Fish: A dog, his master and a threat

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How many times since the beginning of the year have we heard a story about how the family dog saved someone's life?

I was just reading a story the other day during my radio show, about how a families German shepherd led firefighters into a house that was engulfed in flames to the 2-year-old and 4-year-old who were inside. Everyone survived and the dog — now a hero — had his picture in the paper with his right front paw wrapped due to a burn but is expected to make a full recovery. Nice story right? Who doesn't love that tale of the tail?

Well I have my very own story, and if my dog Dutch wasn't with me things could have turned out ... well, let's just say differently. Fort Dummer State Park is one of Dutch's favorite places to walk; we try to go there every day so he can run off-leash, grab sticks, and generally be free. He truly loves it, and I love watching him love it — so we're even. But the other day, the mood quickly changed.

We were at the top of the park on one of the roads that weaves through the camp ground, and to be honest with you I was taking a moment to commune with nature by pulling out my smart phone and checking my email. All of a sudden Dutch was at my side, ears at attention staring deep in the woods. I looked in the general direction but saw nothing, so I looked back down at my phone and that's when Dutch's hair stood straight up and he started snarling and barking ferociously. OK, now I'm a little freaked because he's never done that before. I quickly looked up and an animal ran from the woods and reared up on its hind legs, charging at me. Dutch never left my side; he got even more menacing and the creature stopped in its tracks, running right back to where it came from.

So before I finish telling you the story, I want to remind you of something your parents told you about when you received a gift as a child that wasn't really anything you wanted. It's not the gift, it's the thought. That's something you probably didn't understand until you got older, but you understand now that when somebody gives you something, it's because they were thinking about you, and that in and of itself will always have more value than something material.

OK, back to my brush with mortality. I looked at my dog Dutch with absolute amazement, squatted down, grabbed both sides of his face while giving him his favorite deep jowl scratches and thanked him, then kissed him on the forehead. This, after all, was an amazing thing he did. He sensed something dangerous, rushed to my side to protect me, and then protected me. Again, we read stories all the time of how the family dog saved the day. How they've laid down their own lives for their master and now I know firsthand what if feels like.

OK, back to the "it's not the gift but the thought." The woodland beast that reared up and charged was a chipmunk that had fallen out of a tree. As I think about it, I never saw it fall but I heard it, Dutch must have seen it and processed it as a threat and sprung to action. As for me, I did get a little freaked when it charged but that was only because it was about 15 feet from us and quickly halved that gap with its charge. And the last thing I needed was this thing flying up a pant leg. Clearly the little fella was disoriented from its fall, but Dutch put him back on course with a few pitbull growls and barks.

I did spend the rest of the walk chuckling to myself, I have to say. After all, the visual of this whole thing was worth a million. But the loyalty that dog showed in that moment quite honestly, you can't put a price on that. What the hell is up with that?

Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at fish@wkvt.com.


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