Chink was the name of a little puppy. Chink thought he was a clever little dog. And so he was, but not in the way he imagined. He was not a fierce dog, and he was not very strong or quick, but he was a very noisy, good-natured and silly pup. His master, Bill Aubrey, was an old mountaineer and had a camp in a quiet corner of Yellowstone Park. Bill’s camp, before we came, was a. very lonely place, but he had for a companion this funny, woolly little dog.
Chink was never still for five minutes. He did everything his master told him to do except to keep still. He always tried to do something that was absurd and impossible. For example, he once spent a whole morning trying to run up a tall, straight pine-tree in whose branches there was a defiant squirrel.
He spent some weeks trying to catch one of the picket-pin gophers that lived on the prairie near the camp. These little animals have a clever trick: they sit up very straight on their hind legs, holding their
paws close to their bodies, so that at a distance they look exactly like picket-pins. A camper, wanting to picket his – horse at night, will go toward a gopher, but will find out his mistake only after the gopher has run into his hole in the ground with a defiant chirrup.
One day Chink made up his mind to catch one of these gophers. Of course, he tried to do it in his own original way, which was the wrong way, as usual. When he was about a quarter of a mile from the gopher, Chink began to steal forward. He crawled on his breast from one bush to another for about a hundred yards. But he was too much excited to crawl, and rising on his feet, he walked straight toward the gopher. The gopher sat near his hole and watched Chink’s tactics; he understood the situation quite well.
After a few minutes of such very open tactics, Chink, in his excitement, forgot all about caution, and began to run forward. Then, barking, he rushed toward the gopher, who sat like a picket-pin, with his paws close to his body until Chink was quite near him. At that moment the gopher ran into his hole with a defiant chirrup. Then, using his hind feet, he threw a lot of sand right into Chink’s mouth.
The whole thing amused us very much, but Chink continued to run after the gophers every day. He did not catch any gophers, but he did not give up. Perseverance, he believed, must win in the end. And indeed it did. One day he made a fine attempt to catch a very large gopher. He carried out all his absurd tactics as before and caught the gopher. But this time it was a real wooden picket-pin. There is no doubt that a dog knows when he has made a fool of himself, for Chink avoided us and went behind the tent, and did not come out for a long time.
However, he soon forgot about this incident, for he was a good-natured little pup, and very active. He did everything with the maximum of energy and the minimum of caution. He ran after and barked at every wagon and horseman that passed and every cow that grazed. If the cat from the guard-house was near our camp or Bill’s camp, Chink felt that it was his solemn duty to chase her back to the soldiers at the guard-house. Twenty times a day he dashed after an old hat that Bill threw into a wasp’s nest with the order, “Fetch it!”
It took time, but Chink began to learn slowly that there were long whips and big, fierce dogs with wagons; that horses had teeth in their heels; that cows had clubs on their heads; and that wasps were not butterflies. Yes, it took a long time, but the pup began to develop into a real dog, with good dog-sense.