He went outside. It was a cold evening. Pulling his worn coat around him and tugging his hat over his ears, he carried the aluminium pail in one hand, holding the lantern in the other hand.
Musical notes were heard through the crisp air, as the dogs saw him heading their way. The warmth of his heart raised as he knew the animals needed him as much as he needed them.
He reached the door of the faded, red barn and it squeaked as he pushed it open. Tails began to wag and they made their way to where he stood.
“How are my boys doing tonight? Did you think I forgot you?” Tails wagged faster as their master spoke in soft tones . He poured the dog food mixed with the scraps from the day. He stood back and watched as they gobbled up their supper.
After they were done, he took the empty bowls and walked over to the pump to give them water for the night. It was hard to pump the handle because it was so cold. He tried two more times and then grabbing his arm, he fell to the ground.
The dogs came closer . Silence filled the barn except for the running water. A couple of the dogs began lickqing his face. Maggie Mae lay down beside him.
Nothing happened, no matter how loud the barking , nor how many kisses; they couldn’t arouse the one human they loved. One of the older dogs had been standing in the background as if surveying the situation .
Mary Lou let out a bark that made the other dogs stop what they were doing and all heads turned in attention. One of the younger, stout dogs walked towards Mary Lou and a signal was shared, and the two took off running out the open door.
The other dogs cuddled near their master, using their fur for a blanket. In less than an hour, a man, his wife and two children came running in.
The dogs moved away, allowing the neighbors to take in the situation . In less than ten minutes the sirens arrived and the dogs watched as the man was carried away on a stretcher.
The wife looked at the dogs and said, “he’s going to be okay. You saved his life by coming to get us. We will be back each evening with your supper until Bill is back on his feet.” The dogs seemed to understand as they licked the hands of the neighbors . The water was shut off. The door was shut, and the dogs went back to their straw bed and rested with one eye open and ears erected .
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