“No,” Michael answered. “I’ll let Shep come home when he’s ready. We can both own Shep, or Lad, as you call him. When he comes to your house, you feed him. When he comes to my house, I’ll feed him. How does that sound to you, Isabel?” Michael asked.
“Good,” Isabel said. “Thank you, Michael.”
“You’re welcome, Isabel.”
Michael picked up a stick lying on the ground a few feet from Isabel’s wheelchair.
“Watch what Shep does,” Michael said as he tossed the stick as far as he could thrust it.
Shep ran after the stick, picked it up with his jaws, and brought it back to Michael.
“Here, Isabel. You try it.”
Isabel threw the stick as far as she could, and Shep retrieved it. Michael and Isabel both laughed and praised Shep.
“Come on inside and meet my parents. We have soda and potato chips. Do you want some?”
“I would like to come inside. May I make a phone call to my parents? They don’t know where I am because I followed Shep. I wanted to know where he was going.”
“Yes. Come in and phone your mom and dad,” Isabel said.
Isabel maneuvered her chair toward the house and called Lad to come along. The dog followed them into the house with tail wagging as though it were motorized like Isabel’s wheelchair. Isabel Marto introduced Michael to her mother. Mrs. Marto put sodas and potato chips on the table for Michael and Isabel. She filled a special bowl with dog food and put it on the floor for Lad.
Michael phoned home and his mother answered. He explained where he’d been and promised to come home soon. He told his mother he’d found Shep’s part owner. His mother was confused, of course, but Michael said he’d tell her more about it when he got home.
Michael and Isabel ate potato chips, drank soda, and chatted. Michael told her all about school and Isabel told him all about her lessons at home.
The co-owners of the mysterious dog named Shep and Lad became good friends and visited one another often. They decided it would be a good thing to choose one name for their dog. Isabel offered to relinquish her rights on the name since Michael was willing to share his dog with her. Shep it was, and Shep it would be.
The extraordinary and beloved Shep ranges between the two homes at his own free will enriching the lives of both Michael Broadmer and Isabel Marto.
Carol Ann Hoel © July 28, 2010