I’m allergic to dogs. Not horribly, but my throat will get itchy and my eyes burn. The saliva is really the biggest issue; dog spit leaves me with a welt wherever a nose or a lick touches my skin. Not a big deal, we had an outdoor dog. But as my daughter got older, I noticed she would go outside just to pet and play with our pit bull, Lola . . .
I decided I’d vacuum once a day and avoid the dog’s nose so she could come inside and be with her “best buddy.” Lola became a permanent fixture in our home. She slept by my daughter’s bed. My little one was extremely good at letting Lola out when she went to the door, first thing in the morning and right before bed.
I liked having the dog around. Lola would growl or bark when deer came near our garden, scaring them away, keeping my broccoli and tomatoes from getting eaten.
The three-car garage blocks the sound of vehicles approaching the house. I can’t see the driveway from any of my windows. Lola would bark whenever she heard a vehicle coming up our road, making sure I was aware that someone or some critter was on my ten acres.
Last week, Lola noticed something odd outside. Once my daughter let her out, I grabbed the vacuum to do my daily pet dander elimination to keep my allergies in check. When I put away the vacuum, Lola wasn’t back. I looked at the clock and realized it had been 15 minutes since she’d gone out. That wasn’t too long — considering the size of our property — my daughter was yelling for her. Repeatedly.
Lola never came back.
Three dogs had wandered off the horse ranch a half mile or so away, attacked Lola and killed her. A wildlife specialist investigated Lola’s death. After tracking their footprints in the fresh snow, he suggested I telephone the sheriff. With tears in my eyes, trying to console my little sweet pea, I made the call.
I told the dispatcher what had happened. He suggested I make a report. And then added: “I can’t tell you how to do this. But that’s your property your dog was killed on. You have the right to protect your land.” I said “I understand.”
I hung up and impatiently awaited the sheriff’s deputies. When I answered the door I told them I had a California CCW permit and was armed. They thanked me for telling them and took my statement. They echoed the dispatcher’s message. “Protect your land. You know what to do.”
Nothing will bring back my daughter’s best friend. All I can do is watch and stay armed while my kids play on my property and hope they aren’t attacked. Lola’s death made me realize that I relied on her as much as she relied on me. It’s time for me to learn to do her job too, but I doubt I will do it as well as she did.