More Daisy Bravery

She was brave for them.

She was scared until it was time to be brave!

This morning as I was starting my day and wondering about the tropical storm approaching this area, a really cool memory of my dog Daisy came to me, and I found myself grinning.

Daisy was a peculiar dog. She was scared of many everyday things, but she was always surprising and incredibly brave when she was needed. She was the fiercest when you expected her to cower. Fear and danger seem to draw her out of her comfort zones.

This memory is of a family Fourth of July cookout.  A thunderstorm had started and was trying its best to ruin the cookout, and all the dogs gathered around Daisy because they were scared.  If memory serves me right, there were about 6 dogs; some of the dogs were older, both males and females and some were just puppies.

Daisy instinctively took charge and secured them up against the basement cement wall, and with her back to them she faced out towards the storm.  The other dogs were all shaking and scared, but not Daisy. She stood forward gallantly knowing the other dogs were depending on her to be the strong one and the rock they needed and she was set to be that. She stood there brazen, leaving her everyday fear for some other time.

At home, she would have been shivering in my lap because of a thunderstorm. It was cool to see her doing what she had done for the fact that she shook all the way to the outing that day because she was afraid of the car ride and leaving home. For these scared dogs, however, she stepped up; organized them by the wall, and they all felt safe behind her.

She stirred something in me that day. The way she cast her fear down and put the security and assurance of the other dogs before her own fear taught me a lesson of selflessness and responsibility. I would never forget watching her do this.

How Daisy came to be my pup

I met her early one morning.  I had stopped by the shelter to drop off a donation knowing that if I went during regular business hours, I’d be too tempted to look around at the pups. I know them to be my weakness, and I was not trying to adopt any more puppies as I had already adopted two dogs; Danny and Dominic from the same shelter.

To avoid temptation, I planned on dropping a check in the mail slot right in front of the door. As I did, my eyes fell on a box of puppies, obviously abandoned. Daisy and her other 3 littermates were dirty and covered in poo indicating that they had been in the box for some time.  I saw her and fell in love. I found myself waiting for the shelter to open and adopted her. She became mine the instant I saw her.

By the way – her full name was Daisy Ann Marie Pearl Saraco – by that’s another story.

An Act of Valor

Smallest dog saves the family

A dog is a man’s best friend. Ask yourself the question: Would a best friend risk their own life to save yours? In Daisy’s case, the answer would be yes.

All five of my dogs started barking wildly.  I rushed out to them immediately, feeling an unease that became very real as my eyes landed on a coyote up on the stone wall above my backyard. He had fierce eyes, bared teeth, and was prepared to attack my dogs who were barking loudly in defense. I yelled to my dogs, but the coyote’s eyes were fixated on their every movement and they were fixated on it too that my commands dissolved in the tense atmosphere.  The message was clear, however. The coyote intended to take one of my dogs and as my brain started to think of solutions; another thing became clearer – my only choice was to pull whomever I could get to safety.

I had nothing to ward off the coyote with, neither did I have a defense tool save for a garden shovel beside me.  I grabbed it and rushed towards the unfolding scene.  There was no time to think. A hungry coyote is a horrifying creature. My dogs were all facing upward at the coyote, and the coyote was bearing down on them from the wall. Senselessly, I threw the shovel at the coyote, but he did not budge. Instead, he gritted his teeth more fiercely at my dogs, apparently vexed and more determined. Using their collars, I pulled away two of my dogs that were closest to me.

I felt so powerless because I did not know whom else I could I get to safety and I felt like I was condemning the other three to death, but they were in the coyote’s sights. My heart bled in pain for the fates of Bow, Daisy, and Indy.

I approached the scene again, thinking of what next to do when Daisy did something I did not understand, a move that would likely cost her her life. Daisy moved away from the others and stood in the middle of the yard just beyond the stairs leaving herself alone and more vulnerable. She was the smallest of all the dogs, an easier prey for that coyote. The coyote saw her alone and focused all his attention on her.  Her move allowed me to get the other two dogs in hand, and I dragged them to a safe spot with a sickening knowledge that it would be Daisy that would be lost to that coyote. To this day, I can see all the details of that moment.  Daisy was standing there on her own; her back legs were quivering. Otherwise, she was frozen on the spot she stood. I thought fear caused her to freeze, but I was wrong.  She was quivering with adrenaline and thinking strategically.

With the speed of lightning, Daisy switched from frozen mode to high-speed. She bolted for the safe spot and as she did the coyote lunged after her. With one last leap, she made it to safety. We were all safe, and the coyote went away after circling outside for what seemed like forever.

There is no doubt that she knowingly created that distraction, risking her own life, helping to save the others. She stepped up when she could have cowered in fear. My brave girl! Daisy amazed me time after time throughout our 14 years together.

I know my actions were reckless that day, but instinct drove me – instincts to save the ones I love regardless of the cost to me.  Daisy and I were unintentionally communicating that day, both of us taking risks for our loved ones.  I did not know it at the time but she was working with me, reading my thoughts and body language.

Daisy is my helper animal.  Sometimes during an animal communication session, she joins in and improves the reading by adding clarity to that animals messages.

As Mark Twain aptly quoted,

“It is not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Daisy: the smallest, the cleverest and the bravest of all.