Since posting my response to Roscoe’s question about fireworks I’ve gotten a lot of feedback. It seems that many of us don’t like them, don’t trust them, and don’t understand why the humans think they’re so wonderful. At least I’m assuming that’s what they think, since they’re the ones setting them off on days they consider special. ‘Special days’—that’s a whole other topic. Days are days, and unless it’s raining they are all the same, and they are all good. Anyway, the idea that blowing things up and making a horrible racket is a good way to celebrate a special day is incomprehensible on a number of levels. And not just to dogs. I’m pretty sure the rats, cats, squirrels, birds, deer, possums, raccoons, skunks, (ick), coyotes and mountain lions in the neighborhood don’t get it either. It’s just not something we consider fun. It’s creepy and scary.
One of the creepiest and scariest aspects is that most of us have no idea when it’s going to happen. You’re minding your own business, and if you’re one of my guys you’re probably sleeping, when all of a sudden—well, you know. And fireworks aren’t the only things that come out of nowhere to make us crazy. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and I realize there are a number of things, unexpected things, I, at least, find disturbing.
Those of you who’ve been following this column for a while know I’m pretty tough. Other dogs don’t scare me, people certainly don’t scare me, and I’ve been known to be trouble for some of the non-humans in the area. But those are all things I can see and touch, and bite, if I can get close enough. Except for the people. I’ve never felt compelled to bite them, even the ones who smell like those weirdo’s who had me tied to a tree when I was a puppy. I can just growl and bark at them and they seem to get the idea. Anyway, the real, physical stuff is fine. But there’s more to the world than the real and physical, and it’s scary.
Take lightening, for example. It’s already one of those not so great days because it’s raining. I can’t hang out in the yard without getting soaked and when I do go out for a minute to take care of business I have to go through this whole toweling routine when I come back in. Something about mud, which I actually enjoy, but the folks have some sort of problem with it. So, I’m in my chair opposite the big window, snoozing or looking at the trees, when all of a sudden this flash of light comes out of the sky for no reason. And if that’s not bad enough a little while later there’s this giant roar, like the sky just exploded or something. The first time I heard it the Doc told me it was ‘only thunder’, which sounded a lot like ‘only fireworks’ and did nothing to make me feel any better about it.
Pretty much anything that comes from the sky for no obvious reason makes me nervous. Like wind. I mean, what’s the deal with that? One minute the air is behaving itself and the next it’s going nuts and things are banging and falling over, tree branches are coming down, chimes are ringing. Chaos. It happened a little while ago, at night. I couldn’t figure out whether it was safer in the house or in the yard, on the floor or on the folks’ bed, so I kept moving from one to the other, for hours.
Airplanes and helicopters used to be a problem, too. Again, up in the sky, making a lot of noise, for no good reason. Eventually I was able to put two and two together, a certain kind of noise meant a plane or helicopter, which I could actually see, so no problem. Kind of like the gardener, or gardeners, ours and the neighbors’. They have these gadgets that make a huge racket, and some of them actually make wind, (love to know who figured that one out), but I can see them, I know where the racket’s coming from, if not why, exactly, so it’s annoying but not scary.
There are things inside the house that give me the creeps, too. The house itself, for one. It makes noises. Like it’s trying to move or stretch or something. The sounds only last a second, probably less, but when you don’t expect something like the house needing to move it’s scary. You start to wonder whether one day it’s going to actually succeed and move down the hill. Like when earthquakes happen. I’m not even going to talk about them. Beyond scary. I saw pictures on the TV after one of those things and some houses really did move down the hill.
And I don’t know if it’s because they are in the house and want to copy it or if they have problems of their own, but pieces of furniture have started making noises. In the bedroom. At night. Of course. The new dressers have decided they need to stretch once in a while and make these weird creaking sounds, pretty much every night and usually late when I’m out cold. Sorry, but I don’t trust the dressers any more than I trust the suitcases, and you know what I think about them. It’s interesting they’re both used to contain clothes and they’re both highly suspicious. Not like the closets, which also contain clothes but are actually good places to be when scary stuff starts happening. Anyway, when the dressers starts making noises I’m out of there.
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable. Just practical and cautious. The folks seem to have a different opinion and play down my concerns. “It’s OK”, “it’s just this or just that”, “you’re being ridiculous”, “you need to calm down”, “Oh, Kaya, for God’s sake. You’re being paranoid”. Right. Like when the rat popped out of the Doc’s cooler bag he takes to work sometime and went running all over the place. Hilarious. The folks were beside themselves.
“Hey, it’s just a rat. Relax. There are about a million of them right outside the back door.”
Not exactly what they wanted to hear at the time, but I couldn’t help myself.