Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Three?
Chapter Three Continued…
“See,” Mona said quietly.
Leo couldn’t help but agree with her. This wasn’t a vicious dog. If
it had attacked, it must have been severely provoked.
The dog willingly followed Mona down the trail, and she spread
her picnic blanket across Leo’s back seat and coaxed the dog into the
car. He hoped the picnic blanket would be enough and that he
wouldn’t find bloodstains on his seats later, but he didn’t breathe a
word of that concern to Mona.
“Hey,” he said as he made the first turn. “Can you call ahead and let
the vet know we’re coming?”
“Great idea!” She dialed, and after a brief conversation, she hung
up and said, “They’ll see us as soon as we get there.”
Sure enough, they were ushered to an exam room as soon as they
brought the dog in. The vet swept into the room, and Leo was struck
by his gentle demeanor. But the vet cast a suspicious glance at Leo and
“I understand we have a stab wound?” the vet asked.
“That’s right,” said Mona. “On his front leg.”
The vet bent down and scratched the dog’s chin, then inspected
the stab wound. “Blood on his fur too,” he murmured. He looked up at
Leo and Mona. “What happened?”
“We’re not sure,” said Leo. “I’m a detective. We found the dog at a
crime scene, and I’m taking care of him while the case is under inves‐
The vet eyed Leo as if he didn’t quite believe him, so Leo pulled
out his badge and held it out for inspection. The vet studied it and
nodded, then stood and stuck out his hand. “I’m Dr. Mansour. Pleased
to meet you.”
Leo returned the handshake.
Dr. Mansour looked back down at the retriever and said, “All right,
big guy, should we get you up on the exam table?”
The dog’s tail thumped.
Dr. Mansour and Mona eased the dog onto the table, and then Dr.
Mansour gave the dog a shot to numb the pain.
The retriever hardly flinched.
“We’re going to clean the wound and then stitch it up,” Dr.
Mansour said. “He did really good with that shot. Are you a good
Leo and Mona sat while the vet finished treating the wound. When
he finished, the dog raised its head and gave the vet kisses on his chin.
With a chuckle, Dr. Mansour said, “Really great dog. Some dogs I
have to drug pretty heavily to get them to sit still for stitches, or even
bring in a few techs to hold them down—or both. I’ve been bitten and
knocked over I can’t tell you how many times. A tech will be back in a
moment with a couple days of pain medication. Make sure he doesn’t
overgroom the stitches, or we’ll have to put a cone on him. Any
“Just one,” said Leo. “So, nothing you’ve seen would make you
think the dog has any aggressive tendencies?”
“Not at all. Why?”
“We’re ruling him out as a suspect in a crime.”
“Hmm.” Dr. Mansour reached out and ruffled the retriever’s ears.
“What’s the situation?”
“Dead guy,” said Leo with a grimace.
Dr. Mansour’s eyes widened. “With a dog bite?”
“It looked like there was a bite to the throat. Body was found in the
woods. Dog led us to him.”
Mona added, “The dog seemed sad.”
Dr. Mansour nodded slowly. “Well, almost every dog can be
pushed to violence in the right circumstances—just like almost any
person can be. Some dogs will be violent if they feel threatened. Even
more will be violent if their person is threatened. But if he led you to
the body and seemed sad, I’d say with a fair degree of certainty that
he’s not your biter. I’d guess you’ll discover that the victim was his
owner.” He reached out again and gave the retriever one more pat on
the head. “Poor thing. Let me know if you need anything else, all
“Thank you for all your help,” said Mona.
Dr. Mansour nodded and left the room, leaving Leo alone with
Mona and the dog.
“See?” Mona said with a self-satisfied look.
Leo sighed. “I agree with you. I really do. But you know what that
scene looked like, and I don’t want you to get too upset if they wind
up putting him down.”
Mona nodded slowly. “I understand. But those other officers just
seemed so quick to jump to conclusions.”
“You know, I didn’t see a knife on Darsey,” Leo said. “Which prob‐
ably means someone else was at that crime scene. It’s possible the
knife will be found by the other officers. I didn’t have much of a
chance to look around, because we left before they finished
processing the evidence. But if Darsey stabbed the dog, it’s going to
come off looking like he was trying to defend himself against a
Mona sighed. “It just doesn’t feel right, Leo. I mean, I’m a big
animal person, I know. So I’m sure it seems like I’m biased. But just
look at him.”
Leo glanced down at the retriever that was now curled up on the
floor, looking impossibly dejected.
“Plus,” said Mona. “He’s a golden retriever. They’re family-friendly
dogs. I’ve never met an aggressive one.”
That was a fair point. Had Leo seen a single biting incident in a
golden retriever in his time on the force? He didn’t think so.
A vet tech returned, handing Leo a bag. “The meds will help the
poor guy with pain,” he said. “Wrap one pill up into some bologna or
ham to get him to eat it. Once in the morning and once at night. Give
him the first one tonight before you go to bed, and he should be okay.
You’re going to want to be careful when bathing him too. His stitches
are fine to get wet, but you’ll want to be very gentle around the
Leo nodded. “Yeah, he’s going to need a bath, for sure.”
“Last thing.” The tech held up a wand of some kind. “Mind if I scan
him for a microchip? See if we can track down the owner that way?”
“Please do,” said Leo.
The tech waved the wand over the dog’s neck and shoulders.
“We’ve got a chip!” he exclaimed. “I’ll call the chip company and get
you the owner’s information.”
At checkout, Leo cringed at the six-hundred-dollar bill. Maybe the
station would reimburse him, but he doubted it. He’d volunteered to
take care of the dog, so he was probably going to be stuck with the
bill. He sighed and handed his credit card to the receptionist.
“Good boy. Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?” crooned Mona
behind him. He glanced over his shoulder. She was kneeling down on
the floor, scratching the dog behind the ears. The dog’s tail was
wagging as it rubbed its head against her arms.
“That poor thing,” the receptionist said as she ran Leo’s card. “Why
would someone hurt such a sweet dog?”
Leo shrugged. He was still thinking about the massive credit card
bill he was going to have to pay at the end of the month.
Then the vet tech came into the room, frowning. “So, the dog is
chipped, but the company said that there’s no owner information—
that the owner called in last Friday asking for all their information to
be taken off the chip’s record. They weren’t able to give me more than
Last Friday? Leo frowned. Odd. That was before the time of death.
Even if the owner had planned to sic the dog on Jonathan, surely they
hadn’t planned on leaving it out in the woods as evidence.
He and Mona headed out, and the dog walked right at their heels.
It didn’t even need a leash.
Leo dropped Mona off at her house, and she smiled brightly at him
before she climbed out of the car and headed toward her door. When
she was safely in the house, he let out a long sigh. The dog gingerly
picked its way over the console and into the passenger seat.
Leo absentmindedly reached out and scratched the retriever’s
What in the world did I get myself into?
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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