Michael wasn’t far behind. He heard the girl call Shep by the name of Lad. Michael felt sure he’d found the original owner of Shep. He was sad to think of losing Shep. Very sad!
“I’m Michael. I live a down the road,” he said.
“My name is Isabel. Is this your dog?” she inquired.
“Yes. Well, no. His name is Shep.”
Michael was at a loss for words. He wanted nothing more than to take Shep back home with him. This seemed like a good time to say that Shep was his dog, but something tugged at his heart causing him to hesitate. Before giving an explanation for his ambiguous answer, Michael asked Isabel a question.
“Why are you in a wheelchair?”
“I have cerebral palsy; that’s why,” she replied. “My legs are paralyzed so I can’t walk.”
Michael said, “It seems like Shep knows you. Do you know Shep? I mean, I heard you call him Lad.”
“Lad visits me. He comes out of nowhere and he stays beside me. I play with Lad and he’s my best friend.”
Isabel put one arm around Shep’s neck and squeezed him gently. The dog licked her face and wagged his tail showing how much he liked Isabel’s affection.
“What school do you go to? I haven’t seen you at my school,” Michael said.
“I don’t go to school. I have a tutor that teaches me. I wish I could go to school. I’m very lonely without friends. But now I have Lad. My parents said Lad must belong to someone. Are you Lad’s owner?”
Isabel had been crippled by cerebral palsy since birth. She’d never been able to walk in her life. She’d spent her days confined to a wheelchair. Since Lad came into her life, Isabel frequently smiled and actually enjoyed her life. When Lad disappeared, Isabel’s heart was broken until Lad returned.
Michael decided what he would say to Isabel. He paused to think up the right words.
“Shep came to me the same way he came to you. I wanted Shep to stay with me all the time, but he kept leaving. Now I know where Shep was going.”
“Are you going to take Lad back to your house?” Isabel asked with tears in her eyes.