Dog Hero

We adopted Max a year ago this upcoming October. When we adopted him, we knew he was between 3 & 4 years old, he's a German Shepher/Rottweiler mix and he had been a stray up near Bellingham "for a while." That was it. Well, that and he is just absolutely beautiful and struck us as being a pretty good dog.

It's been a learning process. He's "ok" in the trained department (He knew not to use our living room as a toilet. Major plus!) but just ok. He doesn't listen very well and it can take several times of telling him what we want to get him to do it. After almost a year, though, he has become slightly less stubborn about some issues but more stubborn about others. It's been interesting.

He also isn't all that friendly with other dogs. That was a bit disappointing to realize as there are a couple of dogs in our family. So far, we haven't done any socializing amongst the dogs because, well, frankly, we are too concerned as to what Max might do.

Yesterday he proved himself to be a dog with which not to trifle. He did a great job of protecting our home and I'd often wondered how he would do if someone or something that didn't belong came on our property. Yesterday, he made it perfectly clear he would defend what he considers his without hesitation.

One of our neighbors has 4 dogs. Two adults and two puppies. They're pit bulls and I only mention that because the reputation of that breed makes what Max did all the more impressive. I know any dog can turn on you, no matter what kind of dog they are. I know pit bulls have a "reputation" for being nasty dogs and I know plenty of people who will tell you the best dog they have ever owned is a pit bull. I wouldn't want one but not because of their reputation - they don't have enough fur. I definitely prefer softer, longer haired dogs - even with the shedding.

Anyhow... this story seems to require more "setting the story" than actually "telling the story," I think but I'll continue. We had installed a dog door for Max a few months back. He spends most of his time indoors and likes to be around us when we're home but when we're not, he likes to move between inside & outside. Sometimes three or four times in a minute.

When we found out our neighbor had his dogs (they haven't been there for long), my biggest concern became those dogs escaping (the fence on their yard isn't all that great) and coming into our yard (We had installed Invisible Fence when we got Max. Wonderful way to go if you're thinking about that, by the way), in through Max's dog door and... well.. the bloodbath that would ensue would be all over my house. I could imagine it, did not want to imagine it and most definitely did not want it to happen.

So - yesterday my deepest fear was almost realized. Three of the neighbor dogs escaped. They came to our house. One of them (one of the puppies) even started to climb the ramp we have to Max's door (remember - septic system, tore down the deck...), probably would have found his/her way inside.

Max would have none of it.

Aaron said Max was up and out that door so fast that by the time he made it outside, the drama was over.

Max "removed" the puppy from the ramp (tossed him pretty good, I guess) and when momma dog yelped about the puppy, Max charged her, knocked and pinned her down and had his teeth on her neck before she could inhale to yelp again. Apparently he shocked the bejeebers out of all of the dogs because they couldn't even think to react beyond "RUNNNNNN!!" They headed for home pretty fast, especially since Max wouldn't let up. He apparently kept trying to pin momma down again but she managed to wiggle away from him (for that I am incredibly grateful, by the way) each time.

The pits went home. Aaron followed them, making sure all of them arrived home and none of them were hurt. Max never broke skin, the teeth, it seems, were a warning. An effective one, too. Our neighbor was very apologetic and his dogs are now safe - and secured - on his property.

What happened is still so hard for me to imagine, especially if you have ever met Max. He is just a sweet, loving middle-aged puppy (he still behaves a lot like one!) who enjoys cuddling and snuggling with us. That can be entertaining, (the picture might not portray his size very well) especially when we're actually trying to sleep.

We have always known, though, that there is this protective streak in him - I was incredibly grateful for it when I was home sick one day and two gentlemen were in the neighborhood advertising a carpet cleaner from Kent. For those of you who don't know, Kent is about an hour away. I wasn't feeling all that sure about them and since Max had started growling and barking the moment I opened the door, I sent them on their way quickly. He didn't like them and who knows what he saved me from.

This family wasn't complete, it seemed, until we brought Max home. He may have been a challenge - and is still on occasion - but well worth it. We are so proud of his reaction yesterday although we're also very grateful that it went the way it did and none of the dogs were hurt.

He earned an extra milk bone!

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