After work, Jamie dropped Miss Bessie off at the ranch and then went straight home to the farm. Miss Bessie had talked or gossiped rather, the whole way and now Jamie had a massive headache. It had been a long day and she needed to take care of her animals before settling in for the night. She intended to fix herself something to eat and go to bed early. Sleep had been alluding her lately and she was bone tired.
It was close to eight o’clock when the phone rang.
“Jamie…This is Miss Bessie. I know you just dropped me off a few hours ago and I’m sorry to bother you, dear, but we need you! Something is wrong with Arf. He’s lying on the floor and panting. He won’t get up…even for those bones he loves.”
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes,” Jamie said. She quickly dressed and took off in her Jeep. “Please God,” she prayed. “Let Arf be okay.” All the way to the ranch she tried to figure out what could possibly be wrong with the dog she had known since he was a puppy.
Arf had been fine all day. He danced with Katie at the hospice and the nursing home and later played hard with Annie at the park. It had been a great day for all of them, but shortly after they got home Arf suddenly became lethargic and his eyes didn’t look good.
“Maybe he’s just worn out from his big day, but I didn’t want to take any chances,” Miss Bessie said.
“I’m really glad you called me. I’ve never seen him like this.”
“Steve and Dina are putting a very worried Katie to bed. Brad left shortly after they all got home. He went to take Barbie and that Gloria back to wherever they live. Sounds like it’s a pretty long trip. Helen is cleaning up the kitchen.” Miss B felt obliged to fill Jamie in on everyone’s whereabouts.
“Okay, my good boy, let’s see if we can find out why you’re not feeling well.”
Jamie couldn’t find anything that would explain Arf’s sudden illness. She questioned Dina and Steve about what he had eaten and asked if he could have gotten into any tainted water.
“Where is Annie?” Jamie asked. “Is she acting sick as well?”
“We don’t know.” After getting Katie settled in, Dina had come to see if she could help. “Brad took Annie with him back to Barbie’s house. I guess she must want to keep her.”
“So you’re telling me, after a wonderful day with his friend, Annie, whom he loves so much, she was suddenly whisked away?” Jamie looked angry. “I can’t believe Brad would do that. He knows how attached those two have become.”
“What do we do now?” Dina asked. “We can’t let him stay like this.”
“I get the feeling that Arf and Katie haven’t been spending as much time together, either. He must feel like all of his best buds are drifting away from him. I think the answer is for everyone, especially Katie, to love on him and spend as much time with him as possible. A dog like Arf needs to have a purpose.”
*** Jamie nailed it. My heart sank when Brad took Annie back to Barbie’s house. Now she has to live with that mean old Gloria. I don’t think I’m going to get better for a really long time. I’ll waste away to nothing. I’ll sort of be on strike…even though it’s going to be very hard to pass up those good bones.
The next day, the household did their best to cheer Arf up, but he had lost interest in everything. He probably would have worked with Katie because she was his number one human, but she had the sniffles and her mom wanted her to stay in bed. Katie told Dina that seeing Arf so upset made her sad. He didn’t even want to lay by her bed. He wanted to stay by the window in Brad’s study where he could see outside.
Jamie didn’t have to work the next day, so she drove over to the ranch to check on Arf. Miss B said he was still lying by the window in Brad’s study.
Jamie felt a little strange going into Brad’s private study, but that’s where Arf was, so that’s where she went. She sat down on the floor beside him and held his head in her lap. She began scratching his ears and around his collar which she knew he loved.
“I don’t know, Arf. I’ve been thinking a lot about selling the farm and going back home. I hate to have to transfer my internship, but it’s something to think about. I know you still have your work to do with Katie and you two really love each other. You’re just going to have to get over Annie and go on. I’m sure you will still see her occasionally.”
***Uh Oh…now I’ve made Jamie sad. Keep scratching my ears, Jamie.
“What’s going on in here?” Brad asked as he stood in the doorway watching them.
“The two of us are crying on each other’s shoulder,” Jamie answered. “Arf has been lying around being depressed ever since you took Annie to live with Barbie and Gloria. Was it really necessary for you to do that after the two of them had spent several days together and become so attatched?”
” I know. You’re right.” Brad walked over and knelt down to pet Arf. I thought better of it while we were on our way to Barbie’s. I’ll get her another dog if she wants one.”
“Do you mean…”
“Yes. Annie is out in the kitchen chewing on one of those good bones.”
***Did Brad say what I think he said? Stop scratching my ears. Jamie. Annie’s here and she’s eating a good bone?
Suddenly Arf had new found energy and without looking back, he was off to see Annie and chew on a good bone.
“Now Jamie,” Brad said as he took her hand to help her to get up from the floor…”I want to tell you about what’s going on with Tom and Barbie, but first, let’s talk about us…