It seemed to Arf that it was taking forever to go get the doctor and head back up the mountain. He rode in the back of the truck and got pretty wet as the rain continued to fall. Arf was so worried and distracted he hardly noticed that the weather was turning bad, again.
Mark was praying Arf was able to find help. He knew that Mr. Sanders needed much more care than he was able to give him. His fever wouldn’t break even though Mark never stopped bathing him with cool cloths and holding ice chips to his dry lips.
Biff: I know this human is trying to make my human feel better. I just wish he could get him to wake up. I wish I could tell him that from now on I will go fishing with him anytime he wants to go. I won’t ever beg for part of his porkchop or make him let me out in the middle of the night. Woofta…I just want him to wake up.
Annie: There’s a truck coming! There’s a truck coming! Oh, I forgot…Mark can’t understand me. It comes out sounding like a bark. “Bark, Bark, Bark.” There, now he’s looking. Poor Arf is in the back of the truck and he looks like a drowned rat. There are two men in that truck, but I don’t see Rex.
Mark heard a knock on the door and rushed to open it. He saw the two men and breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed one of them had a doctor’s bag with him.
“We can make introductions later,” the doctor said as he walked on over to Mr. Sanders. “This must be the patient.”
Mark stepped aside and waited patiently for the doctor to do a thorough examination. He turned and saw the man who had driven the doctor and then he saw Arf and went to kneel down beside him.
“You did it Arf. You got help. Now Mr. Sanders will have a fighting chance. Were you able to find Rex?”
“He sure did,” the other man said. “My name is Howard Jones. I came upon the two of them at the crossroads. Once I got a hold of Rex, Arf here got the frisbee you had written on and showed it to me. Your horse is at my place. Great idea on your part to write a detailed message and very tenacious and smart of Arf to know he had to hang on to that frisbee and keep track of the horse, too. You’re a Iucky man. I would love to have a dog like Arf.”
“You have no idea how special he is. By the way, my name is Mark and I don’t have the words to thank you for getting the doctor and Arf here when you did. The only thing that kept me hopeful was knowing that Arf wouldn’t fail me. I just hope the doctor can treat Mr. Sanders and get that fever to break.
Howard looked at the man lying there in pain. He was trying to figure out why he looked so familiar.
“Did you say Sanders?” Is he John Sanders?”
“Yes,” Mark said. “Do you know him?”
“Not personally, but I know he can play any stringed instrument better than you’ve ever heard and his singing touches you to the core. He puts on quite a show. I had no idea John Sanders lived in a little cabin up in the mountains.”
The doctor removed his stethoscope from his ears and walked over to Mark and Howard. “We need to get him to the hospital as soon as possible,” he said. “I’m afraid Sepsis might set in. It occurs when an infection enters the bloodstream and it can lead to some life threatening problems. Multiple organ failure can take place.”
Mark shook the doctor’s hand and introduced himself. “I don’t know how we can make him comfortable enough for the trip. The only vehicles we have are trucks.”
“Our little town has a four-wheel drive ambulance,” Howard offered. “I know there is no phone service up here, but I have an emergency two-way radio in my truck and I can get a hold of them. I’ll do that right now.”
“You did a yeoman’s job, Mark,” the doctor said. “Considering you had very few supplies to work with, it’s pretty amazing you were able to keep his fever from spiking any more than it has. I need to tell you that even if we get him to the hospital in the next couple of hours, it will still be touch and go.”
A while later the ambulance got there and took Mr. Sanders to the hospital. Mark packed the dogs up in his truck and drove to town where he found a phone and called the ranch. He told Brad he couldn’t leave while Mr. Sanders was in such critical condition and he also had to take care of Biff.
“It sounds to me like I need to get Clark there,” Brad said. “He’ll just have to miss some school. This is too important. We’ll be there early tomorrow. This won’t be easy, you know. Clark doesn’t even know for sure his Grandpa John is alive. Now he will have to see him in critical condition.”
Mark and all three dogs spent the night in Mark’s trailer parked at the foot of the mountain. They were all so exhausted, they didn’t even hear the bear come by and snoop around for food.