One good thing about Murphy is that he's completely serious in his role as watchdog and defender of the realm. People who know him, including a few bloggers and readers here, know that Murphy has a defined perimeter around the Lair into which he allows no one other than me. Even people that he knows and likes are barked at if they enter his zone.
And I approve heartily. That sort of nondiscriminatory vigilance is what I pay him for, or what I would pay him for if I paid him.
Well this evening, my crazy cat neighbor was next to his house doing something or other, probably something crazy related to cats, when he apparently crossed Murphy's "Line of Death", causing Murphy, who was out on my front deck at the time, to sound off and commence to barking at him. And once Murphy starts in on someone in his zone, he doesn't stop until he no longer sees that person, and he can go for quite a time.
Belle, on the other hand, just sat there quietly, watching Murphy bark at the crazy cat neighbor. Again, she's not much for ferociousness yet.
Well finally the crazy cat neighbor, a rather prickly sort even on a good day, got fed up and yelled at Murphy to shut up. And that was all it took to light Belle's fire, because as soon as he shouted at Murphy, she stuck her head through the deck rails and began to bark at him too, and the pair of them barked at my crazy cat neighbor together, in two-part canine harmony, until I finally went out and brought them both back inside to quiet them down and give them a couple of biscuits. Good dogs. Good Murphy for being so zealous, and good Belle for stepping up and backing Murphy as soon as he was challenged. And bonus points to the pair of them for irritating the crazy cat neighbor; he's an ass anyway.