Darby the Dalmatian loved running. She could run for days without stopping. As Darby lived near the outskirts of a town, she would go running in the nearby fields and meadows. Darby’s family always warned her not to go far.
They were scared Darby would not be able to find her way home. She would go too far and get lost. But Darby was carefree. She ran unrestrained and loved the rush of wind through her fur. She let her spotted ears flop up and down, and her tongue loll out. She felt free and amazing.
One day Darby got an idea. Why not run cross country? Until now, she had just gone running in nearby fields and meadows. Why not go beyond, into the countryside? Darby was excited! It would be so much fun! But she knew her family would stop her. They would say she could get lost and hungry.
Sure, she would get hungry, but she was confident she could find food. If she could not find any meat, she would eat vegetables or fruits. The thought of searching for food did not stop Darby. She knew she could manage.
Darby was impulsive. She decided not to tell her family and go running cross country. She knew they would get worried, but she would return in three-four days. She knew the locality well. This was her home. Even if she did go beyond the countryside, she was confident she could find her way back.
Darby started running. She ran crossed the down and started running across green fields. The fresh green grass felt wet beneath her paws. The air was crisp, and the soft summer sun was shining. It was wonderful.
Darby enjoyed it so much! She crossed the green fields and reached the sunflower fields. She rested for ten minutes on the soft earth and ate a few flowers. They were juicy! Then she started running across the vast sweet-smelling sunflower fields as well.
Soon, Darby reached clear meadows and a river. She realized this was the longest she had ever run. It was almost evening. She was tired and hungry. Darby knew she had to find some food and rest here until morning. Then she would continue her journey forward.
Darby had to cross the river to reach the clear meadow. There was a thin bridge made of stones over the river. It did not look too difficult to cross. Darby started climbing on the stones. But what she didn’t realize was that the stones were slippery. She tried to balance and slowly move forward. Suddenly Darby felt herself slipping. ‘NOO,’ she yelped, as she slipped sideways.
Darby managed to hold on to a few stones lodged near the bank, but the rest of her body was underwater. The current of the river of strong, and Darby held on to the stones as tightly as she could. ‘HELP’ she yelled out. ‘Somebody help me!!!’ She hoped someone was nearby and would listen.
Suddenly Darby heard a loud ‘WOOF.’
‘Who’s there?’ said a deep husky male voice.
Darby barked as loudly as she could. She hoped the stranger heard her. ‘I have fallen in the river. Please help me’ she cried out.
The stranger leaped forward. He clenched Darby by his strong jaws and pulled her towards the river bank. Finally, Darby found her balance and managed to hop over the stones onto land.
Phew, what a relief, she thought.
The stranger was staring at her.
‘Hello,’ are you new here?’ he asked kindly.
‘yes!’ answered Darby. ‘I am a visitor.’ I was crossing the river to the meadow and almost fell in the river. Thank you for saving my life.’
‘No problem,’ replied the Stanger. ‘I am Dalma, the Dalmatian. The meadow is my home. You are welcome there’.
Dalma was slightly bigger than Darby and had black ears. His spots were dense, and he had strong, wide jaws. Darby liked him.
Dalma helped Darby cross the river and into the meadow. He gave Darby some food, and Darby thanked him. She told him about how much she loved running and was actually from the town.
Dalma was shocked. ‘You ran all this way alone?’ he asked her.
‘Yes, and I loved it,’ she replied.
The next day, Dalma insisted on escorting Darby back to her home. They both ran together, past the sunflower fields and past the fresh, green fields. They both grew fond of each other and became good friends.
When Darby reached town and met her family, they were worried. They made her promise never to leave without telling them again.
Dalma invited Darby to live with him in the meadow. There she could run as fast as she wanted and they both could live together. Darby agreed. She asked her family, and they also said yes.
The next day, Darby and Dalma set out together. They had each other, and they had the countryside. That’s all they both wanted.