But Allan was not to be persuaded. “She gets all of the exercise and pleasure that she needs here about the place. If she went away only think of the things that might happen to her youngest family. You know how careless Birdie is with them.”
“That’s so,” with a sigh. “I had quite forgotten Birdie,” and she recalled with regret the habit of that half grown stag-hound of dropping bits of food into the corral, between the wires, to make friends of the little ones; and then after working at the fastening of the gate till it could be opened, enticing them out for a frolic.
Mego knew, as well as did the Woman and “Scotty,” that Birdie meant no harm. On the contrary, she had excellent qualities, and deserved much credit for the valuable assistance she rendered as a self-constituted Secret Service Agent, and an ardent Advocate of Universal Peace.
When there was a quarrel in the Nursery, and the puppies became violent, she gently separated them and gave the defeated one a cherished if somewhat ancient bone that she had buried for such occasions; occasions when material consolation is needed to forget material ills.
In case of serious trouble she would rush for help, whining anxiously, and frequently her prompt action in bringing Matt prevented fatal terminations to neighborhood feuds, race riots, or affairs of honor between dogs with irreconcilable differences of opinion on important subjects.
But when Birdie was not doing detective work, or holding Peace Conferences, she was lonely and craved the companionship of the frisky pups. And while Mego was certain that her character was above reproach, as well as her motives, she realized also that the stag-hound was heedless. And the wise mother had always in mind the perils that lurk in the hoofs of horses, the wheels of wagons, and the hovering Pound-man; and never relaxed her vigilance in guarding her family against such dangers.
“Well then, leaving out Mego, what dogs shall you use besides Kid, Tom, Dick, Harry, Spot, and McMillan? I told Ben that you would take Baldy.”
“Yes, Baldy, and probably Rex. I have been considering Fisher and Wolf, too. Fisher has been rather indolent and indifferent, and I have never given Wolf a good run since I bought him of that native boy, Illayuk.”
“Why not Jemima? You have never given her a really good run either, and she is no more inexperienced for the trip than is Wolf. As a matter of fact, I have been training her quite a bit myself lately, and I find that she is enthusiastic and good-tempered.”
“Scotty” repressed a smile with difficulty. “Of course if you’ve been training her that’s different.”
He had seen her several times trying to make Jemima jump over a stick, beg for a bone, and stand on her hind legs—quite useless accomplishments, as George and Dan had agreed, for a sled dog. And he had also heard her words of advice to the progressive little dog, who did indeed seem to be anxious to create a place for herself amongst the best in the Kennel.