It's just another typical day in Sweet Valley. Jessica is sitting around reading about dinner parties, while Elizabeth kicks back with a French cookbook. Jessica decides that they should throw a dinner party and Elizabeth wants to make a bunch of stuff from the book. They run to tell their parents, who immediately think that they are crazy because parties like that take a lot of planning and money.
After some more talking, they decide to ask if they can visit their aunt in Sandy Hook for a three-day weekend. They run back downstairs, and Ned asks if they thought about the cost. Jessica calls the bus station and it's $20 one-way. Elizabeth asks if he can't afford the trip, and he tells them that he's worried they don't think about money. He says that if they raise the money to go, they can.
The twins decide to walk dogs around the neighborhood to raise the money. Steven offers to lend them $5 for photocopies if they pay 50% interest, which they agree. Jessica whines because she has to miss a Unicorn meeting to hand out fliers and because they keep seeing big dogs and she only wants to work with little dogs. They get a few calls, but it only adds up to $20.
Jessica naturally starts slacking off at work. On one walk, she leaves Liz with three dogs so she can try on some clothes at a store they pass. She skips one day to go to a Boosters practice, and she skips another to go for ice cream. Luckily, Ken Matthews loves dogs and he offers to help, but he won't take any money.
One day, Lila and Ellen stop by to see Jessica watching a couple of dogs. A woman offered them $20 if they kept her dogs overnight. They want to go to the mall, and when Ken shows up, he says that he'll watch the dogs for her. This annoys Elizabeth, who finally took the day off to go roller skating, but she takes it.
While sitting at home, a guy named Mr. Quincy shows up with his dog Joe. He offers them $20 to watch the dog for one week and another $20 when he picks the dog up. He even gives them money to buy some dog food. As soon as he leaves, they notice that the dog is skittish and won't come to them. Ken finds bruises and cuts all over his body and realizes that the dog is abused.
The twins don't tell their parents because Ned gave them a huge lecture about how they needed to start being responsible and he didn't want to hear any complaints. Ken buys the dog special food and a special cream that he puts on all the cuts. Joe starts acting friendly and he forms a bond with Ken, who comes over every day to play with him.
They decide that they can't give Joe back to Mr. Quincy. Ken asks his mom if he can keep the dog, but she tells him that he's not old enough and they aren't around enough to take care of a pet. He then decides to ask his cousin to take the dog since the guy lives on a ranch outside of town. Worrying that Mr. Quincy might find him, they cut his hair and dye the white dog black. They take Joe over, and he agrees to take him in.
They head home to find Mr. Quincy there. He explodes when they say that Joe ran away, and he threatens to sue them. Ned makes them go around town looking for him, but of course he's not there. The next day, Ken calls and says that Joe ran away from the ranch. They look all over and find him waiting at the Wakefield house. Ned and Alice say that he showed up there and that they called Mr. Quincy.
When Mr. Quincy shows up, he tries to take Joe and Ken won't let him. The adults lecture him on how it isn't his dog, and he bursts out with the abuse charge. Quincy denies it, but Joe growls and shakes every time he goes near him. Ken offers to show the Wakefields the bruises and scars, and Quincy backs down. Ned threatens him that if he ever gets another dog, he will call the cops. Quincy rushes off, saying he never wants to see another dog.
Ken's parents show up just in time to hear the whole story. His cousin called to say that the dog ran away and they wanted to know what was going on. Mrs. Matthews doesn't even recognize the dog because he got caught in the rain and his hair is now white again. They tell them the whole story, and his parents decide to let him keep the dog. Ned gives the twins the money they need to go to Sandy Hook, and he even agrees to pay Steven back for the loan as a reward for doing the right thing.
*The twins want to throw a sit down dinner party for 14 people, and they think that it's not only easy but that they can do it themselves. Oh, and they think that they can get 12 year old guys to wear suits.
*Jessica thinks that chocolate mousse sounds disgusting because she reads it as chocolate mouse. I'm almost certain that they made chocolate mousse in a previous book at home or in school.
*Ned suggests they have a barbecue for their friends, which makes them pout and whine. Any other time, they would be jumping off the walls about having a party.
*Jessica had the dye because she wanted to color her hair black. I hate to point this out, but no matter what the bottle says, black dye on blond hair will not wash out in a few days. A friend of mine in high school had dirty blond hair and she dyed it black with temporary dye. Her hair stayed dark until it finally started growing out.
*A dog that was abused as much as Joe would not suddenly become a fun loving pet in one week, no matter how much love he got.
*The cream Ken got must be some kind of miracle cream! It healed all of his cuts and bruises in just a few days, leaving no marks or scars behind.