I've long held that those who hunt with their dogs develop an especially firm bond and understanding. Partially it's the vast amount of time we spend with our animals, but I believe it's also the level of communication in which we engage them. We train them, we guide them afield, and we mutually benefit from the shared experience of birds in the bag.
However, all dogs are capable of doing some pretty amazing things for their "pack" families, for those who take the time to pay attention. Take Candace and Benjamin Hope, who live in Charleston, S.C., with their one-year-old son, Finn. When Finn was 7-months old, the Hopes hired 21-year-old Alexis Khan—who passed a background check—to babysit him.
Five months into her employment, however, the Hopes grew suspicious. Why? Their family dog, which appears to be a black Labrador mix, became highly defensive of Finn anytime Khan entered the home.
"He was very aggressive towards her and a few times we actually had to physically restrain our dog from going towards her," Mr. Hope told WCSC Live 5 News in Charleston.
At the advice of friends, the Hopes hid an iPhone under the couch to record audio of Khan's next visit. What they caught is incredible. Finn is heard crying, then Khan clearly says, "Shut up... shut up... shut the [expletive] up!" Then the audio contains what Mr. Hope alleges are slapping sounds, and Finn's crying seems to indicate more desperation.
The couple went to the police, who quickly brought charges. Khan pleaded guilty to assault and battery and was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison. Her name also now appears on a child abuse registry and she'll never work with children again. Fortunately Finn shows no lasting effects of the abuse.
All thanks to the loyalty of a protective family dog.
"Had our dog not alerted us to the trouble, had my wife's instincts not said we need to make something happen, it could've been Finn that was killed by the babysitter," Mr. Hope told WCSC Live 5 News.