you were a young lad and became separated from your friends in a strange
land, 2500 miles from home, where you could only make yourself understood by
signs, do you suppose you could manage to travel--most of the way on
Foot-back to your own fireside? And what if you were a dog?
This is the
story of Bobbie, the "wonder dog of Oregon," as he has been fitly
called, after the most extraordinary achievement of intelligence,
persistency and loyalty ever recorded to the glory of dogdom and to the
confusion of those stupid people who still say that a dog is only a dog,
chiefly interested in bones.
follows the tale as set down by his master.
My wife, my
two stepdaughters, Nova and Leona, and myself, were living at a farm on the
Abiqua when we bought Bobbie, a naturally bobtailed Scotch collie with a
mixture of a third shepherd. He was then just six weeks old, a rollicking,
full-of-fun puppy, and we all loved him. He was not the only dog in the
house, for we had a fox-terrier, Toodles, who had made the journey out to
Oregon with us when we motored there from Indiana, and won our hearts by his
watchfulness and faithfulness. Bobbie and Toodles became great friends.
The farm we
rented was "In hops," and as we had come West to be outdoors and
regain our health, we all worked in the hop fields, both dogs playing near
and having the time of their lives. We moved often, following the market
demands, and very soon Bobbie began to show aptitudes which were to stand
him in good stead later. He was a natural "heeler." When only two
months old he would heel cats, horses and people, driving them ahead of him
wherever he wanted them to go.
At one place he was bringing in a horse who
was lively with his hoofs, and before Bobbie knew it, he was sailing through
the air with a well-placed kick. He blinked and caught his breath and the
next second was up and after the rebellious equine, keeping at a safe
distance, but worrying him until he was safe in the corral. This left a mark
over the dog's eye, which helped to identify him at a future day.
stop was a fruit farm, where they used a tractor. Bob was asleep, quite
unconscious of danger, when the machine caught him. His leg was crushed into
the ground, which, fortunately, being deeply cultivated, was very soft and
kept him from serious injury, but the mishap left another scar. His third
accident came from an encounter with an old gopher. While digging furiously
to get at the "varmint," he broke off parts of two teeth.
was about a year old our dear little Toodles had a paralytic stroke and
passed away. We buried him back of the barn. Soon after we bought the Reo
Cafe in Silverton, and realizing that it was no fit place to keep a dog used
to running at large in the country, we sold him to a friend who was to live
on the farm we were leaving. But Bob soon located us and came into town
every week-end, going back to the farm Monday morning.
wife and I decided we would go back East on a visit and take Bob with us. So
we repurchased him at three times the amount we had sold him for, and one
fine morning left Silverton in our touring car, the dog riding on the
running board or on top of the luggage. How that dog enjoyed the trip! When
we were going slow enough or stopped for a bite to eat, he would dash off
after a rabbit or on an exploring expedition over the hills, coming back
after an hour or so, panting and grinning to tell us all about it. We
reached Wolcott, Indiana, and stopped for our first visit. Leaving Mrs.
Brazier at the house Bob and I went to the filling station to get the car
"tanked up." I was inside when I heard the dog give a yelp, and
rushing out, saw him rounding a corner with three or four snarling curs at
would take care of himself as usual, I went back to the car, expecting to
find him at the house when I returned. When after an hour or so he had not
appeared, we began to get anxious, and as Bob knew the sound of the horn and
would come running whenever I sounded it I drove slowly all around town,
honking at frequent intervals, never doubting but that presently I would see
him bounding toward me. It was midnight before I gave up, very much
depressed, as you may Imagine.
The next morning still saw no Bob, so I got
busy on the phone, calling up everyone in and around Wolcott, but no one had
seen our pet. The weekly paper went to Press that day, but I got in touch
with the editor--a mighty fine fellow and a great lover of dogs- and he made
room for an advertisement which was to run as long as we were in that part
of the country, though with out result. We visited around Indiana for three
weeks, motored into Ohio, then back to Wolcott and resumed our search, but
at last turned our faces toward home, sick at heart over our loss, leaving
word that if the dog turned up he was to be secured and shipped back to us.
