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The Burglar and the Dog

by Bill Metcalfe



I may not have all the particulars of this story for you. I got most of the details, second hand, with a cup of coffee at a table I shared with a cop. He only told me what had happened. Nothing was said about the clothing worn or physical descriptions. Was it raining or snowing? I never found out. Use your imagination.

One night, many years ago, a burglar illegally picked the lock to enter a locksmith's shop on Columbia Road. He had planned to spend part of that night counting his loot until the late night revelers had collapsed into the cabs that would carry them home and the street would be nearly empty. 

But what he hadn't counted on was the company of the owner's dog, a very, very large shepherd. Man and dog were matched in size for a wrestling match.

While the burglar was searching for cash, the dog was sizing him up and didn't like what he saw. When the dog made his presence and displeasure obvious with a deep growl, the burglar jumped up onto the counter top where he stayed, waiting for the dog to fall asleep.

As the dog was stretched out between the counter and the door, the burglar knew that he would have to move incredibly fast to leap over the dog, reach the door and exit before the dog reached him and the hot cash. But he had barred the door from the inside. This created a problem.

So he laid down on the counter top with the hope of inspiring the dog to do the same. The animal obliged and even closed its eyes. Like a stone statue on the floor, the dog was still until the burglar began to slide off of the counter. The burglar then had to stop to reconsider his potential move. The two of them played this game until morning when they had company.

I don't know how the police knew about the break-in. I wasnít told. Was there an alarm? Or did the scared crook call 911 for a rescue? When the police arrived, one of them looked through the door into the locksmith's shop and recognized the frightened burglar, a professional thief known to all the police in that precinct. The police decided to wait for a while to punish the robber for wasting their time by committing yet another crime. So a couple of cops covered the shop, front and back, while the rest returned to guarding the city. The pair may even have waited until morning to escort the crook to jail, after the locksmith returned to open his shop for them. With a key.

                The copís retelling of that thwarted robbery stopped there, but really he should have continued. He should have told me how the locksmith patted the dog on the head and walked to the small refrigerator where he bent down to remove a paper covered package which he then set upon the counter. After opening it, a sliced beef heart was revealed. The locksmith carefully picked out a thick piece and held it out to the dog, who after such a hard night, greedily devoured it. 


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