The answer came from an angry voice on the porch. "No, HELL NO! He's NOT OURS!" Mother yelled. "That dog is not living here!"
She ordered us in the house and dared us to touch the dog. We couldn't get him water and much less food. He'd never leave if we fed him. She spent the next hour in a tirade mumbling about him "always bringing her more work to do" while he "went off and got drunk," and "no sirree Bob" it wasn't gonna work this time. That dog would be gone when he got back just as soon as she figured out a way to be rid of him. Being the oldest child and about fourteen at the time, I knew what she was ranting about. Dad was famous for going off to play poker (and drink) with other farmers. Sometimes they had poker money, and sometimes they didn't. Lack of money didn't stop them...farm animals were legal tender, and they played for them too. Mother had her fill of bucket feeding his poker winnings of 3-day old calves. It gets worse. She would raise them to healthy yearlings and he would haul them off to the cattle sale. He pocketed the money himself...or just as likely, pitched a two-week drunk on it. The fruits of her labor never made it home. By that age, I could easily understand her anger.
About the time I realized how bad I wanted him, Mother had decided how she was going to get rid of him. She marched outside, took him off the chain and commenced to throwing gravel out of the driveway at him, trying to run him off. John had other ideas. He thought he'd like living on the farm, and decided to stick around in spite of having to dance around dodging rocks. The fact that he wouldn't run away just frustrated her more. She was picking up gravel by the handsful and chucking them at him to no avail. John just danced and dodged on the outer perimeters of the yard until she finally wore herself out and came back in the house. I doubt she hit him with the first rock. If she did, John was none the worse for the wear. He sneaked up on the porch, checked all his perimeters, yawned, and settled in for a nap. He was home. He just had to convince HER!
Indeed, John was ours.