six months later, my youngest girl, Nova, and her chum were walking down a
street in Silverton when suddenly my daughter gasped and seized her friend
by the arm, exclaiming, "Oh! look! Isn't that Bobbie?" At the
words a shaggy, bedraggled, lean dog just beyond them turned his head and
the next moment fairly flew at Nova, leaping up again and again to cover her
face with kisses and making half-strangled, sobbing sounds of relief and
delight as if he could hardly voice his wordless joy. It was Bobbie, sure
enough, and it was a glad and triumphant procession which hurried on to the
restaurant, where the dog hunted out my wife and Leona, and told them how
happy he was to be home again.
was someone else he wanted to see. Paying no attention to the crowd of
curious and sympathetic bystanders, he rushed through the rooms in search of
me. As I take charge of things at night, I was sleeping upstairs, and was
awakened by a whirlwind which burst in at my door, con! posed of my excited
wife and dog. "Look who's here," she cried. I could not believe my
But it was no dream, for a wet tongue lapping feverishly at my face
and two dirty paws resting on my shoulders, told me it was not a ghost, but
Bobbie sure enough, who had miraculously re turned. When the welcome was
over, he dropped on the rug at my side, tired and worn, and had a bit of
sleep, in which I joined, to be awakened presently by my faithful friend
licking my hand. Then I jumped up and we went downstairs, where he had the
choicest meal the place afforded, a thick, tender, sirloin steak and a pint
was almost "all in." For three days he did little but eat and
sleep and would look at us so pitifully as if to say, "My, but I am
just worn out. Can't you help me?" He would roll over on his back and
hold up his pads, fixing us with his eyes to tell us how sore his feet were.
His toe-nails were down to the quick, his eyes inflamed, his coat uneven and
matted, and his whole bearing that of an animal which has been through a
grilling experience. When he first came back he would eat little hut raw
meat, showing that he had depended for sustenance chiefly on his own catches
of rabbits or prairie fowl.
One day we
took him out to the farm where we formerly lived. Bob inspected his old bed
on the porch and ran all around sniffing at familiar spots. Suddenly he
seemed to recall something and darted out to the barn, we following to note
what he would do. He went straight to the spot where Toodles was buried, and
I must say the tears stood in our eyes to see him, digging as hard as he
could, trying to get down to his old friend. If anyone had doubted that it
was the same dog, that little scene would have convinced them.
three years old when just six months to the day on which he disappeared in
Indiana, he turned up in Silverton, 2551 miles by speedometer. This does not
include detours which we know he made, because we have received letters from
people who housed and fed him on his homeward way. His "dog sense"
and his love for us led him over three thousand miles, across river and
prairie, through towns and wilderness, straight to his own folks.
no doubt as to its being Bobbie, for he was fully identified not only by his
behavior, but by his three scars. In addition, since his return, we have had
many letters from persons who saw him at different stages of his journey. He
would turn up at some house where we had stopped or some town we had passed
through, his eyes half closed and red with strain, his feet bleeding,
ravenously hungry, so tired he was ready to drop. Some friend of dogs would
feed and doctor him and he would rest for a while, but just as soon as he
could, he would be up and away again. Or perhaps he would jump in a car
where there were children and go home with them. He would run all over the
house, searching upstairs and down, before he would eat, then he would
accept a lodging for the night and be off in the morning before breakfast.
We are told he was always looking for someone and always in a hurry.
has had many honors, as he fitly deserves. The Oregon Humane Society gave
him a silver medal, engraved with the record of his long-distance journey.
The presentation was made at Eugene Field School, (left) by Mr. Robert
Goetz, superintendent of schools, and a large crowd witnessed the ceremony.
later the Portland Realty Board held a home beautifying exposition in that
city, and a local contractor built Bob a miniature bungalow, which weighed
about nine hundred pounds, with eight windows curtained with silk and every
convenience which even a traveled dog could wish. Bobbie and his new house
were on exhibition all that week, and one evening he was formally presented
with a deed to his domicile. He was also given a silver-plated collar,
Over a hundred thousand persons petted Bob during that
week. He was the honored guest of the show, but I must add his head was not
at all turned by the reception. Nor is this all. He received presents almost
daily, with requests for his picture; has had columns and columns of
newspaper stories printed about him, and his photograph has appeared so many
times that we have had to get a special scrapbook for all the articles and
hope and believe, will never leave us again. He is dearer to us than ever,
and as for his proud "folks," you could not match us in any State
of the Union. Do you not agree with us that he fully deserves his title of
"the wonder dog of Oregon"?