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Heart & Soul Counseling Children’s Stories

Children’s Stories warm the Heart and Soul. These are for all ages. Remember young is anyone who still has to grow!
(Reproduction, copying and/or publishing is prohibited without the express written consent of Tina Calabrese.)

Sergio and the Virtual Abyss
By Tina Calabrese, LCSW-R
©Tina Calabrese 2010

The Hamptons were quiet and most of the summer crowd had returned to New York City. Sergio was getting bored. His friend Fido had told him how much fun it was to text friends and how it was cool to join “FreakBook” so he just had to try it and see for himself.

He noticed that his mom had gotten a new iphone and he went into the electronic garbage container to find her old phone.

“Look for the red blinking light Fido said” Sergio muttered under his breath.

“AHA! There it is just like he said it would be even the instruction book if there!”

Sergio’s best friend Frankie was excited it was Friday because they always went down to “Marino’s Italian Cucina” for dinner scraps.

“Where is he?” Frankie asked himself.

It was way past 8pm and he was always there by 730. Frankie was worried. He ran as fast as the cars were going along main street and pushed past the gate at Sergio’s house.

“Sergio, Sergio are you Ok?” yelled Frankie.

Then he noticed him in the corner of the yard with nothing other than a BLACKBERRY!

“Sergio! Sergio! I thought you were hurt c’mon its Friday and the place is swamped with Italians who order a lot then throw the rest away!”

“Oh hi Frankie I’m busy texting my other friends and I’m on FreakBook and playing a farm game with some virtual terriers. Just go without me.” Sergio said not lifting his head from the phone.

“But Sergio its our time! Its Friday! Look I will give you a few minutes then I’ll come back and get you.” Frankie said.

“Whatever. LOL” Sergio muttered.

“LOL, What did that mean?” thought Frankie.

Frankie returned in an hour.

“OK its time c’mon there will be great food for us”

“Nnn,unn, hmmm WTF, idk,” Sergio muttered.

“What?! Are you Ok? Gimme that thing its taking over you!” Frankie yelled.

“Go without me Frankie. I’m busy. I got some free apps and I just joined twitter.” Sergio said low.

“I will come back tomorrow. By then you’ll be tired of this thing.” said Frankie

When he returned Sergio was in the same spot, doing the same exact thing and now picking his head up once to see Frankie or mutter something. Now he was really lost inside. Frankie even brought a piece of chicken cutlet parmesan to get his attention. Nothing worked. Nothing.

Frankie walked away his head down and his eye twitching.

“What was happening to my best friend?!” he whispered to himself.

He decided he would give Sergio a week to come to his senses. He figured the smell of more good food would outweigh any new gadget. He thought he had to miss him....eventually. It was a lonely week for Frankie. He wandered through the neighborhood, fought with some stray cats and pooped behind the dumpster alone for the first time ever.

“Its so sad pooping alone I feel like a human. I always poop with my friend Sergio. Its like he was kidnapped by aliens. He was always so most fun, he had ideas and jokes and sometimes all we did was just be together and scratch our ears. Now its like…its like HE LOST HIS SOUL!” a lonely tear dropped out of Frankie’s right eye.

“Dogs don’t cry!” yelled Fido approaching clutching an iphone.

“Sergios’ gone into virtual abyss. I lost my best friend” Frankie cried.

“Snap out of it! Don’t be so victorian! Join the 21 Century!! Text him!”

Fido snarled.

“I don’t want a virtual version of my best friend I don’t even want to use “BF.” I want the real him - Best Friend. I don’t want an abbreviated life! I don’t want virtual feelings! I want to see his eyes and his face and how much he loves me and how much fun we are having just being together. I wanna go back! Back to …” Frankie was just overcome with grief.

“Frankie. Grow up don’t you know the world as it was is over. There is no real anymore. No one looks at each other. No one is real. Its easier the new way. There‘s no pain, no loss, no risk. I just broke up with my girlfriend by texting her and I feel great. I was just about to move in and the last minute I said no way. Then I found this new app for free and its all good.”

Frankie didn’t know what was worse Sergio’s new phone or Fido.

He went home and went to bed. He decided he would go to the cucina like always on Fridays and wait for his best friend to come.

Meanwhile Sergio was still in the same spot in the yard. The only time he left was to eat. After he drank all his water he put his phone into his water dish so he could eat and watch his twitter account at the same time.

He loved twitter it was so much fun. He followed Lassie and Garfield and even Snuffleufugus. You could follow him at @brilliant terrier.

