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Sandy the Farm Hound
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Sandy solves the mystery
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Sandy solves the mystery




This is the last installment of Sandy the Farm Hound and is a continuation from last week’s story. Click here to read the other stories.

Author Lee Jennings will be guest presenter at the Wilson County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program tonight at 7.


Sandy’s floppy ears perked up as she heard the little silver sports car speeding up the lane to the farmhouse. Once she recognized the car, she began to bark, welcoming the visitor and letting the Baker family know that they had company. Vincenzo stepped out of the car with his usual dog treat for her and petted her on her soft head.

Vincenzo was a detective friend of the Bakers who lived about a mile down the road. He was Italian like Adriana but didn’t have the swirly sound to his English that she had. He had lived in North Carolina long enough that he had lost a lot of his Italian dialect. He did however speak fluent Italian and would sometimes use that language when he was amazed or surprised at something.

Vincenzo was tall, tan and had dark brown wavy hair. His broad shoulders fit nicely into his lavender polo shirt. He wore khaki pants that were pressed and neat and Italian leather sandals. Sandy always loved the way Vincenzo smelled. He had a noticeably good clean smell that Sandy just wanted to inhale and keep in her nose for a while.

The Bakers and Vincenzo attended the same church at the end of the road, and Mr. Baker and Vincenzo often visited on the Bakers screened-in porch drinking sweet tea and rocking in the wooden rocking chairs. Today, Vincenzo had dropped by on request to see if he could assist in finding Adriana’s lost sapphire ring. The whole family had been looking for the ring since breakfast and could not find it anywhere. If anybody could find it, it would probably be Vincenzo. Or if there had been foul play of some kind, he would see signs of that, too. He was the best jewel theft detective on this side of the ocean.

Sandy saw him tap on the screen door and wait patiently with her on the porch. Mr. Baker appeared at the door with 4-year-old Emma right behind him. He welcomed Vincenzo in and began to explain how Adriana had just arrived from Italy yesterday, and this morning her ring was gone.

Adriana had not taken her ring off to her recollection. She did have her ring on at dinner last night. The ring was a gift from her aunt Thelma in Italy. It was a rare gem in a beautiful setting. And no one noticed any strange noises last night. Sandy didn’t even bark during the night.

After collecting all of this information, Vincenzo headed outside with Mr. Baker to see if there were any strange footprints in the yard. Sandy was right beside them sniffing the ground and listening to every word they said. If there was a burglar last night, he was a professional and had not left a trace of himself anywhere.

Sandy wanted to go inside and sniff around. So, when the two men headed back inside she pushed her way in past them. Mr. Baker thought that was unusual for Sandy, so he stopped in mid-conversation and pointed to her saying that she usually didn’t push her way inside unless something wasn’t just right.

Sandy made her way up the stairs and to the cozy guest room where Adriana was staying. She didn’t smell anything different but did notice that the window was open. She wondered why and went to the window putting her paws on the window sill and looking out at the rose garden.

She saw where Mr. Baker and Vincenzo and she had just walked outside. There was nothing strange looking outside or inside that she noticed. Nothing smelled strange except for the wheels on Adriana’s wheeled luggage. They smelled like everything from a hot dog to a salty wave at the beach. They had seen their share of pavement. That was for sure.

Then Sandy saw something. Vincenzo was asking questions to Adriana in the living room below. Mr. Baker, Mrs. Baker and Emma were attentively listening to their conversation, trying to figure out what had happened to the ring. And then they heard Sandy start barking her alert bark that they knew so well.

It was the kind of bark that she used when a fox was too close to the sheep pasture or when a strange car came up the lane to the farmhouse. Mr. Baker was the first one up the stairs to see what Sandy was barking at.

She was still at the window looking down into the rose garden. Her barks were short and loud, and she turned when she heard Mr. Baker as if to say, "Look at this!”

Mr. Baker looked out the window, too. He didn’t notice anything at first either. And then he saw something glint in the noon sunshine. Had it been any other time of day, the sun would not have reflected the blue sparkles so beautifully.

The rest of the family and guests came in behind Mr. Baker and Sandy who were still looking out the window. Mr. Baker motioned for Adriana who looked down to see her beautiful ring lying right inside a huge rose blossom. How in the world had it gotten in there?

Vincenzo went to the window next and laughed when he saw the ring lying so perfectly in the rose blossom with the sun shining down on it. He and Mr. Baker had walked right by it, but they had been looking in the pine straw and at the house. They wouldn’t have thought to look inside a rose for the ring. And Sandy had missed it because where she sniffed didn’t smell like Adriana. And the scent of the rose overpowered Adriana’s scent on the ring.

The question was, "How did the ring get there?”

Then Adriana got a look on her face like she may have figured it out. She said that the night before when she washed up in the bathroom, she noticed that her ring felt a little loose, but she was so tired that she forgot about it. Then she had gone to the window in her robe looking out at the farm that felt so much like home. Her home in Italy was also on a farm where she had olive groves and grape vineyards. Anyway, she noticed the huge roses down below with the moonlight shining down on them and decided to open the window to smell their scent. The night was so pleasant that she decided to leave the window open. Then she had fallen asleep while reading, leaving the window open all night.

While she was looking out the window, the ring must have dropped off her finger and gone through the small gap in the bottom of the screen. Everybody started petting Sandy on the head and cheering her on. They were all so glad that the ring had been found, that there had been no foul play, and that Adriana had her precious heirloom back.

Then, Adriana remembered that she had brought Sandy a surprise all the way from her country. She reached into her bag and brought out an Italian leather chew toy. She handed it to Sandy who took it in her mouth. Adriana was rubbing Sandy behind the ears and thanking her for finding her ring. Sandy was smiling so big that the chew toy almost fell out of her mouth.

That night, Sandy was treated to her own hamburger steak with mushroom gravy. That was one of her favorites. She lapped it up with luster and then lay down on the porch with the summer breeze slightly ruffling her fur. She was so thankful for the turn of events in the day. She loved her family, and she loved summertime. Mr. Baker came outside to pet Sandy and praise her one more time before the end of the day. He said something to the effect that in the rose garden below, they couldn’t see the ring, but from a higher view, the perspective was different.

We all have a master who is there with us during the mysterious times and then rewards us when we’re faithful.
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LODIS said...

i HAVE ENJOYED THIS SERIES OF STORIES, SANDY THE FARM HOUND. THIS HAS BEEN LIKE THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR WITH A TWIST OF SUSPENSE. LIKE THE FOCUS ON THE TOWN OF WILSON'S PAST AND PRESENT. CAN SMELL THE FOOD COOKING IN THESE STORIES. HOW ABOUT SOME MORE OF JENNINGS'S WORK?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM
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