Frankie wasn’t on the job when the burglars came.
She had taken one of her periodic breaks to slip into the woods to chase a rabbit or tree a squirrel.
Our neighbor, Kim Spillers, proved not only more alert than Frankie, but just as brave and even more tenacious than our guard dog.
Though this area south of Denham Springs has grown more populated, people still look out for neighbors much the way they did when my mother lived on this land a century ago.
After a previous burglary in the 1980s, I installed an alarm that emitted a screech that could be heard by neighbors across the woods.
It was I, not a burglar, who first tripped the screaming device. I did it in my usual morning haze when I wandered downstairs in search of the coffee pot.
I had barely recalled the instructions on how to turn off the horrible noise when a pickup pulled into my yard and a neighbor, Charles Smith, and one of his sons jumped out with shotguns.
When I told him it was a false alarm, he called off another armed son, who was approaching through the woods from the rear.
Last week, the cleaning lady had come and the burglar alarm wasn’t ready to broadcast its shrill warning when a couple drove into our yard and began putting our stuff in their truck.
Not satisfied with what was in a shed, the guy broke in the house through a window, scattering and breaking in search of what was most salable.
Unknowingly, they dodged Frankie and my firearm-proficient son, who had just left town, but they didn’t dodge Kim, whose job as a hospice nurse makes her hours unpredictable.
Having been a burglary victim and losing precious possessions, Kim has a reason to detest thieves.
She heard our intruders and watched them through a thin line of trees that separate our homes. Seeing the guy carrying things out was all the confirmation she needed to call the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
That is all I would expect from a neighbor, but Kim was just getting started.
Determined that we wouldn’t experience the kind of heart-rending loss she had, Kim followed the pair down 4-H Club Road, keeping deputies abreast of the culprits’ position.
When they reached Florida Boulevard a hoard of police cars descended on them from every direction.
The pair had no option but to surrender.
Thanks to a caring neighbor, we got back the things that had been taken from our home. Even more importantly, we were spared the usual post-burglary worry that the thieves might return.
By the time two sheriff’s detectives drove into our driveway to bring back our stolen things, Frankie had returned from her jaunt into the woods. She barked menacingly at the detectives.
Thanks, Frankie, I say facetiously.
Thanks, Kim, Mary and I say with all sincerity.
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