He didn’t think about anything else. He had a lot of friends on FreakBook and the farm game was just too much fun he could hardly bare it. Sometimes a friend would say something mean to him but it didn’t even matter he loved just getting “friended” and getting all that attention for nothing. The only thing he ever had to do to have a friend was to make sure the battery was charged and to make up stuff. In fact Sergio didn’t even realize he was lying by making up stuff and talking to poodles who weren’t real! They were actually rats who learned how to type.

It didn’t matter as long as he had his “inbox” filled who cared if animals misrepresented themselves?! He was a star! He was a brilliant terrier!

Sergio was in virtual abyss.

He texted all the time to Fido. They talked madly back and forth without ever seeing each other’s face.

“How great is this?! I can even order take out!”

Friday came around again and Frankie was waiting at “Marino’s Italian Cucina” on main street. He head hung way down to the ground and he had lost a lot of weight.

“He’ll be here I know he will I just need to give him some time. Sometimes friends need time to process. He will realize he’s hungry. He will realize…” Frankie broke down again.

His heart was broken.

He cried and cried and then he realized something that was so very sad. He was crying! He had feelings. Sergio was cold. He was an addict. He was lost. Frankie walked home and cuddled with his mom. He would have to try to forget Sergio for now.

Halloween came and a very scary diseased racoon jumped over Sergio’s fence. He found him in that spot in the corner of the yard and noticed he had a half eaten ham sandwich next to him. He LUNGED toward Serg and scratched his face, he whuffed down the half eater sandwich and stomped all over his phone. Then he shredded the phone with his teeth and kicked Sergio in his butt. He left like he came.

“I thought I was going to get killed! I couldn’t even scream! My phone! My phone is destroyed!!” he was so shaken he ran inside to his mom.

“What am I going to do now Mom? How do I get my friends?! How do I get take out? What about my ‘FreakBook’ page?”

“Sergio there is a lesson in this for you. Go be by yourself and think about it. And no you cannot use my phone. Its locked.”

Sergio went into his room. He felt this awful feeling like he had to have his phone and like he would steal for a phone or that if he didn’t get it soon he would die. His paws began to shake. His eyes blurry. He only thought in abbreviations. OMG, WTF, THUMBS DOWN, TTYS. He couldn’t eat, he couldn’t sleep, he felt alone, his body ached.

Halloween passed and Sergio woke up on a Friday afternoon. He had slept for three days and now he felt better. He was hungry and lonely.

“Well what did you learn?” his mom smiled.

“I was addicted to the phone and the virtual abyss. It was empty and shallow and I guess I lost myself for awhile mom.”

“You did Sergio but the good news is you’re back and its Friday. Now go meet your best friend and bring me home some garlic bread.”

Sergio raced down to “Marino’s Italian Cucina.” He noticed Frankie was sitting next to the dumpster. He looked terrible.

“Frankie I’m here! Are you Ok?!”

“Sergio! I thought I had lost you forever but something told me to come back here and wait. You are really here? We are friends again?!” Frankie said trying not to smile yet.

“Yes. I’m sorry. I know I hurt you and I’m sorry. I won’t go near anything that plugs in ever again.”

With that Sergio looked at Frankie and Frankie looked at Sergio. The wind blew through their fur and the smell of cooking tomato sauce made them hungry. Together they found some tasty scraps and Sergio found some uneaten calamari which he knew was Frankie’s favorite.

“Frankie here you eat this.” he said with a smile.

“Thanks Sergio I‘m so glad you came back.” Frankie said with a smile.

Sergio’s Angel
By Tina Calabrese, LCSW-R
©Tina Calabrese 2007

A light green tulip leaf appeared where there should have been sprinkles of snow. A NewYork wind had been forgotten as winter in January lost footing like the glacier in Antartica. Sergio was happy. He hated to be cold.

“The only thing I miss is snuggling up to the fire as mom prepares my dinner. Feeling so warm and cuddly and smelling the beef in gravy is just heaven.” he said while licking his lips.

“Did someone say ‘heaven?’” a voice came out of the distance.

“Who is that?!” Sergio quipped.

“Sister Mary at your service.”

“I have no sisters. My one sister died at birth”

“And she says hello.”

“What? Who? Am I dead?!”

“No, No, Sergio you are far, far from dead. In fact you are one of the most alive beings I’ve ever seen!” said Sister Mary with a chuckle.

“Then what is going on? Have I done something wrong? I try to be a good dog. Mom says I’m good.”

“You are a good dog. Nothing is wrong. I am your guardian angel now and I came to say hello and to give you some advice.”

