I’m married to a veterinarian who loves dogs, and throughout our marriage we’ve had two to five dogs in our lives at any given time. It helps that we live in the country, so the occasional bark fest doesn’t bother neighbors. Right now we have three dogs: two German shorthaired pointers named Hannah and Bertie and a border collie named Tess.
All of our dogs have been special, but today I want to tell you about one in particular—a black, tri-colored Australian shepherd named Bear who came to us through our vet clinic. Bear’s owner had decided to relinquish him when he was about six months old, and my husband volunteered to give him a home. Our older daughter was five at the time, and the two bonded immediately.
Bear was a good-natured, timid dog that, unlike most of his breed, wanted nothing to do with working livestock. In fact, he was afraid of sheep and cattle. One method of weed control on a farm is to build a temporary enclosure in an area and let livestock graze off the weeds. My husband set up an electric fence to contain five sheep across the lane from our yard for this very purpose, parking our two horse stock trailer inside for shade.
While my husband was working, our daughter ducked under the fence to go join him out by the trailer. On her way, she caught the eye of the flock’s ram, and he began to charge her. Just as my husband became aware of the situation, Bear darted under the fence, got between our daughter and the ram, and stood him off. Our trembling hero had found his inner sheepdog and courage in order to save his girl.
I’m amazed at the wonderful things service dogs can be trained to do, such as guiding the sight-impaired across a busy street, warning their human that a seizure is imminent, or pulling a wheelchair for a mobility-challenged person. And then there are the more heroic jobs that dogs take on in law enforcement or the military, much like the German shepherd Robo in my Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. These dogs sniff out drugs or bombs, track and take down bad guys, and help find missing persons, to name only a few of their skills.
For the most part, our dogs haven’t performed such heroic deeds. Instead, they’re everyday heroes. They guard the house, sounding an alarm when someone comes to the door. They provide emotional support and comfort during trying times. Some of them help us with moving cattle from here to there. We’ve trained a couple of our dogs for tracking so they could be used to search for a lost family member if needed. And of course, they all like to snuggle and give us loving companionship whenever we sit down together to rest.
Pets enrich our lives. Enjoy your time with them—the love you give will be returned twofold. Do you have any pets in your lives that are everyday heroes?