Romeo, Romeo

 by Nancy Natalicio

Julie got Romeo for her  birthday.  Romeo was a Sheltie.  He looked just like a little  Lassie. 

Bob bought Romeo from a man on a farm.  But Bob didn’t like dogs much.  They chewed his shoes and barked at cars and jumped on the sofa.  Romeo did all those things and more.

A Sheltie’s job is to make sure the sheep don’t get lost.  But Bob and Julie lived in the city.  There were no sheep to guard in the city.  So Romeo tried to herd Bob. 

Every night Bob went out to water the yard.  Every night Romeo barked and bit his heels and pulled at his socks to keep him in line.  Over and over, Bob said, “No, Romeo! Stop it!”  Every night Romeo ran in circles, barking.   And every night the man next door opened his window and yelled, “Can’t you keep that dog quiet?”

Bob always seemed mad at Romeo.  Julie was always mad at Bob, and so was the man next door.  Romeo wasn’t mad at anyone, but he missed the sheep and the big green fields. He was a Sheltie!  He liked playing with Bob in the yard and taking Bob and Julie for walks.

When they went for walks, Bob tried to teach Romeo how to go home.  He wanted Romeo to find the way home when they went to the mailbox.  He wanted Romeo to find the way home when they walked to the video store.  He wanted Romeo to find the way home when they jogged.  But Romeo didn’t pay attention.  He liked to bark at all the dogs in back yards.   He liked to sniff the bushes and curbs.

One night when Julie was busy, Bob took Romeo for a jog around the park.  The park was empty.  On his last lap Bob missed the curb as he got to the street.  Bob fell and twisted his ankle.  When he tried to stand, he couldn’t walk.  No one was near, and Bob didn’t have a way to call Julie.  

Go home, Romeo, go home!”  Bob begged.  Romeo didn’t move.  He sat next to Bob and barked.  He licked Bob’s ankle.  He licked his face.  He just barked and barked.  Bob put his head in his hands and moaned.

Julie was worried.  Bob and Romeo had been gone a long time.   She went out in the yard to look up the street.  Then she heard a sound she knew.  It was far away.  She got in the car and drove toward the sound.  She found Bob and Romeo on the curb.

Bob was very happy to see Julie.  He patted Romeo and hugged his neck.  “You’re some dog,” he said.  He put his arm around Julie and hopped on one foot to the car.

I guess Romeo knows how to take care of  lost sheep,” Julie said, smiling at her family.

Comprehension and Discussion Questions

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