When Mark got back to the cabin, he quickly looked around and was able to find a long, substantial rope and a couple of blankets. He made the traverse, attached it to his horse’s saddle, and headed back to where the injured man was being watched over by three very concerned dogs.
Just as he thought, all three dogs were watching the man intently. The old dog occasionally licked his friend’s face or the back of his hand. It always made Mark choke up to see the love of a dog for his owner.
“I sure wish I would have brought my first aid kit with me. Maybe the old man will have some supplies in the cabin.” Mark was talking to himself as he worked to carefully place the man they thought might be Grandpa John, on the traverse. Once securely wrapped and carefully tied, Mark took the reins and walked his horse the short distance to the cabin. Thankfully, the man was small in stature so it was possible to move him without additional trauma.
By the time they reached the little cabin and Mark had lifted the injured man onto his bed, the wind had come up and the rain began to pour down. He took the time to stoke the fire and add some logs before tending to his patient.
First, he carefully removed the shirt wrapped around the man’s head and surveyed the wound. He had found a clean cloth and soaked it in water he heated on the stove. He then began to dab the dried blood and gently clean the area around the slash in the unconscious man’s forehead. It appeared that the bleeding had stopped and there was a steady pulse. Mark also noted the old guy seemed to be breathing easily.
“Arf and Annie…help me look for a first aid kit. I need a bottle of peroxide or some other disinfectant. It looks like he might have lost quite a bit of blood while he was lying there in the forest. The other concern I have is the strong possibility of a concussion.” Mark stopped talking long enough to look at the three dogs sitting there appearing to listen to him. He had always talked to Arf and Annie like they were human, but the old man’s dog must be really confused.
While searching the one room cabin, Mark found a Bible sitting on the table that had been engraved with the name, John Sanders, Sr. which told Mark the man was indeed Clark’s grandpa. He also found a bottle of peroxide and some bandages, which was just what he needed to dress the wound and then he would wait to see if Mr. Sanderd started to run a fever. If he didn’t regain consciousness soon, Mark knew he would have to try and wake him up.
The rain and wind persisted and the dogs needed fed so he hunted around and spotted a sack of dog food. “Is this yours, Biff? I hope you don’t mind sharing. Are you wondering how I know your name? I saw it on your dog dish.”
Arf: Old Biff seems to be a little miffed that he has to share his dog food.
Annie: Oh Arf, he looks that way because he’s consumed with guilt for not going fishing with his human and now he’s also consumed with worry. Dog food is probably the last thing on his mind.
Arf: Wrong! He’s gulping it down like there’s no tomorrow.
Annie: Maybe he’s an emotional eater. Let’s eat ours before he gets any more emotional.
The little cabin was cozy, but Mark was worried about Rex. He had used the long rope he found and tethered him to a tree close by. Every time he checked on him he was standing near the cabin and appeared to be okay.
Mark was just about to gently try to wake Mr. Sanders when he winced and brought his hands to his head which was no doubt pounding.
He sat down in a chair by the bed and tried to figure out how he could let the old man know he was there without startling him. He hadn’t come up with anything when he saw the man raise his hands to his head, again. He winced at the pain and it took a minute before he opened his eyes and looked around.
“Can you see and hear me Mr. Sanders?” Mark asked. “You slipped when you were fishing and struck your head.”
“Where am I? Is my son here?” he asked.
Arf, who had been looking out the window at the storm, started barking. When Mark looked to see what he was barking at, he discovered Rex had somehow gotten loose and was gone.
“Arf,” Mark said. “I need you to find Rex and bring him back here. Mr. Sanders has a pretty high fever. He needs to be in a hospital. I’ll have to ride Rex back down the mountain to get my truck or find someone to help us…Hurry Arf!”