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Shep, the Lost Dog

Arkansas GirlI imagine it was a nice, hot summer day when we looked up and saw the dog coming across the pasture. As though he belonged to us, he headed straight to our yard and just stood there. As we kids gazed at that handsome collie, he just stared back at us. "What next," we thought? Then we started calling him every dog name we could think of, but he just stood there transfixed...as though he were deaf.

Such a fine "lost" dog, I thought, but if we don't call him by his name, then, he's bound to turn around and go back in the direction he came. Or he might head on up the road to the neighbor's house. One thing for sure, we knew the dog didn't belong to any of our neighbors, because we had never seem him before. We had a strange premonition that he was sent to us. Only problem, we needed to get him to respond. We certainly didn't want him to get away. Finally, my oldest brother hollered, "Shep," and the dog trotted toward him. We burst into laughter and hugged our new "family member."
Can't remember when Shep came to us or how many years he was ours, but I do remember that whenever and wherever we went on our neighborhood outings, Shep was our constant travel-along-buddy. Actually, any dog is good to accompany you when you hit the road - on foot. For instance, if a dog comes across a snake, he'd attack it, so a dog is just good to travel with. 
I remember that when we went through the woods to Cousin Callie's house, Shep was our traveling companion. As is true of most good-sized dogs, Shep was a fighter. If we encountered (and we did) a snake, thankfully, Shep took care of it. Not sure if we gave him an extra bone for that, but he certainly deserved one.
I had one of my younger brothers laughing about how, when we came to a creek, the dog was just as sure to drink the cool, refreshing water as we were. We had to be kind to our "tour guide," so, when Shep started to drink, we didn't chase him away. We simply got on the north of him, knelt down on our knees, cupped our hands and let the water fill our "cup." Water flows from north to south, so the dog had to drink from the water on the south. That way, the water we drank was not polluted with his left-over saliva.
When I think back on our desire to keep that stray dog, I'm not sure what we were thinking. We barely had enough to eat ourselves let alone having to feed a dog, but, of course, kids don't reason like that. Apparently our parents were in cahoots with us too, and Shep became a Williams. 
Anyway, I can't remember when Shep left us and departed this earth. I just recall that when we moved to "McKee Lake," he wasn't there to go with us, so, I guess by that time, he was in "dog heaven." A belated thanks to you, dear old, Shep for trotting along with us.