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In Protective Custody

That would be me, of course.

Let me explain.

I’ve written before about my dear, dedicated, dopey sidekick, Oli. He’s a Cairn terrier, like Dorothy’s darling Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

Usually his fur is longish, and he looks a bit like a small wolf. However, after a recent stay at his beloved Villa Agthoven, he’s sporting his warm weather look:

Don’t laugh. He’s rather sensitive about his scrawny status. When she saw his haircut, Daughter told him he was personally ‘bringing Sexy Back,’ and he believes her.

Also, note the look that says, ‘What do YOU want?’

He is all bark and no bite. Being small, he is of the school that teaches you to make the most noise imaginable in the hope scaring intruders away. Lunge if absolutely necessary, but only for effect.

And when I say ‘all bark,’ I am not exaggerating. He takes his job as a combination watch/bodyguard VERY seriously.

One time, back in the States, he in our driveway while I moved the garbage can to the street for trash pick-up. A cute young twenty-something listening to her IPod went jogging past, and he decided that I was under attack. (Huh? Why? I know, I thought the same thing. )

Never mind that she was on the sidewalk across the street. Running AWAY from me. He sensed danger and ran into the street, barking ferociously.

(It really does sound pretty ferocious. He may be small but he’s fiesty. And loud.)

Luckily no cars were coming. I ran towards where he’d stopped in the middle of the street, standing his ground.

However, his barking was so loud that the poor jogger could hear him from despite her ear plugs and music. And being oh, probably 40 feet (12 meters) away by now.

Looking over her shoulder and seeing him in the middle of the street, she turned back and started running toward him to help get him out of the road. His barking went up markedly in both decibel and pitch.

But when he realized that I was running up behind him (hence getting closer to the imagined attacking jogger), he went into hyper-drive.

I can only describe the sounds he was making as the loudest, shrillest, frenzied yelps imaginable. Think a squealing pig on steroids. At a Spinal Tap-esque notch 11 on a stereo that has only 10 notches.

Sensing that this was no ordinary dog she was dealing with, young jogger chose to back away and continue on her run. Smart woman.

By that time I had scooped him up to take him back to the house. His heart was beating so quickly that I truly thought it was going to explode through his ribcage.

Interspersed with the sense of panic I felt about possibly losing a beloved pet were scenes flashing through my mind in which I’d have to explain to the incredulous Husband, Daughter and Son how Oli’s demise had come about.

I could just hear them interrogating me in disbelief: ‘He exploded?? Frightened to death by a woman jogger across the street? Are you kidding?!?’

Thankfully by the time I got him back into the house he had stopped barking. It took him 5 minutes to calm down.

Then he took a long nap. My hero.

Here he is, cocking his head to the side because I mentioned the word ‘walk.’

If only young children would respond to ‘Wanna take a nap?’ the way dogs respond to ‘Wanna go for a walk?’…

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