Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dogs that Did Bark

There is a short story featuring Sherlock Holmes titled "Silver Blaze" which has become known for the dog that didn't bark in the night.
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
This scene was the inspiration for the title of the 2003 book  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.)

All which is beside the point because my dogs did bark in the night-time last night. Well, very early this morning.

If you are an owner of a canine fur kid you do know they have different barks (well, unless it is one of those foofoo tiny things that are merely pretenders to the throne of dog) for different occasions. And living in the country as I do I have discerned the difference between their bark because all the other dogs in the neighborhood are barking, and the something unsettling is going on bark. Within the latter category is the elks through the yard bark and the I have no idea bark. It is the I have no idea bark which is the most unnerving. I can entreat them to go back to sleep through most all other barks but that one.

That was the bark at 3 a.m. this morning. And it was followed by protective behavior where they crowd in as close to me as possible. I want to believe they think they are protecting me rather than I am protecting them. Ever notice how acute your hearing gets in such circumstances? I could hear the distant bugling of female elks to their young and figured maybe it was just a herd leaping over fences but something did not feel right about the air in the house. Charged? Energized? I tried in vain to remember where the upstairs fire arm was. Made mental note to figure that out come dawn.

Got out of bed with some difficulty given dogs protecting me. Threw on terry robe and traipsed downstairs (I would rather rush to meet my destiny than have it creep up on me) where I was aware of all the gun locations. Dogs followed with that low growl thing going on. Creepier than the I haven't a clue bark. Lights were on across the street at the vacation rental - late arrivals for holiday ski weekend? And car lights were on down the dead end road - domestic dispute? Early morning departure for the holidays? Car rushes past fast down the road. I walked out on my back porch (damn cold out there this morning) and leaned over the railing so I could see if the lights were on at my neighbor's to the west - nope. Steve has a terminal form of cancer so a predawn emergency would not be out of the realm of possibility.

By this time I am totally awake and put on the water for coffee in the French Press, toss on a few logs to the burning embers in the wood stove, and feed the fur kids. Magique is still in protective mode at my feet and Mardi is only three feet away. Maybe dawn will reveal the cause of their upset. And maybe not. Coffee with the neighbors is probably called for to see what they experienced.

I am doing a gun check today and also being more careful about locking the doors. And there is an afternoon nap in my future.


  1. Jacqui I would have been in an absolute state..terrified..yes Jacqui you must lock those doors,safe or not safe up where you are,if I went to bed knowing the doors were locked I would relax,it probably was the Elks outside but never the less lock the door,and have access to that gun,as much as I loathe guns,I know where you live and living alone you need it.
    Enjoy your afternoon nap.

  2. Been there, done that with the unsettling barks/growls. More than
    likely it was the unknown vehicle down the dead-end lane. I do believe the fur kids may have prevented a pre-Christmas robbery. Many dogs barking and lights coming on probably saved either you or one of the neighbors.
    Remember, complacency can become an avenue of regret.
    Very relieved nothing dire happened to you or yours in the night, though!

  3. do you have a security system? even though i have two close neighbors and live out in the country in these times i wouldn't dream of not having one. take care and Merry Christmas.

  4. ROFLMAO, I live in an area where if I were to call 911 and say shots were fired it would be 45 minutes to 2 hours before the deputy sheriff arrived and only if I had mentioned putting on the coffee and heating up the chili.

    A security system cost about $50 a month and the response time on that is 30 minutes.

    The dogs are my alarm system. The guns are my security.

  5. Jacqui, in your situation I agree that the CEWS (Canine Early Warning System) and S&W security system are the best bet. Glad all seems well up there. Stay safe.

  6. LOL, love the CEWS. They are worth their weight in dog biscuits.

    BTW I was watching a crime show (Criminal Minds) and they were pointing out that houses with exterior lights on and barking dogs were usually skipped by robbers and home invaders. I have outside motion detector lights.


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