When folks to come visit, they are often quite surprised by just how quiet our dog yard is. Sure, at hookups and around feeding time they can kick up a ruckus, but about 98% of the time they are as quiet as church mice. Honest. People come to visit during the day or the meter reader arrives and unless the ferious Cricket or Fly speak up, I often don't know anyone is here until they knock on the door. They are more outspoken if something out of the ordinary happens - like I always know if a car pulls into the yard in the middle of the night - but if it is something they see as 'routine', it isn't worthy of their comments.
And then there is the other 2% of the time....
Last night at about 12:30, I was woken up by the sound of a single dog barking repetatively. If it is a crisis in the yard, like a loose dog, the whole yard or at least the area that the crisis is in with all be SCREAMING. This was nothing like that, it was just the sound of a single dog barking. I stared at the ceiling a bit hoping the offender would shut up on their own, but after about 10 minutes I dragged myself out of bed. When I slide open the sliding door, I realized that it was one of the girls, but I couldn't quite place the voice. Yes, I can tell alot of them apart by the sound of their voices - or sometimes I can narrow it down enough by the sound or pattern of the bark to figure out the culprit, but not this time. A growly 'SHUT UP' seemed to solve the situation though, so I closed the door and padded back to bed. As I was snuggling back under the covers the mystery dog let out one more bark, just to get the last word in, and then all was quiet in the yard. I drifted back to sleep.
At 2:30, I found myself again listening to the same barking dog. Again, none of the dogs around her were joining in, so it wasn't a 'crisis situation', just barking at poltergeists or to hear herself bark. No more padding around the house - I stomped to the back door and flipped on the back porch light. That is the equivalent to my father's "If I have to get out of this chair..." threat. The offending gal had the decency to go quiet for about 1 minute, just long enough for me to think the problem was solved.
Okay, it was time to figure out exactly who was causing this loss of sleep. I slide into my flip flops and stalked off into the night with Fly on my heels.
We have something like 21 hours of daylight right now, but still at 2:30 am it was pretty dark out. I could still see the dogs moving around though. Of course, the yapping stopped as soon as I stepped outside, but normally whatever dog is worked up will still be up and flying around on their chain when I get out in the yard. I can usually stomp over , stand intimidatingly over them, giving them a growly lecture and that will be the end of it. However, because it was raining all day and the dogs hung out in their houses the whole time, they were full of beans and all zipped out to say 'hi' when I stepped out into the yard, effectively giving cover to the barker. I muttered a few meaningless threats and generally let them all know how unimpressed I was before storming back to the house.
The door to the house had just slide closed when I heard 'Bark, bark, bark'. ARRRRRRRHHHH!!! I made another trip to the again suddenly dead quiet top of the yard and vented at them all for a full 5 minutes. They all stood looking at me with their tails slowly wagging - no one giving up the noisemaker. I could tell they thought I had gone crazy and I suggested to them that if I had, it was their fault.
Still muttering and fuming I closed the door to the house and waited. Nothing. I spent about 10 minutes going to the bathroom and checking email before heading back to bed. I had just stepped back into the bedroom when it started 'Bark, bark, bark'. Mark was still sound asleep, oblivious to my adventures. I stood debating what to do. Oh heck...I crawled back into bed and yanked a pillow over my ears. Eventually drifting back to sleep with muffled barking serenading me. I think even through the pillow I could hear a bit of laughter in that bark.