Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here.
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?
This Post Has 19 Comments
Margaret — I enjoyed reading about your dog, Bear, rescuing your daughter from a charging ram. Like you, we’ve always had companion animals in our home. Willa (half Irish wolfhound and half English sheepdog) is the real-life inspiration for “Hemingway,” the dog in my Sean McPherson novels.
Laurie, I’ve seen pictures of Willa and she is gorgeous. Such a nice dog to go walking with or to cuddle with at home. I’m looking forward to reading you new novel and meeting Hemingway!
Margaret, this post, much like your novels, tug at my heartstrings for the loyalty and unconditional love our animals bring to us. My granddog, Griffin (a Pomeranian Husky mix), gives so much comfort and joy to my single daughter. She’d be lost without him.
A Pomeranian Husky mix? Sounds like a terrific dog, but how did that happen?
Joy Ann, it’s so wonderful to hear about Griffin. This same daughter lost her little dog to old age (19 years old) last summer, and it has been a very hard adjustment for all of us but especially her. They are such great little companions! Thanks for sharing about yours.
Love this post, Margaret. Made me realize how much I miss my red tom Sammy, whom I lost in June. He was no hero, but a wonderful companion—even though he bit me now and then.
Your very last sentence made me chuckle, Marilyn. I know exactly what you mean–a show of affection, especially in tom cats, although my female cat used to bite me gently sometimes too. She also bit me when she didn’t want to be petted. 🙂 I lost her at age 18 just a couple years ago and still miss her.
My hubby and I have been married for 48 years and we have always had at least one dog in our lives. We have rescued some and and purchased some from breeders. Right now we have three dogs, a Golden Retriever and two English Cream Retrievers. We love dogs. They enrich our lives. I love your stories. Your portrayal of Robo is fantastic!
Thanks for your comment, Margie! Your house sounds a lot like ours when it comes to dogs. I would love to see photos of your dogs sometime. Thanks so much for reading my books; I appreciate that so much too!
What a brave and heroic animal Bear proved himself to be! I knew from reading your books, that you understand and appreciate the connections people have with dogs. Robo is such a fully formed character, perfectly portrayed.
I am also a dog lover. My children’s book, Naughty Nana, features my Old English sheepdog as the narrator, and Archie the bichon and Calvin the westie make appearances in two of my mysteries. All of these and my other four dogs (not all at once) have brought joy, companionship, laughter, and even heroism to our family over the years.
I’ve seen pictures of your Nana dog and love her! She looks like such a great companion for adults and children alike! Thank you for reading about Robo and I appreciate your complement so much. I love your work as well and look forward to reading more of your books in the future.
Dogs and cats are the greatest! I don’t know why, ours always seem to have so much personality. We had a basset hound named Clyde for three years, until he died of old age at 11 (sadly, bassets do not live very long). The dog had comic timing like nobody’s business. My husband would be giving him a talking to, and Clyde would just snort as if to say, “Big deal.” We currently have TobyWan, a basset/beagle mix, and three kitties: Medusa, Xanax, and Benzi.
Thanks so much for sharing about your pets, Anne. The kitten threesome sounds like trouble just waiting to happen! We raised three kittens together one time, and they destroyed our Christmas tree! I loved taking photos of little kitten faces peeking out among the branches. Fun but a lot of playful energy!
I enjoyed your sharing, Margaret! That was one brave Bear to rescue your daughter. My everyday hero is my poodle-Bichon JImmy Lambchop. I inherited him from my mother when she passed five years ago, and he is the best gift I could ever receive! Jimmy has been my soul/sole mate all these covid months. I don’t know if I could have handled the situation as well without him. He takes me outside myself and helps me realize my daily responsibilities. I have met so many neighbors, pre- and during pandemic, because of him. I love him to pieces and can’t imagine life without him.
Thank you, Sherrill! Yes, he was a brave boy that day! And thank you for sharing about little Jimmy Lambchop. He is an everyday hero for sure, and I can tell that you treasure him. How lucky we are to have these dogs in our lives, especially now when they might be the only souls we get to visit with in person all day! I appreciate your comment.
Amazing story, Margaret! Thank you for sharing!
We had an Australian shepherd (named Michelle, after the Beatles song) when I was growing up. She would find random cattle in the woods, herd them, and bring them to our picnics. “Good girl. Now, put them back!” Once she tried to herd a baby javelina (wild boar) which its mother did not appreciate.
The heroic act though, happened in our own backyard. One night, Michelle demanded, rather loudly, to be let inside. Once the door was open, she bolted in and hid under the table. My mom couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so she went outside. Michelle immediately charged back out, cut in front of my mom, and chased a coyote over the fence. They are amazing dogs!
I love your stories and thanks so much for sharing them! It’s so interesting that Michelle didn’t want to take a stand for her own sake but she would for your mom’s. That’s definitely heroic. When I was a kid, we had a border collie named Princess who always herded the cattle back into the pen from the pasture on her own. Made my dad so mad, because he was constantly having to call her off and push the cows back to the pasture. Finally, Princess just had to stay in the yard until it was time to bring in the cows. 🙂
I love reading your books Margaret – I have always owned dogs and they are such wonderful friends. At the moment I have one beautiful golden retriever called Nancy who is a Guide Dog for the Blind Brood Bitch here in UK. Which means she gets to live with me and every couple of years she has puppies, here at home but they go back to Guide Dogs to be puppy walked and trained to become guide dogs. Nancy has had two litters so far and 12 delightful pups who are now guide dogs or training to be guide dogs. Nancy may have one more litter before she retires and then becomes my own dog. She belongs to Guide Dogs for the Blind and they decide who she will be mated with. Also I have a cocker spaniel who is nuts – but devoted to me, two cats and two tortoise. They are all great company especially has my husband died a few years ago. THANKYOU for your books.
Hi Andrea, thanks so much for leaving a comment and sharing such a heart-warming story about your everyday hero, Nancy. She truly fits the bill! I didn’t know that Guide Dogs for the Blind had a program like this, but it makes perfect sense to use the genetics that they know works well to provide such special puppies for this special needs population. I loved hearing about Nancy and your other pets. They are wonderful companions I’m sure! Take good care and thank you so much for reading my books. I’m glad you enjoy them!