Arf could smell smoke, but he didn’t know where it was coming from. His instincts told him to wake Miss Bessie up, so he nudged her until he could see that her eyes were open, and then he went to investigate.
“My word, she said. “I smell smoke.” She immediately got up and grabbed her robe. Where is Arf, she wondered as she hurried through the house looking for something on fire.
I had already been through the house and didn’t find anything. Now I was outside. I could see right away what was happening. The field next to the barn was on fire. I looked behind me and saw Miss Bessie standing in front of the house. I wondered what I should do. I ran to the barn. The fire was getting close and it was moving fast. The milk cow and her calf were in there and I had to get them out. Lassie would know what to do, but I wasn’t Lassie.
“Arf!” Miss Bessie was running back to the house to call the fire department. She just hoped that Arf wouldn’t put himself in harm’s way.
I tried to jump high enough to push the bar on the barn door up out of the latch, but I couldn’t reach it and the fire was getting closer. Then I saw an old tire lying nearby. I managed to drag the tire over to the door. I could reach, but the door wouldn’t open. I shoved the tire to the other side and when I pushed the bar up, the door opened.I ran inside the barn and chased the cow and calf outside just as the fire climbed the side of the barn and the roof caught on fire.
“Arf!” Miss Bessie yelled. “Come back here. A bad storm is coming. Oh, my,” she said. “Where is the firetruck? Arf!”
I was still trying to keep the cow and calf from the fire when the big firetruck came. I remembered it from the Easter parade. The firemen were spraying water on the barn with their hose, but the fire in the field was getting bigger.
Miss Bessie brought a rope to where I had the cow cornered. She tied it around the cow’s neck and led her to the fence around the chicken coup. “I’ll tie her up over here. Her calf will follow her. Brad should be here soon. I called him, too.”
Shortly after that, Brad pulled up in his truck. Jamie and Mark were with him. Brad came running over to us to make sure we were all right, and then ran to see what he could do to help the firemen.
“I don’t know if they’re going to be able to get either fire out,” Brad said when he came back. “The barn and the field are burning fast and there’s just one firetruck. Let’s just pray the wind doesn’t change direction or it might go toward your house.”
“I can’t lose my house, Brad,” Miss Bessie said. “I just can’t.”
I was with the cow and calf, Jamie and Mark were still in the truck, and Brad and Miss Bessie were standing near the house watching the firemen. Suddenly, I saw a big bolt of lightning come out of the sky and then there was a big downpour that thankfully, put the fire out.
When it was over, everyone went inside. Miss Bessie made coffee and invited the firemen in, too. I stayed to watch over the cow and calf because they just lost their house and that’s what Lassie would have done.
Later, Brad and Mark loaded the cow and calf up into Brad’s truck. “They’ll have to stay at the ranch until we can do something about your barn,” he said to Miss Bessie.
As they were leaving, Jamie asked Miss Bessie what had alerted her to the fire.
“Arf woke me up,” she said. “Thank God for Arf.”
Jamie looked at me and her face looked sad.