Travis goes to work marking and castrating the hogs. They are dangerous animals, so he climbs up a tree, where he draws them to him.
Everything goes well until the last day, when Old Yeller can only herd the hogs as far as a dirt bank. Travis decides it will serve just as well as the tree, but while as he's working on his first hog, the bank collapses under him and he falls into the herd of hogs They attack him and would have killed him if Old Yeller hadn't leaped to his rescue. Travis eventually finds Old Yeller in a small alcove with his stomach cut open.
Travis decides to return to his mama, Mrs. Coates, because, as he says, she always knows what to do when someone is hurt. Mrs. Coates takes full control of the situation from the outset. She insists that she deal with Travis's injuries before they go to search for Old Yeller, because she says that left neglected, a hog cut can be as dangerous as a snake bite. When she finally relents and lets Travis go in search of his dog, she insists that she goes with him. They find Old Yeller, and Mrs. Coates uses horsehair to sew up his stomach.
For the next few weeks, Mrs. Coates works all hours to look after her two patients. Travis says she cares for them both with equal passion while continuing with her various jobs around the farm.