Short Stories » Dick



There were no children in the family when Dick was brought home, and his master and mistress took pains to teach him many things. When supper was nearly ready, Mrs. Fair would say, "Dick, go find your master and bring him home." Off he would go at full speed and in due time return with Mr. Fair. It seems that Dick would find his master, gently bark to attract his attention, then take hold of his coat cuff, which was understood by his master. Sometimes when Mr. Fair would start to go up town, Mrs. Fair would say, " Don't let your master go, Dick," and the dog would keep close watch of every movement, and when Mr. Fair would raise his hand to the hat- rack, Dick would spring and pull it down. After amusing themselves this way awhile, at a signal that fun was over, Dick would relinquish his duties as guard. What I most admired about Dick was his tending baby. There was a little child in one part of the house and Dick helped it learn to walk. Leo would catch hold of the thick black curls and hold on, while Dick would walk carefully along, watching the baby. If Leo began to stagger, Dick would carefully settle down to the floor and let the baby fall on his shaggy side. Dick would rock the cradle while Leo slept, and bark joyfully when he woke. Many a gentle romp they had together. Leo soon learned to throw a ball, which Dick would chase after and bring back. By and by Mrs. Fair moved to another 1 house, and she thought Dick missed his little friend Leo. He used to watch some little girls at play with their dolls, and would get so interested and bark so loudly that his mistress said she would make a large doll for Dick and see what he would do; so she .dressed up a chair cushion with a hood and an apron, and no one could help laughing to see Dick's delight. He would play it was asleep, cover it over and watch it, then pick it up and rush around making such a barking and racket, for he was very large and heavy. When Dick was tired of playing with his doll, he would lay it in a certain little closet and turn the button of the door with his nose. If, just for fun, anyone went to the little door, Dick would growl as much as to say, " That's mine, let it alone."

One day his mistress said to me, " I'm going to set Dick to mind the steak; now you notice him." So she called him and told him that she was going out of the room, and if the meat began to smoke, to call her; then she put it in the hot frying-pan and went out. Dick sat in front of the stove and fixed his gaze upon the meat, now and then practicing a few sniffs. Presently he snuffed more earnestly, gave a few low growls, and as the odors and steam increased, he grew excited and barked loudly. As his mistress purposely delayed coming in, he ran out to her, caught her dress, and began pulling her toward the stove. When Mrs. Fair attended to the meat, Dick expressed his satisfaction by a few barks and some jumps that made the dishes rattle. She gave him his portion outside the door, and told him he might go up town, which he presently did. After a while Dick learned to sit on the driver's seat and hold the lines in his mouth, or take a basket with written order to the meat market and baker's. Dick never loitered, but did his errands promptly, and never touched the food he bought. Dick at last left Utah with his master and traveled considerably among- the mines and miners, who all made friends with him.

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