Then, too, there was something that had appealed to him in the plucky stand of the terrified little creature. Eyes dilated with fear, every hair on end, sputtering and spitting, she had unsheathed her tiny claws and was prepared to make a brave fight for her life. The chances were hopelessly against her—the dogs did not intend to let her run—and Dubby felt that it was butchery, not sport.
Also, if Texas was hurt, the girls would be sad, and cry, and not play for a long time. He knew, because that happened when their terrier Tige was run over. And so, with one bound, he jumped upon the instigator of the trouble, and caught him by the shoulder with his still strong, sharp teeth. The other dogs wheeled in surprise; and in an instant there was a battle as bloody as it was short and decisive. Dubby was a marvelous tactician—the others only novices, and in a very brief period there were three well-minced malamutes who limped disconsolately in different directions; leaving a conquering hero on the field, with the spoils of war—a ruffled gray kitten in a shivering state of uncertainty as to her ultimate fate, but too weak to make any further defense.
Dubby picked her up in his mouth, and carried her back to the house, where he carefully deposited her inside the shed, and waited until some one answered his scratches on the door.
It marked the beginning of a companionship that lasted for years. Every fine afternoon Dubby would take Texas out for a stroll; and even after she was a huge seventeen pound cat, well able to hold her own, it was a reckless dog indeed that showed any hostility toward Texas when Dub was her body-guard.
One readily comprehends that he might graciously accept her gratitude; but, as the French Poodle’s People say, “Noblesse Oblige,” and it certainly seemed unnecessary that a dog of his achievement should flaunt his affection for a mere cat in the eyes of the whole world.
While this caused strong disapproval in all canine circles, strangely enough it apparently made no difference in his standing with men and women. Mr. Fink, in his exalted position as President of the Nome Kennel Club, and one of the most brilliant lawyers in Alaska besides, always raised his hat to Dubby when they met, as a greeting from one keen mind to another; for the man had watched the skill of the dog on the trail, and knew that it was unsurpassed in the whole North. “Scotty” Allan never failed to give every evidence of his sincere regard, and the Woman had even perpetuated the undesirable association by having Dubby’s picture taken with Texas when they were out on one of their daily promenades.
And so, admired by men and feared by dogs, the faithful huskie was singularly exempt from the tragedies of a neglected, forlorn old age.