When he wasn’t out on patrol, the dog loved to lay in the backseat of my Renault R5 sedan. The overstuffed upholstery was a comfort to him that he preferred over his doggie bed in the house. It was a little after 2 am in the morning and the dog was catching a nap before it was time to do his wee hours wee. He was awakened by a slight movement in the car and was fully awake when the thief pulled open the drivers door and hopped into the car. The dog watched the man rip the wires from the steering column as he readied to hot wire the car.
In my little one room house I was nestled in my bed and listening to Led Zepplin as I was falling asleep. The room was littered with the remnants of an evening with the guys. Pizza boxes, beer and soda bottles and a collection of bongs and a herd of overflowing ash trays were dispersed throughout. I heard a noise that came from outside my little earphone environment and I pulled off the phones to tune in. Then I heard the sound of my own car, the starter turning the motor over. I threw myself out of bed and jumped across the room to where I kept a shotgun on the wall. As I picked it off the hooks and looked towards the drawer that held the shells, I heard screaming from outside, the sound of a scuffle and a low gutteral growling. I stopped mid-movement to listen, and heard the screaming accompany footfalls of someone running. Running away. I hung the gun back up and stepped to the door.
Outside it was silent. I could hear cars traveling the roads in the distance, but other than that and a few crickets, there wasn’t anything to be seen or heard. My car sat in the driveway with the driver’s door open. I reached inside and flipped on the driveway floodlight. It was immediately apparent that there was blood on the seat of the car up by the headrest, and smears of it on the car door. Droplets of blood left a trail leading north on the packed dirt of the driveway. No one was around now, though, including the dog. But then I heard, off in the distance, someone scream “shit” and then barking. After that, it was silent again. I went out and surveyed things. Other than the blood in the car, nothing else was amiss, so I fetched some Windex and paper towels and cleaned off the car while I waited for my dog to come home.
It was a little after four in the morning that I heard the scratch on the door and opened it and let the dog in. He wagged his tail heavily so that his body wiggled along with the tail. He had his usual doggy smile on his face, but there was dark matting on his muzzle. When I wiped it with a rag, it came away red. It took another half hour to clean up the dog and check him over for any injuries. He had none. Wanting back out, I opened the door for the dog and he reclaimed his spot in the backseat of the car. I closed the door, leaving the window rolled down so he could come and go and went back to bed. I had visions of police cars rolling into the driveway, red and blue lights washing the trees with colorful brilliance. But no emergency vehicles came.
Not for three days, and then it was the fire department. I’d called them when my dog climbed a 60 foot pine tree in pursuit of a neighborhood cat. The cat eluded him and left him at the very peak of the tree, whining pitifully at his predicament. The firemen retrieved him with a bucket lift, earning him the nickname Sky Pilot and putting his photograph into the local papers. This exercise would be repeated twice more in the coming weeks. It would have likely gone on longer, but the owners of the cat moved away, taking their wily feline with them. This broke my dog’s heart. After all, he simply admired the cat and wanted to talk to it, maybe have a coffee. You know, get to know one another.
I never did find out who tried to steal my car that night, but I’m pretty sure the event left the would-be car thief permanently emotionally marked. A match to the scars he got on his head and neck that night.