The boy sucked, but a girl wouldn't have been any better.
The dog was awesome.
It should have been a little dog. With the existing dog as its bodyguard.
The little dog would have the power of burrowing into peoples chests and exploding out of them, spawning a pair of little dogs.
Replace the whole "I'll offer you this precious stone" shtick with the little dog following the guy around pissing on his boots until he gave in.