Monday, June 29, 2009

More on the Ridgeback Weapons System

We never have just one reason for any important decision we make. It is out there like a challenge and we mount our arguments one after the other and come to a conclusion. But if we haven’t made the decision yet, if it is a long way off as for example the next dog we intend to get, then some new consideration may come to mind forcing us to revisit our “conclusion,” which must remain tentative until we act upon it.

Perhaps all the Ridgeback owners I’ve had discussions with value their Ridgeback’s capability as a weapon system (in the sense that the Okinawan’s fist is one. See ). I haven’t gone beyond that common consideration when I value my two Ridgebacks and any future Ridgeback I might get for its capability as a weapons system.

Of course there are other reasons, justifications, rationalizations, etc. for owning a Ridgeback, as I say, never just one. In my own case, I value their quietness. If I want to write or read, they are content to let me. If someone comes to the door, only one of them will bark, Sage, and she barks just once. Also, they are very smart and adjust fairly quickly to my lifestyle. And also, I am more used to the Ridgeback than any other breed.

But next time around, I may decide to modify my weapons system a bit. There are drawbacks to walking 190 pounds of energetic Ridgeback. Perhaps next time I could seek out just one Ridgeback, perhaps a smaller one, and then if I decide to get a second dog, I might get an even smaller breed. I’ve discussed this possibility at length elsewhere. I realize there would be a tradeoff. Having two Ridgebacks is an excellent weapons system. If I opt for another breed, and it is on the list in the previous article, I won’t necessarily be giving up Okinawan-type self-defense, but I may be giving up some quietness when I want to study. A smaller dog wouldn’t be jerking me about quite as much if a rabbit or squirrel darted out of a bush in front of us, but it would probably bark much more when someone is at the front door.

If the second, smaller dog, is more active than the Ridgeback inside, and what breed isn’t, there would be an upside. He or she would be more alert to what is going on inside the house and the yard.

My current “tentative conclusion” is that a “small” male Ridgeback of 80 pounds or so and a female American Staffordshire Terrier of 40 pounds or so would provide an equivalent or perhaps greater “weapons system” than what I have now. While my male Ridgeback would be napping with me upstairs in my study, the little Amstaff would be doing something a little more active.

In the past I have used as a “test scenario” the ability of any smaller dog to handle itself down at the river where there are coyotes and feral dogs. Although I have never owned an Amstaff, I imagine a forty pound female would do okay against those challenges, especially if her sidekick was an 80-pound Ridgeback.

And then, in regard to the hypothetical situation which began this discussion, walking out in the dark places at night where muggers lurk (although I hasten to admit that I have never seen a mugger in San Jacinto) a Ridgeback-Amstaff combination would do quite as well as a team of Ridgebacks.

I could buy several guns for what I would be paying for a Ridgeback and an Amstaff, but, I must admit, I already have several guns and don’t need any more. Whereas I know Ridgebacks are very good company, and, I hear tell that Amstaffs are as well. And as long as I’m going to wait on days like today, when the temperature reaches 100, until it is very late, and cool, before going for a walk, I would want the company of one or two dogs.

If it were legal for me to carry a gun, I would, but I would still have a dog. A gun is no deterrent if the mugger doesn’t know you have it. And if you brandish it in an attempt to scare him off, you may have to use it. If guns were legal here in California I would carry one at night, but I would have gods as well, and consider the gun an enhancement of my “weapons system.” Consider what the Okinawan would do if he were allowed to have a gun. Would he give up practicing Karate? Of course that is a hypothetical consideration. He was not allowed to carry a gun -- and neither am I.

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