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The Trouble With Jobie

Jo Ann J. Lovelace

Grandpa was yelling at Jobie and threatening to tan his hide. Jobie was chasing the mule again.
"Nikki," Grandpa said, as he stomped into the house. "You've got to do something about that dog. He chases Abe all the time, so until he can do better, chain him up."
I just brought Jobie to the farm yesterday, I thought, as I followed Grandpa to the kitchen. Tomorrow's Sunday and I have to go home. I don't have time to train Jobie and spring break is a whole week away. I live in an apartment in the city where they don't allow dogs. I don't know what I'll do if Grandpa wont let Jobie stay on the farm.
Grandpa opened the refrigerator and got out a bottle of water. Abe was braying so loud that I could barely hear what Grandpa was saying, but I understood enough to know I didn't like it.
"Jobie is chasing Abe again," Grandpa, said, loud enough to be heard above Abe's braying. "The dog chain is on the back porch."
I went out the back door, picked up the chain that was lying on the shelf, and went to find Jobie. He was lying under the Rose of Sharon bush beside the house.
"You're a bad dog, Jobie," I scolded, as I fastened the chain to his collar. "I have to tie you, because you wont stop chasing the mule."
"Supper's ready, Nikki," Grandma said. "Wash your hands, then you can set the table for me."
I washed my hands, set the table, and then plopped down in my chair. I don't know why Grandpa made me tie Jobie, I thought, as I pushed my food around in the plate. He probably wouldn't hurt that old mule anyway.
I washed and dried the dishes when we finished eating.
That was one of the chores I did for keeping Jobie on the farm. I listen to the radio for a while then went to bed early. Jobie doesn't like being tied, I thought, as I tossed and turned listening to Jobie whining. I wish I could turn him loose.
"Nikki," Grandma shouted, waking me. "You better get up. Your mom and dad will be here at nine to take you home."
 

 

I had just finished the dishes when Mom and Dad came. I went to see Jobie before going to the car. "Sorry, Jobie," I said, looking at his big sad brown eyes. "Grandpa will make you leave if I don't keep you tied."
I worried about Jobie all week. What if he gets loose? I thought. What if he chases Abe and Grandpa gives him away? I might not ever see him again.
I decided to check out a book at the public library on how to train dogs. There's not a thing in this book about dogs chasing mules, I thought, after checking the index. I'll have to find some way to train Jobie. There's no place I can leave him if he can't stay on Grandpa's farm.
I worried all the way to the farm that weekend. I imagined seeing Jobie's chain broken and him not being there.
I could see Jobie was still tied to the doghouse when we pulled into the driveway. I ran to pet him as soon as Dad stopped the car.
"I've just got to think of a way to train you, Jobie," I said. I don't like keeping you tied.
I went to the back porch to get Jobie's leash. Then I led him to the barn. He barked, growled, and then lounged at Abe almost jerking the leash out of my hand.
"Stop it, Jobie," I yelled. "You can't chase Abe."
Grandpa watched as I led Jobie to the doghouse and tied him. It's no use, I thought. I'll never get Jobie to understand.
"You gave up too easy, Nikki," Grandpa said. "It takes more than a few minutes to train a dog."
"I went through the entire book on training dogs that I checked out at the library, Grandpa," I said, tears coming to my eyes. "It didn't have one thing in it about how to correct Jobie's problem."
"Did you actually read the book, Nikki"? Grandpa asked. "I think you may have just skimmed through it."
So what if I hadn't read the book, I thought, not answering. There wasn't anything in it that would help me anyway.
What am I going to do about Jobie? I thought, as I dried the dishes after supper. If he keeps barking, because he doesn't like being tied he'll keep Grandpa awake tonight and he wont let him stay here. Maybe Jobie will get tired and stop howling. Surely, he can't yelp all night.
Grandpa woke me the next morning yelling at Jobie. He must have gotten loose during the night, I thought, as I hurried to the window. I could see Jobie was still tied. He couldn't have chased Abe. I hurried to get dressed, rushed down the stairs, ran through the kitchen and bolted through the back door. Grandpa was angry, because Jobie had dug a deep hole in front of his doghouse.
"Look what your dog did, Nikki," Grandpa said. "He's got a lot of bad habits. He chases Abe, he barks all night keeping everyone awake and now he's digging holes in the yard. You've got to do something to change those bad habits or Jobie can't stay here."
I've never seen Grandpa so angry, I thought, as we went to the house to eat breakfast. I don't know why he's so upset over one little hole in the yard.
I sat at the table trying to choke back the tears. These scrambled eggs taste like stale dried crackers and I'm already thirsty, I thought. I'll wash them down with my milk.
"May I be excused"? I muttered. "I'll get started on cleaning up the kitchen."
"That will be fine, Nikki," Grandma said. "We're finished eating anyway."
Grandpa's unfair, I thought, as I filled the sink with hot soapy water. After all, I worked hard to keep Jobie here. What good is that old mule of his anyway? All he ever does is eat, sleep, and make a terrible loud noise when he's unhappy. He isn't even pretty. He has long ears, an ugly face, and legs that look like fence post.
What did Abe ever do to deserve such good treatment? I thought, as I looked out the window and saw Grandpa feeding him an ear of corn. I never have seen Grandpa give Jobie a dog bone.
Grandpa petted Abe gently on the neck. Abe nuzzled Grandpa's hand as he reached up to rub his ears. Grandpa loves that old mule, I thought. The same way I love Jobie.
"I appreciate you doing your chores, Nikki," Grandpa said, as he came through the kitchen door. "You never complain and you do a good job too."
I feel so ashamed, I thought. Abe really isn't all that ugly either. Grandpa was right about the book. I hadn't read it.
I went to my bedroom and began reading the book. That's why Jobie barked and dug up the yard, I thought. He was bored being tied. He didn't have anything else to do. He had never seen a mule and didn't understand he shouldn't chase Abe. I know what to do now. If he doesn't chase Abe I'll reward him with a dog bone.
I spent all my spare time that week working with Jobie. "Why can't you understand, Jobie"? I said. "You don't get the dog bone until you obey."
I was almost ready to give up when Jobie surprised me. "Good dog, Jobie," I shouted in delight, handing him the dog bone. "I've got two more days left before I have to go home and you finally didn't chase Abe. I'll leave you untied and if you're a good dog, Grandpa will let you stay on the farm forever."
Mom and Dad came to take me home Sunday evening. Jobie hadn't chased Abe and it felt good knowing he could stay on the farm.
"Thanks, Grandpa," I said, as I wrapped my arms around his neck. "I appreciate you letting Jobie stay here."
"You're welcome, Nikki" Grandpa winked, a big smile spreading across his face. "I'm just glad it worked out that Jobie can stay."
"Go sit on the porch, Jobie," I said, as he followed me to the car. "It's time for me to go home."
Jobie walked slowly to the porch with his tail tucked between his legs. He plopped down and laid his head between his paws. He watched as the car moved down the driveway.
"See you next week, Jobie," I yelled out the window. "Remember, you aren't suppose to chase Abe."
Jobie got to his feet and wagged his tail. I knew that he understood.