A moment later Toby sat down again, this time on the soft, grassy edge of the wood, next to some dandelions and wild clover, waiting for his master's return. He felt sure that he would. He had to.
Time passed. A few more cars and pick-up trucks rolled by, taking little notice of the young dog waiting at the forest's edge. When the last vehicle that would come along for some time vanished down the road, Toby was surrounded by the kind of silence that can only be found in the country in the early morning hours, the kind that seems as if the whole world had suddenly froze over and was waiting patiently to thaw itself out again.
It is said that emotions are energy that can open up doorways to new places in the soul. Perhaps this is what happened to Toby when it finally dawned on him that, no, his master was not coming back, but had, indeed, abandoned him, and that for the first time in his life he was truly alone and on his own - and when that realization settled firmly in his mind and deep in his heart, he sat up and barked and whined in fear and anguish. Then, raising his head, his symphony of cries rolled out into one long, plaintive howl.
His wail sent two jittery robins, resting in a nearby tree, darting for safety in the higher branches above. A snowy, mustard-white butterfly fluttered quietly through the air from across the road and wandered its way into the forest. Otherwise, but for some falling leaves, all was still.