On a sweltering summer afternoon, an unusual encounter occurred in a tiny Serbian village. It involved a girl and a dog. It was a call of destiny, one that changed many lives. This story is still spoken of in this village in the middle of nowhere. What was so special about this girl and this dog? Those two were not extraordinary, but they did some great together! Let me tell you all about it.
– Mom! Mom!
– What is it? Where is the fire? I am doing something, you know!
-Look at it! A dog! I was going back from the river, and she was on the side of the road! She followed me back here!
-Oh, boy! I don’t believe this! Why did you bring that dog over here? Look at it! It is sick! The last thing I need is to deal with a sick dog now that we are in the middle of the season!
-But mom! This dog is not sick! She is just exhausted and hungry!
Now take her back to the river, and someone will come and pick her up! – Oh, great, you already know it is a she! I don’t want to hear about it! We do not need another dog! We already have a dog.
– We don’t have a dog! We have Mimi! She is a sheep guard dog! She bit me, mom!
– Well, Mimi sure has a temper! But that is beside the point! You know that you promised that you would help around on your summer break! There is a lot to do here, especially now. It is time for the harvest, the stables are complete, and your dad and I cannot do it ourselves, especially now, when your brother is not here to help! Ana, I do not want you to waste your time with this dog when there is so much to do around here!
-That is the point! I am no different than Mimi to you! We are both a workforce for you!
With that said, the girl ran off as fast as the wind, with her new four-legged friend following her.
Ana was walking hastily along the road, and the dog followed in her footsteps. Both of them felt miserable and didn’t need the words to communicate it. The dog was hungry, exhausted, and sleepy, but she followed her new best friend anyway. Ana was out of her mind! It is not easy being a teenager, but being a teenager in a small, God-forsaken village in the middle of nowhere is something else! There was not much to do here. There weren’t any fancy malls like the ones she watched on TV. There were no cafes and dressing up for the parties.
There were few other girls in her village, all of whom were equally bored and apathetic as Ana. She felt like she was thrown into this tiny corner of the world, with no chance of escaping. So much fun going on all around the world, and she was missing it all! Even on summer breaks, when she could at least spend the days by the river swimming and fishing with other kids, she needed to help her parents with the crops and cattle! What a waste of life! With every thought, she quickened her steps, and the dog eventually couldn’t keep up! Anna looked behind and saw the dog sitting on the side of the road, with her tongue out.
-O, you poor girl! You are exhausted! I need to get you something to eat! I am so sorry!
A car pulled over, and a tall, older man came out.
-Hello, Ana! It is hot outside today! What do you have here? This is an excellent dog! Where did you get it? Was it a birthday gift from your folks?
– Hello, Milos! You are just the person I need! I guess you know all about dogs. I need help with this one. I found her near the river, and she was like that, exhausted and dirty. I need to help her, but my mom won’t let me keep her.
– You say you found her! O, dear! This is not just a regular dog that happens to wander along. It is a German Shepherd! And a pretty nice one! You know what they say about a German Shepherd: it is every dog’s dream to become a German Shepherd! Let me look at her! Mmmm. She is pretty young, maybe one year old. She is entirely developed, healthy, and cared for. Yes, she had better days, but I can tell she cared for properly. I need to tell you this: you cannot keep her. Someone is looking for her for sure.
-But what should we do? We cannot just leave her here.
– Let us all go to my infirmary. I have a chip reader there, and we can check if she is chipped. Also, I will put her photo on Facebook. Maybe someone will recognize her.
Milos, the vet, petted the dog softly as he put her in the back of his car. The dog didn’t resist, as she was too tired for it. Ana sat in front of her; that was all the reassurance the dog needed. But, the road did not take them to the vet’s office since there were many urgent problems right in front of them!
