Lad: A Dog
'Lad: A Dog' Summary
A Rough Collie named Lad lives at the Place with his Master, Mistress, and his mate, Lady. When Knave, a younger collie, is boarded at the Place, Lady begins ignoring Lad in favor of the newcomer. During a romp in the forest with Knave, Lady is caught in a leghold trap. Knave leaves her there and returns home, but Lad finds her. Several days later, the still limping Lady accidentally gets locked in the library and is subsequently blamed for the destruction of the Master's beloved mounted bald eagle. The Master starts to whip her, but Lad intervenes and takes the whipping himself, knowing Knave was the culprit. Later, he attacks Knave for getting Lady in trouble, sending him fleeing from the Place. As the Master apologizes to Lad, Lady lovingly licks his wounds from the fight.
On a cold October day, the Mistress falls into the lake and develops pneumonia. As the house must be kept quiet during her recovery, the dogs are sent to a boarding kennel, except Lad who is ordered to keep quiet. One night a thief breaks into the house, hoping to take advantage of the absence of the dogs. After he climbs through a window, Lad silently attacks him. During the ensuing fight Lad is cut with a knife before sending the man crashing back through the window. The noise wakes the humans of the house and the thief is arrested. After Lad's wound is treated, he enjoys praise from the Mistress, then travels some distance from home to enjoy a lengthy session of barking.
"A Miracle or Two"
One spring, a relative of the Mistress brings her invalid toddler, Baby, to the Place in the hope that the weather will help her grow stronger. Lad immediately befriends the girl and becomes her constant companion. By summer, Baby is growing healthier, though she is still unable to walk. One afternoon, the mother sits the child near the lake, then leaves her to go meet the Master and Mistress, who are returning from town. Lad saves the baby from a copperhead, but the distraught mother only sees Lad throw her backwards and begins beating him. To protect her friend, Baby manages to shakily walk to her mother and explain what happened. While the humans fuss over the occurrence, Lad sneaks off and spends four days buried in marsh mud to draw out the snake's poison.
"His Little Son"
Lady gives birth to three pups, but two of them die due to illness, she names the remaining pup Wolf. She later develops distemper and is taken away by the veterinarian, so Lad takes over the raising of his son, solemnly teaching him the Law of the Place. Wolf comes to love and respect his father and soon forgets his mother, though Lad continues to search for her daily. A month later, Wolf falls through the ice of the semi-frozen lake, and Lad nearly drowns while saving him. When Lad staggers to shore, he is ecstatically greeted by the recovered Lady.
"For a Bit of Ribbon"
The Master and Mistress enter Lad in the Westminster Dog Show in New York, much to Lad's abject misery as he dislikes the preparatory bathing and brushing. Dismayed to learn that Lad will have to stay chained to a small bench for all four days of the event, his owners begin to regret bringing him. To their joy, Lad wins the blue ribbon in both the Novice and Winner classes, and they decide not to subject him to the four-day stay. When they let Lad know he is going home, he joyfully perks up.
Due to city regulations, the Master and Mistress are forced to muzzle Lad when they take him from the show. During the drive out of the city, Lad falls out of the car and is left behind. After he realizes he is lost, Lad starts towards home. Along the way he is chased by the police and a crowd of people, who presume he is rabid, but he escapes them by swimming across the Hudson River. Later he is attacked by a mongrel guard dog, but he refuses to run from the battle. He initially struggles to defend himself while muzzled, but then the other dog inadvertently bites through the strap holding the muzzle on, allowing Lad to quickly defeat him. When the Master and Mistress return from searching for Lad, they find him waiting on the porch.
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