Right after I left the tent, I began marking the tree stumps with pink paint. I looked behind every bush and under every rock I saw. I was so scared when I moved a rock and a snake scurried away! I hoped Woody hadn’t encountered any snakes. I called Woody’s name over and over, but he didn’t respond. Continually marking the stumps, I tried to constantly be aware of my surroundings. I spotted a Dogwood tree and smiled. That was my brother’s favorite tree! Maybe I would bring Woody back to see it after we found him. Finally, I heard something. It sounded like singing. I listened. It was singing – Woody’s singing! It was the sweetest voice I’d heard! Unfortunately, I still couldn’t see Woody!
I tried howling. Dogs know that howling is a form of communication – a way of saying, “Hey! I’m here,” yet Woody didn’t answer. I kept following the sound of Woody’s voice until I saw him under the bushes. Once again, I howled, but Woody didn’t respond. I knew I would have to go get him. But before I got to Woody, I tripped and fell into a patch of clover – the very thing I’m terribly allergic to ¬– and sneezed the biggest sneeze ever! You could have heard it all over the state!
My brother heard it, too! I saw him peek his head out from behind a bush! I ran to Woody and we hugged. He was shaking like a leaf! I blew my whistle four times like Dad had told me, and following the tree markings, I helped my brother back to our tent. When we arrived, Woody was still trembling. I thought he was scared but Mom said he had gotten too cold and wet. Mom said that even though Woody was safe, he was in danger of hypothermia. “It’s when people or animals get really cold and body temperature drops below normal level. It can be very serious – even deadly.” I was worried about Woody. “Why do you think Woody has hypothermia, Mom?” “Well, Chloe, for one, he’s shivering. That’s a big sign.
He’s also mumbling a bit. Sometimes people can mumble, stumble, or grumble when they are hypothermic. He was outside in the cool rain and didn’t have his hat, gloves, or boots. He lost a lot of body heat through his head and paws. We have to help Woody get warm again.” I looked at my brother. His teeth were chattering and he was quivering. Mom and Dad dried off Woody and wrapped him from head to paw in warm dry blankets. Mom held him tight so he could feel her warmth while Dad heated some broth over the fire for my brother to drink. Mom said it was important that we warm Woody without making him too hot since that could be just as dangerous. As Woody slowly drank the warm broth, he calmed down and his eyes brightened. It was as if we could see Woody warming up before our eyes!
After Woody started feeling better, he began to talk. At first he was still mumbling and it was hard to understand him. All we could make out was “life.” Finally, as he warmed up even more, we understood what Woody was saying. “You saved my life, Chloe! If you hadn’t found me, I could have died! How will I ever repay you for saving my life? You’re a hero!” As my brother talked, he cried a little. Mom wiped Woody’s tears while Dad spoke. “Chloe is a hero, Woody, but you’re a survivor!” “I am?” Woody asked. “Sure, Woody, you made some poor choices that could have been extremely dangerous, but you certainly were a survivor.” “How?” said Woody. Dad explained that once Woody knew he was lost, he sought shelter in a safe place. He also didn’t continue wandering around trying to find his way. He stayed where he was. “And,” Dad continued, “You were smart to play and sing the entire time. We could hear you and therefore could find you. A rule in surviving is staying calm and thinking smart when you’re in a tough situation.” “Dad’s right, Woody, you are a survivor!” “Thanks Chloe, but you’re still my hero! There has to be something I can do for you since you saved my life.” I didn’t feel right about asking my brother to do something for me, but I could tell he wasn’t going to feel better unless I agreed he could help me. Finally, I gave in. “Well, Woody, if you insist. There is one thing I would love.” “Anything, Chloe, just say the word!”