Husband and I have been discussing getting a security system for our house.
Specifically, one with fur.
Specifically, one of these guys.
That, my friends, is a black German Shepherd Dog.
One of the reasons we adopted our first dog last year was that I needed a running buddy. Even running in broad daylight in busy neighborhoods, I was getting a little nervous. I hate even having to address the possibility of being attacked, but someone I knew in college had a close call, and that was enough for me. When we got our dog, my husband and I had conflicting work schedules, and I spent a lot of time alone, with poor cell phone service, without transportation, at our apartment. I wanted somebody else with me. Somebody with big sharp teeth.
We adopted what we were told was a lab-shepherd mix. Although I wouldn’t trade our Ella for a hundred other dogs, my big furry protector seems to have topped out at about forty pounds. And, as the kennel lady told us, “She loves everyone.”
(To her credit, she growls when she detects certain unsavory kinds of smoke in our neighborhood.)
She’s been a perfect first dog for us. Ella is loving, energetic, cuddly, smart, and incredibly stubborn – but small enough to manage while we try to remind her of her manners.
I try to stay out of the big-dog-small-kids controversy, because I have strong feelings about it based on . . . not a lot. I love dogs and I love kids and I would love knowing that my kids (who don’t exist at the present time, unless you count the dog, and I usually do, but that nomenclature just aggravates this issue – I digress) were safe. For some people, this means not putting their kids anywhere near large animals with teeth. For me, I think this means keeping the large animals with teeth on my side – on my kids’ side.
In high school, I knew someone who grew up with three Dobermans; he tells a story about the night a drunken man broke into their house and passed out on their couch. One dog watched the intruder; one woke the kids; one woke the parents. A former coworker of mine said that her parents had a lab when she was a baby. He would sleep by her crib and, when she cried at night, run frantically from her crib to her parents’ bed until someone got up to take care of her.
But there are a thousand counter-stories, and I’m operating on a huge bias and a wealth of personal problems. My parents own a border collie – although she’s not huge and she does herd children, I feel certain that she would give her life for me. She even herds our Ella away from danger – and chases away neighbor dogs who chase our car so we can arrive home in safety. This is the bias.
The main problem is that I have more trust issues when it comes to humans than to animals. My dog is a wonderful listener. She’s never tried to hurt me. I do think she detects what I’m feeling. Sometimes she’ll try to play with me, realized that I’m sad, and give up the game to curl up with me and lick the tears off my face. Every night, she either sleeps by the door, guarding us (she doesn’t know she’s little), or in her own little bed by our bed, which she scoots several inches closer to our bed every night.
We’ll tell you if we change our minds, but the plan for now is to start searching for a security system (GSD or otherwise) to adopt come summer, when husband is done with the school year. That is, if Ella will have it.