In chapter 18 of The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, Matt is still waiting for his father's return. It is autumn and Matt is beginning to wonder if a tragedy has prevented or delayed his father's journey. He has also begun to grow distant from his friend Attean, who no longer visits as frequently as he once did. This strain on their relationship is compounded by the events of chapter 17, when Matt learned he was not welcome at the Indian village.
One day, Matt hears the sounds of a dog in distress. He follows the noise and realizes that Attean's dog has been caught in a trap. Unable to free the dog himself, Matt goes to the Indian village only to learn that Attean is out hunting. However, he does find Attean's sister Marie, who translates the situation to her grandmother and ultimately helps Matt rescue the dog. As the pair is returning with the freed dog, Attean meets them along the trail, and although he acts aloof, he is relieved that Matt saved his pet.