|Our oldest daughter is playing the "jump and catch"|
game that I love to play with Howdy. Keep in mind,
Heather is nearly six foot tall. That dog CAN JUMP.
If the backdoor of the truck is left open while we are loading up, he will jump in and we can hardly get him to jump back out, "Howdy, we aren't leaving for another two hours, get out of there!"
|Howdy on our acreage during winter months...he's always got our back.|
Howdy has two buddies with him in the shots below. Tux is the multi-colored Blue Merle Australian Shepherd and he is the entire reason I fell in love with this breed. He can jump, but not like Howdy - who you can see in the air. But, Tux has his specialty and it is speed. Incredible speed. That dog is faster than fast. The other little guy, the reddish Australian Shepherd is Dunk. He is actually one of Howdy's boys - literally, Dunk is a chip off the old block. He wants to jump, but he's still young and too timid.
|My oldest daughter, Heather, and the three|
Australian Shepherds on Galveston Beach this past Saturday.
|Howdy's jaws are in business!|
|Howdy, the beach, farm, chicken herding, athletic, door opening, |
kid loving, protective, loves-to-hug dog.
But, on this day, I did this and the fidgety man only pressed closer against my glass door. He wasn't getting the message. The dogs at my feet had already judged his character to be sour. I told him straight up, "As you can see, I have guard dogs and cannot open the door and I'm not interested in anything you are selling."
My stained glass front door with a full side glass panel revealed this young, large man to be off his rocker. I was standing in the foyer of my home without a phone on me. Instantly, my dogs went into fierce protective mode. They sensed danger right away.
While rambling non-sensical words, the man brazenly began hitting my glass door and side panel with the back of his hand, hard enough to break it, yet it thankfully held. The front glass door was already cracked from Howdy jumping on it and my husband had put reinforcement plexy glass on the inside to protect it from breaking further.
I did not show intimidation and said, "I'm not interested in anything you're selling, you need to leave my property."
He was argumentative, and told me he wasn't selling anything. He had already been talking in an abnormal high pitched voice to my dogs, saying to them, "You guys would let me in, you'd be my buddy. You'd let me inside." To this, my dogs become highly agitated and I became very alarmed, yet I did not show it.
I was definitely creeped out. Now, I am ready to make the lunge for my gun, kept nearby. However, it was not nearby enough at that moment. Did I mention that I'm a Texan?
Well, my dogs were clearly NOT going to be his buddy. The hair along their spine was upright, their lips were rolled back and upward to completely reveal sharp teeth and their low growling, snarling and warning barks were not of a friendly nature. They were ready to do battle. Even my sweet Lyla is part boxer and she can go into ferocious mode at shocking speed, but only when she senses palpable danger.
Both dogs positioned themselves in front of me. Howdy's snarling jaw was pressed against the glass. My dogs were determined that this man would go through them before he got to me. They had no fear.
The man was rambling like a crazy person, telling me that he'd be able to stand on my porch at night and I'd not be able to see him at all and he began this wacko dance, jumping rapidly back and forth as if to "prove" his point. I carefully took a couple of steps backward just in case he propelled himself through the glass door. It was crazy. I knew deep within my soul that someone listening would tell me to turn and run for the gun or the phone, but my deeper instinct told me to stay put and stare him down. If I turned, I felt as if this guy's predator mode would kick in fully. I knew that I should not turn my back on this guy.
With my dogs making their intention clear, I stood my ground inside my home, with only bits of glass in between us and I stared back into his crazy eyes so he'd know that I was not playing games while I repeatedly kept saying in a clear, deep voice, "Get - off - my - property."
Finally, he gave me this perplexed expression, as if he second-guessed my determination and he ran off. At the time, I didn't know where he'd ran to because I was running the opposite direction for my gun. But he'd gone across the street to my neighbor's house.
Later that day, I'd discover what happened over there after my husband went around and spoke with the neighbors. Crazy man had gone straight from my house to our neighbor's house and he began another confrontation. Perhaps he was on drugs? This was another bad decision by crazy man; he'd gone straight up to the house belonging to another Sheriff's Deputy.
My neighbor did open his door and immediately told crazy guy to leave his property. He responded, "What you gonna do about it? Call the police?" And he stepped forward into my neighbor's face.
