Bailey and the Night Visitors

Ron RobinsonI was adjusting to life without my horse. I felt empty without Skip On A Star and it was too soon to take in another animal. Instead, I focused on my work helping a steady stream of pet parents with the loss of their beloved animal companions.

My wife read about a lost dog that needed a foster home. Jan thought caring for the border collie mix was the right thing to do, and she offered our house as a short-term foster care solution. Bailey arrived at our home in early January. And within 24 hours, Jan contacted all of the local veterinary practices and posted notices online in hopes of finding the wayward canine's family.

Within a few days, it became clear that Bailey was no ordinary dog. She acclimated quickly to the sights and sounds of our household, including howling coyotes, nervous rabbits, neurotic crows, chickens, horses, dogs, cats, goats, and of course, our parrot Sid. After a few laps around the neighborhood, Bailey learned the lay of the land. What we noticed first was that she was house trained. Bailey would show obvious signs when she needed to go out, like whimpering and running back and forth to the sliding glass door. She was incredibly adept at telling us, "I've got to go potty."

In less than a month, we knew Bailey was staying for good, and she decided that her good fortune in finding a new home was a reason to ursurp the role of nightwatchman. Stationed at the foot of our bed, Bailey could be caught napping at her post until awakened by the slightest noise. She would open one brown eye and let out a quiet woof before returning to sleep.

One cold night in December, we were awakened when Bailey leaped from the bed barking angrily. She alerted us to a barn invasion, sounding the alarm in time for us to rescue our beloved rooster and his hen from a hunting party of five hungry raccoons.

Bailey watched intently from the safety of our living room window while a quartet of coyotes observed the event from the edge of a creek nearby. With tragic irony, two of the masked intruders - who intended to kill and eat our birds - succumbed to the blade of a shovel and themselves were to be consumed. And like appreciative spectators, the coyotes claimed their gifts and disappeared into the darkness.

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