A shaggy Airedale scented his way along the highroad. He had
not been there before, but he was guided by the trail of his
brethren who had preceded him. He had gone unwillingly upon
this journey, yet with the perfect training of dogs he had
accepted it without complaint. The path had been lonely, and
his heart would have failed him, traveling as he must without
his people, had not these traces of countless dogs before him
promised companionship of a sort at the end of the road.
The landscape had appeared arid at first, for the
translation from recent agony into freedom from pain had been
so numbing in its swiftness that it was some time before he
could fully appreciate the pleasant dog-country through which
he was passing. There were woods with leaves upon the ground
through which to scurry, long grassy slopes for extended runs,
and lakes into which he might plunge for sticks and bring them
back to—But he did not complete his thought, for the boy
was not with him. A little wave of homesickness possessed
It made his mind easier to see far ahead a great gate as
high as the heavens, wide enough for all. He understood that
only man built such barriers and by straining his eyes he
fancied he could discern humans passing through to whatever lay
beyond. He broke into a run that he might the more quickly gain
this inclosure made beautiful by men and women; but his
thoughts outran his pace, and he remembered that he had left
the family behind, and again this lovely new compound became
not perfect, since it would lack the family.
The scent of the dogs grew very strong now, and coming
nearer, he discovered, to his astonishment that of the myriads
of those who had arrived ahead of him thousands were still
gathered on the outside of the portal. They sat in a wide
circle spreading out on each side of the entrance, big, little,
curly, handsome, mongrel, thoroughbred dogs of every age,
complexion, and personality. All were apparently waiting for
something, someone, and at the pad of the Airedale's feet on
the hard road they arose and looked in his direction.
That the interest passed as soon as they discovered the
new-comer to be a dog puzzled him. In his former dwelling-place
a four-footed brother was greeted with enthusiasm when he was a
friend, with suspicious diplomacy when a stranger, and with
sharp reproof when an enemy; but never had he been utterly
He remembered something that he had read many times on great
buildings with lofty entrances. "Dogs not admitted," the signs
had said, and he feared this might be the reason for the
waiting circle outside the gate. It might be that this noble
portal stood as the dividing-line between mere dogs and humans.
But he had been a member of the family, romping with them in
the living-room, sitting at meals with them in the dining-room,
going upstairs at night with them, and the thought that he was
to be "kept out" would be unendurable.
He despised the passive dogs. They should be treating a
barrier after the fashion of their old country, leaping against
it, barking, and scratching the nicely painted door. He bounded
up the last little hill to set them an example, for he was
still full of the rebellion of the world; but he found no door
to leap against. He could see beyond the entrance dear masses
of people, yet no dog crossed the threshold. They continued in
their patient ring, their gaze upon the winding road.
He now advanced cautiously to examine the gate. It occurred
to him that it must be fly-time in this region, and he did not
wish to make himself ridiculous before all these strangers by
trying to bolt through an invisible mesh like the one that had
baffled him when he was a little chap. Yet there were no
screens, and despair entered his soul. What bitter punishment
these poor beasts must have suffered before they learned to
stay on this side the arch that led to human beings! What had
they done on earth to merit this? Stolen bones troubled his
conscience, runaway days, sleeping in the best chair until the
key clicked in the lock. These were sins.
At that moment an English bull-terrier, white, with
liver-colored spots and a jaunty manner, approached him,
snuffling in a friendly way. No sooner had the bull-terrier
smelt his collar than he fell to expressing his joy at meeting
him. The Airedale's reserve was quite thawed by this welcome,
though he did not know just what to make of it.
"I know you! I know you!" exclaimed the bull-terrier, adding
inconsequently, "What's your name?"
"Tam o'Shanter. They call me Tammy," was the answer, with a
pardonable break in the voice.
"I know them," said the bull-terrier. "Nice folks."
"Best ever," said the Airedale, trying to be nonchalant, and
scratching a flea which was not there. "I don't remember you.
When did you know them?"
"About fourteen tags ago, when they were first married. We
keep track of time here by the license-tags. I had four."
"This is my first and only one. You were before my time, I
guess." He felt young and shy.
"Come for a walk, and tell me all about them," was his new
"Aren't we allowed in there?" asked Tam, looking toward the
"Sure. You can go in whenever you want to. Some of us do at
first, but we don't stay."
"Like it better outside?"
"No, no; it isn't that."
"Then why are all you fellows hanging around here? Any old
dog can see it's better beyond the arch."
"You see, we're waiting for our folks to come."
The Airedale grasped it at once, and nodded
"I felt that way when I came along the road. It wouldn't be
what it's supposed to be without them. It wouldn't be the
"Not to us," said the bull-terrier.
