attitude? I called you myself. She is sitting in the house waiting for ya,” Robert answered carefully, trying to keep his own temper in check.

Tommy wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, his movements jerky and unsteady. “Thank you, we’ve been looking for her, and we’ve been very worried, yeah very,” he slurred, though his tone lacked any real concern.

“Doesn’t look like it, but whatever. That’s not my business. Take the damn kid already,” Robert said, stepping aside to let Tommy pass.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Tommy staggered into the house, and moments later, he reappeared with Bella in tow. He gripped her arm roughly, and she winced, trying to keep up with his stumbling steps. Robert's heart clenched at the sight, and he noticed how Bella’s eyes were downcast, her usual spark gone.

“Come on, Bella. Let’s go,” Tommy barked, dragging her towards the car. Bella shot a desperate glance back at Robert, but he forced himself to look away. Even Lucky barked at Robert, sensing the tension.

“Don’t judge me, it’s not my kid,” Robert muttered to the dog, trying to convince himself as much as Lucky.

Tommy shoved Bella into the car, slamming the door shut. He muttered something under his breath, then climbed into the driver’s seat and started the engine. The car roared to life and sputtered away, leaving Robert standing on the porch, feeling more conflicted than ever.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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That evening, Robert finally got the peace he thought he wanted. He sat in his chair, the newspaper in his hands, but the words blurred together. His thoughts kept drifting back to Bella’s sad eyes and the rough way Tommy had treated her. He couldn’t shake the image from his mind, and it gnawed at him.

Robert looked at Lucky, who was lying at his feet, his eyes full of unspoken questions. “I know, I know,” Robert sighed, running a hand through his thinning hair. “But it’s not our problem, right?”

Lucky let out a low whine, and Robert felt a pang of guilt. He stood up and paced the room, his mind racing. He couldn’t deny that he missed Bella’s presence, her stubborn determination, and the way she had tried to help.

As night fell, the house felt emptier than ever. The silence was no longer comforting but oppressive. Robert tossed and turned in his bed, unable to sleep. Finally, he made a decision.

Worried about Bella, Robert decided to check on her. He couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that something was terribly wrong. He got up, put on his jacket, and grabbed his keys. Lucky followed him to the door, tail wagging slightly.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Arriving at Bella's house, Robert was taken aback by its terrible condition. The paint was peeling off the walls, windows were broken, and the yard was filled with junk. As he approached the front door, he could hear Tommy shouting inside, his voice slurred and angry.

Robert took a deep breath and entered the house. The inside was even worse, with trash scattered everywhere and a strong smell of alcohol. Tommy, clearly drunk, was yelling incoherently, stumbling around the living room.

“Bella! Where are you?!” Tommy bellowed.

Bella, hearing the commotion, peeked out from behind a doorway. When she saw Robert, her eyes widened with relief. She ran to him, throwing her arms around his waist.

“Please, take me with you! I don’t want to stay here!” she pleaded, her voice trembling.

Robert looked down at her, his heart aching. “Alright, Bella. You’re coming with me,” he said firmly.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

For illustration purposes only. | Source: DaLL-E

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Tommy noticed the exchange and staggered towards them, his face twisted with rage. “You’re not taking her anywhere!” he shouted, lunging at Robert.

Robert, fueled by a protective instinct, fended off Tommy, pushing him away. Tommy stumbled and fell, too drunk to keep his balance. Without wasting another second, Robert scooped Bella into his arms and hurried out of the house.

As they left, Bella clung to Robert, her tears soaking into his shirt. “Thank you,” she whispered, her voice filled with gratitude.

Robert held her tightly, determined to give her the safe and loving home she deserved.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

If you enjoyed this story, read this one: A rich man rescues a poor little girl begging outside a city mall when a guard threatens to kick her out. However, when he gets a better look at her, he's bewildered by her huge, innocent emerald eyes, which he recognizes from somewhere else. Read the full story here.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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