Before Roger, a small Pomeranian with a feisty attitude, was adopted he twice had been returned to the Humane Society shelter because of his incessant barking.
That trait never bothered the dog's current owner, Nora Cavazos, who liked having the small but protective canine at her Arlington home during the day while she raised her then-2-year-old son, Diego.
"I was always fearful of being home with a small child," Cavazos said. "You want that extra protection."
Having Roger around proved fateful on Aug. 24, 2009, the day a stranger started pounding on her front door.
Not only does Cavazos believe her 9-year-old pet made a difference, but so does the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation, which is inducting Roger into its Texas Animal Hall of Fame as a hero dog inductee for 2010. The canine will be honored by the Tarrant County Veterinary Medical Association on Jan. 20.
On the afternoon of that day in August, the first day of school for Cavazos' daughter Theresa, a car pulled up and a man got out whom Cavazos didn't recognize.
"He walked up to the front door and started knocking, knocking insistently," Cavazos said. "I was thinking 'This guy has the wrong place and he will go away shortly.' I had my phone but I was afraid to say anything. I had my son with me. He was 2 at the time."
The man finally stopped knocking and walked away. But a few seconds later, he returned with another man and kicked in the front door.
Suddenly, Cavazos found herself staring at an armed man inside her home.
"I yelled at him and said 'Hey what are you doing?' and he turned around and pointed the gun at me," Cavazos said. "The whole time Roger is barking and he won't stop. It seemed like an eternity. We're just staring at each other and then he runs out the front door and Roger starts chasing after him."
Roger's heroics likely would have remained part of family lore but Cavazos mentioned the incident to the staff at the Creature Comfort Animal Clinic in Arlington. They relayed the story to veterinarian Barry Brier who decided to nominate Roger for the state award.
"The whole time this dog was standing between her and that man," Brier said. "I thought he was very deserving."
Police later arrested a 23-year-old Arlington man who has been indicted on an aggravated robbery charge and is awaiting trial.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698