“Dogs don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.” Dan Gemeinhart
The number one priority my dogs have is guarding my house, especially at night, since I will and do sleep through anything. They have to earn their puppy pennies somehow. They can be mooches, otherwise.
It was after the 4th of July one night when Brian had had to work until 4 in the morning that he set the dogs all barking at once. It was thunder storming when he got home, and walking up to the house he decided to take down the flag, fold it up, and put it away.
I had tried to get Jackson, our Blue Nose Pit, to come upstairs and sleep with me, but he was just not having it. He was being a punk. He went to sleep on the couch.
When Brian set the flag down on the floor of the porch and started to fold it, pandemonium broke out. Jackson jumped off the couch, rushed the front door, and started to bark. It started a chorus, of course, of more barking and howling by all my other dogs, who had been sleeping in the basement.
I was out cold in our warm bed upstairs. I didn’t wake up. I slept through it all.
I sleep with the TV on. In the morning, as I become aware that I’m waking up, I often ask myself – did somebody turn the TV off? All of a sudden I hear it. It happens as I finally wake up. Everything is shut out when I’m asleep.
Our dogs will howl at every fire truck, police car, and ambulance going down the street. At 3 in the morning it doesn’t bother me. I’m sleeping so soundly I don’t hear sirens. The neighbors, on the other hand, are not on the side of it being an awesome sound, at all.
Except for our Italian and Puerto Rican neighbors.
“They are doing their job. That is what you have dogs for,” they say.
One night when I was still a teenager in Bay Village, living at home, I slept through a fire alarm at home. My mother smelled smoke in the middle of the night, called the Bay Fire Department, and they rushed to our house. Even though it was a small fire, there was smoke, the firemen tramped in with their hoses, turned on all the lights, searched for the smoke, and took care of business.
In the middle of taking care of business they asked my mother if she was going to wake my brother and me up. He slept as soundly as me at the time.
“I don’t think so,” said my mother. “They have school tomorrow. Let them sleep. Everything’s good, right?”
“Everything’s good,” they said, tramping away.
When I woke up I told my mom something smelled funny.
“Right,” she said.
When my friends came over in the morning for their rides to school, they were all excited.
“What about the fire that happened at your house?” they all wanted to know.
“What fire?” I asked.
“The fire department was here last night.”
“No they weren’t.”
“Julie, they were at your house. There was a fire.”
“I live here. You’d think I would know if the fire department had been here. They weren’t here.”
When I asked my mom about it, she said, “Right, the fire department was here last night, and you slept through it.”
We have privacy fences on both sides of our backyard, but just a chain link fence at the rear of the backyard. Our Italian neighbor, Anthony, and his wife whose name over the years I have never found out, live behind us. A man and wife lived in the house next to Anthony. The wife’s husband died in the spring. While she was at the wake someone broke into her house in broad daylight. She was getting robbed at the same time she was burying her husband.
Except she came home earlier than the robber expected. He had probably read about the death in the newspaper and thought, oh, no one’s going to be in the house today, let’s go rob it. Unfortunately, that’s what some people do.
When she came home early Anthony and his wife were in their garden. When the robber was discovered, he jumped out the window into the backyard, and then jumped the side fence into Anthony’s yard. Anthony held his rake up high. The robber jumped the chain link fence into our backyard.
All hell broke loose.
Kirby, who’s been living in our renovated basement for a year, and almost never goes anywhere, had let the dogs out in the morning when Brian and I had gone to work. They were all out there, dozing, playing, and freeloading, since it was a warm sunny day.
All eight of my dogs were in the backyard. They went ape shit when the robber hopped the fence. They rushed him in an instant.
“What the fuck are you doing in our yard?” the dogs barked at once. What they were saying couldn’t have been more clear-cut.
“I think the guy maybe pooped his pants a little,” my Puerto Rican neighbor said afterwards, who had seen it all happen.
My dogs knew he was up to no good. They immediately went at him, going for blood. Most of my dogs are on the larger size. The robber in his black sweats jumped back over the fence into Anthony’s yard, rushed up the driveway, into the street, and was never seen again.
He can thank his lucky stars Jack was still a youngster. If he had been the size he is now, he would have done some damage. He would have gone over the fence after the robber, no problem. When he caught him, he wouldn’t have let go, either. It wouldn’t have been any problem for him to drag the thief to the police station.
Not that anyone in the neighborhood would have cared what happened to the robber. Who cares what happens to anyone who robs widows on the day of the wake? None of my dogs are going to put up with anything like that.
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.