I have a dog named Patches. She was rescued from a shelter three years ago. I brought her from Indiana to Texas on a 1200 mile journey by car. You learn a lot about a dog when you travel. They don’t always do what you want them to do, but are always ready to play. Patches is a mix of English Setter and Border Collie but most people ask, “Is that a Dalmatian?”
I don’t really know if she has any Dalmatian but she seems to look and act more like the two dogs I mentioned. She is a friendly, kid loving, sensitive dog with tolerance for anyone and anything. Cats and dogs alike approach her, but her tail always wags. I was not sure she would ever be any kind of a watch dog until I was walking with her alone on a trail by our new home one afternoon.
There are endless trails to walk in San Antonio, and one afternoon it was completely void of other people. We walked a brisk pace for an hour before I saw a man approaching us. He was about twenty, wearing a hat, sunglasses and a bandana over his mouth. He walked with a distinct “strut” instead of a typical exercise gait. The earbud dangled one in and one out as he whispered something upon approach. He slowed his gait slightly and I realized why when I almost tripped.
My dog, normally receptive to strangers froze parallel in front of me and raised her paw. Her ears laid back, she began to drop her head and turn to the side slightly. She was staring at this man eye to eye and her head turned as he passed us. White fang teeth visible from her pulled back lip as her hair was raised on her neck and back like I had never seen. Her whole body turned to watch him walk past. He never looked at me but picked up speed as he moved past us on the trail. I turned to see where he was and Patches was still watching him. He moved along at increased speed once beyond us. She looked up at me and then calmly turned around and returned to the walk like nothing had happened.
Now whether or not that man intended me any harm I will never know, but I think she sensed something that I could not. I now have no doubt that my dog, as friendly as she is, will not allow anyone or anything to hurt me if she can help it. She is my pet, but moreover, she is family to me now. Her rescue could very well have been my own.