A few years back, a coworker awoke to a guy climbing through his bathroom window. Not surprising, considering that he lived on the ground level of a building in an area of town that was in the process of urban revitalization. He came to work the next day and asked me if I thought he should get a gun. To which I replied . . .
“Maybe?” with a shrug of the shoulders. We chatted a bit about how much fun I have shooting guns, but we also touched on the ethical and legal implications of assuming responsibility for your own safety. We both decided that gun ownership was certainly in the future for him, but not right for right now. As an interim solution, he bought a canister of pepper spray and a sturdy bat. He declined to take action on the third piece of advice I gave, getting a security system or a dog. I guess he didn’t take me seriously because I didn’t have a dog at the time.
My wife and I are both pretty granola when it comes to animals. I grew up in a house filled with strays including several abused/neglected rescue horses. At the time of my friend’s break in, Mrs. Kee and I had two cats, one a formal rescue and the other a somewhat informal rescue. My wife’s work as a hospice nurse sometimes introduces her to animals whose owners have shrugged the mortal coil leaving behind their pets. Our cat Matilda is one such animal. We’d talked about a dog and even visited some local rescues, but we never really found “our” dog.
All that changed last fall when this pitiful beast found his way into our home. He’d been found by a friend working an oil rig in a remote part of East Texas. Said friend had started bringing food and water until he gained the dog’s trust. Once he was able to inspect our future dog child, he couldn’t find evidence of tags or collar. What he did have in abundance were ticks, fleas, and some wounds on his head that turned out to be the work of someone with a shotgun.
The local foster that our friend volunteered with was full up so he asked us if we could foster him. Several weeks later, we resigned ourselves to our fate as “Foster Failures” and officially accepted him into our home. We christened him Bill Murray, got him some tags made, chipped him, and once he’d gained enough weight, put him under the knife to ensure we didn’t have any future child support payments to worry about.
All that food and love went right to his head because he’s about the most loyal dog you could ever ask for. He sleeps on my wife’s side of the bed (that’s where the memory foam dog bed is), and spends most of his days snoozing, and turning expensive food into fertilizer. As any keen eyed reader will notice, he’s also got a head the size of a cinder block and a pretty large skeleton. At his fighting weight, he weighs about seventy five pounds.
But his real value to me is his natural instinct for sounding the alarm. Any time someone knocks on the door, he sets off a serious bark that rattles the house. At several points over the last few months, he’s risen from a dead slumber to look out the window of our bedroom and cautiously stare at a car that’s making a U turn in our cul-de-sac . My wife tells me that when I travel for work, he’s even more vigilant.
He recently got upgraded from “good boy” to “WarDog™” a few weeks back while I was making my nightly rounds. As you should, I check all the door locks on the first floor before heading upstairs for the evening. After scarfing down a pricey bowl of Duck and Potato food, Bill made himself comfortable on his memory foam bed upstairs while my wife brushed her teeth. I rattled the front door knob to check it which resulted in seventy-five pounds of barking fury sprinting down the stairs full speed about three seconds later. Thankfully, he pulled up short when he realized it was just me. I patted him on the head and assured him that we were all good and then headed upstairs, dog following closely behind. My wife she watched him rise from what appeared to be a coma and make a beeline for the front door.
I don’t expect him to be a true “guard dog” as he’s never been formally trained for such things. He’s obviously got the strength, the speed, and the mindset to run towards trouble instead of away so he might be a good fit. But for right now, I’ll settle for his obedience, sloth, and flappy jowels. He raises the alarm and allows me time to tool up and put our home defense plan into place. For those that think a gun is the first step in a good home defense plan, I’d strongly encourage you to look at strong locks, a home security system, and/or a dog first. The bonus is that nobody will think you’re weird for cuddling your dog. Your GLOCK, not so much.