Barney decided early on that he needed only a few more inches and he would be just as tall as his friends. Once in a while he would stand on his hind feet and bounce around in circles just to see what it would feel like to be extra, extra tall. He definitely decided he liked the feeling. He even dreamed of being super tall one day but for some reason Barney was destined to be just a little bit shorter than everyone else.
One day, towards the end of summer, Rascal was coming from the creek area once more. Barney knew that Rascal would only growl his usual warning so Barney stayed as close to the house as he could. Just as Rascal was passing Barney’s house, a big yellow school bus came roaring down the road right towards Rascal. Rascal was so busy growling and scowling at Barney that he didn’t hear or see the huge yellow bus rumbling down the road. Barney knew exactly how this would end. He took off across his yard as fast as his little legs would carry him, he snapped the leash off the front porch and he ran right in front of that monstrous bus. Barney felt the bus wheel hit him on his back leg but somehow he kept on running. Rascal was caught completely off guard as Barney hit him square in the chest and knocked him backwards into the ditch. The bus driver never saw Barney nor Rascal so he continued on his route to pick up the other children on their way to school.
Rascal decided that if Barney wanted a fight then this would be the time and the place. As he pulled himself out of the ditch he fully expected to see Barney waiting for him at the top of the hill. However, when he got to the road, Barney was laying on his side and unable to move. His back leg was crushed. Without realizing what he was doing Rascal took off and ran right up onto Barney’s front porch. He started barking and scratching at the door. Eventually Sully came to the door but was very cautious about all this noise. And then he spotted Barney by the side of the road. Sully jumped off the front porch, ran across the road and began to cry as he spotted Barney’s crumpled leg. Rascal was right beside Barney, he leaned down and licked Barney on the top of his head. Sully ran to the house, called Norma and between the two of them they hoisted Barney onto an old piece of plywood. They loaded Barney into their truck and raced off to the doctor’s house. Rascal was absolutely motionless. He suddenly realized exactly what had happened. This tiny little dog who only wanted to be friends risked his life to save someone who wouldn’t even bother to say hello. Barney might even die as a result.
Rascal refused to leave Barney’s yard. Days passed and Rascal refused to leave even when Sully and Norma came back from the hospital. He accepted water out of Barney’s bowl but wouldn’t go home. Sully and Norma left every day in their truck and every day when they got home Rascal was waiting in the very same spot. One day, Norma and Sully left early and were gone most of the day. Rascal heard them coming before he even spotted their little red truck. He thought he heard a familiar bark and when he finally saw the truck coming around the corner by the creek he thought he saw two little ears and the top of a scruffy little head peeking above the dash. "Could that be Barney, could that be my buddy?"
Norma pulled into the yard and opened the door to the truck. There sat Barney as proud as can be. He couldn’t wait to show his friends the new cast on his leg but first Sully had to lift Barney out of the truck. Barney was surprised to see Rascal hopping and running in circles around the yard. Rascal’s tail was wagging so hard Barney actually worried that it would fly right off the end of his butt.
And so it came to pass. Barney met a bully who became his buddy. Rascal met a runt who became his best pal. No one ever thinks of Barney as being a short little fellow any more, everyone thinks of him as being the tallest, bravest little fellow they’ve ever known. Now, instead of Barney hiding by his house, he and his new best friend go exploring together at the creek where the turtles lay their eggs in the summer sun.