Bowser The Hound by Thornton W. Burgess
Chapter XXI. Bowser Becomes a Prisoner
There is no one in all the Great World more faithful than a faithful dog. Bowser the Hound.
Bowser the Hound was a prisoner. Yes, Sir, Bowser was a sure-enough prisoner. But there is a great difference in prisons. Bowser was a prisoner of kindness. It seems funny that kindness should ever make any one a prisoner, but it is so sometimes.
You see, it was this way: When Bowser had been taken in to that strange farmhouse, he had been so used up that he had had only strength enough to very feebly wag his tail. Right away the people in that farmhouse knew what had happened to Bowser. That is, they knew part of what had happened to him. They knew that he had been lost and had somehow hurt one leg. They were very, very good to him. They fed him, and made a comfortable bed for him, and rubbed something on the leg which he had hurt and which had swollen. Almost right away after eating Bowser went to sleep and slept and slept and slept. It was the very best thing he could have done.
The next day he felt a whole lot better, but he was so stiff and lame that he could hardly move. He didn't try very much. He was petted and cared for quite as tenderly as he would have been at his own home. So several days passed, and Bowser was beginning to feel more like himself. The more he felt like himself, the more he wanted to go home. It wasn't that there he would receive any greater kindness than he was now receiving, but home is home and there is no place like it. So Bowser began to be uneasy.
"This dog doesn't belong anywhere around here," said the man of the house. "I know every Hound for miles around, and I never have seen this one before. He has come a long distance. It will not do to let him go, for he will try to find his way home and the chances are that he will again get lost. We must keep him in the house or chained up. Perhaps some day we may be able to find his owner. If not, we will keep him. I am sure he will soon become contented here."
Now that man knew dogs. Had Bowser had the chance, he would have done exactly what that man had said. He would have tried to find his way home, and he hadn't the least idea in the world in which direction home lay. But he didn't get the chance to try. When he was allowed to run out of doors it was always with some one to watch him. He was petted and babied and made a great deal of, but he knew all the time that he was a prisoner. He knew that if he was to get away at all he would have to sneak away, and somehow there never seemed a chance to do this. He was grateful to these kindly people, but down in his heart was a great longing for Farmer Brown's boy and home. He always felt this longing just a wee bit stronger when Blacky the Crow passed over and cawed.