Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Milhous was the first pet I had in my life.  My wife got him for me shortly after we were married.  He was a big dog weighing in at about eighty pounds.  Part German Shepard and part Golden Retriever, he was beautiful.  He had that black snout of the German Shepard but the wonderful soft fur of the Golden.  His temperament was also a mixture.  He was extremely territorial yet very playful with the humans that resided with him in the house.  When we adopted our son, there was much concern over how safe he would be with Milhous.  We needn't worry.  Milhous accepted our son into the family just as everyone else did.

He was named after President Richard Milhous Nixon, starting a tradition that would see my next two dogs named after President Ford and President Reagan.  Milhous lived up to his name though.  He was very protective of his family and wouldn't take anything off of nobody.  He was also extremely bright and managed to escape from the back yard several times.

He was a fence climber.  That is, he would not jump over the fence but climb over it.  It wasn't a slow climb though, as he would be over the fence and off to the races before you knew what had happened.  He was a strong dog with a big barrel chest and the way he would look at a person  with those dark as night eyes of his was terrifying.

He had a special affection for the mailman that would deliver the mail at about ten in the morning everyday.  He stayed in the garage during the week while I was at work so that didn't pose a problem and on weekends I would put him in the garage when I saw someone traveling up or down the street.

It was a nice spring Saturday morning that Milhous and the mailman had their biggest confrontation in either of their lives.  I was out in the yard doing some work on the lawn when I saw the mailman strolling down from house to house on the opposite side of the street.  Soon afterwards came the deep menacing bark of Milhous as he also spotted the mailman making his way down the street.  I took a break from what I was doing and went to get Milhous and put him in the garage.  Milhous cooperated very well, walking slowly into the garage knowing that one of his main nemesis was going to be coming by soon.

I continued to work also being aware that the mail was on its way and soon I saw the mailman a few houses down from mine.  I quit work and stood on my front porch to take the mail when it got there.  The mailman walked up said a cheerful good morning greeting and handed me the mail.  He seemed like he was in a good mood since the weather was so nice.  I took the mail and stepped into the house to set it aside for perusing later in the day.

As I stood in the house thumbing through the mail to see if anything of importance had arrived I heard an extremely loud crash.  I rushed out the front door and saw the mailman standing down at the end of my driveway in the street.  His face was ashen and he had his hand on his pepper spray canister.  I looked over at my garage door and noticed one of the windows had been broken into a thousand pieces and glass was spread on top of my car and over the driveway.  It didn't take me long to put together what had happened.  The mailman had walked between my car and the garage door on his way to my neighbors house.  Being that close to the garage door, he had come into Milhous' sights as he passed in front of the window.  Milhous had taken off after his government enemy and and crashed into the window.  The sudden breakage of glass had caught the mailman by surprise and not being sure what was coming at him, he had high tailed it straight to the street.

I looked at the mailman and asked him if he was okay,  He assured me he was, that he was just a little shaken.  I apologized profusely and assured him this would not happen again.  He accepted the apology and slowly started back on his route with shaking legs underneath him.

I then went into the house and walked into the garage.  I looked around expecting to find Milhous over by the broken window expecting another shot at the mailman, but he wasn't there.  I found him cowering next to the back wall of the garage curled up in a ball in the corner.  He was shaking worse than the mailman had been.  It took me sometime to calm him down and to assure him it was okay to go outside once again.

The confrontation had effected the proud, strong dog more than it had the mailman.  While Milhous would continue barking at the mailman in the future, I don't think I ever saw him charge at the letter carrier again.  It was just too dangerous in his little dog mind.

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