This is a story about two little girls and a stray dog that changed their lives forever.
Leslie and Laura, ages 10 years and 8 years old respectfully, had walked up the road about 1 mile to play at a neighbor’s house. When they arrived, they were shown a stray dog that had wondered up from the woods. He looked like a German Shepard mixed with a wolf. The girls were asked to take the dog, being the animal lovers they were, they said yes. Putting a rope around his neck, they lead him home. Their parents agreed to let them keep him with one condition, they had to remove the rope and let him decide if he wanted to stay or not. He stayed.
His name became Stray. The girls lived on a 32 acre farm, plenty of room to wonder. Stray always went with the girls on all of their adventures. He tried to keep them out of trouble, which they had a knack of getting into. There was a look always in his eyes of love for the entire family, but especially for the two girls.
The girls had been worried about Stray because he had disappeared for a few days. They feared he was gone for forever. This made them both very sad at this thought.
On one fateful day, Stray was still not around to walk with them when Leslie and Laura were going were they had been told not to. Their parents had told them on many occasions not to play by the river without an adult. Like with every parent, when you tell a child not to do something they will enviably do it. Of course, being mischievous and always looking for a little adventure they did exactly that.
They had played on the banks for almost an hour not realizing that the river current was getting increasingly stronger because of the storms upstream. While throwing a rock into the water, Leslie slipped and fell into the river.
Laura, being too young to know what to do, began screaming and crying. Leslie was fighting to keep her head above water and was tiring fast. Laura wasn’t as good a swimmer as Leslie, so she knew she couldn’t jump in to save her.
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Laura spotted Stray. Without hesitation he was in the water, swimming toward her. He swam straight toward Leslie and put his head underneath her arm. With her holding on for dear life, Stray swam for the shore line. Laura was so relieved that she hugged Leslie and Stray for what seemed like forever.
After the girls released him, he walked up the steep embankment to flat land and waited for them. Leslie exhausted from her ordeal and had to lean on Laura to get up the steep embankment. Once they reached him, he allowed Leslie to rest as long as she needed to.
After about thirty minutes, Stray led the girls straight to their home. He lay on their porch until the girl’s parents came home. When their parents came into the house, at first the girls were afraid to tell them where they had been, but decided they needed to know. The girls explained what he had done to save Leslie. The parents filled with such gratitude, they said that Stray could stay forever.
They spent a few happy years with Stray and then one day he left as mysteriously as he had shown up. The only reason they could ever come up with for him leaving was that they no longer needed him.
I think back on that day at the river and realized that he was an angel in the form of a dog. Where ever he went I’m sure it was to help some other children that didn’t follow their mom and dad’s rules. Thanks Stray.
Laura Elizabeth Garris
16097 MDU Loop
Belle Fourche, SD 57717