Brownie and Spotty were neighbor dogs who met every day to play together. Like pairs of dogs you can find in most any neighborhood, these two loved each other and played together so often that they had worn a path through the grass of the field between their respective houses.
One evening, Brownie's family noticed that Brownie hadn't returned home. They went looking for him with no success. Brownie didn't show up the next day, and, despite their efforts to find him, by the next week he was still missing.
Curiously, Spotty showed up at Brownie's house alone. Barking, whining and generally pestering2 Brownie's human family. Busy with their own lives, they just ignored the nervous little neighbor dog.
Finally, one morning Spotty refused to take “no” for an answer. Ted, Brownie's owner, was steadily harassed3 by the furious, adamant4 little dog. Spotty followed Ted about, barking insistently, then darting toward a nearby empty lot and back, as if to say, “Follow me! It's urgent!”
Eventually, Ted followed the frantic Spotty across the empty lot as Spotty paused to race back and bark encouragingly. The little dog led the man under a tree, past clumps5 of trees, to a desolate spot a half mile from the house. There Ted found his beloved Brownie alive, one of his hind legs crushed in a steel leghold trap. Horrified, Ted now wished he'd taken Spotty's earlier appeals seriously. Then Ted noticed something quite remarkable.
Spotty had done more than simply led Brownie's human owner to his trapped friend. In a circle around the injured dog, Ted found an array of dog food and table scraps1 which were later identified as the remains of every meal Spotty had been fed that week!
Spotty had been visiting Brownie regularly, in a singleminded quest to keep his friend alive by sacrificing his own comfort. Spotty had evidently stayed with Brownie to protect him from predators2, snuggling with him at night to keep him warm and nuzzling3 him to keep his spirits up.
Brownie's leg was treated by a veterinarian and he recovered. For many years thereafter, the two families watched the faithful friends frolicking4 and chasing each other down that wellworn path between their houses.
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