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“That’s horrible,” I said.  I meant it, too.  And in the back of my mind, I also marveled at how she already had an outfit for the dance, which was a whole month away.  I’d no idea if I was even going.  And she’d already figured out what to wear?

I wondered if she had a date.  Then got annoyed with myself for caring. 

Meanwhile, Ivy sat cross-legged on my floor, in tears.  She seemed so upset I had to believe her.

I handed her a tissue.  She blew her nose, loudly, and went on.  “I found this cop, a block over, and I tried to tell him, but he didn’t believe me.  I think he thought it was a joke.  The way he looked at me—like I was wasting his time.  It was awful.  And I tried calling the police later on, but they said that dog-napping is not a nine-one-one type of emergency and could they please speak to my parents.  So I said no, and hung up fast.  And now Kermit’s gone and my parents will be home in ten days and they’ll never forgive me.”

“You didn’t tell your grandma?” I asked.

“No, she’s kind of forgetful and she doesn’t like dogs.  I’m supposed to keep Kermit away from her whenever she’s at the house, so I don’t even think she’s noticed that he’s missing.”

I hadn’t seen Ivy this upset since we got grounded for throwing water balloons out of her window when we were in the third grade.  (And to be fair – that had been my idea.) 

“But it’s not your fault,” I said. 

“It kind of is.  My parents warned me not to tie Kermit up.  And they think I buy too many clothes.  So this is the ultimate.  And I didn’t know what to do until I remembered what you said about dog walking yesterday.  My cousin used to walk dogs when he was in law school and he said it was the best job he ever had.  Well paid, too.  So I figured you had the cash.  I mean obviously you’re not spending money on clothes.”  She looked me up and down.

“It’s amazing how you can ask me for help and be insulting at the very same time.” 

“It’s a gift.”  Ivy shrugged.  “But whatever.  I’m only stating a fact and you know I’ll pay you back.  I’m supposed to babysit next Friday and for three Saturday nights in a row.  You’ll have the money in no time.”

Ivy stared at me, desperate.  And as much as I wanted to say forget it, I thought of Kermit.  One of my favorite dogs in the world, and the one with the saddest puppyhood I’d ever known.