Timmy was stuck fast. The sugar pine sapling that he had taken an axe to had fallen the wrong way, trapping him under its young bulk. His mutt Lassie was only a few feet away, but seemed almost oblivious to the unfolding events, her attention focused on tending to one of her claws.
He shouted for her, but aside from a slight ear twitch she did not react. He shouted a second time but again her reaction was only minimal and autonomic. Only on his third shout did she finally come over. She seemed weary though, and without her usual sense of urgency.
In fact, she had been acting off with him all day. He pondered what he could have done to cause this. Perhaps it was that schnauzer from the day before. He had been playing fetch with it on the neighbouring farm when a brief but intense storm had forced him to stay the night. Although he had insisted on separate beds he suspected that its musk had still been lingering on him that morning. This must be why she now seemed reluctant to even meet his eye.
“Go get help!” he urged her, but instead of running all she did was squat down. “Quick!” he said, “it’s-” but then he realised what she was doing. It’s not so much that he minded her choosing that moment to do it – after all, he could see that it was beneficial for her to unload weight before making the journey back to the farm – but he did question whether it was really necessary of her to park it quite so close to his head.
She finished up and loped off, pausing to take a long sniff around a nearby trunk.