June 13, 2012


One of the nice things about writing this column is the wonderful people that write to me (Shirley) and the wonderful comments I receive (again Shirley). On most Monday mornings, I write my column and then have Shirley read it. And she invariably says, “I like it!” But then she likes every colt, calf, kitten, or pup that is born. So I’m not sure if that should pass as a critics’ approval.
But this past week, I did hear a wonderful story, and it came from someone other than Shirley.
I’ve often written about different dogs. Lonesome, who corralled the wild bunch; Vern Baker, who, if I carried a gun, would not be alive today; King, the German Shepherd cow dog; and a few other good dogs.
Last week, I heard of a dog that deserves a special award.
It was over somewhere around Ekalaka. Ekalaka is a special place. It’s old-time cattle country. It’s bucking horse country. It is the West.
A rancher had gone out checking cows, or grass, or just going for a drive. He had his old ranch pickup, his three-year-old son, and his dog. Now, I’m not sure what kind of dog it was, but being ranch country, it was most likely a heeler, or a border collie.
Like most of us have owned, the ranch pickup had a few problems. That’s why it was a ranch pickup and not the “Sunday-go-to-meetin” pickup.
A few miles from home, something jiggled loose under the pickup. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the muffler. Maybe a tie-rod end. Maybe the drive shaft. I’m not too mechanical. But I can lift heavy objects.
Anyway, this cowboy crawled under that pickup with pliers and some wire. After working a while, he crawled out to take off.
But the boy and the dog had disappeared! They had walked off and he had no idea what direction. Frantic, he began running in ever increasing circles! I’ve been there, done that, and I know how damn scared it can make you. But he had no luck.
He gave up and went for help. A search and rescue team was dispatched. A plane was called in. The search was on.
As darkness fell, much of the search was called off.
But then, in the darkness, the little boy and his dog came walking into the yard! He had found his way home in the dark! A three-year-old boy!
There were tears of joy! Scolding! Hugs and kisses, and the question, “How did you find your way home?”
The toddler replied, “It was easy. The dog kept looking back and saying, “Come with me!”
That’s the way I heard it. Now that’s a dog worth keeping.