Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Invisible Dog and His Incessant Barking

altThe other day I had company over at my place around noon for nothing in particular and we were just hanging out and chatting.  At some point during our conversation, we both noticed a rather deep sounding bark that had been going on for quite some time.  My neighborhood is filled with dogs so the lone barking of single dog is usually of little note.  I just sort of tune it out.  And I’ve been here long enough to recognize the barks of the various dogs.  This bark was actually a bit odd because it was coming from the side of the house and there’s no neighbor that way that has a dog with such a bark.  We made a joke about how the dog sounded like he was on a timer because of how evenly spaced the barking seem to be and at one point I stuck my head out of the door to see if I could spot the dog.  Then we promptly ignored it for the rest of the day.

At some time that night I left the house for reasons I cannot recall and when I returned home it was getting on towards midnight.  I was exhausted so I performed the usual bedtime rituals and moseyed off to bed.  And by “bed” I mean “the couch”.  My bed is so terrible that I find I sleep better on the couch and thus I often wind up there.

After settling in and being pushed to the edge of the couch by my dog Buckley, I started to drift off.  It was in the silence – as silent as my neighborhood ever gets at least – that I noticed distantly the deep, almost even barking of the mystery dog.  I pushed it out of my mind.  Or tried.  I lay there and couldn’t help but notice it and soon my ears attuned to nothing but this sound until it was thunder in my ears.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

I tried to focus my mind on other things.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

I put the pillow over my head.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

Finally I could take no more and I arose to go check on him/her.  It was nearing 1AM but this is not an uncommon event for me.  There have been several times in the wee hours of the morning that I’ve gone out to check on one of the dogs next door because they are barking non-stop and their (terrible) owners never do anything about it.  But I’ve seen how they treat their dogs and I’d rather deal with the barking then have the owners discipline the animal, which would probably end up with the poor dog being beaten with a stick or that fence board that has fallen and they refuse to fix.  I can usually just bring them a treat, pet them for a minute, and they are good to go.  The dogs, that is, not the neighbors. 

Now honestly I probably shouldn’t have gone out to find this dog because he sounded like he was the size of a bear and if he was aggressive I’d have been in for some excitement.

But I needed sleep and a man will make silly decisions when all he desires is a few moments of blissful slumber.

I open the door and stick my head out just to look for the dog.  And he stops barking.  Excellent.  That was easier than I expected.  I close the door and head back to the couch.  I crawl back under the sheets blanket, get comfortable and start to drift off.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

Grumble.  I ignore it, thinking it will stop, but of course no such luck was to be mine.  Back to the door, I yank it open and let out a very manly “SHH!”.  I may have pressed my index finger to my lips too, I can’t be sure.  Silence.  Done.  I get halfway back to the couch.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

I grab a flashlight, throw my shoes on and head outside.  The dog again has stopped barking but I know he’s there.  I look all around the house and surrounding area, but no dog.  I must have scared him off.
I get back in, head back to the couch.  My bum hits the cushion…

Woof… Woof… Woof…

As I’m walking back to door through my kitchen, I realize that the barking sounds like it’s coming from under my floorboards.  I instantly remember my crawl space entrance has no door on it.  Clearly the dog has gotten under my house.  At this point I’m both exhausted and worried in equal measure that the dog might be trapped or hurt and stuck under my house.  I also have an app on my phone that tells me about lost pets in the area and I’m always keeping my eyes out for them.  Maybe it was one of these.  I know how distraught I’d be if I lost Buckley so I wanted to check. 

I throw my shoes back on and grab the flashlight.  Walking to the entrance of the crawl space I don’t hear the dog but I know where he is now.  I kneel down and shine my flashlight in all directions under the house but I don’t see him nor hear him.  I call to him and try to sweeten the deal by displaying the slices of deli turkey I had brought with me.  But he doesn’t take the bait. After about 10 minutes of this, I give up, leaving the meat just outside of the entrance, hoping to lure him out when the scary human has gone away.
Back inside, I lay on the couch and try to rest.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

There’s only one thing I can do at this point.

It’s about 2AM by now.  And there I was.  In track-pants, a t-shirt, a flashlight in one hand and turkey in the other, under my house for the first time, crawling on my stomach, through bits of insulation (which is extremely itchy if you’ve never experienced it on your skin), covered in dirt and mud, with bugs and spiders crawling all over me, hoping I don’t get bitten in the face by 1) a rabid, scared, or wounded dog 2) a snake 3) a freakin’ spider.  I crawled under every inch of my house looking for this dog, who was ninja quiet at this point.  And I never find him.  He must have gotten out between my first visit to the crawl space and when I went back in the house.

I get back inside and I’m amazingly eager for a shower.  There are spiders all in my hair.  I can feel them.  I resist the urge to let out a high-pitched scream, slap violently at my hair and then run upstairs with my arms lifted high, waving my hands to and fro.

And then I hear it.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

But there’s no way I’m going to look for it again.  I open my fridge to get some water before my shower and then, oddly, I hear the dog more pronounced.



I open the freezer…


The mechanical arm for the ice-maker that rotates had apparently gotten stuck against some ice and become jammed causing it to reset itself over and over and make this noise. perpetually  But when the door was closed, it apparently sounded like a dog to me (and my friend from earlier!) 
I closed the freezer door.

Woof… Woof… Woof…

Still amazingly dog-like. 

The sad part of this adventure is that I had been in the freezer earlier and noticed the noise but didn’t really pay it any mind at the time.

My ice-maker is now turned off just in case this happens again and I somehow forget that it’s not a dog making that noise.

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