My Little Protector

Envision the scene: Shiva and I are standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change. It’s a “less pretty” part of North Dartmouth, with a gas station and a pizza delivery place just a few steps away. As I wait for the walk signal, Shiva sniffs the light standard to my right. A creepy-looking guy with a hood walks towards us on the left.

Creepy guy: Heeeeeyyyy, what’re you up to tonight?

Me: *raising an eyebrow* Walking my dog.

At the sound of a strange voice, Shiva stops sniffing and moves beside me. She gives the hooded man a long stare.

Creepy guy: Whoa! No one is gonna bother you with that fella around.

The man turns around and walks away. Shiva gets steak for dinner.

It’s so weird to me how Shiva’s presence alone can scare people off. I don’t know how someone can take one look at her speckled face and think she is a demonic beast. Yet about half the strangers we run into give us a wide berth. Most of the time she isn’t even looking at them, preferring to choke down random Tim Horton’s cups or potato chip bags.

Does this look like the face of a killer to you?

One man even flipped out at us for walking toward him on the sidewalk. “Get that dog away from me!” he screamed before running away.

It was an odd experience, to say the least.

All of this is fine by me. Sometimes I wish the other half of the population would see her as a monster as well. Shiva still has issues with most strange men. Not all, but most. Men in hoods are her least favourite but I suspect that is partly because they tend to make me nervous as well. I will never give her flak for barking at those who walk directly toward her, staring in her eyes. She is allowed to set her own boundaries. Besides, it’s a great excuse for me to get out of there. Alternatively, there have been some strange men Shiva immediately likes. There must be a sort of signal certain people give off that makes her at ease. Most women, for instance, Shiva appears to trust right away. But every once in a while, there will be one who puts her on edge, even if she isn’t looking in her directon. It’s hard to say.

But it’s interesting.

While I didn’t adopt a dog for protection, if Shiva serves as a creep-repellent, that’s more than okay with me!

*******

A few weeks in to the contest, I thought I should give you all an update on the Current State of the Antler. You may be shocked to learn she has not done that much damage. It’s not for lack of trying either. Last night we actually had to take it away from her when my PH noticed her aggressive chewing was causing Shiva’s gums to bleed. That’s right, my dog is willing to wound herself for her readers. She is that dedicated.

Alas, despite all her sacrificing, the antler is still quite large.

Has she finally met her match?

30 thoughts on “My Little Protector

  1. I like it that Shiva is allowed to set those boundaries. I’m also glad she is a deterrent to those crazy guys that think they can hit on you or something else.

    I don’t get why people would be afraid though- she’s so adorable, but maybe her intense stare is enough to discourage people. She may change her body posture too. I would guess that if a dog suddenly looked at me intensely and stiffened their body posture I would be cautious too. I’m glad you have Shiva with you.

    P.S. I think Shiva has met her match. 🙂

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  2. I kind of wish sometimes that Gwynn were less goofy looking. There are still people who are nervous of him, but those people are scared of dogs in general (AARGH, chihuahua! … lol). but he does the same kind of reaction as Shiva – some people, he likes, others, he’s skittish of, and it doesn’t always make the most sense. He’s met a number of very intimidating-looking biker-type guys who he just loves, but not all intimidating bikers are befriended, even if they’re doing their best to ‘pet the doggy woggy’. I didn’t get a dog for protection, either, but it’s nice to know that he can sense a bit more than I can of what a person’s intentions are.
    My guess is that the people who are really intimidated by her are probably people you don’t want too close to you anyways – like mr creepy hooded hitting-on-you. She is so sweet looking, though – I can’t imagine someone yelling for you to keep her away!

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  3. I like that people are wary of approaching a dog, I think that is how it should be. There would be far less dog bites in the world if people only had a little respect and understood protocol. 🙂

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  4. I also am puzzled by the number of people who find my dog intimidating. Pearl is probably a similar size to Shiva and I don’t think either of them is particularly huge or scary looking. But I’m with you, I’m grateful that people tend to give me space when I am out walking, especially in the dark. I live in the city and it’s not a particularly awful neighborhood but it’s not a warm friendly suburb where I know my neighbors either. Although Pearl is very dog reactive she normally LOVES people so when she is wary of an approaching stranger I usually listen to her.

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  5. People react to me the same way… they walk on the other side of the street or they give mom dirty looks. We’ve heard all sorts of comments. Mom sometime walks me and my foster siblings -so people would get really scared when she had me and Oreo – both big dogs, and we’d get looked at like circus freaks when she’d walk me and one of the little foster siblings. People are weird.
    -Corbin

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  6. People are often afraid of Kayloo (pittie cross) too. Although, all kinds of people immediately warm to her (she is a total suck, it’s easy to do), so I figure if someone is acting dodgey and nervous there is a decent chance they should stay on edge and away from us. I let her strain on the leash if people aren’t getting the hint that they should back off 🙂

    Little do they know that chances are it would be Mickey (chihuahua x) who would likely start a scuffle if anyone tried to hurt me 🙂

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  7. I feel the exact same way! Moses’ size alone deters any wrong-doers, which is great! I feel I can walk him any where at any time and not really have to worry. Adding Alma to the mix is even better! And Moses will occasionally give a warning bark if someone comes out of the shadows and startles us on a walk. Or sometimes hooded people get barked at – I suspect because he cannot see their faces. These rare behaviours are not at all deterred by me.

