Man's Best Friend Certainly Was

--"This guy came knocking at my door," said Thomas Perkins. "I went to see who it was. He told me, 'I know you've got your (Social Security) check. Now give it up. Don't move, old man. Don't run. Give it up, old man, or I'll blow you away,' " "So, I ran back into my room anyway," Perkins, 72, said. The intruder, carrying a sawed-off shotgun and a pistol, shouldered his way into the Boston apartment and fired one shot before Perkins' dog King went into action. As the German shepherd wrestled with the man, Perkins scrambled into a closet and hid behind some clothes. Four shots later, the man was gone--and King lay wounded. "I asked the police to help me with the dog," Perkins said. "They didn't want to help the dog or nothing. They just wanted to go back to the station." So, Perkins scooped King up and took him to the veterinarian. The prognosis is good, but they'll have to keep 9-year-old King a few days, Dr. Bud Keller said. He plans to remove a bullet from King's thigh and amputate one toe. The other two bullets will remain in King's neck, he said. "He's the best friend I ever had," Perkins said. "I miss him so much, I'm about to cry."

--Richard M. Nixon celebrates his 73rd birthday today, marking the end of a year that saw him continue his steady journey back into public life. This year, Nixon is also celebrating the 40th anniversary of his entry into politics as a California congressman who was catapulted to fame during the anti-Communist investigations of the 1950s. His birthday plans are a family affair. He and his wife, Pat, who is rarely seen in public, will have lunch with their daughters, Tricia and Julie, and their families in New York.

--"I don't know why, you just have to come," said Carol Downey, who also journeyed from Denver to Memphis in hot, steamy weather last Aug. 16 on the eighth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Downey, a 43-year-old housewife, was one of hundreds who stood shivering in lines at Graceland to receive a piece of cake commemorating the 51st birthday of the late rock 'n' roll idol.

--Spanish opera star Placido Domingo underwent surgery in Barcelona, Spain, to correct a double hernia. The singer, 44, was given local anesthesia from the chest down to avoid risks of harming his vocal chords, said Dr. Joan Piera Mas-Sarda. The tenor is expected to convalesce for at least six weeks.

--Princess Caroline of Monaco is two months pregnant with her second child and hoping for a girl, whom she would like to name Gracia, the West German tabloid Bild reported in Bonn. Caroline, 28, daughter of the late Princess Grace, is married to Italian Stefano Casiraghi.

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