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Nothing gets away

Jon de Vos / The Friday report
Fraser, CO Colorado

My wife’s dogs are incorrigible and stinky. Those are adjectives, not names.

Their names are Cuervo, a licker, and Freeta Goodhome, a basset hound so pig-headed as to make a rented mule look like a real go-getter. It’s not all the dog’s fault; we simply aren’t good disciplinarians. In fact, our standards are so low that we’re OK as long as they don’t forge checks or steal the car.

With kindness and encouragement we shaped their natural instincts for sleeping on the sofa. Well, maybe we didn’t exactly “guide” them but we sure didn’t go all negative the first time they did it. We have some of the puppy pictures framed. Very cute.



We don’t actually use the couch. Were we so foolhardy, the dogs begin clawing and scratching their way to the top, paralyzing us with pain and the miasma of week-old tuna. Despite piercing screeches and vigorous pushing, they race to be the first dog team to clamber up the daunting North Face of Mount-Who-Feeds-Me.

If we unthinkingly trespass upon their upholstered territory, it never goes unnoticed. They’re such competitors and their focus is so intense that they’re totally able to ignore the living, bleeding, organism beneath them, knowing that eventually we will get up and go pay some taxes or mow the lawn.



The dogs don’t like us on the couch because that’s where they sleep all day. They need their rest so they can be at the top of their form at night in case nothing happens.

Cuervo stares out the window all night, alert for things that aren’t there. If he sees nothing, he’s very quick to warn us that if we were expecting to see something, we wouldn’t, because there was nothing there.

He’s constantly scanning, scanning and hoping to see nothing at all. One might think that being not there would make it hard to see, but apparently no. Outside, nothing made the slightest movement, so slight that you and I might never even know that nothing was there. But Cuervo’s on it. He curls his lip and gives a little “nothing going on” woof.

This startles the basset hound whose primary concern is that nothing gets into her stash of biscuits. So she starts with a series of window-rattling howls that absolutely chase nothing away but sleep. Her howls convince Cuervo that he was right all along; nothing’s out there to pounce on him. To be certain we know nothing’s wrong, he leaps atop the nearest living organism.

Things eventually quiet down. By 2:45 the neighbors’ calls have begun to drop off, folks are getting back to sleep. But then, our worst fears are realized: Nothing comes around again and chaos erupts anew. Cuervo is unable to keep his mouth shut, compelled to alert us that, not only has no one broken into the house, there is no burglar creeping up the stairs. The basset throws back her head and begins wailing because she, for one, has keenly anticipated this onset of diddly-squat. Holding pillows over our heads barely drowns out the shrieks of angry neighbors and growing sirens.

The problem is, my wife and I (and apparently a significant number of our neighbors) suffer from a medical condition that strikes at night, called “sleep.”

Doctors can find nothing wrong.


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