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Several years ago, I bought a third hand, 1989 Dodge Road Trek camper van which takes me on most of my adventures. While its V8 engine is well up to Montana highway speeds, the driver is not. My occasional ventures onto interstate highways are brief, due to my fear of being run over. So, armed with good road maps and a lackadaisical attitude about getting lost, I travel mostly on two lane rural highways.

My grandson Tristan has accompanied me on several trips. He is a great traveling companion. The “Are we there yet?”s are kept to a minimum as long as we make frequent stops at interesting places. Indeed, when I get to the point of wanting to reach a campground before nightfall, he will complain if we pass one of those brown signs, which indicate historical or other places of interest, without stopping.

In July, 2008, after visiting my parents in Blackfork, Arkansas (I challenge you to find it on the map), we headed back to Florida. From Mena, we took Arkansas Route 8 through some pretty countryside: mountains, hills, farmland, and forests. We stopped for a late lunch at Marks Mill Battleground, a quiet roadside park where we could stretch our legs.

But before we could de-camper, we were met by two dogs. They did not appear to be litter mates. One looked mostly hound and the other was a black and white mutt. I wouldn’t let Tristan out of the van until I was sure of his safety. Both dogs turned out to be quite friendly. Tristan dubbed them Joe and Sally and he played with them until we had to leave. Then he wanted to take them with us. I didn’t try to explain how inadvisable it would be to take two stray dogs with no shot records 1000 miles while staying at public campgrounds. I just reminded him that we already had a dog and Teddy might be jealous if we brought two more dogs home.

I have little clue as to Joe and Sally’s history but people had been taking care of them. Both looked quite healthy, in no way neglected. In the picnic area was a small bag of dog food that had been cut open so they could eat. A water bowl nearby was almost empty, so we filled it for them before we left. All the way home, Tristan talked about Joe and Sally and wondered how they were. I told him that they were such nice dogs, someone who had no dog would come by and take them home. And I’m sure that is what happened. In a rural area which has no animal shelter, people who could not provide them with a home, myself included, nevertheless had the goodness of heart to take the time and expense of providing food and water until their fortunes improved.

Whenever I travel on Route 8, I stop at Marks Mill for a break. I think about Joe and Sally at such times, but of course I have never them seen again.

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