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I’ve been known to boast about Loki and his natural talents but I never thought he’d live up to it. Maybe it’s because I see potential in him that nobody else can see. He literally saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and quite possibly our lives when he alerted to a fire that ignited at 5:30 a.m. this morning in our garage.

Over the years, I’ve come to trust Loki’s alerts completely, whether they are for benign, silly reasons like small dogs riding in a bike trailer or for real threats, like a coyote, pig or mountain lion approaching our fence line. He’s never really wrong to sound his alert. He knows well before I ever do when a delivery truck is at our gate. He will go bat-shit crazy if a human trespasser is on our property and until I tell him otherwise,  he will not stop. I can read his alerts quickly now and most times know without checking what he’s alerting to.

Likewise, he won’t alert at all if there is no reason. Years ago, our house alarm went off in the middle of the night at 1:00 a.m. The alarm is ear splitting and it can be heard for miles. Loki never got of bed even in that madness. Because there was nothing wrong. The magnet on a window failed and set off a false alarm. He didn’t have to get out of bed to know this. Though at the time, we made him do a perimeter check because we didn’t know just how smart he truly was.  Since then, I’ve always trusted him. And he’s trusted me to tell him whether the threat is real or should be ignored.

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In addition to the dog yard, we also have a larger portion of our property fenced off from deer and larger animals. So typically though he can alert to an animal close to our fence line, his own dog fence plus the deer fence puts a lot of distance and barriers between the dogs and large wildlife.

Each night after dinner, Loki does his own perimeter check in his dog yard (not the outer yard), going to each corner of the fence and barking. We ignore it. It’s as if he’s telling the wildlife world, “Don’t forget, I’m on duty. Don’t you dare come any closer tonight.” We allow him to do it each night as it’s never an endless bark, usually lasting no more than 5 minutes. When he’s finished he comes in and tucks in for the evening. Similarly, when he hears an animal (typically a coyote) in the middle of the night from our bedroom, he will alert at the window and “yip” crazily, runs outside, does his thing from inside the dog yard, the animal leaves and he comes back to bed. It wakes me up but I rarely need to investigate. I know exactly what it is. When he returns, I always tell him he’s a good boy. And we go back to sleep.

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The other night, before turning into bed, Loki ran his dog yard perimeter check. He alerted in a way I’ve never seen him before. He was pointing uphill toward the main entry gate and desperately trying to jump his own dog gate to get at whatever, or in this case, likely whomever was out there–either inside our outside the deer fence perimeter. I’ve never seen him so angry, so ready to rip off an intruder’s head.  There was no yipping. This was not an animal on our property. It gave me the chills. Even Mr. Wild Dingo who came down to see the commotion, couldn’t deny there was a real threat on our property. He suited up, grabbed a flashlight and the gun, while I suited up Loki in his working collar and leash. There was no way I’d send my dog into an unknown threat without him being attached to me or Mr. Wild Dingo. You never know who will be there, a person carrying a gun or an intruder fleeing who would leave the service gate open with my dog in pursuit on a dark busy road. No way. I protect my dog as much as he protects us. By the time they ran the perimeter check, the intruder must have left and Loki was calm and returned to “level orange.” He was so proud of his work when he returned back to me, he leaned hard into me asking for praise “Did I do good Mom?”  Yes, cracker you did perfectly.

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Similarly, this morning at 5:30 a.m., Loki alerted. Mr. Wild Dingo got out of bed to check the window but saw nothing and went to the bathroom. But his alert was not animal excitement. It read danger. Deep throat barks, stiff body and a strong desire to get out of the  house to go to the threat. I went to the window, and saw a flash of light in the driveway. “Oh my God! Someone’s out there,” I yelled to Mr. Wild Dingo. He ran out of the bathroom, and for the second time this week, grabbed his robe and the gun. We frantically watched from our window to see if we could see the threat. That’s when we saw the orange glow in the windows of our unattached garage across the driveway from  our bedroom windows. Our garage was on fire! There was no sound that we heard, no alarm. Nothing. Loki knew the danger before we did.  He alerted well before we saw the fire ignite. We ran downstairs, I opened the garage doors using remote control buttons from inside the house. I was worried about Mr. Wild Dingo opening a door into back draft. Then Mr. Wild Dingo flew open the front door to head toward the garage, shutting the front door behind him, leaving the dogs and I safely inside the house. This sounded our house alarm since we didn’t have time to turn it off. I was so nervous, it took me three times to punch in the correct security code to shut the alarm off.

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It turns out, a chargeable Ryobi battery which was being charged, in the charger, caught fire. We’ve used these re-chargers for years and never had one issue with them.  It was only inches away from my car.  Mr. Wild Dingo extinguished it just in time.

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There’s paint, gas and  all sorts of flammable items in that garage. If we had dismissed Loki’s alert and told him to go back to bed, it wouldn’t take long for that garage to explode, and quite possibly cause our home to catch on fire.  Twice this week, Loki did his job.

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I’ve never had a dog quite like him before. He never stops amazing me. It was a rough beginning getting to know who he was. People either really like him or they don’t.  One trainer told me to get rid of him just a few months after I had adopted him. Imagine that.

He’s an edgy dog, anxious, and at times, a suspicious dog.  But he’s a thinker, with a high drive to protect his loved ones. Plus, he has a strong desire to please. And now, there’s no doubt in my mind who he is and why he does what he does. He was wired this way.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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He’s my partner. My best friend. He’s got my back. I trust him 100% with our lives.  I couldn’t love this dog any more than I love him right now.

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Loki was rewarded with practically a whole bag of pork jerky. He reluctantly shared with Juno who provided zero emergency response assistance. I guess that’s what you call profit sharing in Siberian.

As Dr. Liz, one of Loki’s pals, pointed out, “It’s nice to know those ears aren’t strictly ornamental!”

Trust the ears. Trust the dog.

The Practice
Happy Juno-Versary!

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