There is a lot to be said for living in a small town. Especially, if you are a two year old boy following your dog.
Duke and I finished a welding project at the ag building. It was lunch time so we decided to head to the house. We turned onto the highway that heads East out of Shattuck. This is a pretty busy highway. We were following a vehicle. There was oncoming traffic headed west. As we passed the Ellis County Fairgrounds, I saw a dog head south across the highway. For those that know Shattuck this is right south of the grade school and right north of the Baseball Field/Fairgrounds. Immediately behind the dog was a little boy. He didn’t slow down for traffic, he just followed that dog. Brakes locked up, tires squalled a semi blew his horn. Nobody was hurt, but we all sat there llike “Dang, that could have been bad.” The dog and the boy continued south.
The dude in front of me parked his car and was trying to catch up to the boy. Duke and I went around to try to head them off at the pass. Hoss Manske came around the other direction. The three of us converged on the boy and the dog in the road on the north side of the fairgrounds. The boy was wearing a t-shirt, underwear and NOTHING else. No shoes, pants or shorts. The first guy had the boy caught and was talking to him. The boy said his first name. None of us knew him or recognized him. We asked his parents name–“Mom”. Then asked where he lived. He pointed in the westward direction, which was a little bit different direction than the route he was traveling. He was a personable little fella. And it was obvious that he was just following his dog.
One of us tried to call a hi-po, one tried city hall and the other tried the city manager. It was lunch time, so none of us got an answer. I then told Duke to see if he could read the tags on the dogs collar. There was no name or number. Just the info on the rabies tag. I had Duke read me the # on the rabies tag. I called the vet and told them what we were doing. She looked up the rabies tag # and gave me the owner’s name, phone # and address as well as the dog’s name. This was all big help. I called the #, but no answer. So, Duke and I left the boy with the other guys. They babysat the kid and played with the dog.
I went to the address which was several blocks away. Duke walked up to the front porch. The wood slats had been removed and the porch was now a sandbox. Complete with toys. Duke knocked. Finally, there was an answer. I asked if she was so and so. She was. “Do you have a little boy?” “Yep, he’s playing outside here.” I then asked if she had a dog named Sugar. Sure enough. I explained that we had the boy and the dog corralled at the fairgrounds. She asked if I could bring him home as there were several more young uns in diapers playing in the room right behind her.
Duke and I went back and loaded the kid up. A deputy sheriff pulled up and surveyed the situation. He said that he would follow us to make the delivery. I pulled up at the house and got the little guy out of the back seat. He went running up into his yard. The deputy got out of his car. Mom came walking out onto the lawn. She then went all White Trash and went to yelling, “I told you to stay in the yard. You better listen.” No, not any, “Oh you scared me” or “Come give momma a hug”. Just a screaming fit, right in front of Duke, myself and the sheriff. Not a thank you or nothing. Of course, this image was complete with the concert t-shirt, barefoot and too tight of shorts for body type and dimension. We were just missing a cigarette hanging from her lips. Foxworthy would be proud of this redneck/white trash moment. I looked at Duke and said, “Let’s go.”
There was humour in this happening. However, there is something about a small town. A bigger town and he might have gotten run over. All of us knew that this boy was just following his dog. There are lots of other things that could have happened. We also stopped what we were doing until the boy was at home. There was teamwork to figure out what to do. And in the end, the boy was back at home.