Max and Blake sat on Blake’s front porch eating ice-cream treats. It was a hot day, and the cold, sweet ice cream tasted just right. They both concentrated on eating every bit of their ice cream before it dripped onto the concrete. Blake finished his and sucked on the wooden stick.
“Hey, do you wanna play in the sprinklers in my backyard?” he said.
“That sounds great!”
“Race you!” said Blake, and he hopped up and ran around to the backyard gate.
Max finished the last bite of his ice cream as Blake disappeared around the corner of the house.
“Hey, wait for me!” Max shouted as he hurried after Blake. When he reached the gate, he flung it open, remembering too late to watch out for Blake’s dog, Chief. Chief ran out through the gate, his large furry body pushing Max out of the way.
“Chief, come!” Max shouted.
Chief stopped in Blake’s front yard. He cocked his head and grinned at Max, his tail wagging.
Max spoke calmly as he inched toward the dog. “C’mon Chief. Come back.” Max was almost close enough to grab Chief, so he kept speaking gently and stretched out his hand.
Chief lurched away and raced down the street at full speed, still wagging his tail. He was fast. Max ran after Chief and tried not to lose sight of him.
Max followed Chief until he felt like he just couldn’t run anymore. His muscles ached, and his throat burned from breathing hard. All the while, Chief ran ahead of him, getting farther and farther away from home. Max was really worried now. He couldn’t go back for help without losing sight of Chief, but he just didn’t know how much longer he could keep up. And if he couldn’t catch him, Chief would be lost. The thought of losing his best friend’s dog gave Max a sick feeling in his stomach.
Max stopped running, his heart still pounding hard in his chest. He closed his eyes and said an urgent prayer that he would be able to bring Chief home safely. Max looked up from his prayer and saw Chief dash through an open gate into a neighbor’s backyard. He followed and quickly closed the gate. His shoulders sagged with relief. Max knew this was an answer to his prayer. Chief was trapped in the yard.
Max knocked on the front door of the house and explained the situation. The kind neighbor helped Max hold Chief’s collar and walk him back home. Max was tired from his run, but he felt really grateful to Heavenly Father. He was so glad he’d remembered to pray for help.
“Hey Max, where’d you go?” said Blake as Max led Chief into the backyard. “I was getting the sprinkler set up and didn’t see you leave.”
“Aw, me and Chief went for a run. Let me tell you about it.” Max smiled as he set Chief free to play in the sprinklers. Then he double-checked to make sure the gate was closed tight.