Part 1, Chapters 9-10 Summary
Edgar listens as his father and uncle fight, and then to the sound of the truck being driven away. He goes downstairs, but it is dark. His mother hears him and tells him not to ask his father a lot of questions. Edgar asks her if Claude is coming back. Trudy says that he will not, not after this fight. She tells Edgar that they tried to help Claude, but Claude did not want help. The next morning, Gar looks visibly embarrassed at having been in a fight.
The fall of the year is relatively mild, with snow holding off until the holidays. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are spent alone with the family. Trudy teaches Edgar to dance until Gar cuts in. In January, there is a thaw, and much of the snow melts. Edgar makes a great deal of improvement in his training of the puppies. One day, when sleet begins to fall, Gar is taking care of a new litter of puppies. He explains to Edgar that he is going into the kennel to clean up, while Edgar plays with the puppies. As Edgar goes back into the kennel, he sees his father lying on the floor. He rushes to him to ask what the matter is, but Gar cannot speak, and his breathing is becoming erratic. Trudy is not home, so Edgar calls the operator but cannot tell her who he is or where he lives. Frustrated, Edgar beats the phone on the counter, shattering it, and goes out to check on his father. He puts his ear to his chest and hears a single breath being let out slowly. There is nothing more. Edgar and Almondine wait for Trudy to return home.
Edgar waits until he hears the sound of tires on the ice. His hands are bleeding from being cut when he smashed the phone. He cannot move, but when he sees that it is Doctor Papineau, the veterinarian, he tries to walk but stumbles, going into shock. Doctor Papineau catches him and takes him inside. Edgar awakens to find his hands bandaged. He tries to go out to the kennel to see his father, but Doctor Papineau stops him. The vet calls for an ambulance and for someone to find Trudy as soon as possible. When she returns home, Edgar is unwilling to talk about what happened, thinking that if he says nothing, it will go away. The sheriff, who is the vet’s son, tells her that eventually he will have to talk to Edgar to file his report. Doctor Papineau volunteers to stay the night. He cooks dinner while Trudy and Edgar go back out to the kennel to do the chores.