Coffee heat rising

Colonel, the Great Dane, and the Little Boy

Did I ever tell this story here? Don’t recall…so am gonna self-plagiarize from today’s Quora post:


Q: Do German shepherds make good guard dogs for homes and families with children?

Ohhhhh my goodness. If you have to ask this question, you’ve never known a GerShep. Lemme tellya:

First off, Greta the German shepherd, a mellow and laid-back beast who came to live with us after her humans divorced, saved my son from serious injury and probably permanent disability or even death. Long story short, we were ambling up the sidewalk with a neighbor’s 90-pound pooch, the not-very-redoubtable Colonel.

Colonel was leading the way, about 15 or 20 feet ahead of me, with my two-year-old son toddling along after him holding onto his tail. (Yes: Colonel was extremely mellow.) I was ambling along after Colonel, and Greta was bringing up the rear, sniffing the flowers as she ambled even more slowly.

The house on the corner had a wall around the backyard that extended up the side of the lot, running parallel to the sidewalk along the street, approaching us at right angles. In other words, our party is coming up a corner: a house and a wall are blocking our view of anything or anyone approaching us from our left.

All of a sudden, out from behind this wall comes a nubile young woman jogging up the street behind a great Dane, which she has on a leash.

When the kid sees the Dane, the likes of which he has never gazed upon in his short lifetime, he explodes in joy and excitement. He goes QUEEEEKEEEE QUEEEEKEEE QUEEEEKEEE!! at the top of his little-kid voice, drops Colonel’s tail, and runs straight at the enormous dog.

The Dane — quite reasonably, in the doggish context — sees this as an attack on its human. It lunges to her defense and RIGHT NOW has his head inside its maw.

I run after him — I’m a good 20 feet behind him and Colonel.

Colonel runs off in terror.

I lunge to try to catch him. Get my fingers on his little shirt, but he manages to jerk away before I get a good grip and continues to charge the Dane…right into the dog’s fangs.

Holeee ess-aitch-ai!!! At this point I think my baby is dead! if he isn’t killed, he might as well be!

And then a streak appears at my right side, about waist-high.

It’s Greta. And she’s airborne!

She literally flies up the sidewalk beside me and launches herself straight onto the Dane, which is half-again as big as she is.

The Dane’s human struggles and then dodges out of way as the two beasts tumble to the ground, fighting.

I grab my kid and pull him out from under the two falling dogs.

Now the Dane has Greta down, and I think omigod, this is IT for Greta.

All of a sudden, just as the animal is going for Greta’s throat, if collapses.

No kidding: it falls to the pavement, unconscious.


The young woman has hauled on its leash so hard, it choked off the dog’s air and the beast passed out, falling right on top of Greta.

Greta gets up and repairs to my side. Colonel is nowhere to be seen. My son is still on his feet, incredibly enough.

Just about speechless, I choke out “I’m so sorry!!!”

She says — no kidding, these ARE her words:  “That’s all right. It happens all the time.”


Greta put her life on the line for that little boy. And it wasn’t the last time she put herself between her humans and very serious harm.