Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Clyde's religious experience

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!


enigma4ever said...

really wonderful story....good on Clyde...good for him...and wow the ability to urinate at the exact right moment....too funny...

give him a hug for me...
and a big treat...

D.K. Raed said...

Clyde can pretty much urinate anytime, anyplace, but this was a particularly timely urination! Maybe he knows we do not appreciate these kinds of "visitors"?

Fran said...

Wow! Clyde had quite the day. Funny how dogs have that vibe sense. For sure, he knew this evil entity needed to be dealt with. Ha!

An adult friend with severe ADD had Jehovas witnesses come to his door- he invited them in & kept them going for 3 hours!

Cart said...

The bad tempered smooth haired chiuaua currently sharing my shelter is both hearing and sight impaired. If she is outside she will react before seeing or hearing (while they are around the corner) subjects of excitement.
Inside I usually have a full half minute to grab her before it starts - that's after I have seen or heard. I put it down to a superior sense of smell.
Also, being a clever chap, I wouldn't answer the door in my PJs, I always put clothes on first.

D.K. Raed said...

I think Clyde was "pissed" that the bible-readers were so engrossed in group-reading their encouraging passage that they did not seem to notice him at all. So he thought, well, piss on 'em!

LOL about your ADD friend ... see we always knew ADD was good for something! I wonder if in the end, the "witnesses" decided here was a soul too infuriating to save.

D.K. Raed said...

Of course their sense of smell is so superior it's hard to say ... but in Clyde's case, I would've thought the various aromas in his laundry room (detergent, bleach, his leftover food, old fluffy mat he likes to lay on, etc) might've rendered his nose incapable of detecting the biblers. That's why I think it was a little temporary miracle!

oh, I was wondering if anyone would pick up on EK in his PJ's. Good thing (for him and for the bible guys) that his PJ's look more like a jogging outfit. Plus when you show up unannounced early in the morning, you get what you deserve. Could've been a whole lot worse!

Annette said...

That's too funny... I have a little fuzzy too.. I usually let him bark if they come to the door, if I bother to answer it.. most of the time I don't answer it... lol

D.K. Raed said...

"if I bother to answer it" ... I know just how you feel! And a well-placed loudly barking dog definitely deters many unwelcome hucksters from returning.

We used to be able to somewhat control Clyde's barking at strangers with a stern reprimand. Now that he's deaf, it's difficult. Sometimes a well-placed tap on the nose lets him know he can stop now, that we humans have it under control. Even then, he still huffs, like he is ready to resume barking if he senses we are incapable.

Fran said...

The ADD friend could have kept him there for days & there was no chance of him being converted, but he probably kept them going with *meaning of life*, *bible interpretations*, and *Why???* for all those hours.
Even the JW people probably had to blacklist him, or put him on the eternal prayer list of complicated souls!

HelenWheels said...

Awwww!! He is adorable!! I love your atheist pup. He probably sensed EK's annoyance or felt the vibrations of bible-humpers :)

What a great story. I love that he tried his best to pee on the offenders, too. LOL!!!

D.K. Raed said...

Hi Helen, I'm sure my atheist poop (he's no longer a young pup) would've loved to drench those guys! I might've had to apologize to them, but it would've been totally worth it! If you liked Clyde's story & have time, I recommend the link I included at the end. It's told by a Springer Spaniel who wonders why the bible hates dogs.

HelenWheels said...

Ok, I'll read that now!

My 2 big furry girls gave the right message to these nice Jehovah witnesses who had the guts to come to the door one day (you'd know how crazy that is if you heard my girls).

But, now when they swarm the neighborhood they avoid my place. This is one of the many reasons I love my girls!

A friend's older dog we call "Doodle" even though his name is Tripper is a red version of your ol' Poop Clyde, except probably 2/3 the size. Clyde totally reminds me of Doodle, the same "smile". LOL!

What would we do w/out dogs in our lives?

Oh part of the reason I left the Catholic Church and subsequently dropped religious beliefs altogether was because I wouldn't want to be in a heaven without other animals. How boring.


HelenWheels said...


Loved the article, especially this part:

"However, those animals are so stupid that many dogs are employed just to herd them around. Someone who herds sheep is called a pastor. I understand that some humans also have to be herded by a pastor who fleeces them whenever possible. "


Mauigirl said...

Good for Clyde! That's a wonderful story and those Bible people deserved his wrath. We get Jehovah's Witnesses in our neighborhood and although they are polite they are definitely persistent!

D.K. Raed said...

here, it's mostly, but not all, mormons. but I think Clyde is an equal opportunity pisser.