Old Ranch Pals
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Old Ranch Pals

International Quarter Pony Association Journal

Billy and Bob were bunk-mate pals
On the old ranch up the State;
Bill was a peaceful shepherd dog,
But I wouldn't say that for his mate.

For Bob was the son of a mongrel bull,
Suspicious with strangers around.
But a loyal friend to all on the ranch
And a better guard never was found.

Those two old buddies were on the job
At midnight or at noon,
And guarded the sheep like legionaires
When the coyotes bayed at the moon.

Unlike the hordes of human souls
Where brother battles brother.
Those two old pals had a better code-
They never fought with each other.

But woe to coyote or cougar or bear
That invaded their ranch repose,
For Billy and Bob joined forces at once
To battle their old time foes.

But there came a time that always comes
To canines as well as man-
Old age stalks in to dim the eyes
And shatter power and vim.

And so it was that Billy and Bob,
Guardians of ranch and of yard,
Were retired to rest for good work done-
Pensioners of the old ranch guard.

With wobbly legs and blinking eyes.
But hearing keen as ever,
Those two faithful musketeers
Were growing old together.

But a day arrived to test their love
For a boy in a dangerous way;
And no greater love hath man e'er shown
Than displayed by those dogs that day.

He entered the field at close of day
To drive home the cows for the night,
And there encountered a mad range bull
Pawing and aching for a fight.

The lad dashed wildly for the fence
While screaming aloud in his flight,
But none were near to hear his cries,
And he visioned the end in sight.

For the angry bull was close behind,
And lowered his head for the kill,
When lo! a miracle turned the scale-
In rushed old Bob and Bill.

In spite of age gouty legs,
They heard the lads loud cry,
And dashed down through the meadow lane
Into the field near by.

They made a rush for sir bovine
With a valor only heroes display,
And saved the life of a playmate pal
But Bob lost his own in the fray.

They checked the rush of that demon bull
Till the lad reached the fence out of breath,
Twas then too late to call off his pals-
Old Bob had been trampled to death.

Faithful old Bob was buried that day
At the base of a rock on a hill,
Over looking the scene of his final charge-
A combat that crippled poor Bill.

Billy seemed puzzled from that day on
And moved as if in a swoon;
His food was untouched for days at a time,
And he constantly howled at the moon.

He would wonder away when darkness fell
And the household had retired to sleep,
To be found at dawn at yon sheep-fold,
Awatching and guarding the sheep.

We missed him one morning in August
But thought he was somewhere close by,
But he sensed his dog star was setting
So sought the big rock, there to die.

He showed a rare sense of clairvoyance
When he crawled to the rock on the knob,
And dug a deep hole in the gravel
To be near his old bunk-mate, dear Bob.

We found him there late in the morning,
Stiff and cold in the grave he had made;
And that scene to this day is pathetic to me-
Its memory seems never to fade.

And how could it fade from my memory
When those heroes such danger braved
To save a lad from a frightful death-
And I was the lad they saved?

That old ranch up the State has changed,
But that big rock, somber and still,
Stands guard at the graves of two old pals-
The faithful Bobby and Bill.

I set by the fire at eventide
And dream of the loved ones gone,
But I know they are happy in spirit land
And will meet each other anon.

And yet as I set there adreaming,
I cannot surpress tears and a sob;
I know that my jewels are living-
But where are Billy and Bob?

Copyright© International Quarter Pony Association.
Published here by permission of the author.

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