Collie Dog Saved Corn Crop on Illinois Homestead

A collie dog gets relief from burned feet and repays his new owners by saving the corn crop.

| Good Old Days

This story about a collie dog took place on our several-hundred-acre farm where I was born in 1882. The place was known as the Yakle Estate and was located near Louden City, Illinois which is now called Old Post Oak.

The inland highway to St. Louis passed our farm, and covered wagons came by daily, usually going west. Down the road a piece we had a wooded area where the travelers would stop for the night. My father gave them permission to water their horses and to carry buckets of water to their campsites. He offered fruits and vegetables to families who wanted them, and even milk for the small children. Some wagons had "Missouri or Bust" blazened on their white canvas sides; they might have coops of chickens wired to the end gates, and sometimes cows were tied there, too.

One morning in early spring, after several of the wagons had moved on, we heard a scratching at the back door and there we found a footsore young collie dog. He was a pathetic sight, with paws worn so raw from the endless miles of travel that he could barely stand.

My father showed my brother and me how to fashion boots from the leather tops of Mother's worn-out buttoned shoes. We smeared tallow on the dog's feet to soothe his wounds, then we tied on the boots. At first he would try to work the boots off, but I patiently put them back again until he seemed to sense that I was trying to help, and he let them alone.

When his feet were well, he followed me everywhere. He even slept beneath my window.

One night in late fall after the crops were harvested but before the rains came, he really repaid us for our kindness to him.

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