July 4th was spent at this glorious house on Roanoke Island with some amazing folks…and six dogs of various sizes, shapes and colors. When the bunch of humans decided they wanted to take a float and perhaps engage in a bit of tipple at the local watering hole, this party animal decided she needed a bit of quiet time and perhaps a warm shower to wash the salt off, so I stayed behind.
Just me and six dogs.
I strolled through the house picking up empty bottles and dishes that needed a splash before taking a splash myself. As I meandered around I took inventory of the pooches to make sure everyone was accounted for. Tucker, the Beagle mix, was curled up on the master bed, totally ignoring me. Lexie, a chihuahua mix (I think), poked her head out from under the same bed to see who had stayed behind and if they were worth barking at. Evidently I didn’t rank getting even a growl. Bailey, a lovely mix of creamy, midsize milk chocolate and grace, and the other resident doggy, was on the back porch with her visiting friend Phineas Fogg, a gorgeous Boxer mix, barking at anything that moved. The two tiniest visitors were curled up on their bedding right in front of the sliding door to the deck, fast asleep. One was a wiry haired terrier and the other was the softest curly, midnight black little lover.
They all ignored me. As far as they were concerned, I probably had no idea where the food or the treats or the brush was hidden. No worries. I continued with my agenda and ignored them back.
After I stacked a few dishes and rinsed my hair out, I parked myself on the sofa to finish watching Captain America on television. I towel dried my hair and snuggled into my hoodie.
I thought about taking a nap.
I texted my friend asking her if I should make Phineas come inside. Bailey had already tired of the barking game and was curled up next to the tiny pups bed by the door.
And then the bottom dropped out! BOOM!! BOOM!! CRACKLE! CRACKLE! BOOM!! Someone was setting off fireworks close by right before another island started their huge fireworks show. The dogs went crazy!!
Within seconds the doggy door engaged with a FAP! and Phineas made his entrance with a bellowing BOWBOWBOW! The tiny terrier was dancing in circles chirping with YAP!YAP!YAP! Lexie was barking! Tucker was barking! Bailey was barking! If the tiny black dag was barking I couldn’t hear it, but he was running and jumping along with everyone else.
I sat on the sofa wondering what I should do. Should I say something? What could I say that they might understand? Would they even hear me?
That’s when the tiny terrier decided she was in charge. She ran up to Phineas, the biggest dog in the house, and started yipping at him aggressively. Phineas bowed his front paws and threw his ears back.
A doggy showdown?!
What was I supposed to do with that?
Little Dog jumps up on the sofa. This puts her almost eye to eye with the giant and she’s still yipping at him and now he’s making this whining sound. I decide I need to involve myself now.
“HEY! LITTLE DOG!”
I couldn’t remember her name.
“LITTLE DOG! CUT IT OUT!”
This proved to be futile. She didn’t answer to Little Dog. I mean, would you? So I asked Phineas to go lay down and he did. Little Dog aka Maxine, thinking he backed down because of what she was saying to him, pranced over to me with her tail in the air and a huge smile on her face, as if to say, “I sure showed him!”
I’m quite certain that letting her win that argument was very bad puppy parenting. Oh well.
Meanwhile outside still sounds like a blistering war zone, everyone is still barking and howling, and inside is just starting to get very interesting.
It felt like a teeny tiny switch clicked in all six of their canine brains, all at the same time. Within seconds I became the focus of the entire house. I went from being uninteresting and useless, to being the best thing since bacon flavored beef jerky. I was the safest bet. I was a panacea in a doggy world gone mad.
In my world, I was just sitting on the sofa sipping a Coca Cola, totally unaware of what was about to take place.
Tucker was the first to jump up next to me. He was pawing my arm, trying to crawl into my lap when Lexie scooted behind my back and wedged herself between me and the couch, shivering. The small black dog, that I started calling Zorro, snuggled so close to my thigh we could have been Siamese twins and his female warrior, Maxine aka Little Dog, snuggled in just as close to him, so they were both blending with my thigh. Bailey planted herself squarely on both of my feet, while Phineas moved in as close as Maxine would allow him to. Now they’re all looking at me and Maxine is wagging her tail, but keeping her head low.
I was a dog pile. 🙂 It felt kinda nice.
Dogs and fireworks may not be a good combination, but if you ask me I’ll tell you that mixing dogs and fireworks made me feel pretty special and incredibly loved.
I guess it’s all in the way you make yourself available and open to being loved, or simply being needed in order for the world to keep making sense again. I hope for all of you out there reading this that there is someone in your life that makes the explosions a bit easier to handle because you know that being next to them is all you need in order to keep breathing and to feel safe when life outside gets too loud and scary.