ALTON, Ill. (AP) _ Dog may be man's best friend, but sometimes dogs choose other creatures dear - or deer, as the case may be.

Richard Faulkner's yellow Labrador, Jake, has taken up with a chummy young buck that showed up in Faulkner's wooded back yard a couple of weeks ago, looking hungry and lost.

Jake, a frisky 3-year-old, made the deer feel at home, sharing his water bucket and trying to entice the woodland animal into games.

''Jake must think the deer is a dog and the deer must think Jake is a deer,'' said Faulkner.

The dog tosses a bone into the air, hoping the deer will get the idea and play along. The deer watches closely, but doesn't get it, or just doesn't like that particular game.

He does occasionally hunker down on the ground nose-to-nose with Jake, Faulkner said. And when frightened, the deer huddles near Jake's back-yard dog house for protection.

''I can't understand it and I've thought about it quite a bit, too,'' said Faulkner, 59, who retired Friday from his job as a night watchman at a quarry.

''I think both of them are lonely.''

The deer follows Faulkner to his garden and lets him get within 5 feet.

''I think there's a bond between people and animals,'' he said.

Faulkner refuses to make a pet of the animal, saying he fears that the deer could hurt children in his neighborhood. He tried scaring the buck off recently but it returned.

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SEAGOVILLE, Texas (AP) - A prisoner says he has invented a device that will prevent the crime that put him behind bars.

''It has kept me very busy,'' said Joe Walker, 34. ''I've worked on this 18 hours a day. I probably never would have done it if I hadn't been arrested. I never would have had the time. Right now, all I've got is time.''

Walker is serving a six-year term in federal prison for interstate transportation of stolen property, part of what he calls his ''past minor indiscretions.''

Walker and engineer Tim Jensen say they have a patent pending on The Trailer Guard, which they say will stop the theft of truck trailers.

Walker said the Trailer Guard makes it impossible for anyone to connect a truck's ''fifth wheel'' - the coupling on the rear of the tractor - to the trailer's kingpin and haul off the parked trailer.

In 1987, 177,807 trailers were stolen nationwide at a loss of $8 billion, according to the American Trucking Association.

Walker said he had to shop around to find an engineer to help with his invention.

''I had called several engineers, but as soon as I told them where I was calling from they said, 'Sorry, can't help you,''' Walker said.

Walker, who has 18 months left of his sentence, made his comments by telephone from the Federal Correctional Institute at Seagoville, 15 miles southeast of Dallas.

Walker said after he is released, he would like to stay in the Dallas area and set up his business.