Booford is the dog who just moved into the house across the street from ten-year-old Hayley Larken. Gregarious, animal-loving Hayley is outraged because Booford's owner, mean Mr. Wood, yells at the dog and never takes him for walks. She concocts schemes to get Mr. Wood to walk Booford, but finally follows her father's advice and just asks Mr. Wood if she can walk his dog. To Hayley's surprise, he agrees. Hayley begins walking Booford and making friends with Mr. Wood, who is not really mean at all, merely lonely. She discovers that Mr. Wood's wife has left him ""to find herself' and that Booford was her dog. No wonder Mr. Wood looks so sad! Hayley then decides to help Mr. Wood just as she had helped the now happy Booford. But calling Mr. Wood's wife in Richmond is going too far. After a small blowup and a little drama, Hayley realizes that butting in to Mr. Wood's life is not the answer. The best thing she can do for him is just to be his friend. Smith pulls out al/the standard children's-book tricks here: the not-really-mean next-door neighbor; the kindly, all-knowing dad; the spunky, busy-body heroine and her Trekkie best friend. The lack of a reunion between Mr. Wood and his wife is the only somewhat surprising element, but Smith makes even that seem conventional. A write-by-numbers novel.