Playing With Rottweilers
One time in Davis, the neighbors had two dogs that Tate had to play with. They were a mother / son combo, and they happened to be large Rottweilers. They were running loops around the tree in the front yard three abreast. Only 22 lb Tate was in the middle of the two hundred pounders. He would be leaping up trying to grab their necks. They would make a couple laps and be bumping into each other until Tate would do an end-over-end. We finally had to put Mama in the house to keep Tate from being crushed. He never complained until we drove away his huge playmate.
The Big Cat
Once he and I were on a walk around the block and Tate spied a small cat. He ran after it until it quickly lost him behind the staircase to the second floor. He was quite proud. On the way back his ears came up as he saw the little cat and he quickly chased it towards the staircase. He disappeared behind it to only reappear instantly. Apparently the little cat had told his big buddy who was now right behind Tate. It was a classic ambush. The yard was covered in deep ivy and Tate was thrashing and yipping as the big Tom was whaling on him. I was laughing so hard that I could barely pick him up from where he was laying on his side. As we beat our retreat, his mostly excised bravado soon returned, with him growling as he peered over my shoulder.
One night, when he was a pup, we heard a terrible ruckus in the kitchen where he was staying. It was the first time we had heard him bark. Soon we heard police sounds and then their knocking on our door. Apparently, a neighbor had spotted someone lurking around our back door and they were checking on us. There had been a series of horrible home invasions during that period. Though my wife thinks he was barking at the police, I have always thought that he deterred whoever it was and thus we have been indebted since.
I was checking insect traps in an orchard one day when I heard a bunch of chickens and birds make a racket near the house next door. When I returned to the truck, Tate was not in it. After a moment of panic I noticed the open window. Running next door, I spotted Tate the Lion Hearted taking a peacock down with great bravery (it was a young small one). Other panicked avian creatures lay in various states of disarray. I grabbed him, applied quick corporal tough love feedback and then got him the hell out of there. I had no idea what the penalty for pheasant assault was in Brentwood, but I opted for a change in venue. I was hoping it was not a capital case. Later I left several messages on their phone but no one called me back. Hopefully it was a case of no harm no ‘fowl’.
The Annoying Kid
Tate only growled at one human. He was unbelievably patient with babies and young kids. They could pull his beard and crawl all over him with only a gentle reaction. Usually he just lay there. At one of my daughter’s early birthdays, there was an obnoxious kid chasing Tate around. He kept leaning on Tate’s back and I was just about to have a word with him and his mother when Tate turned on him and got in his face, growling. The kid left him alone. Today, this kid has a reputation for overstating his coolness that transcends several school boundaries. Tate knew.
The Dog Next Door
The dog next door was also a schnauzer. She was a real bitch and a great dog too. She definitely was the boss of Tate. She passed away and they got a new Labradoodle puppy who was Tate’s 14 year junior. They would go at it all day and all night if we let them. Cody got big – I think she’s 80 lbs. They would still play, Cody on her side with Tate straddling her shoulder as he attacked her neck. Towards the end he could barely walk down the stairs so I built him a handicap ramp. He would totter over for his wrestle. Had to rest a lot. The day he looked over at Cody and didn’t want to play, we knew he was in too much pain.
Attack of the Raccoons
One night I heard the dog door close downstairs. Tate did too and he got up to check it out. Apparently he sensed something, for as he went down the stairs he started barking like crazy. I heard a bang as something ran out the door; then a second bang right behind it, and his barks turned to yelps. I rushed down stairs in the dark in my birthday suit. As I ran into the kitchen, I could hear Tate crying outside on the deck. Unfortunately between my totally naked self and the back door was a huge hissing raccoon and her baby. She was about waist high and right next to the dead bolt that I had to insert a key into. I didn’t want to turn the lights on for fear of being arrested for exposing myself. Yelling and screaming at the unimpressed 300 lb large-toothed beast, I looked around and came up with a knife. (PETA people, stop reading now). Coolly taking aim from about four feet away, I quickly bounced it off the cupboard and broke the window. The little one went out the hole and the mother dropped down and went out the dog door. This left me with the opening I needed to rescue my still yelping pup. I ran out, only later mindful that the motion sensor had illuminated the deck with 1000 watts of halogen. Looking over the side of the steps, I saw two more raccoons attacking Tate. He was on his back, partially visible under the humongous male, while a smaller one kept darting in and out, attacking Tate’s private parts. I started yelling and throwing things at the two beasts and scored a hit with my Styrofoam lunch box. Apparently terrified, they ambled off, looking for others to pillage and bully. At that point I was able to pick Tate up and place him strategically across my person as the neighbors started to pop out of every door and window. After a very briefless explanation, I took him inside. There was a little blood, but the parts they were trying to damage were already gone. By now it was about 4 am. He seemed little worse for wear and I was really ready for bed. Not to be. He and I had to drive across town to the vet emergency clinic. (He insisted.) After sitting alone in the waiting room for 20 minutes, they were able to work him in (good thing it wasn’t a human hospital). Another hour, a tetanus shot and $200 later, they thought they should keep him overnight for observation. And by the way, he needs to be picked up by 8, as the hospital won’t keep them past then. By now it’s about 6 which means I will get back home in time to turn around to come back and pick him up. I said no thanks and wrapped him up and took him home. So we pull in about 6:30. I pick him up all swaddled in his nappy and carry him home. Mister Tough Guy sees a shadow and starts growling, ready to go again. All I could do was laugh.