One of life’s mysteries is why people who have dogs that habitually bark, whine or howl don’t ever hear them, or if they do hear them, why they don’t do anything about it?
Years ago and right out of college, I was sharing a house with one of my male cousins, Mikey. We had very small house next door to a family that had a black lab named Duke. Like most Labs, Duke was a big, friendly guy who just wanted to be with people. He really didn’t like being outside all night chained to his dog house.
It was fall in Kansas. The hot prairie summer was gone. It was perfect weather for sleeping with the windows open. The windows in both of our bedrooms were very close to Duke’s dog house, so that when he began telling the neighborhood how lonely he was, and all he wanted was to sleep inside with his family, we both had front row seats. Front row seats like at a concert because Duke didn’t bark or whine, he sang. His plaintive howl would go up and down a scale: woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo, woo. Over and over.
After about half an hour of listening to Duke, Mike started the ever effective tactic of yelling at him to shut up. Duke would shut up for a few minutes and when no one came to rescue him, he’d start in again, then Mike would yell, etc. This cycle went on for another half hour. Finally, I heard Mike jump out of bed and storm out of the house. He stalked over to fence where Duke greeted him, tail wagging. I watch out my window as Mike picked the dog up by the scruff of the neck, got in his face and through gritted teeth asked him to be quiet.
That seemed to work. Duke settled down and so did we. We were all just drifting off to sleep, when I heard a police radio and saw a flashlight beam sweep across my window. Mike heard it too and recognized the voice as belonging to the chief of police who lived just down the street. Mike yelled at me that he’d go out to see what was going on.
What was going on is that our neighbors who couldn’t hear Duke singing or Mike yelling at him, had heard someone outside in their yard. Suspecting a prowler, they called to police. My cousin, the abashed new, rookie cop, had to confess to the police chief that he was the night stalker.
And then there was the time….tune in for the next installment….