up until the point when they start barking all night, every night, just outside the window; then friend becomes past tense and nuisance takes its place. What is it that makes dogs want to bark at air? When I was a kid, I often heard my dad say to me and my sister that he wasn’t talking just to hear his head roar, but I have to wonder if the same is true when it comes to dogs. Do they do it simply to ensure to themselves that they are still able to make the sound? Or perhaps they perceive, in the black and darkened nothingness of the middle of the night, some kind of being that is unperceptible to the human eye. Unperceptible is not, as Merriam-Webster will tell you, a real word, but in my life, at this moment, and every moment for the past few nights, it is real; I am coining it even as I write this post.
Living on a farm in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, is supposed to be a peaceful, wonderful, life-altering experience; one that allows you to get closer to nature, closer to God and just feel good about being alive. It used to be that way for me, up until the moment when the dogs all went crazy. I had the spotlight out last night trying to see what they were barking at, thinking that the enemy had finally infiltrated the camp and we were all destined for death. I didn’t see anything but rocks. So I yelled at the dogs and they stopped barking; for about five minutes. As I tried to drift back off to sleep, the sound started up again. This time, when I yelled at them, or mayhaps, more aptly, squalled at them, it wasn’t quite so nicely. Again, they stopped barking for about five minutes. I remember praying that they would not bark anymore that night, but I suppose that God had more pressing things to attend to at the moment than barking dogs.
When they started up again, I began to think of all the ways that I could murder them. But it was dark, cold and I was still half-asleep, so the choices were limited. I don’t own, now have I ever fired a gun, so that was out. The cast iron skillet would have made a dent, but as I said, it was dark and cold and I was in my sleep attire, which is not suitable for dark, cold nights in the back yard chasing dogs with a cast-iron skillet.
When three AM came along and the sound of their barking woke me once again, I became desperate. I searched my house for an adequate weapon to use upon the creatures that I had loved dearly, at least up until this moment. I found the lids to a couple of pots and took them to the back door. I yelled loudly words that I dare not print and banged the lids together. The dogs, all three of them who were causing the ruckus, tucked their tail between their legs and went into the warm, hay-filled shelter that my dad makes for them each winter. I didn’t hear another peep all night. Needless to say, I have my pot lids close by and am ready if they start their nightly bark-fest. I am starting to realize that while I still love dogs, it is only during daylight hours.