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Billy
By
aidan

Billy

Tags: lost dog

Chapter 8

The Barter system

Kaye had dozed off. A couple of nudges from Barb made her stir.

“Kaye … Kaye... I’m done.” Barb nudged her a second, then a third time.

Kaye’s eyes opened slowly and looked up. She squinted when Barb turned on the table lamp beside the sofa in the clinic's waiting area. Kaye had fallen asleep on it. As she came out of her daze, she looked up showing concerns about her adopted pet. She swung he legs off the sofa onto the floor making room for Barb. She was almost scared to ask but had to. She rubbed her eyes and stretched “How is he doing?” Kaye asked yawning.

Barb poured a cup of tea, placed it in the microwave to reheat it, then joined her on the sofa. “Well I am happy to report he’s still with us and is having a very peaceful nap. I gave him a little something to help him, not much but I did put him in a well lets just say a more relaxed state. I bathed him, my god he was filthy, cleaned and dressed his neck stitched it up. The puncture wounds for the most part looked okay. Whatever it was that attacked him wanted him dead.

He may need a cone if he starts scratching at the stitches. I took a few x-rays. It showed nothing broken or fractured on his leg. So, that was good news. I gave him a shot of antibiotics to help him with his infection. But, he is so weak, starved, he's just about all bones Kaye. He only weighs about 38 lbs. The rest will be up to him now. It is a matter of time now, with care he may pull though. I wrapped his feet so no outdoors for more than a few minutes for at least a few days. I did everything I could for him." Barb said.

“I'm sure you did Barb, thank you," Kaye said.

The reality of her decision had been setting in. But there was no way she could have just put Billy down or not had him looked at. But It was Christmas time, the light bill was past due, the oil bill was due, the feed bills were due. She knew the amount of money it would take to see them through December and they were short long before Billy came along. Whatever Christmas shopping had already had been would be their Christmas. But what to tell Ed, how to explain this to him.

“Thank you, Barb. I really mean that, what do I owe you?” Kaye asked. She got up from the sofa picked her handbag up and walked over to the counter. Barb followed her and went behind it and began typing out the bill.

“Do you think there is any nerve damage to his neck?” Kaye asked.

“I don’t think so, it looked a lot worse and not as deep as I first thought. Although he will be sore there for a while. It will take time to heal. I had to shave off the hair around the wounds, of course, so he's going to look a little silly for a while, but it will grow back.” Barb said.

Kaye didn't look up, but was concentrating on the total of the bill that Barb prepared, she had been doing a lot typing. The thought of it brought her out of her stupor. This was not going to be good she thought.

“That should do it." Barb said at last and clicked print. A few seconds later the printer began.

Kaye didn’t want to see the bottom line on this one. Barb had been almost two hours with Billy, with the x-rays, the shot of penicillin, the sedative and sutures, the cone collar and after hour drop in. 500 dollars seemed a bargain right now. How on earth was she going to explain the bill to Ed? 

Two months ago they had paid 300 hundred dollars they didn't have when her large husky Dodger got mixed up with a porcupine. Everyone lost in that battle except the porcupine, and now this.

“Want me to toss that old chewed collar out Kaye? It's covered in blood” Barb asked, as she handed the just printed invoice to Kaye.

Distracted by the thought of the bill and running over in her mind what was left on her personal overdraft, Kaye nodded “Yes please.”

Her head was down searching in her purse for her wallet that held her debit card.

“He won’t be needing that, I have one at home for him.” Kaye said and handed the debit card. Barb took the card and laid it on the counter then she slid it back while Kaye was looking over the bill.

Kaye went down the invoice. Then went over it again he finger itemizing the list it held. She looked up at Barb then back at the bill.

“Whats this, this can't be right?... Is this right?” Kaye asked.

“Something wrong, Kaye?” Barb asked.

She raised her eyes slowly meeting Barb's.

"This." Kaye pointed at the invoice. "Are you serious Barb?" Kaye asked again.

