On long, lonesome summer afternoons, a girl of about 8 or 10 explored the fields and forests near her home in Wisconsin. It was a time when, in rural areas, neighbors let their dogs out the morning, and, when they showed up later for supper, let them back in. A pair of such dogs frequently met up with the girl.
One dog was a black Labrador named Jenny who chased after rabbits and squirrels. Though Jenny’s frequent flights thankfully never resulted in another creature’s demise, her rambling made her just an OK companion in the girl’s opinion. The girl knew Jenny’s family quite well.
The other dog was a German Shepherd named Max, who patiently watched Jenny’s flights hither and yon while padding steadfastly at the girl’s side. In contrast to the perpetually panting Jenny, Max seemed to possess a calm Old World wisdom. The girl often reached out to pat the German Shepherd’s sturdy black back. The girl wished he belonged to her. She daydreamed about asking his family to let her have him, but Max’s origin remained forever a mystery.