“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
The next morning I told Jasmine that I had to find Marvin and talk to him right away. She said that she would watch out the back window and for me to bark if I needed her.
I went to the door and scratched for Mom to let me out and then I ran to the back corner of the yard as fast as I could.
“Hey Marvin, are you in there?” I said as soon as I got to his branch pile. “I need to talk to you right away. There’s something I need to explain to you.”
But he never answered. I looked up into the trees but he was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly I heard the familiar snort and grunt of a pot-belly pig. It was Rambo and he was waddling as fast as he could up from the grassy field toward the back gate.
I knew that it must be an emergency for Rambo to risk getting caught escaping from his pen.
“Jake, Jake,” he snorted. “You’ve got to come quick. It’s Marvin. He’s in trouble!”
“What’s wrong, Rambo?” I asked, but he was too out of breath to answer. I barked for Jasmine to come while Rambo was catching his breath and soon she was standing by my side.
“Marvin’s in trouble,” I told Jasmine.
“Marvin’s in a cage. (huff, puff) The neighbors trapped him. (huff, puff)” Rambo said in short sentences between deep breaths.
“For the last few days (huff, huff) Marvin’s been wandering in the woods more than usual. (huff, huff) I’ve seen him around our place and on my street.”
“I guess the neighbors saw him in their yard and set out a trap behind their fence to catch him. (huff, huff) After I got out of my pen I tried to open it but it has a special latch on both sides and I couldn’t do it.”
“I think it may take both of you to get him out.”
I turned and looked at Jasmine. “Do you think that you can jump the fence? It’s real scary at first, but you just run as fast as you can and jump with all of your might.”
“I can if you can, silly.” Jasmine smiled as she looked at me.
I grinned back at her and said, “Follow me.”
I ran out to the center of the yard, turned and ran as fast as I could toward the back fence.
I jumped with all of my strength, sailed through the air, and landed on the other side next to Rambo.
I turned just in time to see Jasmine flying through the air behind me and then land as light as a feather next to Rambo.
“We’re going to run ahead” I told Rambo. “Jasmine knows the way.”
“Hurry” Rambo said. “When I left, Marvin was making a terrible noise in that cage. They’ve probably already called animal control to pick him up.”
I followed Jasmine past the cedar tree, under the fence, and into the woods.
She had her nose to the ground and was following Rambo’s scent back to the place where Marvin was trapped.
We could hear Marvin screeching and the cage rattling as we got near to where he was. As we rounded a tree we saw the cage sitting up on top of an old tree stump.
Marvin looked like he was scared to death.
“Jake! Jasmine! Boy am I glad to see you!” Marvin said. “I think that I heard a truck door shut and voices out by the street. Please help me! I think they’re coming to get me!”
“Don’t worry Marvin, we’ll get you out.” I said, but I wasn’t so sure. I had never seen a cage like that before, and I didn’t know how to open it.
“Jake,” said Jasmine. “That’s like the cages I saw when I was in the shelter. See the two buttons on each side at the top?”
“The shelter workers would stretch their arms out wide and press the two buttons at the same time for the cage door to open.”
“I think that if you and I stand up on our hind legs on each side of the cage at the same time and stretch with our front paws, we can push the two buttons and open the door.”
“Let’s do it!” I said.
We each stood on our hind legs on either side of the cage and stretched with our front paw as far as we could. Our paws just reached to the two buttons.
“On the count of three,” I said. “We’ll each hit the button at the same time. Ready? Bark, bark, BARK!” And the cage door fell open with a bang.
“JUMP Marvin! Let’s get out of here!”
But instead of jumping on my back, Marvin jumped on Jasmine and held on for dear life.
We took off running as fast as we could, and as we ran into the woods we could hear the voices behind us.
“How’d that possum get out of that cage? I know he was in there a few minutes ago.”
We laughed as we passed Rambo in the woods and headed to the safety of our own fenced-in back yard.
We got back into our own yard before Mom and Dad had even noticed that we had been gone. The Rescue Club was still a secret.
Although none of us mentioned it, we all realized that if Jasmine had not been there to help, Marvin would probably be on his way to the animal shelter.
And if Jasmine had not been a shelter dog herself, we would not have known how to open the cage.
But God knew.
He knew exactly what we would need. Not only to rescue Marvin from the cage, but to change his heart as well.
There were a lot of apologies and “I’m sorry” between the three of us.
Marvin fully understood when I explained to him that Jasmine would never replace him as my friend, and that Jasmine was more to me than just a friend.
He said that he would be better about understanding that Jasmine and I sometimes wanted to be by ourselves, and that he would not be jealous.
And then he grinned that big toothy grin of his, and with a giggle said “Maybe I can be best man at your wedding.”
“MARVIN!” Jasmine and I shouted as we began to chase him around the yard.
All the time he was singing in his little squeaky voice, “Jake and Jasmine sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…”
Needless to say, at the next meeting of The Rescue Club, Jasmine was voted in 100%.