It appears that child rapists/killers are becoming bolder in their patterns of kidnapping victims.. Last night (6/4/02), a 14 year old Salt Lake City child was abducted by an armed stranger who broke into her family's home in the middle of the night and threatened the girl and her little sister with a gun. A massive search is underway in Utah. This follows the pattern of the terrible murder of 12 year old Polly Klaas and the more recent abduction/murder of seven year old Danielle van Dam.

No one can ever be 100% sure that they have covered all their bases in protecting their family, but I have to say that this is one reason why I will always have dogs in our home. No one could come into our home during the night, much less one of my children's bedrooms, without encountering an unpleasant surprise in the form of a very large male Great Pyrenees named Leo and an even larger male Saint Bernard named Truman. The dogs sleep in the hallway outside our bedrooms at night (their choice) and would have to be incapacitated before a stranger would get past them.

I saw a very interesting interview a few years ago with a career burglar who told the interviewer that the greatest deterrent to a criminal entering a particular home at night was the obvious presence of a large, loud dog on the premises. Personally, I prefer a dog who will not only bark, but will bite under the right circumstances. If you choose your breed carefully and work with a reputable breeder (as opposed to a pet store or somebody selling backyard-bred puppies in the classifieds section of your local newspaper), you will enjoy a companion animal with a natural desire to protect your family.

So remember: "A good dog. Better than a home security system hooked up to a half-asleep alarm-company dispatcher making $6.00 an hour on the overnight shift."

And my prayers are with the family searching for their daughter in Utah today.