We had lived in Blaine for several years, but this was my first country living experience. We had Arabian horses, Jersey cattle, chickens, pigs, poodles, and whatever new species that took my mother’s fancy at the time!
We also had dogs; two, to be exact. Zip was a black Labrador who had seen better days. He had few teeth remaining in his old black and gray head, but he had a heart that was immeasurable. He never met a human he didn’t like and he didn’t mind barking his lungs out to tell them so!
Our second dog was Lobo. Lobo was reportedly at least half wolf and from looking at him, you would assume it was even more than half. He was friendly to people he knew but he was also the real guard dog on the place and seemed well aware of it.
We always trusted the dogs to look after the place when we had to go somewhere. We were so far out in the country that not much was nearby and shopping for clothes was a special trip. Bellingham was just about the only place in driving distance with anything with a decent selection.
I remember my mom would allow me to play hooky once or twice a year (if I was making straight A’s) and go shopping with her at the Bon Marché department store in downtown Bellingham. It is one of my fondest memories! Shopping, lunch at the luncheon counter of the Bon Marché and always a maple log pastry and Coke to finish our day… Heaven!
One bright, spring day we had gone as a family to do some household shopping and had a great time in the process. All the way home I sang songs and we played “out the car window” games to pass the time. I loved the way the wind would whip my voice away or make it vibrate if we went fast enough.
When we arrived at our house, there was a big surprise waiting for us. The front lawn of our house was a scene of utter chaos.
A huge, jagged hole had taken the place of our large plate-glass window. Glass was in shards and pieces all over the ground and picked up the rays of the setting sun like so many prisms. In addition, there in the middle of all of this wreckage, wrapped tightly in two strands of snapped barbed wire fencing from the side paddock, was a man we had never seen before. He moaned, “Get that mutt away from me…” and passed out.
We called the police and they came out to take a report from us and from the man. He took awhile to become coherent; he was so high on drugs that it was hard to communicate, but here is his story as it was related to us by the police.
You see, it seems that this gentleman had the bright idea to bring his dope across the border to sell in Blaine. Canada’s money was not worth as much as ours at that time and he would make more profit off the same amount of stuff by selling it in the U.S.
He slipped across the border in the woods across from our house and came down the path to “H” Street. When he got to the street he saw our house and realized that we would probably have a phone he could “borrow” to call his local connection. He walked into our front yard and that’s where his troubles began.
Zip came around the corner of the house and saw a new playmate.
You see, Zip had lost all of his teeth from playing fetch with the boys who used to live on the ranch before we bought it. They would throw rocks and Zip would retrieve them and bring them back. He thought it was great fun! Zip was a big dog, with a very big and intimidating bark, and when he started barking hello at this guy who was both high and feeling a little paranoid, there was a misunderstanding.
The guy thought Zip was protecting the property and he was afraid, so… he picked up a rock and threw it at him. Well, you can imagine what Zip did… he picked it up! Then he trotted back to the guy and dropped it at his feet, barking madly with joy all the while!
The guy panicked and threw the rock again, only this time he hit the plate-glass window to the living room and glass shattered everywhere. Zip ran, jumped through, picked up the rock and again, delivered it to the guy. The police could only suppose what was going through this would-be trespasser’s mind between the drugs and fear. After all anonymity was no longer an option now! Someone was going to notice he had been there and this hulking, black dog might even kill him.
The guy said he took one look at the wolf headed his way and that was it! He was outta there!
The final police report noted the depth of the barbs wrapped around the suspect’s legs. They hypothesized that he must have been going at fairly high speed to completely snap the two strands of old barbed wire which had wrapped around his legs just like a big, thorny tourniquet. The police laughed and said they couldn’t have done better “crook catching” themselves and Zip’s reward was a long game of fetch with the officers who patted his head and told him he was “welcome to visit the station anytime.”
Zip, our hero!