Remembering Red

Three years ago today, we had to put our big, bad dog to sleep.  I was thinking about her the other day, so please indulge a dog lover, and let me tell you the story about Red.
Red came into our lives by "accident" though our family used to joke that she was "sent" to us.
My neighbor walked out of her back door one morning to see a pick-up truck speeding off after pushing a dog out of the back.  My neighbor was a dog lover and had no qualms about entering the alley until the dog went into "guard mode."  My neighbor immediately went back into her yard and closed the gate!
This dog spent the next five days running through our neighborhood like a bat out of hell!  This same neighbor would come home from work late at night to see the dog run right in front of a bus, being missed by inches and seconds.
My brother-in-law came home one day to find her on his front porch.  She wouldn't let him in his own house until I brought a plate full of meat loaf and set it in his yard.  She relinquished the porch.
One night she was in our yard trying to sleep between our fence and garage.  It began to snow and rain and my husband (of all people!) wanted me to bring her in the house.  No one could get near this dog and I wasn't about to let her in my house with three kids and two cats!  So we cleaned out the shed and put a blanket in there.  As soon as we went back in the house, she went right in.  She slept in there from then on.
For about five days her routine was to run the streets late at night (neighbors saw her speeding down the street chasing Lord knows what).  Sometimes she would sit at our front door and scratch it to get in.  During the day, I would have my children put a bisquit in the yard in front of the shed so she could see it.  When we would leave, she would come out and get it.  Occasionally, she would take it from us.
She would come "home" at five in the afternoon every day because she knew I would feed her dinner.  There appears to be some intelligence here!
One day my daughter and I came home from shopping and started to walk through the yard to the back door.  "Red" (as one of my neighbors started to call her because of her beautiful red coat) came toward us.  I told my daughter to walk ahead.  As the dog approached me, I held my breath.  She jumped up, with her paws on my shoulders and licked my face!  I thought I was going to have to change my clothes!  I brought her in the house and that started our thirteen year relationship.
After a visit with the veterinarian, we discovered Red was a one year old Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed with a bit of lab.  Red didn't have the typical ridge that the Ridgebacks are known for.  But she was Ridgeback in every other way.  When I did research on the breed, she was textbook all the way.
I mentioned in the beginning that our family believes she was "sent" to us.  That's because, before her arrival, our garage had been robbed many times.  Those occurrences stopped after Red's arrival.  And "miraculously" the gang bangers stopped hanging out in front of our house.  After seeing Red and on my suggestion that they not hang around in front of our house anymore, one of them turned around and said to me, "Where'd you get that dog?"  Ah, the Lord works in mysterious ways!
On the rare occasion when I see another Ridgeback, I smile and think of her.  She was a handfull and probably would have given the Dog Whisperer a run for his money.  She was our family's companion and protector and we all still miss her.

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