The kids ran back to the relative safety of the candy store crying. They told Mr. Jeffries about the pit bulls and what old George had done between honks, cries and sobs. Mr. Jeffries listened calmly. George was his dog: inside he was alternating between pride and rage. He told the children to watch the store (he didn’t care what they took at this point), and left to find his friend.
He found George on the sidewalk where the pit bulls had left him broken, bloody and empty. Mr. Jeffries, approaching “weak and old” himself, knelt down, cradled George’s little body next to his chest, and cried for the first time since his wife had died five years ago.
He got up, walked slowly back to the shop, went around the back, through the gate and into the small backyard where he and George spent so much time in the evenings, Mr. Jeffries in his chair, George in his lap watching their little world. Mr. Jeffries went to the back corner of the yard, grabbed his spade and started digging, tears streaming down his worn face.