Avery - To Love, Honor, and Protect
I am sure you receive many letters regarding special pets. However, not many dogs are smart enough to know what to do to save a life. My dog, Avery, saved the lives of my brother and nephew; and, I can tell you that they will never forget that day or that dog.
I live downtown. My wife and I had been out of town for the weekend when my brother and nephew were staying in our home. My nephew lives in the area; and, my brother comes through here for monthly meetings. It is during these visits that my brother, Chris, spends time with his son, Ramsey. Sometimes they stay at our house.
This Saturday morning, during the drought of 2006, Avery woke my brother and somehow convinced him - mostly by his urgent manner - that he should get up and follow him. Chris followed Avery to the back door where Avery was barking. Looking out, he could see that the wooden fence was in flames; and, that the row of twenty-foot cedars behind the fence was also burning. The fire had apparently just started; because, only one section of fence and the tree behind it were involved. He called 911; then, me. While he was still on the phone with me I could here the arriving fire engines. They put the fire out. The trees and fence are but inches away from my cedar-sided home. Fire moves very quickly - not like the movies - especially fast in drought conditions.
(I spent 15 years in the fire sprinkler industry. Early warning is how lives are saved - you only have two or three minutes tops. That's the key to the success of smoke detectors - early warning)
We figure Avery saved Chris and Ramsey that morning; maybe part of downtown too - structures are very close together on my street.
Avery is a fifteen-year-old half Lab; half Australian Blue Heeler. We adopted him from the SPCA in Honolulu. My son, Ryan, needed a companion for his preadolescent rompings through the up country above Manoa valley. You see, the wild boars can be found there, but boars run from dogs. Now Ryan has a career started in Los Angeles. Julie and I have Avery. Even before the fire, I had taken comfort knowing that Avery was smart enough to protect us. He is truly a great dog. But I fear that his time has come - we are taking him to the Vet this afternoon. It saddens me a great deal and I wanted to get his story out there.
One day years ago, while watching Avery go through his parade of tricks, a small boy shouted, "Avery understands English!". Perhaps he does, a little; but, I believe Avery understands what life is; what it is to love; to honor; and, to protect another life. Apparently, you have to be pretty bright to understand how to do that. Before Avery's time with us, I had heard that dog was man's best friend. Now I see that clearly.
Robin sent us this story in April, 2008. He notes, "Avery died on March 27, 2008; and, this story was originally written by me in November 2007, on the day we took Avery to the Vet. The Vet said that Avery had degenerative myopia. We are very down hearted. What a great dog."