“It’s only two days until we go to the Easter festival in town, Arf. I must get my eggs ready to take to the General Store, and make some hot cross buns for the church bake sale. I also want to bake an apple pie for Mr. Holcomb. I mean Brad. He wants to be called Brad. Wasn’t it nice of him to insist he drive us to town for the festival? He’s such a nice young man.
Miss Bessie was talking and humming, and talking and humming. I was watching her because sometimes that means she’s about to give me a b-o-n-e.
Miss Bessie took her coffee and newspaper to the living room. She turned the TV on because she knows I like to watch Lassie.
My favorite episode was on. It’s the one where Timmy finds a man stuck in quicksand and sends Lassie back to the farm to get a rope. I’ve learned a lot of neat stuff from watching Lassie. I was almost to the part where she gets back with the rope and Timmy ties it to a long tree branch so he can hold it far enough out for the man to reach it, when I heard the phone ring. Miss Bessie went to the kitchen to answer it. I was about to follow her when she came back and sat down in her chair. I hadn’t seen her look sad in a while, but something had made her sad tonight.
“Well Arf,” she said. “I’ve been trying not to think about this, but I guess I knew your owners wouldn’t change their minds.Their daughter, Jamie, is on her Easter break from college and she’s going to pick you up on her way home.
She will be here sometime tomorrow. The day before the Easter festival.”
At night when we went to bed, I got to sleep on a pallet at the foot of Miss Bessie’s bed. I liked sleeping there.
When I woke up the next morning, she was already in the kitchen baking bread. I knew something was wrong though because she wasn’t humming.
Later, Miss Bessie and I were out collecting eggs and Mr. Brad drove up.
“Good morning Miss Bessie,” he said. “I thought I’d better check and see what time you want me to pick you and Arf up for the Easter festival tomorrow.”
“Oh yes, the Easter festival,” Miss Bessie said quietly. “I’m not quite sure, Brad. I got a call last evening from Arf’s owners. The daughter is picking him up sometime today.”
Today? I was flabbergasted. I loved my before humans, but I never thought I would be going back to them. I had been forced to move on. Miss Bessie needed me. Where is my frisbee? What should I do? What would Lassie do?
While I was thinking, Miss Bessie was telling Mr. Brad the whole story.
“I need to get back to the ranch,” he said. “I’ll be back later to meet this Jamie. I’ll try to be here around one. If she gets here before then, don’t let her leave until I have a chance to talk with her.”
Miss Bessie nodded her head. Mr. Brad said goodbye and walked back to his truck.
“Arf, come here boy,” he said. “I forgot to give these to Miss Bessie. Will you take them to her please?”
Mr. Brad reached into the truck and picked up a pretty bouquet of flowers for me to carry to Miss Bessie. She was dabbing her eyes with her hanky, but when she saw the flowers, she smiled big.
An old woman, a young man, and a dog… they knew very little about each other, but there was already a strong bond building between them.