Andi has just moved to Aldcliffe, Lancaster, from Texas. On her third day there, after giving Buddy a bath (therefore he is not wearing his collar), there is a thunderstorm outside. Buddy is scared of thunderstorms and runs down the stairs, just as Judy Talbot is coming nthrough the door with some shopping bags. Buddy gets past here and Andi follows, but is too slow to catch Buddy as he disappears round the corner.
The next morning, Andi meets a few people who are willing to look out for Buddy. These are Dean Saunders, a paperboy, and Mike Morgan, the athletic postman. She also meets a shop owner, Rachel Brand, who tells her the time and how to get home from there, as Andi still doesn't know her way around.
Her first day at Fairfield Middle School doesn't go too badly, although one of her classmates, Natalie Lewis, calls out "You might have trouble putting her in a group, sir. She might not have seen the sea before." This is because she is from Texas and the term's topic is on sealife. On her way into the playground she meet's Dean's younger brother, Tristan Saunders. He offers to help make a poster.
On the way home from school, Andi thinks she has seen Buddy run past, however after following the dog to a kid's playground, she finds out it is a different dog named Scamp. Buddy has a missing claw on his front left paw and his left ear has a white tip. However, there are some pawprints in the sandpit with a missing claw. They follow them through a hedge (where Tris gets stuck, and Andi goes round to pull him out) and then follow a trail of muddy pawprints to the back door of Vialli's Restaurant. A chef informs them that a little brown and white dog was there in the morning, and points them the way he went. Andi and Tristan make posters and put them up around town, but see no more signs of Buddy.
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