I’m a cat person. Dogs are okay, but I’ve always been a bit afraid of them. That is, all but one dog. He was special. We adopted him when I was eight years old. He was a stray who followed my three older sisters home from the city swimming pool in our small town of Bartlett, Texas.
My mom fed him the scraps from our table, and the poor thing was so hungry he would lick up tomatoes off the front porch.
I liked him from the beginning. He was ugly but docile and had a sweet personality. His brown fur had black strands mixed through his coat that looked like coarse horse’s hair.
Daddy called him “Rover.” Not a very original name, but we loved him. Humble, lazy Rover didn’t have a mean bone in his body.
One day, after we’d move to Clifton, Texas, my brother, a neighbor friend, and I were riding our scooters outside when two boys we had never met before approached us with three German shepherds walking beside them. The dogs looked lean and fit.
For some reason, the boys took an instant dislike to my brother, John, and one told him he was going to sic their dogs on him.
We froze, not sure what to do.
John stared at the boys but remain silent, looking small in comparison to the bullies the tension mounted.
One of the boys mumbled under his breath, “Attack.” One of the German shepherds started a slow, menacing walk toward John. The front dog bared his teeth, and a low growl came deep from his throat.
Clearly, the dogs intended to attack. What should we do?
It was then that I heard a dog’s low growl from behind me. Rover raced out from between John and me at top speed.
He charged the three dogs like he would fight to the death. His hair stuck up on his back, his teeth showed full force, and he growled like a ferocious mother bear protecting her cubs.
Rover was far from docile—he transformed from a mild-mannered mongrel into Super Dog. Amazing and fantastic.
The three other dogs knew Rover meant business, because they turned and ran the other way. Not far behind, the two bullies followed. Rover pursued them with all his might—I’d never seen him run that fast.
He chased them about half a block, than turned around and loped back to us. His fat belly swayed as he trotted. I never knew a dog could smile, but Rover was smiling broadly—he was so proud of himself, and we were thrilled.
I knelt down and let him run into my arms. I gave him a hug and kept telling him what a wonderful thing he’d done, and he seemed to understand.
Rover remained part of our family for many years and never lost his charm or intelligent insight into being a great friend to our whole family.
~ Karen Gaus ~