#4: He-Dog, Not She-Dog

Riding down the highway in the front of the truck was much nicer than riding in the back with all the sheep. We had just pulled away from what they called the border with Mexico where all the trucks had to stop and be checked, when the lady made a call on her cell phone.

"Hello, yes this is Maria. My husband and I picked up a load of sheep from you this morning that are going to Jilotepec and it seems we accidentally got one of your sheepdogs in with them....Hmm, that's odd. Are you sure you're not missing any dogs? He's a golden retriever with a reddish coat."

She tipped the phone away from her mouth and said to her husband, "They say he's not theirs."

"Yes," Maria was talking on the phone again. "Well if you get any word about him, give us a call, ok? I'm sure somebody is looking for him. Adios." She put the phone away and looked back at me, "So what are we going to do with you?"

I wasn't quite sure myself, but I wasn't too worried. I am a hunting dog after all so I can always find my way home.

We drove for a long, long time. Now I'm used to traveling in the open back of a truck where you can see and smell everything that goes by. The windows were rolled up so I couldn't smell anything but I still ran back and forth from one window to the other trying to see things.

"Honey, that dog is drivin' me nuts. Could you please make him sit down," said the man.

Maria turned to me and said, "Sit." I sat down.

"Good dog," she said. "Someone has definitely trained him," she said to her husband as she turned back around. As soon as she turned around I figured that I could get up, so I stuck my nose over her shoulder to look out the window again.

"Ok, ok," she said, "Listen, I'm kinda tired anyway so I'll go back and lie down and you can come sit up here." She climbed in back and I happily jumped into the front seat. Once I started to cross over the man's lap to get a better view of what looked like horses on his side, but he growled at me so sat back down in the seat.

When it got dark and I couldn't see any more, I curled up on the seat and slept. I woke up when Maria moved into the driver's seat and the man went back to the bed to sleep. I would have liked to go back and lie down there too, but I didn't think he would like it very much, so I stayed up front. As it started to get light I saw that the land outside was very different from my ranch. Instead of being flat and brown, everything was green and hilly. I could see why Nosey's mom called them the green summer pastures.

When we finally stopped, Maria tied the rope around my neck again before she let me jump out. There were so many interesting smells, I wanted to run around and explore but the rope wasn't long though. Maria seemed to know the people there very well because she kissed them all on the cheek. Again it happened that I could hear what the people were saying but I couldn't understand them. I tried to listen for a while but they all talked very fast so i just sniffed around where I could reach.

But I tuned in when I heard Maria say to her husband, "Well, it's all settled then. Since he came with the sheep, they figure he must be a sheepdog so they'll keep him. They promised to take good care of him. I just don't know what else to do because it'll be months till we're back near that sheep ranch in Texas again." She tied my rope to a tree as they began to unload the sheep.

A short man with dark hair whistled and four dogs came running. They spotted me and came right over to where I was tied and started sniffing me all over.

"Oye, quien eres y que haces aquí?" said a little tan dog with a beard.

I could tell he had asked me a question but I had no idea what to say so I responded, "Hi, my name is Spike."

"Híjole, es un perro gringo," said a big black dog with a white face. "Hello Espike. My name iz Lobo. What chew do heer?"

"Um, what am I doing here? Well, I came down with the sheep," I answered.

"Chew she-dog?" the dog asked.

"No, I'm a he-dog," I told him. By this point I was really beginning to wonder about these dogs. What kind of dog can't smell that I'm a he?

"She-pah dog," he clarified.

The other dogs appeared to be grumbling amongst themselves. I heard a word that sounded like "touris-ta" and remember how the horses had complained about people they called
"tourists" who visited the ranch and wanted to ride them but didn't even know how to mount them. This made me think the dogs were talking about me.

"Sheep dog? Uh, no...I'm a hunting dog," I replied.

"No hunt heer. Chew come with she-p. You she-p dog."

Apparently the dogs were as tired of trying to talk as I was, so they then ran over towards the sheep who were pushing each other down a ramp out of the trailer.

When the sheep had all left the truck, Maria came over to me. She untied the rope from around my neck, petted me and said, "I sure hope you're happy here, pup. I hate to leave you so far from home, but I don't even know where your home is." She seemed kind of sad, so I put up my paw and shook her hand. Then she and the man got in the truck, waved to the people standing around and drove away.


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