Busted Axle Road
Chapter 36

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

"It could have been worse," Mike commented in the cab of Mark's truck on Saturday, as they rode towards town.

"Yeah," Mark agreed. "I think Jackie was expecting it, anyway. But, I'm glad we caught them all nice and mellow in the hot tub. How much did that thing set you back, anyway?"

"Couple of grand," Mike said. "But, we wrote it right into the mortgage. It was worth it, though. Once Kirsten realized we could have it, she didn't have second thoughts about moving out from town. I can see I'm going to have to finish that off into a separate room for winter, though, and that's going to cost."

"Shouldn't be that much," Mark said. "There's nothing that you couldn't do."

"I can drive a nail straight, if I'm lucky," Mike protested. "Building a wall and finishing the room are a little beyond me, especially with the ventilation I'm going to have to have."

"Nothing to it," Mark said. "We can do it on a couple of rainy Saturdays, when it's too wet to work the dogs. If I'm going to get one of those, I'm going to have a bigger job. I haven't got a floor that will take that kind of weight, except in the shop, so I'm going to have to build an addition."

"I'll help where I can," Mike offered. "I may not be a lot of help, but I can hold stuff while you nail it.

"Just takes practice," Mark said. "I mean, when Jackie and I started rebuilding the place, I knew which end of the nail went into the wood, but not a lot more."

Mark drove past the turnoff into downtown Spearfish Lake, and went another couple of miles further south, before he made a turn off onto a road that went into the woods. A couple of hundred yards up the road, he turned into the parking lot of the Spearfish County Humane Society.

"Hope they have something here that we want," Mike said.

"Yeah, so do I," Mark agreed. He looked at Cumulus who had his tail well between his legs.

"He knows what this place is," Mike said.

"No, we're not leaving you here," Mark comforted the dog. "We're just going to see if we can find you a couple of playmates."

One of the things that Horton had told them about that made sense was that the dogs had to be able to get along. While there would be a certain amount of dominance testing, the initial reaction of one dog to another could go a long way toward deciding on a dog, and Mark had figured that Cumulus would have to be the one to make the decision.

As it turned out, the Humane Society had two dogs that were possible candidates for a dog team, but looking them over, Mark and Mike rejected one right away. He was a dalmatian mix, about the right size, but had a thin coat, floppy ears without much hair on the inside, and small paws. "I just don't think he's going to make a good winter dog,"

Mark said.

"He's not a real young dog, either," Mike agreed. "Doesn't seem very energetic."

The other dog had to be largely German Shepherd, and the physical characteristics looked good, but he snapped at Mark. "Hey, stupid," Mark said to the dog. "I'm not looking for a mean dog. If you want to get out of here, you'll have to adjust your attitude."

"If he's going to be like that, he's not going to work for Tiffany," Mike agreed, "But he might make a team dog."

They took the German Shepherd out to the truck, where an immediate snarling match ensued; clearly, Cumulus wasn't too crazy about the dog, either. "Didn't surprise me," Mark said as he led the dog back inside.

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