CLYDE is about 13-yrs old. Don't know for sure because he was a shelter rescue dog. We do know he was well beyond his adolescent years when we adopted him over 5 yrs ago. Two knee surgeries, two tooth removals, and two tumor excisions later, we can say he has definitely NOT been a low-maintenance dog ... but a sweet lovable 60-lb oaf nonetheless.
His deafness probably began about a year ago. He hid it for a long time, but nowadays the only sound he can reliably hear is very loud hand-clapping. If he is not looking at you and you want his attention, you must clap your hands as loud as you can!
It's been ages since Clyde heard the doorbell. He used to go nuts whenever it rang. We had to install a security screen on the front door just so we could answer the door without Clyde charging out from behind, barking, ready to defend the house from potential troublemakers like the UPS man.
That's why what happened this morning has me wondering if Clyde experienced a little miracle.
I was washing breakfast dishes and running the garbage disposal. EK was reading on the couch, still in his PJ's. DING-DONG, the doorbell rang! Not expecting company, I rolled my eyes at EK, giving him the "you can answer it or not, it's your choice" look. So PJ-clad, he reluctantly opened the door to a couple of earnest young people who asked him if he would like to share an encouraging passage of the bible. Oh man, would I have loved to see his face at that moment!
No thanks, says EK as he firmly closes the front door. I give him a sudsy thumbs-up. He resumes reading on the couch. Neither of us were thinking about Clyde.
The next sound we hear is Clyde barreling out of "his" laundry room, dog toenails clacking on the tile floor. It's "his" laundry room because that's where his food and water is. It's a little cave-like room off to the side of the kitchen ... no windows and definitely no view of the front door. He must've been in there drinking water because he'd already eaten his breakfast.
He was huffing ... the sound he makes before barking. He ran right by me at the kitchen sink without even a glance and then straight out through his doggie door ... his exit to the back yard. What's up with Clyde, I wonder. EK, who can see him in the back yard, says he's out there growling and obviously agitated.
So I go outside to satisfy my curiosity. His hackles are up, his fur standing as high as I've ever seen it. He's huffing and puffing, growling and patrolling the back yard, looking for something amiss. Finally he charges over to the wrought-iron gate and begins barking like a maniac. I walk over and observe the bible-readers have found our neighbor. They are standing together in a little clump on the front sidewalk. I cannot hear what they're saying but imagine it is the recitation of that encouraging bible passage they were denied the sharing of at our house.
Good job Clyde, I say. He continues barking. C'mon let's go in, I say. Clyde barks louder, putting his whole body into each bark now. He is not giving up so easily. His fur is still sky-high and he is obviously in guard-dog mode. I decide to let him get it out of his system and walk back into the house. If I strain my neck, I can just see him through the window. He looks like he's attacking the gate, oh no!
I take a closer look. Nope, it seems barking wasn't good enough, and so he has decided to pee through the iron bars of the gate! Now, Clyde is a champion urinator, but even his forceful stream could not reach all the way out to the front sidewalk. Nevertheless, he is quite satisfied with himself because the bible-readers have moved on. Yard guarding is such fun!
He immediately came back in the house, prancing, like he'd done something really important. No more huffing and puffing, no more barking, fur back in place, and looking quite handsome, too. I gave him a big thumb's up! He wagged his tail & smiled in response.
So my question is, why did an old deaf dog suddenly react as if he knew there were strangers outside? He didn't react to the doorbell. He didn't react to EK's brief conversation at the front door. He couldn't have seen, or even smelled, anyone from "his" laundry room. But he somehow got the idea that there were people outside that needed to be taught a lesson about Clyde's territory. Could he have had a temporary miraculous audio event?
Perhaps Clyde is an atheist like EK, or an agnostic like DK, or perhaps he was just not in the mood for an encouraging biblical passage. Knowing how badly dogs are treated in the bible (when mentioned at all, it is usually in "pariah dog" context), perhaps he knew the encouragement would not be to his liking.
For a dog, he's pretty non-dogmatic!