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Bev Cobbett

The dog never bothered the Christmas lights that hung from the eves down the back wall to our deck. He was too bent on chasing anything that moved—Birds. Squirrels. Our cat! — to bother harassing non-moving glass balls on a wire. Still. I kept an eye on him. 

Gideon was a good boy, as pups go. He was a six-month-old black lab our son Davie had picked out for his fifth birthday, back in July. 

The endless holes dug in the lawn, the chewing-everything-in-sight stage, the potty training . . . Not something we looked forward too. But Davie had made a strong case: “Every farm boy needs a pal to hang out with,” he’d said. 

And so, Gideon, boisterous, self-appointed Security Alarm / Welcoming Committee—all gangly and waggly, and as much pest as he was a pet, came to live with us. He became Davie’s “bestest buddy.”

For the pair of them, summer was blissful. Boy and dog roamed the fields hunting mice and gophers, building fortresses in the bushes, and waging battles in the shallow, water-filled ditches, commanding toilet paper tube-ships with frogs as captains, until the ditches dried up. It was a joyous time for Davie.

Quietly, summer rolled by. Davie grew a few inches, and the pup more than doubled his size. 

Fall came and went, too. Suddenly, it was wintertime.

Shortly before Christmas, my wife and Davie went to visit family for a few days. I had to stay for work and so, logically, I became pup-sitter. I didn’t mind. 

I wasn’t concerned that Gideon could get himself into trouble while I worked; the fenced yard was puppy-proofed. It wasn’t like he’d be tied up or anything. We’d learned that lesson weeks earlier when he took a short cut and jumped over the rail while chasing the family cat. Nearly hung himself, crazy mutt. Good thing I’d been there to cut him down . . . 

There was no possibility of that happening now and I dismissed the thought.

Then Davie called me out of the blue that day. “Dad. I’m worried about Gideon. Can you please check on him for me? Please!” 

I raced for home. I didn’t know why, but sometimes Davie ‘knew’ things that the rest of us didn’t. 

Long minutes later I arrived to see smoke billowing from our house. A pumper-truck screamed to a stop and organized chaos filled my yard. Shouts filled the air. Mine were the loudest. “My cat’s inside! Where’s the dog?” Firemen pulled on hoses.

An axe smashed with heavy blows until the door gave way. Smoke poured out. Gideon appeared out of nowhere and jumped in through the smoke before anyone could stop him. Mere seconds later, he reappeared, a disgruntled cat hanging from his mouth.

“I’ll be damned! I thought you’d chew that cat up and spit him out if you ever caught him!” 

Gently, Gideon released the cat.

I was so happy. Both animals were okay.

“Who knew! Gideon —A Rescue Dog!”

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