What were you doing at 4 a.m. this morning? I get up early for work, but not that early. I was up at 4 a.m. this morning because of our dog. He’s one of those expensive hybrid dogs, either a Malty-Poo or a Shitzy-Malt, and he’s in bad need of a haircut. His name is Forrest Gump. Forrest is now the “man dog” of the house since over the last year we lost both of our other long time dogs. Lou, short for Louisiana, was sixteen when she died. Molly, a puppy we found behind a garbage can, was fourteen and went shortly after her lifelong buddy, Lou. I miss both of them desperately because they were good dogs and because their passing reminds me that my kids are getting older. At big events throughout my kids’ lives, birthday parties, first bike ride, first broken arm, I can see these two dogs in the background. And these two definitely served as a deterrent over the years. Not many criminals would willingly take on those two big black dogs. Forrest, on the other hand, is white and fluffy. Anyway, Forrest started going wild at 4 a.m. this morning. My wife was certain someone was breaking into the house so, as the “man” of the house, I was dispatched to investigate. (Let’s be honest. She is better equipped than I am physically and mentally to deal with some type of home invasion or burglary. She simply didn’t want to get out of bed.) So, in my underwear, I track the barking, yapping dog through the dark house. I find Forrest attacking the back door. My investigation was a quick one. I stare through the window to see the neighbor’s cat terrorizing Forrest through the glass. No burglar. Just an expressionless cat and a crazed yap dog scurrying around my ankles. One gesture from me and the cat was gone. I led Forrest back to his chair in the twins’ room, then went back to bed. Five minutes later it started again. I figured the cat had been suitably warned. This time I opened the back door and Forrest was off like a shot. It sounded like World War 3 in our back yard. The cat made some awful noises, but I’m pretty sure he escaped. Forrest definitely woke up all of our neighbors. But, the moral of this story is that if your “man dog”, or maybe just your man, needs to get outside and do a little barking every now and then to show you he’s the “man dog”, or man of the house, sometimes you just have to let him. No matter that he looks ridiculous. Or that he sounds less than intimidating. It is just something he has to do.