Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dogs For Protection And Companionship

Dogs are the best companion a person can have. They pick you up when you are down, they are great bed warmers and are irreplaceable as watch dogs monitoring your surroundings and alerting you when something is wrong.

Now my dogs are not what you would call ideal survivalist animals. I have two miniature dachshunds that are fierce, loyal and have incredibly deep loud barks. When I am busy or sleeping they are constantly monitoring the surrounds alerting me to trouble. Here are a couple of examples.

Axel and the Mountain Lion

A few years back, 2002 I think, Axel and I were down at the land working on the original part of the cabin. It was late summer around six in the evening and Axel was getting under foot so I put him in the cab of the truck. He was barking furiously at something in the sage brush between the truck and the cabin. I assumed it was a rabbit or chipmunk and ignored him.

I worked till about seven and decided walk Axel up along the ridge then head back to Denver. I put his leash on, he is always on a leash, and we took off. Axel was just in a rage at something in the brush, then he dropped to his belly and this terrible growling noise came out of him. I told him to behave and pulled him up and we continued on our walk. Now he kept looking back down the hill and growling but I wasn’t really putting everything together, I was tired.

We walked this big circle up along the ridge, back down the hill and ended up at the truck. I put him in and went to shut up the cabin. About the time I reached the steps Axel started barking crazy again, I looked down and there were these huge mountain lion tracks everywhere in the dirt in front of the cabin they hadn’t been there thirty minutes earlier.

I started singing loudly (and badly), walked to the truck and got my rifle. I followed the tracks up the hill along the ridge and back down to the cabin again. This was the same path Axel and I had just taken, the mountain lion had followed us. Now this kind of creeped me out.

Was the animal stalking me or Axel, either way I was oblivious to the whole thing. But Axel either smelled or saw the big cat and was doing his best to alert me. After that experience I really started watching my animals, if they start growling, barking or stare at a particular spot I take notice.

Conway and the Dishwasher

I had just started the dishwasher, shut off the kitchen light and plopped down on the couch to watch some TV. A couple of minutes later Conway, who was about 6 months old, came racing out of the kitchen, stopped in front the door and started yelping. He would yelp then look into the kitchen, then at me then repeat the process, all the while appearing really panicked.

He would disappear into the kitchen for a few seconds then come out and repeat the yelping ritual, getting more worked up with each pass. Conway then ran over, jumped on my lap and started yelping in my face looking at me then the doorway then me then the doorway.

I finally got up and followed him into the kitchen. The dishwasher had spit an island of suds out onto the floor about three foot round and one foot deep. Conway was telling me something was very wrong in the kitchen.

Since then he routinely notifies me of pots boiling over, toilets running and can spot a leaky roof from a half a mile off. This past fall I had a roaring fire started in the ring pit out behind the cabin. I was burning off some scrap lumber, it was safe so I sat down to read the paper. Conway would stand by the window and watch the fire, every couple of minutes he would come over and yelp at me then go back to watching the fire. He did this until I went out to tend the flames, this calmed him down.

My Boys

No person or animal can get within a half a mile of the cabin without the dogs letting me know. They hear cars coming up the road long before I, and either sense or smell when something is near the house. I prefer my furry protection unit over any electronic monitoring system. They are great guard dogs and super little mousers.

Axel and Conway not only do a great job of watching my back, they are the best companions I could possibly ask for. When you are alone at home it is nice to have other intelligent creatures with you. You don’t feel nearly as isolated. They have helped me through several hard time over the years and are truly man’s best friend.

4 comments:

theotherryan said...

Dogs are a great alarm system and can be a serious deturent to all manner of foes. For dogs as an alarm system the size of the dog is irrelivant. As a deturent the midget wiener dogs are probably not the best but as long as they can wake you up they are alot better then nothing.

BigBear said...

They are worthless as far as actual protection but like I said, real good watchdogs. Plus they are really cheap to feed.

boodaman said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. My German Shepherd has gotten me through some pretty hard times over the years. On days when I didn't even want to get out of bed, knowing that I had to get up and feed her and walk her kept me on a normal routine.

Nobody gets within 100 yards of my house without me knowing it, and I sleep like a baby knowing that as long as she's sleeping, everything is OK.

She alerts me to all sorts of stuff around the house, too, like my cell phone going off if I've got it in another room, or the smoke alarm beeping on a low battery, and all sorts of other things.

Even when she recognizes people coming up to the house (family, friends, etc) she will always bark until they are inside the house and I have positively identified them.

I couldn't ask for a better non-human companion. I used to think cats were the way to go because they are low maintenance, but after getting a dog and seeing the difference I will always choose a dog over a cat given the choice.

BigBear said...

boodaman,

It is really strange, it's like they can sense when things are not right or when someone is coming. I would trust them over any person or technical solution available. They are loyal and always alert.

I couldn't get by without.