We all occasionally hear stories about dogs that do amazing things to get help when their owner or a family member is in a serious fix. The TV series, Lassie, was filled with such rescues. So much so that “Timmy fell down the well” has become a colloquialism and occasional gag. But real-life instances do occur and are no joke. Here is one such story:
Cochise Calls Me Out to Get Help
It was a crisp but sunny November day. Blondie and Cochise were out in the fenced play yard. Cochise, being our Chief of Homeland Security often barks at something or other: wandering animals, loud cars, the horrible school bus monster. The UPS truck sends him into a frenzy, I have no idea why. I heard him barking but there was something different: the tone was not his normal “I’m going to get you” bark, it was more of an “Alert, alert” bark. And he was out back of the house, not over in the yard. I went to the bedroom to see what he was barking at. Maybe it was a deer in the woods or a turkey; both were plentiful that year.
I parted the curtains, expecting to see him barking up the mountain slope toward the woods that start about 50 feet behind the house. Instead he was facing the window, looking squarely at ME as he barked. The look in his eyes matched the tone of his bark… something was wrong. He had come to get help. I rushed out the back door. Cochise was peeking around the corner. When he saw me he turned and ran.
I rounded the first corner at a trot, then the second, Cochise had stopped and was looking back at me. He barked sharply twice then took off running down the yard. I followed. He went another 25 or 30 feet and stopped to see that I was still following. Two barks, and on he went. We did this 5 times as we crossed the yard, went through the garden, and around the back of our little barn to arrive at the low corner of the fenced yard.
On the other side of that fence is a driveway, beyond that is my Mom’s house. He stood staring at her house and barking in a series of duplex vocalizations, still wide-eyed. Something was wrong, but what? I could not see anything amiss, but something definitely had him concerned. Did something happen to Mom? Perhaps she fell and can’t reach her phone to call me. I’d better check on her.
I unlocked the gate and squeezed through so Cochise and Blondie, who was shadowing us, would not rush through and take off. I crossed the driveway, ascended the steps and headed along Mom’s porch to the front door. I caught motion out the corner of my eye as I knocked on her storm door and opened it. Something dark gray had moved, but wasn’t there now. Mom’s cat, Libby, was at the door looking perturbed. But she’s a cat: she gets perturbed over many things.
Mom was sitting in the kitchen at her computer desk. I asked if she was okay.
“I’m fine. What’s up?”
I told her about Cochise’s ‘get help’ behavior and how he insisted that I come to check on her.
“Libby has been upset about something too. Did you see Fuzzy out there?”
“Maybe … I saw something move, but didn’t see what. It was about the right color.”
Fuzzy is a neighbor’s free-ranging cat. She often comes to sun herself on Mom’s deck. Libby hates that and will glare and growl at the invader – who arrogantly ignores her.
I took my leave of Mom and went back to the gate. Both Cochise and Blondie were staring over toward Sam’s front yard. Cochise was talking softly, Blondie just stared. I think they were scheming. I followed their stare.
Sure enough: Fuzzy was sauntering across Sam’s lawn toward her house, not a care in the world, tail straight up with the tip twitching as she walked. When the cat disappeared behind the building, my dogs turned in unison and marched shoulder to shoulder up the hill toward our house. I’m sure they expected treats for alerting me to the invasion attempt. I’ve never seen Cochise call me out like that, but it’s nice to know that he can get help should the need arise. I just have to wonder about his definition of an emergency situation.
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