Quiet, dark and in a deep peaceful sleep, describes the middle of a recent Thursday night.  But sure enough, as ‘Murphy’s Law’ would have it, the dog starts to bark.  As with many nights before, my grumpy side got the best of me… “Someone must have left the cat outside” and now, as it so happens, it chooses this blissful 2 AM moment to want back in.  I roll over wishing that darn cat would just go jump in the river.
More barks…  a growl…  another ba… wait… a GROWL?  The only time I’ve heard her growl is when there’s a stranger at the door.  She never growls at the cats!

RED FLAG!  RED FLAG!  I sat up suddenly wide awake.  Fast fingers on the key pad quickly open the small safe next to my bed.  In an instant Walther and I were ‘On Alert’.
Hallway clear.  Bathroom clear. Living room clear. A brief thought crossed my mind… “Hey, what if I shoot this guy and the police come?  Will I have time to get some pants on?  Shouldn’t I get dressed first?”  Kitchen clear.  Silly thoughts came to mind as I try to calm my nerves with tomorrows headline; NAKED MAN WITH GUN, ON A MISSION  (Nervous chuckles to myself).

There’s the front door…  Don’t hear anything.  Don’t see anyone through the windows.  Large blind spot behind the door… watch out…

I crouch to the height of the counter top as I reach for the door knob.  Open… Nothing.  No cat.  No person.  Nothing.
Close the door.  Chew the dog out.  Back to bed.  Tried for 2 more hours to get back to sleep.  No luck so I got up to get ready for work.  Yeah, thanks dog!  Not a good way to start a new day.
Two days later I heard from a neighbor who said Thursday night there was an intruder inside his front porch.  He called 911 and the police came to search but he wasn’t found.  Then it dawned on me… “My dog had heard someone at our front door that night and she tried to warn me”.  I’m sure it was the same guy.
I went straight home and proceeded to feed that dog treats all night long!  “What a good dog you are!  Such a sweetheart!  Best security system I ever had!  Yes, such a good girl!”
Since then, I’ve given this situation a bit of deep thought.  My dog is my first line of defense.  A first alert system.  She is a member of my family and is dedicated to our well being.  I can trust her.  Listen to the tone of her voice.  Observe her body posture.  She is communicating clues as to what she suspects and wants you to know.  You will soon know the difference between ‘it’s just a cat’ and ‘HEY!!! SOMEONE’S AT THE DOOR!!!’
I have no desire, nor intention, of ever shooting anyone under any circumstance.  But entering my home, uninvited in the middle of the night, is a threat to me and my family.  And I will protect my family first.  And that includes my dog!

Yes indeed, my dog saved that prowlers life that night.  And in the process, saved me from a lot of hardship and grief.  She protected my family.  She’s a hero in my eyes.

Thank you “Miss Penny”!