This is when the beautiful part comes...my neighbor was wearing "normal" clothes, for goodness sake, he was at home! But, fortunately, he was prepared and pulled his duty weapon from the back of his waist band and said, "I AM the police."
Meanwhile, back over at my house, in these brief seconds of time, I now had my 357 magnum in hand. Even though my body was severely shaking, I knew I would still be able to shoot a perfect shot, if needed.
Since I didn't know that crazy man was on my neighbor's porch, I was worried he might have gone round to the back of my house. I wasn't sure if he would try to come through the backyard, but I wasn't going to sit around to wait and see. I'm not that kind of woman. I'll take my chances head on instead of hiding in a closet like I'm in a horror movie.
The police station is literally around the corner, but I wasn't going to take a chance. I stepped outside onto my porch to look for him, so he could see me waiting, if he decided to return. Plus, I didn't want to be trapped in my house if he had gone to the backyard. However, I still could not see him as he stood on my neighbor's porch because it was tucked too far inward, out of my immediate view. Nevertheless, I would NOT be taken off guard. In our house, that's hard to do anyway, we are all well-trained, down to the dogs.
I didn't see him, so I stepped back inside and locked the door. At that moment, over at my neighbor's house, a gun met crazy guy's surprised face and this caused him to miraculously find a huge dose of mental awareness, enough to encourage him to high-tail it back to his van parked down the street with out of state license plates. He tore out of the neighborhood and no one could find the guy. All of this had happened in the span of only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity.
My neighbor, also an FBI agent, stated that the man was definitely psychologically disturbed or on drugs and he had clear aggressive tendencies, possibly violent tendencies. He seemed to be trying to get into a confrontation, but he selected the wrong block.
But, I wonder...if this man had tried to approach a house in the country, I believe there would have been more than two dogs for him to confront and he would not have had the fortunate circumstance to have a glass door protecting HIM. As a Texan knows, the bigger they are, the wider the target.
Our neighborhood drama had just started. The very next day, a nice owner of the convenience store at the corner of our neighborhood was shot. The shooter ran into our neighborhood, was seen jumping fences and we were told by the police to stay inside our homes as police cars formed a barricade at each entrance and exit. Soon, a police-search helicopter buzzed overhead. After years in our neighborhood with relative peace, there was too much happening at once.
As I sat in my tidy house with all of my creature comforts listening to the helicopter circle overhead, I couldn't help but wish to be relaxing on our acreage and not care about the lack of air conditioning in the Texas heat.
In support of our neighborhood store, after the shooting, EVERYONE was showing their love for our local commerce owners by making a point in finding some reason to stop by the store. For a few weeks, you could not even find a space to park in the spacious lot. I was one of those people making a point to go buy something little. You don't have to live in the country to give and to receive compassion; it can be right around the corner in your part of the world.
A week after the shooting, I took a cut rose from my garden and told the recovering owners at the store, "Don't let a worthless punk ruin a great place with wonderful people." I went on to say, "There's always a bad one in the bunch, anywhere you go," and I handed him the rose. He was bowled over.
Store surveillance cameras caught the cold-hearted robber concealed by an over-sized hoodie holding up the store and the footage was played on every Houston news station. I felt so bad for the two men in the strip center who were accosted and treated like animals, dragged by the cuff of their shirt into the back room where the shooting occurred. They were brave men, relatives, and they went back to work right away. The one who was shot had his arm in a sling. Now, THAT is courage...WORKING for a living instead of stealing!
After these two days of unwanted excitement, to tell the truth, my nerves were frazzled. I know the world is full of punks, but when they show up on your doorstep, the battle-front is your home-front. Those who search for trouble just might find it.
Thankfully, my dogs are my faithful companions. Lyla and Howdy aren't my only protectors. There's also my little steel buddies, the bullets in my gun's chamber that I call "Hello and Goodbye." That's a bit of Texas humor, deadly serious humor. Okay, I'll stop, for now.
From now on, I go to the door Old West style, with a holster in place and a smile on my face.
|Me and my oldest daughter, Heather.|
|Me and my youngest daughter, Stefanie.|
|My two protectors and empty-nest syndrome solutions!|