I love to read hero dog stories. You know, the ones about dogs who pull babies from burning buildings or save kittens from freezing in the snow and such. And prior to last Tuesday, after reading one I'd look over at Darby and say, "No worries that we'll every put fingers-to-keyboard on your behalf for something nearly so heroic, dude. You may be a wonderful pup and all, but you're no hero dog."
To be fair, I've never expected my dog to be a hero. When it comes to saving me and mine, my only real hope is that he projects just enough of a threat that nefarious types decide there may be easier pickings than our house or, barring that, he alerts us in time for us to save ourselves. Which brings me to last Tuesday.
|"I've got my eye on you..."|
My husband and I are out in the backyard hanging out with the critters, having just finished dinner. It's all of 6:40 p.m. or so and we're chatting about nothing of any lasting importance when I hear a "shhhhhhhhhhh" sound that, to my ears, registers as someone next door spraying for ants or maybe hosing down some of the ivy that lines the fence between our homes. I hear it a second time --- a shorter burst, but the same sound. Darby hears it, too, and lopes over to the gate, where he immediately goes bat-crap crazy.
This is not a new behavior for the Doodlebug. Darby's been known to nut up about the neighbors when they are too close to the fence for his liking and we're fortunate that the neighbors, while not loving this particular aspect of him, are tolerant of his outbursts, knowing we take him indoors if he doesn't quickly settle down. There appears to be no shot of that happening, as he's flying across the yard, lighting again at the gate just long enough to unleash another torrent of barking.
"O.K. dude, let's hit the house," I say, as the spouse gets up from his chair and opens the door. Darby bolts inside and heads straight for the front door where the window gives him another opportunity to display the breadth and volume of his vocal skills. It isn't until I get to the door that I realize he's not freaking out at the neighbors. My husband sees the same thing I do from his place at the kitchen window --- two kids, looking between the ages of 13-15. One is on a bicycle at the end of the driveway, the other standing about midway up our driveway.
John gets it before I do and heads out the side door in the kitchen. It's a door that provides immediate access to the front yard and comes in handy when you need to get out front without the dog. I see him in the front yard but can't make out anything he's saying, short of an expletive (insert your favorite one here), before he barrels back into the house, yelling at me to call the cops. That's when I see it: The screen on the side door is cut and torn away from the window, the window itself cracked, with a hole in the corner nearest the doorknob.
"Those little @#*%$ just tried to break into my house! In broad daylight! During the dinner hour! While we were home!" exploded into my brain.
John grabs his keys and heads for the door.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going after them," he replies, locking the door as he leaves.
Standing in the kitchen, how close we came to a really bad night comes into sharp focus. Not 25 feet away from the door evil-little-cretin-#1 tried to bust into sat my purse, my husband's wallet, my tablet and our phones, all easily able to be boosted in seconds, but causing us weeks of grief should they disappear simultaneously.
"Damn, Darby you did it. You ran off the boogers and saved us. You're a hero."
My husband didn't catch the kids, returning home about twenty minutes later. We spent the rest of the night vacillating between disbelief that we came thisclose to being broken in to and being grateful that the Doodlebug stepped up when it was stepping-up-time.
Things are pretty much back to normal now. We're one soon-to-be-completed home-improvement project away from further securing the side door to further dissuade future thieves from choosing our house and we've (almost) stopped giving the evil eye to every adolescent who walks past our front yard.
And whaddya know --- Darby gets a hero dog story.