Short Stories » The Dog from Nowhere
The Dog from Nowhere
“It has been three weeks hasn’t it, Mr. Jones?” After 40 years, she still called her husband,” Mister.”
Mrs. Jones enquired whether her husband had made any effort to find the owner.
Mr. Henry Jones said that he was in the process of writing an advert and hoped to put up the advert the next day. He added that the dog was definitely not a neighborhood dog as he was very content to stay with the Jones.
Mrs. Jones backed his reasoning, and added that he should not get too attached to the dog. She advised him to stop pampering the dog so much, as he would have to be eventually returned to the rightful owner.
Mr. Jones said that he planned to put an advertisement in the lost and found section of the newspaper the next day. He added that what really bothered him was that how was he to know a claimant was the rightful owner.
Besides, he did not want to lose such a fine dog like that.
Mrs. Jones advised him to ask a claimant to describe the dog and then ask them for the dog’s name. Mr. Jones said that he had tried just about every name that a bird dog could be called…but there was no response from the dog.
Henry Jones, now 66 years of age, had just retired from his job in the city and had settled down in the country. He had acquired a farm in the country and had also purchased a beautiful 20-gauge shotgun. But what he did not have was a dog. The kind of dog he wanted was difficult to come by. And as fate would want it, this dog had come from nowhere and attached himself to the Jones household. He had felt so complete and had taken an immediate liking to the dog...
Mr. Jones had known from the start that he had to advertise the dog. He was honor bound to do it and somewhat ashamed albeit surprised at himself for not doing it sooner. Such a fine looking dog would definitely have an owner, he reckoned.
A few days later, the advertisement appeared in the lost and found section of the local newspaper.
Found: One Dog, Owner may recover dog, by identifying same.
A week passed and no one had come to claim the dog. Then one day, a car bearing an interstate license, pulled up in front of the house. Mr. Jones had been making Apple Cider, and his wife was returning from the orchard, with a basket full of plums. The stranger was tall and had a boyish smile. It was then they noticed that one coat sleeve hung limp by his side.
He apologized for interrupting their work and expressed surprise, albeit thrilled to see the fresh apple-cider being made. Mrs. Jones, quickly took a mug and filled it with cider, and gave it to the lad. Mug after mug, the tall boy drank.
Finally, he wanted to help Mr. Jones in making the cider. Though, Mr. Jones was aware of the missing arm, he wanted to protest, but he did not know how.
The boy got down to helping Mr. Jones and they quickly made two more buckets of apple cider.
After a while, Mrs. Jones appeared with a tray of food for the lad and expressed that since the boy appeared to have come a long way and he sure would be hungry. She asked him to stop and said that it was time he had some food.
The boy ate with such gusto that made Mrs. Jones’ chest swell with pride. He ate slow, savoring each morsel. Finally, the lad got up and said that he felt guilty of being a glutton and eating so much. He added that if he stayed there for a few days, he would have a stomach like a politician.
Mr. Jones then confided to the lad that he too had a son who was about the same height as the boy, but was killed on the carrier Bunker Hill.
The boy apologized and expressed sorrow at their loss. He added that they would surely have some proud memories about him.
The lad then explained that the real reason that he had come was about the clipping that they had put in the local newspaper. He then took out the clipping from his pocket.
The lad then said that about five weeks back, he had a flat tire while driving by this part of the country. He added that when he had gone to get some help, someone had broken into his car and stole his suitcase and the dog.
Mr. Jones then questioned the boy and asked him to describe his dog.
The boy said that the dog was a big male setter, white, and tan, with a tan saddle and a very handsome tan tail. He said that the dog would instantly recognize him.
It was one of those times, when all hope drained from Mr. Jones, as he knew the dog belonged to the boy.
Mr. Jones told the boy that his description fit the dog perfectly. Nonetheless, he wanted to be sure, if the dog recognized him. He added that the dog had gone with the neighbor’s boy to get some milk and should be returning anytime.
The dog suddenly turned up and Mr. Jones said that he was sure that the dog would be glad to meet the lad.
The dog started quickly towards the boy and then stopped and looked indecisively at Mr. Jones. With a baffled expression, he strode unwaveringly to Mr. Jones and licked his hand.
After an awkward silence, the lad spoke, “There sure is a resemblance, but as you know, dogs often look alike. However, their name will tell. Here, Chief! Here, Chief,” he called softly.
The dog’s only response was to whimper and lick the outstretched hands of Mr. Jones.
The boy was a bit surprised with the dog’s reaction and said that it was not his dog.
Back at the home, the boy quickly thanked Mrs. Jones for her hospitality and was gone. After his car left, Mr. Jones said that the boy reminded him about his son and that he was so sure that the dog was his when the boy had described him.
After two weeks, when no other claimants had appeared, Mr. Jones was relieved. He was now thinking of finding a name for the dog.
The same day, a telegram appeared in his mailbox. It had come from a distant city and was unsigned. Mr. Jones was afraid to open it thinking it was another claimant.
Finally, he opened it and noticed that the message was short.
It just said, Try HAPPY.