De Vos: The night terrors of Grand County (column)
My wife has two dogs, incorrigible and stinky. That’s not their names, that’s their best attributes. Their names are Surely (as in, Surely that’s not my dog). She’s a 60-pound ego in a 30-pound suit. Freeta Goodhome is a retarded basset hound, redundant as that may be. We rescued both these mutts for reasons I’m still uncertain of.
Mostly my wife’s dogs sleep all day, nestled comfortably in a bed of neuroses, draped over the sofa like so many plump animal carcasses. Legs in the air, lips rolled back, lying so still that if they were roaches, Orkin would whisk them into the dustbin. Yet even comatose they are keenly aware of the plump roasting chicken thawing in the refrigerator.
They sleep all day, that is, until confronted with an imminent threat to mankind like an attack from outer space. My wife’s barking dogs could be the last stand between a very sweaty you and me digging dilithium crystals for Medusa-headed monsters from the planet Zogg. But then again, the dogs could just be obnoxious.
When they’re not busy chasing away outer-space monsters with whacked-out hairdos, my wife’s dogs sleep all day. Well, that’s not quite true. Occasionally, oh say, every six minutes, they jump up to play a quick game of “Wreck the Furniture.” Simple dogs — simple game. The winner is the first one to cause me to fall sobbing to the floor.
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With mind-boggling frequency their slumber is disturbed by some horrible racket like a tiptoeing chipmunk. The minute some rodent dares step toe on the patio, my wife’s dogs leap into a frenzy bouncing off the walls, breaking a few more things and flinging mud over the rest.
The sofa, long-wearied by similar assaults, obligingly slides across the hardwood floor like a bald-tired Yugo on a frozen Lake Granby. The glide is abruptly halted by our once-nice desk. Howling like wolf-wannabes, the mutts jitterbug across the back of the sofa until the leather wears down their toenails, at which point they slither off to bed to let them grow out again.
The only times my wife’s dogs don’t sleep is at night. Curiously enough, this is precisely the time of day that my wife and I have chosen for our own sleep. At night the dogs are constantly on the prowl, alert and watchful for the possibility of a desperate pair of chicken legs leaping out of the refrigerator in a daring dash for freedom. It’s never happened but hope and chance keep them ever vigilant.
My wife’s dogs are nuts and I wonder what effect they’ve had on me. Sometimes when they get hysterical over an errant breeze, I say quietly to my wife, “You should do something about your dogs.”
She stares out the window for several moments before replying in a listless monotone, “My dogs? Aren’t they your dogs?”
*Dedicated to my friend, John Hillyson.
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