“Oh I think so,” Barb said. “Did I miss something, Kaye? Read that off to me.”

Kaye began...

1 dozen homemade rolls,
2 dozen jam jam's
4 loaves of homemade brown bread
2 large pot of beans ( different times, I tell you when)
1 jar of your famous peach, raspberry, strawberry jam
1 large package of steaks. (at least 3 for when you and Ed come over)
1 large roast. (You help make dinner at my place, I buy the wine)

Your recipe for your peach cobbler and Sunday dinner's till your sick of me. Barb had added a short note, which Kaye read to herself.

Kaye;

Your are the sweetest person I have ever met. So many lives have been touched by your kindness and unselfish generosity, especially mine. What an honor to be able to call you my friend. Please take care of him, I'm sure he is as special as you are. Have a Merry Christmas Kaye.

Love Barb.

“I don’t know what to say Barb, are you sure?” Kaye asked. A single tear trekked down her cheek. Her lower lip began to tremble.

“Yes Kaye, I am. Now you get your butt home while you can. I saw Ralph just go by flinging snow and was heading out your way so the roads should be okay for you. I would like to go home now too, if that's all right with you.” Barb said.

“What about the dog,” Kaye asked

“Billy will be fine here he needs to stay here for at least the night maybe two. I will be able to tell better in the morning. I'm a good babysitter and the cages are all empty anyway. He may as well make use of it.” Barb said.

Kaye quickly went around the counter hugged Barb tightly. “Thank you, I will never be able to repay you for all this Barb.”

Barb walked Kaye to the door, looked at her, pointed a finger in her face.

“Um, yes you will, I want everything on that invoice,” Barb said sternly and hugged Kaye back.

“It will be paid in full.” Kaye replied. “Sunday Day Dinner.. this week?" Kaye asked. As she broke the embrace between them, "this weekend if you would like.” Kaye added as she slid into her coat.

“Sounds perfect, it will give me a chance to have a look at him. But I want my very own pie to take home. I’m not going to share your pie with anyone, especially with Edward.” Barb said smiling.

“You got it,” Kaye smiled as she went through the door.

Barb then added loudly through the door as it closed, “You be careful on those Roads Kaye, I have seen you drive.” Kaye turned and nodded to her and waved good-bye. Once again as she put on her mittens, Kaye was still in shock from her friend's generosity. Barb was wondering too. How was she going to inform Mike of his share in tonight's pro-bono? As she put on her coat and scarf, picked up her keys from the counter, she smiled thinking he doesn't need to know everything. Or she thought... maybe a Kaye Smith look... if it's done right, might just work.

She was about to turn the clinic’s lights off, then thought she should check on her newsiest patient before she left. She looked in on the dog he was still sleeping. She opened the door to the holding pen. Billy laid there with his tongue out.

“You have quite a friend love, so you better get better and take care of her and Ed too. He's not a bad guy once you get to know him,” Barb said as she stroked the dog’s soft hair around Billy’s head. The collie never moved. She listened to his heart. She smiled at the strength of it. He was clean loved and had been cared for. 

“You are a pretty boy when you're all cleaned up. See you in the morning, Billy,” Barb said softly as she closed the cage door gently.

Feeling good about her evening, she looked around a last time before closing the door making sure a night light was still on. As Barb walked by the surgical table, she picked up Billy's old collar that lay there and tossed it in the trash. The dog tag hit the can beside the door. She turned off the lights, set the alarm system and locked the clinic door, checking making sure it was locked with a test push and pull, then left for the night.

She was thinking about the last few hours. Her and Kaye's friendship, the little dog that lay in the recovery area that she had pulled back from death's door. She smiled pleased with herself as she took the on ramp drive home. Tonight was why she wanted to become a veterinarian when she was a child, to help suffering animals. The cost to it's owners never entered your mind when you were a child. You only saw the suffering and wanted to help them get better. Tonight she fulfilled a childhood dream.

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