Michelle Kellaher’s bond with her dog, Perry, was so strong that she believed the Labrador would always protect her. However, when a masked invader broke into Kellaher’s home and grabbed her, the animal’s reaction to the threat left her floored.
It’s well known that dogs are “man’s best friend.” And it’s fair to say that the animals have earned that accolade fair and square. For thousands of years, canines have been at our side to serve as companions, workmates and protectors. As a result, humans have come to rely on dogs in turn.
In fact, some experts believe that as humans began to trust dogs to hear and smell approaching danger, our predecessors’ hearing and abilities to detect scent slowly started to wane. In addition, it’s thought that human brains have shrunk by about ten percent since we began domesticating canines.
With those decreased evolutionary capabilities in mind, it is perhaps more important than ever for us to be able to trust our dogs as protectors. However, on average, seven homes are broken into per minute in America. So, how much can we really rely on our four-legged friends to look after us in such situations?
Well, a quick online search would seem to suggest that our dogs’ protective instincts are very much alive and well. The internet is awash with stories of courageous canines who have come to their owners’ defense in the face of all kinds of threats.
In one such heroic tale, a dog called Baby Girl leapt to the rescue during an attempted burglary at a Nebraska home. At the time, nine-year-old Shane Shafer was on his own and – perhaps unsurprisingly – petrified by the intruder. However, Baby Girl set upon the masked robber and chased him from the house.
However, it seems that not all dogs are as willing to put their lives on the line for their owners. According to an April 2018 report by Inside Edition, one robber kicked down a door to be confronted by a pair of dogs. However, both pooches were so scared that they ran away without putting up any kind of a fight.
Such stories got dog owner Michelle Kellaher wondering if she could rely on her Labrador, Perry, to protect her. So, she decided to put the five-year-old pet to the test by setting up a fake intrusion situation at her Irvington, New York, home.
In order to pull off the fake heist, Kellaher reached out to Michael D’Abruzzo and Nate Bonilla from K9-1 Specialized Dog Training for help. Given the two men’s expertise, they would be able to analyze Perry’s reaction to the invasion. In addition, they would establish whether there was any room for improvement in her guard-dog abilities.
Yet while Kellaher and Perry were bonded, there was no knowing how the dog would react when placed in a frightening situation such as a robbery. “I hope she tries to protect me,” Kellaher said to Inside Edition – although only time would tell just how defensive her pooch really was.
So, without any further ado, Kellaher got her show on the road. In video footage from the fake robbery, the dog owner sits poised on her couch as a masked intruder barges through the door. Perry then gives off one warning bark in response; what happens next, though, would leave her owner floored.
As the robber approaches Kellaher, she cowers on her couch. Then, upping the ante, the intruder pretends to lay his hands on the woman. Kellaher, in turn, cries out to her pet for protection, but by this point Perry is already making her way out of the door – leaving her owner to fight off the assailant herself.
Then, after Perry proved herself to be a fairly hopeless guard dog, D’Abruzzo and Kellaher watched the footage of the animal’s reaction together. “So, as you can see, this is called ‘flight.’” D’Abruzzo explained. “Her tail is tucked [in], she’s actually looking for a way out.”
And it’s fair to say that the pooch’s lack of loyalty staggered Kellaher. “Oh no! Thanks Perry,” she laughed while watching the footage. “I’m a little surprised she almost took off,” the Labrador’s owner added. “I’m surprised she didn’t run and hide.”
However, Kellaher may have felt slightly better once she learned that Perry isn’t the only cowardly canine around. When D’Abruzzo and his team attempted a similar test on a Labrador/pit bull mix called Ruby, she, too, failed to come to her owner Kevin Peterson’s rescue.
Before the experiment, Peterson was confident that Ruby would deliver. “I believe she’s going to bite, but I’d like to find out,” he revealed to Inside Edition. However, Peterson couldn’t have been more wrong. When the “terrifying” phony home invasion began, Ruby had a look around before swiftly running in the opposite direction.
Explaining the dog’s reaction, D’Abruzzo told Peterson, “Ruby was curious. She was worried about you, but she was not willing to take on the attacker.” Then, adding insult to injury, D’Abruzzo confirmed, “Sorry, Kevin. Ruby is a wimp.”
In a third and final test, D’Abruzzo and his colleagues then conducted their set-up for dogs Frodo and Dobby. The tiny twosome live in Scarsdale, New York, with their owner, Ellen Eikamp. And what the canines lack in height, they certainly made up for in courage.
When Frodo and Dobby heard Eikamp’s screams of terror as she came under “attack,” they ran into the room. The pair of pooches then came between their owner and the robber to force him out of the door. And, needless to say, the results delighted the dogs’ owner. “They are two little warriors,” D’Abruzzo confirmed.
So, if these experiments are to be believed, it seems that our dogs may not be the fearless protectors we have always believed them to be. And even if Perry and Ruby just saw through the fake home invasions, none of us really know how our dogs would act under such circumstances. Hopefully, though, we’ll never have to find out.