Then, to his dismay, truck and car had made off down the mountainside; and he had been left alone in his imprisonment. Except for a single unheard bark of protest, Lad made no effort to call back the departing humans. Never before had they forsaken him. And he had full trust that they would come back in a few minutes and set him free.
When the car halted, a half-mile below, Lad felt certain his faith was about to be justified. Then, as it moved on again, he sprang to the end of his short rope, and tried to break free and follow.
Then came the dying away of the chugging motor's echoes; and silence rolled up and engulfed the wilderness hilltop.
Lad was alone. They had gone off and left him. They had with never a word of goodby or a friendly command to watch camp until their return. This was not the dog's first sojourn in camp. And his memory was flawless. Always, he recalled, the arrival and the loading of the truck and the striking of tents had meant that the stay was over and that at the party was going home.
Home! The charm and novelty of the wilderness all at once faded. Lad was desperately lonely and desperately unhappy. And his feelings were cruelly hurt; at the strange treatment accorded him.
Yet, it did not occur to him to seek freedom and to follow his gods to the home he loved. He had been tied here, presumably by their order; certainly with their knowledge. And it behooved him to wait until they should come to release him. He knew they would come back, soon or late. They were his gods, his chums, his playmates. They would no more desert him than he would have deserted them. It was all right, somehow. Only, the waiting was tedious!
With a tired little sigh, the collie curled up in a miserable heap on the stony ground, the shortness of his tether making even this effort at repose anything but comfortable. And he waited.
A dog, that is happy and well, settles himself for a prolonged wait, by stretching out on his side;--oftenest the left side; and by dropping off into slumber. Seldom, unless he be cold or ill, does a big dog curl up into a ball, to rest. Nor is he thoroughly comfortable in such a posture.