Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ultimate Guard Dog

Booboo the dog passed away on July 16 at the age of fifteen. Instead of getting bogged down in another pet eulogy, I choose to celebrate the day he channeled his inner Lassie and saved our house from destruction.

Being very territorial, Booboo claimed every backyard he lived in as his own kingdom. He kept us safe from squirrels, birds and even deer. His fearlessness finally caught up to him the night he chased and trapped a porcupine.

In 1999, we moved into a country house on 1.5 acres overlooking a heavily wooded area. The lot had no fence, which left us worried about how to keep Booboo from running away. At first, we kept him tied to a chain but within ten minutes, by running around the tree, he would end up tied against it helplessly. We finally just set him free to roam about. Amazingly, he stayed within the confines of the property as if we had given him a survey of the land. Apparently he picked out his territory and decided that it was enough for a dog his size.
Booboo guarding backyard at our previous house.
He kept us entertained nightly as deer came up through the woods, and he ran down to bark at them. Annoyed, they would simply lower their heads as if to charge, and Booboo would back off. 

The actual backyard of the house was an empty field filled with weeds and tall grass which we hadn't gotten around to doing anything with. One day while St. Pauli Girl worked inside the house, Booboo kept running to the front deck and barking like crazy. Booboo liked to bark at passing cars, joggers, walkers, unicyclists, etc., so St. Pauli Girl didn't pay much attention. After a while, Booboo parked himself by the back door, still barking. Finally St. Pauli Girl had had enough and went outside to get him to quiet down.

When she walked out, a neighbor from across yelled a bit too casually, “Hey, did you know your backyard is on fire?”

After pausing a second to wonder why this delightful neighbor hadn't called the fire department, St. Pauli Girl ran to the backyard and verified an out-of-control inferno. She quickly called 911 and then grabbed a garden hose.

The volunteer fire department responded within about ten minutes with a tanker truck. The firemen jumped out and fiddled with the hose. Then, a bit despondently, they approached St. Pauli Girl to tell her the bad news: there was no water in the truck. (Seems like “Fill the truck with water” would be numero uno on the fire department's daily to-do list, but what do I know? I'm not a fireman. Plus they were volunteers; you get what you pay for.)

The firemen stood behind St. Pauli Girl and shouted helpful instructions at her on where to aim the garden hose. Eventually the fire was put out, leaving behind only a blackened yard and smoldering utility pole.

But if it hadn't been for Booboo, we might have lost the house and maybe even the neighborhood.

Booboo guarded our backyards until the very end. Even when he couldn't much run anymore, he still walked toward the birds to shoo them away from our patio. So “cheers” to Booboo on a life well-lived.


  1. Good on Booboo. He sounds like a great dog and equally great, beloved pet. Our pets are special to us and it's so very sad when they leave our lives. But memories of the good times always remain. :)

  2. BooBoo was very cute. Interesting story about the neighbor not calling the fire department. Good thing you moved. Had you had a heart attack it is pretty apparent you couldn't count on them for CPR.

    I don't think you are being unreasonable thinking that the fire department should be responsible for actually putting out the fire. CRAZY!!!

    1. Ironically, I wrote a story that included an empty fire truck and when someone critiqued it, he said that was just too unbelievable that a fire truck wouldn't have water. So the truth is indeed stranger than fiction! Thanks for the comment.

  3. So sorry you lost another pet!

    A fire truck with no water? Seriously? Do the cops in your town show up without handcuffs?

    1. Luckily I never had to personally find out about the handcuffs. Thanks for the comment.