I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My early years were spent in a three bedroom ranch-style on East 57th Place. We knew most of the people up and down the block. Mostly because we were kids and most of them had kids and, well, there were only 4 stations on television and one of them was the education channel.
I don't remember when he first showed up. I don't think I ever knew exactly who he belonged to but I knew somebody in the neighborhood owned him and it wasn't any of the kids we hung out with regularly. Somehow we learned his name was Tramp.
Tramp was a German shepherd. He would come over when we were playing outside. We'd say hello, love on him a bit, then he'd go lie down somewhere close and we would continue with whatever we were doing. I don't know if he was looking for companionship or was keeping an eye on us but we were both glad for the company.
One of the things I remember most was coming home from school, church or even just a run to the store and finding Tramp waiting for us in the front yard. We would pile out of the car, say our greetings then head inside. Sometimes Tramp would lie back down on the grass, sometimes he would find another house to watch while the neighbors were gone. We once went on one of our summer trips. We were probably gone two weeks. Tramp was the first to welcome us back.
I don't remember who was the first to leave the neighborhood - us or Tramp. He just kind of showed up one day then wasn't there another day. Nobody really wondered where he was or thought of him when we left but I do remember him. I can still see that mellow, black and tan shepherd lying in our yard, waiting for someone to come home and say hello.