Guard Dog

July 16, 2008
In Rocko’s mind, he is a tall, dark, muscular Doberman of 90 pounds with a rumbling bark that can cause an entire city to tremble. To everyone else, he is a curly, brown, matted miniature poodle with attitude that resembles a slightly overgrown rat. Rocko does his best to protect his family from dangerous intruders, but it is difficult to distinguish friend from foe when you stand at six inches high. So, just to be safe, he listens constantly for a car in the driveway or a hand on the doorknob, and when a sound triggers his mental alarm system, he scampers through the living room and skids across the kitchen, yapping viciously at the door. He relentlessly yelps and snarls and bears his little teeth, and if that’s not enough to scare whoever dares to enter Rocko’s turf, he rears up onto his hind legs and glares menacingly from his astounding new height of 16 inches.
The force of the door opening sends the yowling ball of poodle halfway across the room, and each footfall of the trespasser bounces poor Rocko up and down on the floor as if he were the smaller of two children on a trampoline. Forced to retreat, the brave guardian runs for his life, slipping under tables and chairs with his little legs splayed to either side. Rocko is proud to know that he can scurry faster than any other creature he has met. This is due to the fact that he is about equal in size and weight to the foot of a bulky human. In fact, the only way anything can catch Rocko is to be trap him in a corner (much like the one he is in now), and snagged him away from above. A long, dark shadow falls over him. He curls up into a tiny circle against the wall and shivers wildly.
About two seconds later, Rocko is being supported in one hand and stroked by another. The wrist that his snout is pressed against has a familiar scent, and he licks it with his skinny pink tongue. The hand that is stroking him brushes away the long curls that dangle in front of his face causing him to be less reminiscent of a member of a punk rock band. With his two enormous eyes that barely fit inside his tiny head, Rocko can now see the man who is holding him, and recognizes him as family. He wags his stubby tail that has a poof of fur at the end of it while the man murmurs something to him in a high-pitched voice. Doubtlessly, he is thanking the poodle for the first-rate protection he provides. Satisfied, Rocko ponders the rest of his day. Perhaps he will chase some flies, or take a nap inside a sneaker, but always keeping one disproportionately large and fuzzy ear open for trouble.

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