The car pulled off from the road. Milos and Ana rushed out, and the dog followed. In front of them was an unusual sight: wheat fields as far as the eye could see; the leaves fluttered in the wind while the colors of the setting sun shimmered on the surface. But, something was off in this sight. It took one look for Ana and Milos to figure it out. Hundreds of sheep were roaming through the field, crushing the precious grains representing their village’s entire wealth! Soon other villagers appeared. They were all trying to get the sheep out of the crops, shouting at them and moving through the fields. But, it only made things worse! With every human step, the crops were crushed further, making it impossible for the harvester to collect the wealth. It was a disaster!
-Ana, where have you been? And this dog is still around! I’ll deal with it later! First, we have to fix this! O, stop it! Get off the field. You are making it worse! Ana’s mom shouted.
She was talking to the people in the crops, her neighbors, who were desperately trying to collect the sheep and take them off the field. Then, all of a sudden, something unexpected occurred. Sheep dogs were around them, trying to collect the sheep as they were trained to do. But, sheep aren’t the brightest animals. They were scared by all the shouting and moving, and it just made them go deeper into the fields, causing more and more damage with every step.
The flock of sheep started moving in a specific direction as if something was leading them to move towards the edge of the field. People looked at each other in wonder. They didn’t understand what made the sheep move in that way. But soon, they saw a pair of raised brown ears and a long bushy tail emerging and disappearing into the sea of grain. It was clear to everyone! The new dog was leading the sheep out of the field. Ana was beyond happy! The other dogs soon joined in, and within minutes, the entire herd of unruly sheep had been herded out of the field.
-Good girl! Good girl! You are so smart!
Ana rushed over to their savior and soon the rest of the villagers followed. The dog was the star of the day! With her skills, she avoided disaster! She succeeded where trained dogs failed!
-I think it is time to take this poor dog to my office. She has been through enough! Let’s go, Ana, put her in the car. We need to take care of her now.
-Can I come with you? Ana’s mom asked.
-Of course, let’s go.
At the Milos infirmary, they fed the dog and gave her some water as Milos prepared all necessary equipment. He examined the dog in detail. The dog was calm; she did not move a paw as Milos ran her through tests. Ana was by her side the whole time, petting her and whispering.
-Well, this is strange. This dog is not chipped. I checked it a few times, but I did not find it. This means that, legally, she is no one’s dog. This is a real mystery.
-Does this mean I can keep her? Ana asked timidly.
-Well, for now, you can, if your parents agree. But, keep your hopes low. She is a trained dog, perfectly developed, an exhibition dog. I don’t believe that someone just dumped her on the side of the road. I guess that she escaped from her owner. But why, when, and how? It is a mystery.
-OK, Ana, I spoke with your dad, and he agreed we can keep the dog temporarily. But, we need to post this online. Someone is looking for her! Who knows where she came from?
-Oh, mom, thank you, thank you! I will take good care of her until her owners find her, even if it is just for a little while!
-Now, we have one more thing to do. We cannot call her the dog. You need to pick a name for her. And let me help you with a piece of advice: dogs respond well to names with an X. It is as if the sound of an X alerts them. So pick a name with an X.
-Mmm, I know. I’ll call her Lexy! Come on, Lexy. It has been a long day for all of us. Let’s go home.
Summer days went on as usual. Each family harvested crops; food for the winter was prepared for people and animals. The people were looking forward to a rich autumn and its fruits. Ana and Lexy helped with the farm work. They were always by each other’s side. Ana worked in the barn and the field, helping her parents. Lexy helped collect countless flocks of sheep. The other village dogs accepted her as their equal. Everyone loved Lexy; she became a favorite in the village community.
Even Ana’s mom let her guard down and received this unusual creature with a calm nature and lofty manners. However, they were all aware that Lexy didn’t belong to them. She was too perfect for the country’s way of life. Among the village dogs, she looked like a princess among her subjects. Soon, the peaceful village life ended since fate took an unusual turn.
One early September morning, two black cars with tinted windows pulled up in front of Ana’s house. The normally calm and quiet Lexy started barking uncontrollably and growling at four men in military uniforms who got out of the car. The whole family woke up and rushed out of the house in a panic. Before the men in military uniforms could make the first move, Ana burst out with all her might:
– Run, Lexy, run!