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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.