"Fine! I've stolen bones, but it must be that I have been
forgiven, if I'm to see them here again. It's the great good
place all right. But look here," he added as a new thought
struck him, "do they wait for us?"
The older inhabitant coughed in slight embarrassment.
"The humans couldn't do that very well. It wouldn't be the
thing to have them hang around outside for just a dog—not
"Quite right," agreed Tam. "I'm glad they go straight to
their mansions. I'd—I'd hate to have them missing me as I
am missing them." He sighed. "But, then, they wouldn't have to
wait so long."
"Oh, well, they're getting on. Don't be discouraged,"
comforted the terrier. "And in the meantime it's like a big
hotel in summer—watching the new arrivals. See, there is
something doing now."
All the dogs were aroused to excitement by a little figure
making its way uncertainly up the last slope. Half of them
started to meet it, crowding about in a loving, eager pack.
"Look out; don't scare it," cautioned the older animals,
while word was passed to those farthest from the gate: "Quick!
Quick! A baby's come!"
Before they had entirely assembled, however, a gaunt yellow
hound pushed through the crowd, gave one sniff at the small
child, and with a yelp of joy crouched at its feet. The baby
embraced the hound in recognition, and the two moved toward the
gate. Just outside the hound stopped to speak to an
aristocratic St. Bernard who had been friendly:
"Sorry to leave you, old fellow," he said, "but I'm going in
to watch over the kid. You see, I'm all she has up here."
The bull-terrier looked at the Airedale for
"That's the way we do it," he said proudly.
"Yes, but—" the Airedale put his head on one side in
"Yes, but what?" asked the guide.
"The dogs that don't have any people—the nobodies'
"That's the best of all. Oh, everything is thought out here.
Crouch down,—you must be tired,—and watch," said
Soon they spied another small form making the turn in the
road. He wore a Boy Scout's uniform, but he was a little
fearful, for all that, so new was this adventure. The dogs rose
again and snuffled, but the better groomed of the circle held
back, and in their place a pack of odds and ends of the company
ran down to meet him. The Boy Scout was reassured by their
friendly attitude, and after petting them impartially, he chose
an old-fashioned black and tan, and the two passed in.
Tam looked questioningly.
"They didn't know each other!" he exclaimed.
"But they've always wanted to. That's one of the boys who
used to beg for a dog, but his father wouldn't let him have
one. So all our strays wait for just such little fellows to
come along. Every boy gets a dog, and every dog gets a
"I expect the boy's father would like to know that now,"
commented the Airedale. "No doubt he thinks quite often, 'I
wish I'd let him have a dog.'"
The bull-terrier laughed.
"You're pretty near the earth yet, aren't you?"
Tam admitted it.
"I've a lot of sympathy with fathers and with boys, having
them both in the family, and a mother as well."
The bull-terrier leaped up in astonishment.
"You don't mean to say they keep a boy?"
"Sure; greatest boy on earth. Ten this year."
"Well, well, this is news! I wish they'd kept a boy when I
The Airedale looked at his new friend intently.
"See here, who are you?" he demanded.
But the other hurried on:
"I used to run away from them just to play with a boy.
They'd punish me, and I always wanted to tell them it was their
fault for not getting one."
"Who are you, anyway?" repeated Tam. "Talking all this
interest in me, too. Whose dog were you?"
"You've already guessed. I see it in your quivering snout.
I'm the old dog that had to leave them about ten years
"Their old dog Bully?"
"Yes, I'm Bully." They nosed each other with deeper
affection, then strolled about the glades shoulder to shoulder.
Bully the more eagerly pressed for news. "Tell me, how are they
"Very well indeed; they've paid for the house."
"I—I suppose you occupy the kennel?"
"No. They said they couldn't stand it to see another dog in
your old place."
Bully stopped to howl gently.
"That touches me. It's generous in you to tell it. To think
they missed me!"
For a little while they went on in silence, but as evening
fell, and the light from the golden streets inside of the city
gave the only glow to the scene, Bully grew nervous and
suggested that they go back.
"We can't see so well at night, and I like to be pretty
close to the path, especially toward morning."
"And I will point them out. You might not know them just at
"Oh, we know them. Sometimes the babies have so grown up
they're rather hazy in their recollection of how we look. They
think we're bigger than we are; but you can't fool us
"It's understood," Tam cunningly arranged, "that when he or
she arrives you'll sort of make them feel at home while I wait
for the boy?"
"That's the best plan," assented Bully, kindly. "And if by
any chance the little fellow should come first,—there's
been a lot of them this summer—of course you'll introduce
"I shall be proud to do it."
And so with muzzles sunk between their paws, and with their
eyes straining down the pilgrims' road, they wait outside the