Then, he was just Baldy, a faithful loving dog that trotted happily at the heels of the ragged little boy whose unselfishness had given him the great chance of his life.
There was no faltering in the devotion of boy or dog. They believed in each other.
The Great Race
THE GREAT RACE
Another winter had come and gone, and again it was
the day of the Great
Never had the time passed so quickly to Baldy, for he had now become a distinguished member of The Team, for whom every one, even the Woman, entertained a real respect, and to whom all of the dogs turned readily as to their acknowledged leader.
The Allan and Darling Racers were ready for the event.
There was an early stir in the Kennel, and all was hurry and bustle. The Woman came in with the Big Man, the Allan girls, and Ben Edwards, who helped her tie knots of white and gold on the front of the sled, on the collars of the racing dogs, and on other members of the family, about forty in all, who were old enough to appreciate the attention. Even the Yellow Peril apparently considered it an honor, for which he waited with unaccustomed patience.
The preparations were almost complete; and “Scotty” was everywhere, superintending the minute details, upon the completeness of which so much might depend.
Birdie was, in the confusion, about to borrow Mego’s puppies and take them out for an airing. Fisher, delighted that he was not of the elect, basked in a warm and secluded corner; while Jemima, frantic to be a part of the team, was restrained forcibly by Matt, and placed in solitary confinement.
Even Texas, for whom the Kennel had lost its charm—and safety—since the death of old Dubby, followed the Allan girls, and was treated to a becoming bow of the racing colors.
Matt brought out the long tow-line, and placed it carefully on the floor.
“Rex and McMillan in the wheel, like we’ve been usin’ ’em, I suppose?” and at a nod he released them.
“Wheel, Jack; wheel, Rex,” and they took their accustomed places next the sled, and remained motionless, yet keenly alert. “Tom and Dick, Harry and Tracy, Irish and Rover”—name after name was called, and each dog stepped into position with joyful alacrity. They were, one and all, sturdy, intelligent, and spirited; with the stamina of their wild forebears, and the devoted nature of those dogs who have for generations been trained to willing service and have been faithful friends to their masters.
“Scotty’s” eyes rested upon them with justifiable pride. “I think,” he announced happily, “that in all my years of racing I have never had so fine a team; so many dogs I can count upon in every way.” And then came the expected order, “Baldy in the lead, Matt.”