One of the amazing qualities about dogs is their staunch defense of their pack and to those whom they love. I hear stories all the time about kind, really sweet dogs, coming to the aids of their families or friends in difficult situations. A dog’s loyalty to his pack is legendary!
You wouldn’t think a little hot mess like Rugby would necessarily be a protector, but I’m going to share a story where Rugby used amazing good sense, and made it clear to a stranger that he was protecting his space and his Mama!
It was a beautiful Sunday summer a few years ago. Michael had gone to work, and Rugby and I were just enjoying a beautiful sunny day that was just the right temperature! We were both just hanging out in the back yard, and it was a typical fun afternoon at home. I turned around to find a pretty scruffy looking character coming around the corner of my house into our back yard. I had no idea who he was, and my first thoughts were whether or not I had made sure the front door was locked when Michael had left for work. I could just envision this guy’s buddy getting into our house through the front door, while he distracted me in the back yard!
He certainly was a nice enough man, and polite as well, but something about him made me very uncomfortable, and I was wondering if I was safe in my yard. He began pointing at the back of my house, at minor repairs that were needed, telling me he had noticed a few things about our house that could use a handyman’s care. Now I knew he had been walking around our house without my knowledge, and that made me very uncomfortable, and none too happy. I needn’t have worried.
Cue the “William Tell Overature.” Just at that moment, Rugby came flying across the yard….and I DO mean he was flying! He had been poking around in a bush, trying to scare up a bunny or bird to chase. Suddenly, he must have heard a strange voice that he didn’t recognize, and looked up to see a strange man he didn’t recognize. He didn’t waste any time coming to my rescue! The next thing I remember, was hearing the man say, “Hey! Your dog just bit me!” I asked him if Rugby had truly bitten him or just given him a warning nip, and he admitted that Rugby had just nipped at him. I assured him that Rugby had done so because he was trespassing on our property without our permission, and Rugby didn’t know who he was. The man smiled and said, “I see. He’s just protecting his home.” I assured Rugby that things were okay, and he was happy to get a quick pat on his head.
At no time before or since, has Rugby ever reacted that way when someone has come to our home. I can only assume that he knew something I didn’t know, and responded accordingly. I felt very sure that this stranger would think twice about poking around our house without our knowledge, and there was something very nice about that. Rugby may only be 23 pounds, but I know if push came to shove, he’d protect his pack.
One of the traits about a dog that I really admire is a dog’s heart to defend his friends. After my dear friends of many years had rejected me, I honestly wasn’t sure that I would ever get to feel the support and security of knowing that there were people who believed in me enough to protect me. I was afraid to go looking for friends because when you’ve had dear friends tell you that you’re not good enough….you feel like damaged goods. I mean if they didn’t stay with me….who else ever would?
Recently, I’ve been able to experience that security and peace when some new friends came to my defense and made it clear that they had my back. Just like I felt safe when Rugby sent a strong message to the stranger in our yard, there’s a whole lot to be said about the feeling of security I’ve felt knowing that I’ve had others who loved me enough to stand by me and support me. That’s something that’s at the very heart of every dog I’ve known, and that loyalty and protective nature is something I aspire to have as well.