When you lay your head down to sleep, a peaceful night is wished for. My apartments, in various neighborhoods and boroughs of New York, were surprisingly quiet. Granted, I was a sounder sleeper then. But, other than the moil of a garbage truck once a week, a siren now and then, or the temporary occurrence of a jackhammer, the city was hushed. It did sleep. (Ah, wait; there was the nightmarish period when the car alarm was first developed. Calibrated to go off from the vibration of a fart, they would continue to blare until the owner was alerted. The schmo, apparently sleeping blocks away out of ear shot, rarely showed up to turn it off. Only very, very gradually, some two hours later, with the battery running out of juice, would alarm grind down into a weak, pulsing keen.)
Dogs are the alarms of country dwellers. Rest assured that if an escapee from the nearby penitentiary started down our long gravel driveway (or, less sensationally, the UPS guy), our dog would give him what for (he barks like a hellhound) allowing me sufficient warning to leap from bed, grab my Blackthorn (Irish walking stick) and do battle in the buff. If a pummeling weren’t enough of a deterrent, the sight of my flapping nakedness would make the rounder exeunt. (The convict, not the UPS guy.) There would be little point to sic the dog on him, as he would run up to the fellow, growl, sniff his crotch, and lick his hand. Coyotes howling near the house will set our dog baying, as will sirens. (We live within sight of the rural fire station.) Outside of these scenarios our dog naps.
My Darling, who cannot tolerate excess noise while sleeping, has trained our dog, as best she can, to come into the house at night to a cushy doggy bed and to keep his trap shut. Why can’t our neighbors keep their dogs inside at bed time instead of allowing them to roam, bark, howl, yap, and woof until dawn when, assuming their watch-dogging is finished, they go to sleep? There is one - anonymous - quadruped, with a sharp, rhythmic bark. After we’ve hit the hay, arf he goes.
Arf, arf, (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause)…[keep in mind: sharp, cracking barks]...arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf.
Is it finished? Has it finally shut up?
Arf, arf (pause) arf, arf, arf (pause) arf, arf,…ad infinightem! (How come these dogs don’t get hoarse?)
We can’t go to the neighbors to complain, as we can’t be sure which dog(s) are barking. We have our suspicions. But, the blameworthy are fine neighbors who husband their property, keep to themselves, and most of all, are good about taking in for our dog when we are away during the day and a thunderstorm hits, for example, which spooks him. If we carped about their nocturnal bête noir(s) they likely would forego their hospitality.
We are not going to leave this home and community for the peace and quiet of New York City. Nor will we complain to our neighbors about the all night barking. I don’t sleep well for a number of reasons and if it isn’t the dogs that wake me up, something else will. Our teen progeny sleeps. Period. But, my Darling is the victim here, and I do feel badly when she is tossing about the bed in frustration, closing the windows even on a hot night, and covering her ears with her pillow.
There is one bright spot in the issue: she is the one who really wanted to live out here.
“Tell me what street compares to Mott Street…” Or should I say Mutt Street?