By Sue Murphy
I saw a welcome mat the other day that said, “Text when you get here. No need to ring the bell and get the dog involved.”
I hear ya, buddy, I hear ya.
My dog, Dave, is hypervigilant, always poised to alert me to danger, real or imagined.
I keep the TV on in the morning until the school bus goes by. Dave sees the school bus as some kind of assault vehicle and speaks up accordingly. He has the same opinion of the FedEx and UPS drivers, and no matter how many times I try to tell him that Ms. Annette, our mail carrier, is a trusted friend, he lurches at the window when she opens our mailbox.
Over time, Dave has come to overlook the whooshing of the single serve coffee machine. When my microwave sings its happy little “all done” song, Dave lets it pass, but I only have 15 seconds to get the food out before it launches into the “Hey, lady” mode that makes Dave nuts.
To be fair, Dave has a lot to contend with. When my aging washing machine reaches the spin cycle, it sounds like the “Anvil Chorus.” My geriatric dishwasher chugs and whirs so loud that it drowns out the TV. My refrigerator makes a tone-deaf hum all day long and when the ice drops, it sounds as if it is dropping from the roof.
I’ve tried to modify the noises as much as possible so as not to get Dave stirred up. I turned off the “load finished” air horn on my dryer. The grandfather clock in the entry is set to be silent at night, but that doesn’t solve the problem of the air conditioning unit just outside my bedroom window that strains and wheezes and chugs and sighs when it can finally take a rest.
These noises are at least expected, but I was awakened the other night by a high-pitched beep. When my eyes fluttered open, it beeped again. I grabbed my robe and tried to tiptoe out to investigate, but Dave was at my heels.
Little beeps usually indicate a malfeasance reminder of some sort, not “Get out of the house immediately,” just “You need to take care of this at your earliest convenience.” There was no convincing Dave we were not in imminent danger, so I (we) began padding around the house trying to track down the beep, which was complicated by the fact that every time the beep recurred, Dave set off barking and I could no longer hear where the beep was coming from.
Turns out it was the carbon monoxide detector whose battery was low, and I had to take the culprit down to the workbench and pry the batteries from their houses before it would stop.
I was hoping that Dave and I could both go back to sleep, but to Dave, getting up out of bed necessitates a trip outside, and a post-sleep trip outside indicates that it is morning, which means there are cookies! There was no point in trying to talk him out of it, so I started the coffee maker (whoosh), put my oatmeal in the microwave (ding) and settled in for a 2 a.m. breakfast repast.
I’m glad Dave is vigilant. It’s part of his charm, but it requires a bit of ongoing adjustment. My new hairdryer emits a different pitch than the old one, so for a while I will have to dry my hair with one hand and toss Dave cookies with the other.
Sounds like fun.