Michael lived with his family in a grand old country house surrounded by trees. There couldn’t have been a better environment for a child growing up and this was summertime. Yet, there was one element lacking: Eight-year-old Michael had no brothers or sisters and there were no close neighbors with children with whom he might socialize. As lonely as Michael was, he could think of nothing other than his new canine friend.
“Come on, boy,” Michael coaxed. “Come in the house with me.”
The dog followed. Michael put down a bowl of water, which the dog lapped up quickly.
“Mom, he’s thirsty,” Michael said sensing his mother’s simmering disapproval. “We’ve been playing really hard. You should see this dog chase my ball. All the way across the yard! And then he brings it straight back to me!”
“I don’t like a dog drinking from our bowls, Michael,” she answered.
She didn’t like the dirty rascal strutting around her kitchen, either. She wasn’t a mean mom, but this was too much. It was all she could do not to say words she’d regret later.
Michael paused deciding whether he should retrieve the bowl, but the dog had finished, so Michael picked up the bowl, rinsed it, and put it in the kitchen sink for his mother to wash later.
“We could get a special bowl for Shep, couldn’t we?” Michael asked.
“I named him Shep because Dad said he looks like a German shepherd.”
“Shep is a good name for him, Michael, but don’t forget that this dog probably belongs to someone. A dog doesn’t just show up on your doorstep from nowhere. Someone around here owns it.”
“What if no one comes around looking for Shep? May I keep him?”
“I don’t think so. Michael. He’ll probably disappear the same way he showed up. You’ll get up in the morning and Shep will be on his way home. We have to let him go back to his owner. You know this is the right thing to do.”