It’s funny how many people assume that there’s something comical about the idea of a little dog trying to fight off an attacker. All of those humorous cartoons and movies have given us the image of a tiny dog, latched onto someone’s ankle, while they shrug and continue on with what they were doing.
Years ago, I had an office in the fashionable Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville. We were on the second floor, and I’d often keep the back fire escape door propped open in the summertime, to try and catch some semblence of a breeze. One night, coming back from refilling my coffee pot in the small kitchenette down the hall, I found a man rifling through my purse behind my desk. He was relatively well dressed, in his twenties, and didn’t seem at all phased to see me – in fact, he sort of glanced at me, shrugged, and went back to what he was doing. That’s when I noticed the large hunting knife strapped to his belt, and that’s when I screamed.
I had Tara with me at work that night. Tara was 21 pounds of cranky red and white French Bulldog. She came to me after she’d systemically slaughtered two cats n her previous home, and while it took us a while to come to an understanding (namely, you don’t kill my cats, and I’ll stop jumping out from behind the furniture and screeching “NOOOO!” whenever you glance at them), we eventually ended up inseperable.
Like most of the cranky red and white dogs I’ve known in my time, Tara was loving and gentle with people, so I was shocked when she bared her teeth and launched herself at the stranger in my office. When he swung his foot at her, Tara snarled with anger and latched onto his calf. He screamed, and headed back out onto the rickety, open metal fire escape – with Tara still attached to his leg.
Down one whole flight of stairs, he swing his leg in attempt to bash her head against the stairs, or to fling her off to a story and half plunge onto concrete. My little girl hung on, and I finally realized that I had a full glass coffee pot of water in my hand. I threw it – hard – and struck him in the middle of the forehead. He stumbled, Tara let go, and he fell down the remaining half flight of stairs. I scooped up Tara, carried her up the stairs, called 911, and checked her for injuries. Her face was covered in blood, but once I’d wiped it off, I realized that none of it was hers.
When the police arrived, they found a puddle of blood at the bottom of the fire escape, but no sign of the intruder. They also found a puddle of water and the remains of my coffee pot. After taking my report, and giving me a brief lecture on the virtues of keeping doors locked at night, they mentioned that someone fitting his description had attacked several people in my area – specifically, in the parking lot that my fire escape led down to (and that I also parked my car in). They also told me that someone had broken into the art gallery below me and slashed several paintings. He was picked up a few days later, in our neighbourhood, after creating a scene at the Schizophrenic out reach office around the corner. I admit I remained nervous for a while longer, but having 21 pounds of cranky little Frenchie sitting at my feet every night made coming in to work tolerable.
All of this is a way of leading in to this story out of Florida, about a Boston Terrier who ran off his owner’s attacker –
“The female dog, she saw her owner being attacked. The woman did try to fight off her attacker, but it was the Boston Terrier that came to the rescue. [The dog] came right in there, bit this man on his right shoulder,”
Never underestimate the little dogs – what they lack in size, they more than make up for in heart.