"Ring leash!" This was a new one to Ferris. His eyes followed the trio of puppies shuffling ringward. He saw that all three were on leather leashes and that their chains had been left in the stalls. Presumably there was a law against chains in the ring. And Link had no leash.
For an instant he was in a quandary. Then his brow cleared. True, he had no leash. Yet, if chains, like bows of ribbon, were barred from the ring, he could maneuver Chum every bit as well with his voice as with any leash. So that problem was solved.
A minute later, the three pups reappeared at the end of the section. And behind them came the attendant, intoning:
"Novice Class, Male Scotch Collies! Numbers 64, 65, 66, 67."
There was an absurd throbbing in Link Ferris's meridian. His calloused hands shook as he unchained Chum and motioned him to leap from the bench to the ground.
Chum obeyed, but with evident uneasiness. His odd surroundings were getting on the collie's nerves. Link bent over him, under pretense of giving him a farewell rub with the brush.
"It's all right, Chummie!" he crooned soothingly. "It's all RIGHT! I'm here. An' nobody's goin' to bother you none. You're a-helpin' me win that hundred. An' you're lettin' these gold-shirt folks see what a clam' gorgeous dawg you be! Come along, ol' friend!"
Under the comfort of his god's voice, Chum's nervousness fled. Safe in his sublime trust that his master would let no harm befall him, the collie trotted toward the ring at Ferris's heels.