Four-Legged Heroes

I love animals. The three semi-worthless ankle-biters that greet me with reckless hysteria every night are proof of that. So it’s only natural for one of the heroes in the first book of my romantic suspense series to be a dog.

A German Shepherd dog on a mountain. Română: U...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dillon is a German shepherd, trained as a guard dog, and he takes his job very seriously. For the most part, he’s a one-man dog, preferring to be constantly beside his owner who happens to be the story’s other hero. That is, until the heroine shows up and steals his heart. Then, like any good hero, Dillon goes for the girl!

A dog trainer once told me dogs have the mentality of a three year old. As I look around at my little guys…yeah, I can buy that. But what about all the heroic stories we hear? The pit bull that took three bullets chasing an armed intruder out of his owners’ home. The German shepherd who dragged a woman from her wrecked car to a spot where other motorists could find her. Another German shepherd who ran door to door looking for help for his owner who had fallen and hit her head on the steps.

A few years ago, I had a roommate with a Rottweiler named Shorty. One night he wouldn’t take no for an answer and finally got her full attention to let her know the barn was on fire. We were able to save the horse and alert the fire department before the fire spread to our five hundred gallon propane tank. Sadly, we lost my daughter’s 4-H rabbits that night, but it could have been so much worse. 

English: A photograph of a German Shepherd Dog
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My question is, how does the canine equivalent of a three-year-old reason through a problem, decide if it’s good or bad, come up with a solution and stick to it until the desired outcome is achieved? Most of the time I can’t even perform that well, so I’m prepared to give dogs way more credit than whoever came up with the three-year-old theory.

Maybe the answer is simple—love. A love that transcends understanding can do all things. Dogs are the ultimate in unconditional love. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when it manifests in heroic ways.

Thanks to the magic of fiction, Dillon gets his shot at being a hero. Anyone else have a four-legged hero friend?

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14 Responses to Four-Legged Heroes

  1. I’m a dog lover myself. I’m not a dog trainer, but somehow, I’m not so sure they have the mentality of a three year old. I tend to think maybe they just don’t speak our language. But I’d agree about it being all about love. I think dogs have such a huge capacity for love it amazes me. My Lab is a bit of a jealous dog. She hates any other dog competing for our attention. Which means she wasn’t so happy when I brought another dog home. But despite that she and our Chihuahua compete for my attention and sometimes fight like children, whenever I take one of them to the vet, the other one stays homes, frantic until we bring her back. And I know that they worry about each other, because the minute I come home, the other dog gets greeted first, not me.

    A very touching post, Dixie. You made me cry. lol I can’t wait to read your book.

  2. Sharon says:

    I share your love for all animals. I feel a connection with them, one hard to define but I know it exists. Nice post, Dixie.

  3. Vonnie Davis says:

    Interesting post, Dixie. I think by giving our characters pets, we also show the reader something about the human’s character as they interact with their pet.

  4. Dixie Brown says:

    I think you’re right, Joanne. If we could speak their language we’d probably be amazed at how smart they really are. I have similar dynamics with my three mutts, but somehow we make it work! Thanks for stopping by again, even though I keep making you cry!

  5. Dixie Brown says:

    Thanks, Sharon. I don’t know what I’d do without my little “family”!

  6. Dixie Brown says:

    You’re right, Vonnie. People will show emotions to pets they would never think of sharing with another human. It’s a great way to explore relationships. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Betsy Ashton says:

    I agree with Vonnie. The greatest humanizing activity any of us can undergo is being a pet owner. I was always a dog person until I moved East and couldn’t have one. The cat came with me, because she stayed in the house. So, after half my life as a dog person, two more kitties accepted me into their lives. I’m humbled every day by the control the current kitty exerts over me and my husband…

  8. Dixie Brown says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I have always been a dog person, but recently a 1.9 lb. black feral kitty wrapped me around his little paw and now he sleeps inside with us every night, on the bed, much to the disgust of my three dogs! Thanks for your great comment, Betsy.

  9. candi Bothum says:

    Great stuff! And Shorty was an amazing dog. You know what they say, my Rottweiler is smarter than your honor student.

  10. Dixie Brown says:

    Lol! In his case it was true. Everyone should get to meet a Rottweiler like Shorty.

  11. John Capraro says:

    My wife and I have 2 Goldens, a cat, and a piglet. We love animals.
    Has anyone read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein? That is an amazing and touching story with the dog as the narrator. One of my favorites.

  12. Dixie Brown says:

    Goldens are such great dogs. Not everyone has piglets, but I have a friend who wants one pretty bad. They’re awfully cute. Thanks for the book recommendation, John. I’ll check it out.

  13. Dorothy says:

    Animals communication skills and their trust in us never cease to amaze me. My daughter and I saw a stray black cat a couple months ago in our yard. I had just seen a new ad in the ‘lost and found’ section of the newspaper so we decided to see if we could catch it, reasoning that if it was, indeed, a lost pet, it would probably come when called. And come it did out of its hiding spot, purring up a storm, jumping on us, as if saying ‘help me!’. When we looked closer it had the most awful wound on its stomach, yet it seemed to know that it had to get our attention even though it must have been in terrible pain. Long story short, she was reunited with the owner (miles away) and on her way to the vet in short order. In my book, she was quite the hero.

  14. Dixie Brown says:

    Awww…what a heartwarming story. I’m pretty sure the stray black cat thought you were the hero! Thanks for sharing.

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