This is Shadow. She is a 5 year old mostly black lab. And she just might have saved our lives a few weeks ago.
One day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, when the dog shelter that I follow just posted a 9 month old pup up for adoption. This dog didn't look like a mix, she looked like a pure-bread and I knew she was going to go fast. My husband and I commented immediately that we wanted to meet her.
The next day the four us drove two hours to New Jersey to her foster home and meet her. And we feel in love. We were told that another family was coming to meet her that day as well and the foster parents would determine which family seemed to be the best match for her.
As we waited for the phone call the next day I knew that we would be devastated if she were to be adopted by the other family. Luckily, they thought we were the best match. This time my husband and I went to pick her up, this time without the kids. The foster mother was crying and assured us that if we didn't want her, she would adopt her. She is that good of a dog.
|Shadow staying warm with below 0 temps outside.|
The last five years with Shadow have been ...... hairy, smelly, fun, and SAFE. I take her along with me on most of my runs and I really don't worry about anything happening (unless a squirrel runs in front of us). I'm not really a dog person, and if I'm going to be honest, I wanted a cat but was outvoted. I hate the slobbering, the snoring, the sneezing in my cereal, constant need to go outside, and the sound she makes when she's licking certain body parts. But I love this dog and would be wrecked if she were gone.
This dog rarely leaves my side (unless there's food) and sleeps right beside my bed every night. A few weeks ago we were all upstairs in bed and I remember listening to Shadow snore. Then all of a sudden she jumps out of her bed and runs downstairs. She's barking and growling and I'm truly scared. She's never reacted like this, not even for the UPS guy. She doesn't relent and if anything she's getting more aggressive. My husband grabs his gun and goes to check things out.
My ears are at peak performance at this point. Do I wake the kids up? Do I hide? Do I call 911? What's my next step? Then I hear my husband on the phone with 911 asking for police that there's a prowler outside trying to get into our house. I hear my husband speaking (yelling?) to the person through the door that if he lets the dog out, she'll rip him apart. And guess what? The person left.
Once we were all safe my mind started playing its favorite game: What if?
What if the person got in the house?
What if Shadow slept through all of that?
What if we had a cat and not a dog?
I have a few tips for those of you who do have dogs:
1) Let the dogs barks. I find that in most cases larger dogs do not bark as often as smaller dogs. Whenever Shadow runs to the door and is barking....I don't ask her to stop. I think it's great for people to know that a dog lives here and one that is territorial enough to bark.
2) Don't tell people that your dog is harmless. One time I was sitting on my front porch with Shadow and a stranger was walking up the sidewalks. When he asked if he could pet her, I responded, "Of course, she wouldn't hurt a fly." I immediately regretted that. I didn't know that man. I didn't know if he was scouting the place or just a harmless passerby. Perhaps a better response would have been, "Sure, if I tell her that you're okay."
I guess you want to know what happened to the prowler. Luckily the police were nearby and picked the guy up down the road. By the way....I still want a cat.
FYI: In the time it took me to write this blog post, Shadow needed to go out THREE times. *sigh*