thud thud thud
Wide awake, but still confused. Fumbling for a light. Spotlight the sliding door. No dog. huh?
Czar appears from around the corner, wondering if I'm going to give him pats. Stroke his head, send him back to bed.
Lie awake and ponder the dark, listening listening listening, until I fall asleep.
When I was fourteen we got a puppy. Looking back, he was probably a puppy farmed mongrel, but his "papers" said he was a Pekinese X Maltese. He was so tiny he had to stand in his food bowl to eat. We named him Tintin after the t-shirt my brother was wearing. The first night he cried, my dad woke me up and told me he was my responsibility. He always slept downstairs, even as a little guy. He learnt to sleep through the night, and loved his bed. Sometimes he'd let himself out the doggy door and bark at possums. Someone would have to tell him off, and put him back to bed. I don't remember it happening very often.
When I was twentyfour, TIntin and I moved out into a rental property, because mum and dad were moving overseas. We lived with a series of housemates, and the kitchen and laundry, with the doggy door, was his room, with his bed. Sometimes he'd let himself out the doggy door and bark at possums, right under my bedroom window. I'd have to tell him off. He was lonely. He followed me around the house religiously and barked more often. Sometimes he'd be shut in the kitchen and he'd hammer at the sliding door. It would go thud thud thud endlessly, until I went in to cuddle him.
When Tintin was thirteen, we got him a little friend. His name was Toby and he was also probably puppy farmed, a Cavalier X Maltese. It gave Tintin a new lease on life, having someone to play with. They slept cuddled up together. There was less midnight barking, less door thumping for a while.
By the time Toby was about three, Tintin was getting very geriatric and not so much fun. He was getting blind and deaf, sleeping a lot, happy in his bed in the kitchen when there was no lap available. Toby got bored. More barking, more door thumping. Eventually, we moved away. Eventually Tintin succumbed to his extreme old age, but I think by then Toby had gotten used to him being a sleepy old man. Toby's tiny little mind didn't seem to remember Tintin, let alone to mourn or grieve. My throat gets all lumpy typing about it, especially since I wasn't there when my poor little guy died at age 17.
So, why am I dreaming of Tintin thumping the sliding door?
Perhaps it was because there's a dog down the street who keeps waking me up at 4am, barking.
We're lucky to live in a very dog friendly neighbourhood - labradors on one side, Keeshound breeder on the other, and dogs barking is a pretty common noise around here. In fact, our four tend to be pretty quiet - Czar woo woos every day when I go to work, but that's not 4am, and neither is it 4am when any barking or woohooing that happens when we get a leash or bones. Most mornings, when the boys go down the back stairs, the Keeshound greet them with volley after volley of their high pitched yaps, and sometimes Bolo will reply. But I've never heard our Sibes challenge anyone in the park over the back fence, or join in when the labs tell someone in the park off. And both of our immediate neighbours' dogs are very considerate about letting us sleep through the night.
The barking is coming from a property a few doors away. I know the bark from when we walk in the park and he calls to us. I always thought he was telling us to go away, but today I peered down the front drive at him. He's not a German Shepherd like the picture on the "Beware of the Dog" sign. He's a big black dog, I'd guess that he might be a Rottweiler X? Doesn't have his tail docked, because he wagged like mad when he saw me. He also span around in excited circles, like Frankie waiting for his breakfast.
I think he's lonely.