The life of Don Bosco gives us a remarkable and interesting story of what appears to many an angelic intervention in saving the life of this servant of God from those who made several attempts to assassinate him. They had been furious at the good done by Don Bosco and tried by violent means to get rid of him and his influence. Some of their supporters were men of the lowest and most vicious type, and these they hired to carry out their evil plans.
Returning home one night through a bad and dangerous part of the town, he saw a magnificent huge dog following him. At first he was frightened but quickly saw that the dog was friendly. The animal walked by his side and accompanied him to the door of his house and then went away. This happened eight times. He called the dog Grigio.What did it mean? He soon learned.
Hurrying home by himself, some time after the first appearance of the dog, two shots were fired at him by an assassin from behind a tree. Both shots missed, but his assailant then rushed and attacked him. At that moment, Grigio appeared and sank his teeth into the flesh of the would-be murderer, who ran off screaming with pain. On another occasion, two men were waiting for him, but Grigio unexpectedly came to his rescue and jumped at one of the thugs, seizing him by the throat. The other fled in terror. Don Bosco had then to free the first from the fangs of Grigio, who still held him by the throat.
A third time, twelve hired assassins, armed with clubs, were waiting in ambush, into which Don Bosco walked unawares. Again, escape seemed impossible, but once more Grigio encircled into the middle of the group, and his fierce look and savage growl proved enough. The men made off as quickly as they could. Sometimes the dog enterd Don Bosco's house, but always with good reason, either to accompany him when he had to go out at night, or to prevent him from leaving the house.
On one occasion, when he tried to go out, the great dog lay across the door and growled in such a menacing way that St. John was forced to stay at home. It was just as well that he did, for shortly aferwards a gentleman arrived to warn him not to leave the house at any price, as the heretics lay in wait to kill him. As long as the persecution lasted, Grigio never failed to be at his post and when the danger passed he was not seen again. Where he came from, or where he went no one knew.
Ten years later, Don Bosco had to go to the farmhouse of some friends and had been advised that the road was dangerous.
"If only I had Grigio" he said. At once the great dog appeared by his side, as if he had heard the words, giving signs of the greatest joy. Both man and dog arrived safely at the farmhouse and went into the dining room. The dog lay down. No one took any notice of the dog until the master of the house offered to feed him. But he was gone! Doors and windows had been closed; how did he go? More then thirty years later he appeared once more to guide Don Bosco who had lost his way. How are we to explain those wonderful appearances of the dog, at the most needed moments and in different districts? Surely we may believe that this was angelic intervention, especially, because the great dog was never known to eat.
(Taken from the book "All about the Angels" by Father Paul O'Sullivan. O.P.E.D.M.)