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Doggy Stories > Hugo de la Tierra Alta - A True Protector


by Betty St. John


As the pet transport doors opened Teddy Rose, our new female, came straight out, tail wagging, her beautiful gold and white coat shining in the morning sun. From the darkness of the inside of the van peered the gentle but obviously leery eyes of Hugo, our new male. Slowly he stepped out of the van, a sheer act of faith on his part. Hugo is shy and that was only the first of many leaps of faith he has been asked to make in his new home.

Though shy he is true to his breed and has never failed to do what he is asked. Though timid around strangers, he patiently sits while they gush over him, pet or pummel him, depending on their age and knowledge of doggie etiquette.

At home, the upstairs master bedroom is his kingdom and he rules over it from the bed. He has become quite the movie buff and enjoys nothing better than sharing a bowl of popcorn with dad. So long as he's in his domain, he feels secure, but around strangers he is still skittish and insecure.

Needless to say when my three daughters and their 5 young children decided to come for a week, I was concerned about how Hugo would tolerate the chaos. Sleeping arrangements were tight. Two daughters and their three children took the bedroom downstairs in the main house, and another daughter and her two children slept in the guest house. The guesthouse is across the courtyard from the main house, and our swimming pool is in between.

Emilee Kate, the youngest, woke every morning promptly at 6 am. Her mother would try to quietly sneak into the kitchen downstairs to get her a bottle, but Hugo, or "ole radar ears" as he came to be called, heard her every time, barked his head off to let us know someone was downstairs, and in so doing, woke everyone in the main house up.

Obviously this was a great arrangement for my daughter sleeping in the guest house, and she was feeling quite smug about it. However my husband, an ER physician who works late hours, was becoming homicidal. I told him, Hugo was just doing his job guarding the house. "Humph!" I believe was his response.

That night my husband decided to put Hugo in our bathroom with the exhaust fan on so he wouldn't hear Emilee's mother when she came into the kitchen. However, his plan took an unexpected turn. Hugo didn't wake the house up barking at 6. He woke us up barking at 2:30am! And I don't mean the usual couple of barks either. He barked, he scratched at the door, and he would not stop for anyone. Finally my husband, in sheer desperation, went downstairs to get him a treat and there, standing beside the swimming pool, sound asleep, was our 5 year old grandson! He had managed to open the guesthouse door and sleepwalk to the pool without anyone hearing a sound.

Anyone except Hugo.

My oldest daughter had been looking for a dog as a companion to her Australian Shepherd. When she saw Hugo and Teddy Rose, she fell in love, but told me she just didn't think she could handle the grooming demands of a long haired dog. After seeing Hugo save Thomas, long hair suddenly didn't seem like such a problem.

As for Hugo..he went right back to sleep, puzzled by all the fuss!

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