Shep wondered why the old man left him here. It seemed strange to be up so early before the sunlight, in the cold morning, far from the ranch. He shifted his weight and stayed in place looking down the road for the truck. The old man told him to stay right here and he intended to wait no matter the length of time.
A cold wind lapped at his ears and he shivered. He rounded a bit to look at the rising sun. Good. The sunlight will warm up the rock he stood on. He looked down the road again. No truck.
The wind brought with it the smell of a fire. Shep grew alarmed and he danced in place. A fire in the dry sage this early in the season? He sniffed the air. Could that be the smell of bacon? The wind shifted to the north taking with it the smell of fire and bacon.
He spied to where the road turned away from the mesa. He couldn’t see a truck but he imagined it coming up the road. He laid his head on the rock in front of his paws. He whined a bit to hear himself. The wind shifted back bringing with it the smell of fire and bacon.
He stood on the rock and stepped forward. He dared to touch the road. He stopped, remembering the old man’s admonition to stay. He imagined the old man driving toward him.
He jumped and waged his tail. The truck! It rounded the bend, climbed on the mesa, and skidded to a stop next to Shep.
“Well, old boy, I think they’re ready for you,” said the old man.
“Those little granddaughters of mine haven’t met you yet.” The old man whisked his hands around Shep’s neck and gave him a good petting. Shep jumped around the old man’s legs.
“Let’s show them why we love this country.”
Shep scrambled into the cab and rode with the old man to the trail camp. He smiled as the truck bounced through the sage and the morning sun felt warm on his face. He turned at the old man and nodded his approval.
© 2018, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.
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