Chapter 26

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Brooke smiles at each of the dogs she gives a treat to at the animal shelter. Her Saturday afternoon visits have been thrown off since Gary has been down visiting, but this week he had too much to be able to leave it. It doesn't bother her too much, mainly because she knows he enjoys working on the ranch, plus it gives her a chance to do some stuff she's missed.

After all the dogs have had a treat she takes a leashes down from the hooks in the back. She gets a beagle, basset hound mix out and starts on a walk around the nearby park with him, but not before tying a bright blue "Adopt me!' bandana around his neck.  She does her best to present the dogs well and engage people in conversations to help them get adopted.

The two- year- old dog jumps playfully in front of her eager to go and wanting to play. She laughs and starts off at a jog. An added bonus of taking them on a walk is exercise for herself as well. Just inside the park gate she slows to a walk and waves with a smile as they pass fellow nature enjoyers.

A young lady, looking to be in high school, stops to pet the pooch. "How old is he?"

Brooke smiles as the beasset, as she calls him, sits like a perfectly well trained dog. "Approximately a two- year- old."

"Aw, he's so sweet and well behaved!" She lifts up his bandana. "So, he's a shelter dog?"

"Yes, I volunteer at the shelter some weekends and like to get the dogs out for some attention."

The girl grins up from where she squats rubbing his head. "That's awesome!" Then standing up adds, "I've got to be going, but maybe I'll stop in the shelter sometime soon."

Nodding vigorously Brooke smiles as wide as her lips will allow. "Oh! That would be great. Everyone there would be so excited."

After talking with the young lady Brooke decides it is about time to head back to the shelter to finish up for the day. The little dog trots along happily in front of her wagging his tail as they go. It only takes a few minutes and they are back inside the noise shelter that the pup calls home. Every time she walks through the doors Brooke has a bittersweet feeling rise up inside of her. The dogs wagging their tails and the cats waiting to be rubbed makes her smile like an idiot, but then she thinks about where they might have come from and how long they might end up staying here and her heart sinks.

Just as she walks in she sees a family all cooing over a orange tabby cat at the counter. The young man, Jake, who is behind the counter has a beaming smile on his face as he fills out the paper work. She puts the pup back in his pen before slipping around behind the counter to put the leash up.

"Are those adoption papers I see?" She whisper yells with a grin.

Jake turns around. "Sure are! Mister Puffy has found himself a forever home with the Jenkins."  

Brooke claps her hands with glee as she moves to the back where her purse is waiting. She tells all the staff bye before she steps out the back door and to her car.

Gary looks around the three bedroom house, that he has begun to call home, and sighs. Dirty clothes are heaped in a pile in the corner of his room; the floors have approximately a half inch of dirt on them; and steak and potatoes are about the only thing left to eat. "How in the world am I suppose to have this presentable for Mom and Dad?"

With a sigh he runs his hand over his face and turns to the pile of clothes. Grabbing an arm load he heads to the washer which he must first unload before starting it. When he has a load of clothes on his bed, one in the dryer, and one in the washer he nods in satisfaction.

His moment of victory is indeed only a moment as he turns to putting up the clean clothes off his bed so he can at least sleep tonight. His jeans and shirts both hand up in his closet leaving very little to fold. Carefully he makes sure all of his shirts hang in the same direction and that his nice town shirts are in one group while his faded work shirts are in another. For this reason he began putting his own clothes up long before he moved out of his parents house.

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