“Are you like a Dr. Phil angel? Just my luck. Out of all the angels in heaven I get a shrink angel.”

“You are very funny. Well I am. You see I knew your mother. She was very kind to me and I told her I would watch out for you when I arrived. Now Sergio...”

“Uh-oh, a sentence that starts with ‘Now Sergio’ “

“Now Sergio what do you want to talk about?”

“Nothing really you said my sister said hello. Why was she the one that died?”

“It was just the way things happened.”

‘That is all you can say. I mean you’re an angel now don’t you know all the secrets?”

“Sergio you need to trust your heart and your inner wisdom you know things you know answers you even know secrets you just don’t trust yourself”

"I don’t. I don’t even feel like I have a heart sometimes. Sometimes I don’t think enough about my friends I only think about me and when I will eat and play and get hugs and cuddles and brushed oh I love to be brushed so much.

Sister Mary I’m a selfish dog.”

“Sergio its perfectly alright for you to be happy and to get what you want. There is nothing wrong with that in fact God wants you to be happy only happy he doesn’t want you to be sad and alone and not taking care of yourself. You can be happy and also be there for your friends too. It’s not one thing or another. You know how sometimes you lick your mouth and scratch your ear at the same time?”

“Yeah after I eat I get an itch I think its only when I eat cow for some reason eating something so much bigger than me gives me anxiety.”

“Well its like that. I helped a lot of people when I was alive but I still laughed with my friends, read my romance novels and enjoyed a good meal when someone else was paying!”

“I want you to believe that when you feel nervous and you doubt your goodness that God MADE YOU GOOD ALREADY. You don’t get good you already are. He wants you to believe that and to love others.”

“I try but what about when someone hurts you bad I mean not biting you or scratching you or even stealing your food what if someone hurts your feelings like saying something bad about you, or lying to you or leaving you just when you thought they were staying your friend. What about when someone gets mean to you right in front of all your friends. What about when someone is moody and takes it out on you even if it wasn’t your fault. What if it was your fault and still someone gets mean? How do you deal with that without getting the same way back??

I don’t know what to do sometimes. Mom says tell them how you feel I say run the other way and fast.”

“This is something that anyone who is alive struggles with not just you. I can remember I worked with a woman and she was occassionally mean to me I couldn’t understand it I was so nice to her. I told her to stop treating me that way because I didn't deserve it. I told her she was hurting me. Your mother is right. I’m going to tell you something now that is very, very important. When someone is mean to themself they can be mean to others. When someone is not nice to themself they can’t allow anyone to be nice to them.”

“Oh that’s that whole thing if you don’t love yourself you can’t love someone else.’”

“Yes. You need to like yourself enough that you do good things for yourself and that makes you happy. This way you can do good things for others and feel like you're not sacrificing your happiness for someone else. If you do that then you might become bitter.”

“I think I’m getting it.”

“You are getting it”

“But what does ‘bitter’ mean?”

“Bitter means a bad taste it means that you get mad at not getting things you want and you don’t like it that you helped everyone else get what they want. It happens when people are hurt by life a lot and they can’t seem to get away from it.

I remember I felt bitter because I didn’t get a raise at my job but then I asked for one and I got it. You see you need to push in life not harshly but you need to get what you want and what you need.”

“I don’t know what I need.”

“We all need the same thing.”

“We do.”

“Yes. Think about it what is it we all need”

“Treats. And NOT the organic ones. I hate them. Artifical meat. Yuck!”

“Beside treats?”

“Love we all need love.”

“And how do we get love?”

“Got me I’m just a dog.”

“When do you feel loved?”

“When mom feeds me and hugs me and brushes me and tells me how wonderful I am.”

“When else?”

“When Klutzy wants to take a walk with me even though we get lost.”

“When else?”

“When Spanky tells me his darkest secret and asks me to be his friend forever

and I say yes.”

“When else?”

“When I taught Harry how to find the bone he buried because he was born without a sense of direction. That time I felt love between us not just for me.”

“When else?”

“When I saved the garbage man I used to be afraid of.”

“When else?”


I feel love for myself. How did you do that?”

“Funny. You did it not me.”

“You are a tricky angel shrink.”

“Do all dogs go to heaven?”

“If they let themselves feel love yes.”

“Are you sure I’m not dying anytime soon because I really wanted to play in my pool for another season I only had it one year.”

“No Sergio you are not dying you will someday and I will be right here waiting for you and then you will tell all your stories.’”

“Will you always be there for me?”

“Always. The question is will you always be there for you?”


Now for the treats?"

(See below for a picture of the real character and his comment to the story)

"I’m no angel."


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