Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 446
Doctor Papineau spends the night at the Sawtelles’ home, sleeping in the spare bedroom while Edgar and Trudy sleep downstairs in the living room. Edgar feels that he is somehow keeping watch over his family. Before going to sleep, Trudy makes some calls, including one to Claude. She finds it more difficult than she had imagined. In the morning, Trudy and Edgar go to the sheriff’s office so that Edgar can give his report to Glen, the sheriff. Edgar has difficulty remembering details. He knows that he was upstairs in the barn training some of the dogs and could not hear anything going on downstairs. He does not remember actually finding Gar, but he knows that he must have. He explains that Gar was not yet dead, but he could not speak. Edgar does not remember how he got in the house or breaking the phone.
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After leaving the sheriff’s office, Trudy and Gar go to the funeral. An autopsy had been necessary, and it was discovered that Gar died from an aneurysm. Trudy calls some men to come to the farm to dig Gar’s grave. When they arrive, the men discover that the ground is too frozen to dig up. Frustrated because the funeral is the next day, Trudy becomes irate. Edgar suggests that they start a bonfire on the spot to thaw the ground. At the funeral, Claude and many of the people who had received a Sawtelle dog show up. After the funeral dinner and the departure of all the guests, Trudy and Edgar finally collapse and get some much needed sleep.
Trudy confronts Edgar with the facts of their future. To keep the kennel going will require a phenomenal amount of work from both of them. She suggests that they might want to sell off all the dogs as well as the farm and move to town. Edgar adamantly refuses to do this. Trudy warns him that he must get more serious about the training. At the moment, Edgar sees the dogs as playmates, but in reality they are the family’s livelihood. Edgar is shocked to learn that each dog they sell is worth over a thousand dollars.
While digging through the kennel files, Edgar finds some old letters of his grandfather’s. He learns what John Sawtelle’s goal was: to create a new breed of dog. John had written to Alvin Brooks, a foremost dog breeder, who at first strongly discouraged him. Through the letters, Edgar discovers that his grandfather wanted to breed “the next dog,” a higher form of canine on the evolutionary scale. Through these letters, Edgar realizes the seriousness of the kennel business.