Red Dog's ears stood straight up as the rustle in the tall grass grew louder and louder. When the grass began swaying his ears drooped in uncertainty. When at last our visitor plopped onto the gravel road, Red Dog was standing behind me with a nervous look in his eyes.
"Welcome to the gravel road," I laughed, speaking to the turtle. "Mr. Snapping-Turtle, meet Red Dog, a dog who used to believe that all turtles were small and always stayed in ponds. Red Dog, meet Mr. Snapping-Turtle, the biggest, crankiest turtle in these parts. His ditch has dried up so now he's out exploring and looking for a new home."
With grassblades and dust sticking to his wet, moss-covered shell, the big, green turtle just sat on the road and looked at us. When Red Dog stepped from behind me, I knew that he wanted to see what this new discovery smelled like.
"No! Red dog," I warned. "If you sniff this critter, he'll snap off your nose!"
To teach Red Dog an important lesson, I held a stick in front of the old turtle. In half a second his powerful jaws snapped the stick in two. The bite made such a loud crunching noise that Red Dog jumped with fright, and I did, too.
"Grrrrrrrrr... " Red Dog complained, as if to say, "We can't let this monster stay loose! What are we going to do about him?"
Then I taught Red Dog another important lesson: I just walked away, and called for him to follow.