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  8. Friends don’t think I have guard dogs in my hounds but they would be wrong. Dogs love their people; were I in a situation like you with Shiloh (Beagle), Justus (Dobie mix) or Phoebe (red Coonhound mix), I have no doubt either dog would read the ill intent of the person approaching and react accordingly. Go, Shiva – good girl.

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  9. When we were in Philly we found plenty of people afraid of 35 and 40 pound Agatha and Christie. It had less to do with the dogs, I think, and more to do with what kinds of dogs were usually in our neighborhood. Generally, dogs were seen as protection or as weapons; not as pets.

    I have a different problem in Ithaca. I hate seeing kids walk up to Honey and start sticking her hands in her mouth. I know by now that she’s bullet proof where kids are concerned. But if they’re acting that way to Honey, these kids might eventually do it around the wrong dog.

    BTW, I once read about a woman who taught her dog to park on command. The cue phrase she used? “No, Killer. Calm down.” Clever, huh?

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  10. Haha, I love the scripts you do. 🙂

    Elli’s moonlights as Batpup — she’s only protective on nighttime walks, growling if she sees a figure far off even not coming toward us.

    She does it in the house pretty regularly though, if she’s sleeping and hears something (even my dad coming up the stairs at irregular hours). Though I’m pretty sure that even if it were a stranger, she’d be like she is in the daylight: their best friend. Ugh.

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  11. well, you KNOW i have the same problem with people being scared of desmond. and what a bunch of dummies they are, because the only things that desmond has ever tried to protect us from were A) absolutely nothing at the back door and B) his own reflection in a mirror.

    i wish he would be a little more “get the F away from my mom/dad/house” instead of “hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi who are you? let’s play! wanna play? SAY HI TO ME, DAMMIT!”

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  12. “creep-repellent”! Love that!

    Bella is still afraid of pretty much all people (so far the only ones who can reliably touch her are me, Jan and my mom). At almost 60 lbs, black and with a ferociously deep bark (for such a dainty girlie dog), no one even gets close enough to us to start a conversation unless we tell her it’s okay. I’m good with that. ;]

    I’m glad Shiva does her part to keep you safe.

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  13. Good job, Shiva! Now, as for me, I LUVS everybuddy. But for some reason, I think my mom skeers peoples off. I dunno why. I think she looks nice and furendly but a lotta times peoples walk FAR away from us when I’m out walking my mom. I try to smile at ’em real nice and wag my tail to let ’em know that she’s not skeery but that doesn’t always work. Mom doesn’t seem to mind, though, so I guess that’s okay.

    Wiggles & Wags,
    mayzie

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  14. oh thank god i can comment today. i was here last night, I SWEAR!!! and while i could read the post, i couldn;t find any comment area. i’m sure i wasted a whole 10 minutes looking for the form.

    anyway, here we are, kind of back, though i will be leaving for a short trip again tomorrow.

    as fort shiva’s protective instincts, I LOVE IT! wonder if Georgia might be like that for me. not if the suspicious character happens to be holding onto some food methinks 🙂

    have a lovely weekend 🙂 xox

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  15. Heh, I was walking a little ball of white fluff around town and had someone actually leave the sidewalk and walk in the street to make a huge, wide circle around us. I just had to laugh…

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  16. No Shiva doesn’t look like a “killer” but I figure that it’s her “death stare” that does the trick. Sometimes looking like it’s going to attack you is enough.

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  17. I admit that I don’t always disavow people of the notion that Morgan is some dangerous wolf hybrid, either. There are just some people that I don’t feel like dealing with, and if I can avoid them, then I do. Life is just too short to deal with all the riff raff! 😛

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  18. Sometimes I wish that people would be a little timid off the Newfs. Instead I think that they are actually creep magnets!! We get some weirdos walking right up to this. They don’t care if they dogs are pulling me down or dripping slobber everywhere, all they see is teddy bears!!! Even when I was walking Leroy with a muzzle on so he wouldn’t eat rocks on our walk, people would still come right up to him!!

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  19. She has a sweet face… and the people who are fearful of her are probably not dog owners or lovers. Doggies know and they always can sense. They can even sense your fear when you both encounter a stranger and she’ll be there to protect you.

    It is wonderful to have Shiva beside you at most times. That will surely keep a lot of creepy creeps away from you.

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  20. yes, weird – people are more scared of black dogs…. people seem more scared of Barbie than Bender, and Bender is the one they should be afraid of!

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  21. Is Miss Shiva available to hire out and perhaps attend a few cocktail parties in the Greater Vancouver area? I seem to have a “Creep Magnet” embedded in my forehead and I could use a great service like hers. Tell her I have unlimited amounts of steak.

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  22. Dog people think Our Best Friend is the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen, and non-dog-people think he’s a crazed killing machine. A very tall muscular dude in a hoodie once stepped off the sidewalk to avoid us coming toward him. As you say, A-okay with me!

    I feel extremely safe when I have my dog with me. I think he has good instincts. He’s never hurt anyone, but I have a feeling he’d know the appropriate time to rip someone’s arm off. 🙂

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