Tales of Two Heroes

First Tale: Willy the Speaking Greyhound

by Linda Hestianna

It was Christmas Day, 2000. Early in the morning, my daughter and I took Willy (AM Wilbert) and our foster hound for their morning walk. We hadn’t fed them yet because we planned to let them romp for a while in our condo’s basketball court. As we rounded the fence corner at the top of the hill, the dogs alerted and stared intently into the woods behind the court, pacing excitedly back and forth. Suspecting a neighborhood cat was about, we also looked. To our surprise, we saw four men, dressed in camouflage gear, sneaking around in the woods. They were silently motioning to each other, pointing to the ground, and shifting their positions so furtively that I became uneasy. Then I noticed their weapons. I couldn’t tell if they were rifles or bows. Regardless, they were on heavily posted land, and within shooting distance of us!

Marena whispered, “I’m scared. C’mon, Mom, let’s go home.” I considered the options. If I went home and called the authorities, by the time they’d get there the men would be gone, our Christmas play session would be ruined, and I’d feel afraid every time we went up there. Confronting four armed men was out of the question. I decided that I really just wanted them to leave. They hadn’t seen us yet, and I thought Willy’s big-dog bark could make them nervous about being discovered and chase away any game they might be pursuing.

I whispered, “Willy, speak!” He barked. “Yes! Speak!” He barked again with each command. He seemed happy to obey and yet he had big question marks in his eyes as if to say, “Gee, Mom, what’s the big deal?” The next time I looked down the hill, the men were moving away, into the woods, out of range.

We had a wonderful romp on the snowy basketball court after that, and when we got home Willy ate a special breakfast and extra treats. I made it a point of telling this story to everyone who had ever told me I was crazy for teaching Willy to speak. Our big guy came through for us that day, and we’re grateful.

Second Tale: Tall’s Tale

by Colleen Gonzales

Our 9-year-old-Greyhound, Tall, joined the family last September. He’d never shown a lot of interest in going into our son Tony’s room, but several weeks ago he became obsessed with entering. Once inside, he’d look and sniff behind Tony’s couch, which doubles as his bed. This was amusing at first, but since Tony works nights and sleeps days, Tall’s whining at his door quickly became annoying. It didn’t take long for us to discover what the problem was.

One day my husband, Michael, came home and heard Tall’s whining and barking all the way down in the carport. He went upstairs to find Tall with his nose almost shoved under Tony’s closed door. He’d been scratching at the door trying to open it or to wake up Tony. Tall knew something was very wrong.

Michael opened the door and discovered the room with filled with smoke. He woke Tony, ushered him out of the room, and began to search for the cause ―a baseboard heater located behind the couch. Although the controls were set at “off” and the heater hadn’t been used for a year or so, apparently enough heat was being generated to start melting the faux-leather cover of a beanbag chair shoved up against the heater. We couldn’t smell it, but our smart, beautiful Tall could!

Tall received lots of hugs that evening and was served a hero’s meal of fresh ground turkey and chicken mixed with fresh veggies, yogurt and kibble. I also baked him special peanut butter dog cookies, and he got an extra one that night!

CG SU 01

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  This article and any photos or artwork contained within may not be reproduced or reprinted without express written permission from the author, artists, and/or photographers. 

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