Chapter 6 Summary
At daybreak, Billy is pleased to find that the mountain lion has given up and gone away. He prepares his breakfast and eats. Then he feeds his pups and resumes his walk homeward. He realizes that he has yet to name the puppies and begins to consider a catalogue of possible names for his dogs. His thoughts are so preoccupied by his task that he does not realize he is almost at home. He sees a tree where someone has etched two names within a heart. He names his pups Dan and Ann, the two names carved in the center of the heart.
Satisfied that he has chosen well, Billy surveys his surroundings and is astonished to find that he is at the fishermen’s campsite where he discovered the advertisement for the puppies. While he is relieved to be so close to home, he is beset with anxiety because he knows that he must face his parents and their disapproval. Therefore, he remains at the campsite and plays with his puppies. He does not go home until after nightfall.
When Billy enters his house, his family is pleased to see him. His mother cries with relief. His father explains that he is happy to see he has gotten his puppies but that his decision to leave home without permission was very unwise. He further explains that his mother has been worried for his safety and well-being. Billy listens respectfully to his father’s short lecture and then he gives his family the gifts he purchased for them in Tahlequah. His family is overjoyed with the gifts.
Billy regales his family with stories about the town. He tells them about the stares he received from the residents and about the goods and products in the town’s stores. His younger sisters are enchanted when he tells them about the sparkling flavor of strawberry soda. Overall, he explains, the town was inhospitable and unappealing. His father cautions him not to make hasty generalizations about life in town because he hopes that his children will someday attend public school there. Again, Billy listens respectfully. His father reminds his children that it is time for bed, so Billy puts his puppies outside to sleep.
The next day, Billy makes a doghouse for his puppies, and his father gives him leather straps to use as collars. Billy carefully etches their names into the straps and gingerly placed them around the puppies’ necks. That night, Billy humbly confesses to his mother that he prayed for the puppies. He also tells her that he coincidentally found names for the dogs in the same campsite where he discovered the magazine advertising them. His mother asks him if he believes the puppies were heaven-sent, and Billy tells her that he does.