11.

From the beginning of our association, I guarded
Mr Bear carefully. After experiencing the loss of
Ms Bear I certainly didn't want to lose Mr Bear.
Protecting Mr Bear hasn't been easy. He tends to
be aggressive especially toward other dogs. He
approaches other dogs with an 'I'm the boss'
attitude. If I say, "Git outta here" to a stray
dog, Mr Bear takes off after the stray no matter
how big the stray is; and he doesn't hear a thing
when he is chasing some animal; it's as if he goes
suddenly deaf, and he doesn't slow down to see if
its safe to cross the street so I have to keep a
close watch. I guess you could say that he has lived
a sheltered life with as much freedom as society
and prudence allows. I've often said that the most
difficult thing about taking care of Mr Bear is
trying to keep him alive - to keep him from self-
destructing.

One Saturday in the late afternoon, Mr Bear was
wandering around in the yard and I was tinkering
with some gadget. I looked out the window and I
saw Mr Bear acting strangely. He was vigorously
rubbing the side of his face with his paw. I ran
out to check on him and I found that a small amount
of blood was coming out of his mouth and he was
making strange noises while rubbing his jaw.
I panicked. I thought: Choking!

I picked him up and ran inside to the telephone.
I called the nearest animal hospital; the answering
machine said they were closed. I grabbed the phone
book and found another animal hospital. They would
be open for another half-hour. Somehow I got my
wallet, checkbook and keys together while holding
Mr Bear and we took off for the animal hospital.
It was about seven miles away and all the way there
I thought that Mr Bear might choke to death at any
moment. When we arrived the Vet was waiting.

The Vet took Mr Bear to another room. After a
while the Vet came out holding a big piece of
bone in his hand. Mr Bear wasn't choking after
all. This 'Y' shaped bone had become lodged
between his jaw teeth and his jaw. This caused
a small cut inside Mr Bear's jaw that had to be
stitched. Otherwise, Mr Bear was fine. The Vet
kept Mr Bear over the weekend. I was happy to
pay the bill on Monday and take my dog home.

I remember his first disagreement with a
Veterinarian. Mr Bear didn't like his first Vet.
I remember one occasion when two attendants and
I were holding Mr Bear on the examining table.
The Vet had just given him a shot in the rump
and Mr Bear was snarling at the Vet. He showed
the Vet those Big Dog Teeth. The Vet got a
muzzle on Mr Bear and continued the examination.
The Vet told me, "You'd better be careful with
that dog, he can be vicious." I replied,
"Mr Bear doesn't act that way around other people;
after all, you just stuck him in the rump with a
needle."

It was years later that a lady Vet explained
why Mr Bear acted so vicious in the examining
room. I had been taking him to a new clinic and
he always threw one of his fits while I tried to
hold him on the table. On this particular day a
new lady Vet called for Mr Bear to come to the
examining room. I took him in and held him on the
table. When the Vet came in Mr Bear began his
usual 'mean dog' antics. I apologized to the Vet for
his behavior. She told me to put him on the floor
and leave the room. I was surprised, but I did what
she said. As soon as I left the room Mr Bear calmed
down and there was not another sound from him.

When the Vet opened the door to hand me his leash
I asked her what she did to calm him down? She
said, "Nothing. He wasn't making all that noise
to protect himself - he was protecting you. When
you left the room the threat to you was over, so
he settled down." My goodness. That was so simple.
Why hadn't someone figured that out before? It
also explained even more of his strange behaviors
that I hadn't understood..

 

From the time he was a little puppy he never
barked at people or surroundings when left alone
in the truck. He lies down on the seat and stays
there until I return. No matter what the confusion
or noise he never gets up or barks until I return.
I always wondered why he did that until the lady
Vet explained that he is protecting me. He takes
being a guard dog seriously. As soon as I return
to the truck he jumps up to his window and barks at
any and every thing around. I think he is announcing
to the world that there is a guard dog on duty here,
everyone stay clear.

One day I had parked near a construction site.
While I was gone, the workers moved to right
outside my passenger side door and began digging.
The truck window was open. When I returned,
Mr Bear jumped to the open window and
announced that he was on duty. The startled
workmen asked if Mr Bear had been in the truck
all along. I said that he had been. They said
it was hard to believe that they were working
so close and never knew he was there.

When Mr Bear announces his presence, he
doesn't sound like a little thirty-pound dog.
He sounds like a Doberman. I often tell
startled people that he thinks he is a German
Shepherd, which brings a smile to their lips.
One of his favorite tricks is to lie silent
until someone is close to the truck, then cut
loose with his loud, menacing growl.

One day I had just returned to the truck from
shopping. Mr Bear jumped to his window and
checked out the parking lot; finding it clear
of people, he lay down in the seat again.
Meanwhile a very large lady with a basket full
of groceries had squeezed in between my truck
and her car. With her back near Mr Bear's
open window, she began shifting her groceries
from cart to car. Mr Bear jumped up to his
window and cut loose with one of his classic,
big dog, 'gotcha' sounds. The startled lady
jumped like she had just been accosted by a
viscious wild animal. I apologized to the lady
and I told her that he thinks he's a Doberman.
With a sigh of relief she said that she thought he
was a Doberman too. I was relieved that she
thought Mr Bear was cute and also, that she
loved dogs. No harm done. I'm glad she had
a strong heart.

Mr Bear loves to ride into the crowded
city streets of downtown. One of his favorite
pursuits is to watch for a crowd of City
Bus riders waiting close to the sidewalk
for the next bus when my truck is in the
sidewalk lane on the passenger side.
He stands silently at his window until we
are close enough to reach out and touch
someone, then he cuts loose. There are
many reactions to that barrage of 'gotcha'
half-growl and half-bark sounds. When
people become aware of what animal
made those sounds, they always laugh
to see that little fuzzy Scottie head
sticking out the window.

I have several back street short cuts to
make my way around in the big city. One
day I was driving on a deserted back
street in a questionable part of town.
Mr Bear was at his station, looking
out the passenger side window for any
thing that might be a good target for
his barking skills. There was only one
car on the street. It was parked on
Mr Bear's side. Suddenly two men
emerged from a building on my side
of the street. They were running
toward the parked car. One of them
was carrying a briefcase.
They didn't even slow down when
my truck approached - they ran
right in front of me and the one with
the briefcase yanked his car door open.
About that time we were right beside
him and Mr Bear cut loose with his
'gotcha' sound. The man dropped
the briefcase on the spot and jumped
face down onto the car seat. As I sped
away my last view of them in my
rearview mirror was two men standing
in the street with surprise and wonder
on their faces watching us drive out of
sight. I still wonder what they were up to?

11.

Mr Bear's 'mean little dog' look. His right ear was bent over during a dog fight and it never straightened up again.
He loved playing with the water hose.
We had to turn the water off to get him to stop.
It was hard to clean anything using the             hose with Mr Bear around.
The spewing water fascinated Mr Bear.
Guarding my laptop computer.
Mr Bear's antics keep me on watch. 
Where does that water come from?
This is Page 11.
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