The best day was the day we met Nip. Nip belonged to an old man named Mr. Goldsberry who ran the Prairie City Hotel in John Day. Mr. Goldsberry actually owned two dogs, Nip and Tuck. The moment George rode up to the hotel on Lad and dismounted, the dog named Nip ran up to George, stood on his back legs and licked George right in the face. He was large and black, and he later told me he was part Gordon Setter, a fact of which he was as proud as I am of my Arabian heritage.
Mr. Goldsberry laughed heartily. “Well, I guess you’ve made a new friend in young Nip.”
George rubbed Nip on the back with both hands. “I guess so,” he said.
Nip refused to leave George’s side from that moment on. When George walked into the hotel for dinner, Nip went with him. When George came back to camp to feed us, Nip was right at his heels.
Later that night, Mr. Goldsberry came into camp. “I came lookin’ for Nip.”
“He’s right here,” George said. “Won’t leave my side.”
“So I see,” Mr. Goldsberry said. “Guess the mutt wants to go with you on this crazy, cross-country journey. If that’s what he wants, who am I to stop him from fame and fortune? Take him. Take him,” he said, as he flipped his hands in the air as if to brush off Nip like a pesky fly.
So, from that day on, Nip was a part of the Overland Westerners. I actually learned to like the fellow. Sure, he got under foot at times. But when one of the horses stepped on him, he would just follow along on three legs until he was healed. He even managed to catch some jackrabbits and bring them back for the men to eat. This came in especially handy during the times when the men had not had anything to eat for quite a while. At those times, it was Nip who saved the day. He also became my co-star in the western shows. He loved to pose for pictures sitting on my back. I didn’t know how long he would last on this long journey, but I vowed to enjoy his company for as long as it lasted.
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