The right spot

As anyone who has ever had a dog knows, it takes a while to find “the right spot.” You know, for number one or number two. And you also now that the worse the weather is, the longer it will take to find that perfect spot.

Like this past Wednesday, when hurricane Dorian was a mere eighty miles off the coast. The bands of wind and rain started early in the morning and came in rapid succession. Just before sunrise, there was a lull in the action and I thought, “This is perfect.” I got up, fed the dog, and we headed out on our usual morning walk.

As we left the garage, I reminded Samson, our Florida brown dog who absolutely, positively does not like the rain, “The sooner you finish up, the sooner we’ll be back inside.” The street was deserted, the swales weren’t too full, I saw countless places where he could take care of business. On this morning, though, nothing nearby would do. Nope, we have to walk about two hundred yards to find today’s “right spot.”

The wind is kicking up, the trees are waving in the gusts of wind, branches and pine needles are raining down on us, and a few drops of rain began to fall. We kept walking. And sniffing. And walking. And sniffing. I knew our window of opportunity would soon close.

Finally, we found the right spot, a quarter-mile from the house. I thought it looked like so many others we passed. But what do I know (or smell). We made it back home unscathed.

This morning, two days since the storm, the sky was clear. The air was still. Naturally, “the right spot” was just across the street, a one minute walk from the house. Go figure.

Brown dog security company

Brown Dogs

The two brown dogs guarding our home raise the alert status to Defcon 5 about every fifteen minutes or so. Growls, woofs and urgent barks echo through the house for any of the following reasons.

  • The mailman is delivering the mail.
  • The garbage man has arrived.
  • The UPS man has arrived.
  • The Fedex guy has arrived.
  • The neighbor across the street has opened his garage door.
  • The neighbor has closed his garage door.
  • Our garage door has opened.
  • The neighbor from down the street is walking by.
  • The neighbor from down the street is walking by with a dog.
  • The neighbor from down the street is riding by on a bicycle.
  • A car door opens.
  • A car door shuts.
  • A squirrel runs across the fence.
  • Something sounds like a knock at the door.

This is the short list. I am sure there are many more in the Florida Brown Dog home security manual.

“Can we play with your dogs?”

Two Labrador dogs

We lived on the end of the row while I was doing my vicarage (internship) in Baltimore, so we actually had a yard in-between us and the church. It wasn’t a big yard, but was fenced in so the dogs could be out there.

We also lived right across the street from an elementary school. I was told that over six hundred children lived in the nine-square blocks about the school. I don’t doubt that estimate. There were always kids coming and going, running and laughing.

And knocking at our door. You see, we had the dogs. We brought the yellow Lab, Gabriel, with us. We brought home a chocolate Lab, Rachel, a few months after we arrived in the city. They were great companions at home, on walks and when I went for runs. They were great watchdogs, too. Right after we arrived, a repairman came to the house to fix a lock. Gabriel had him pinned against the wall with a snarl I had never seen before.

And the neighborhood kids loved them. It was not unusual to hear a knock at the door and find 18-20 kids on the front step asking, “Can we play with your dogs?” We would let them out in the side yard and the dogs would chase the herd of kids to one end of the yard, and then the kids would chase the kids to the other end. The smaller children would ride the dogs around the yard like ponies. The kids would throw balls and sticks, and then try to wrestle them away from the dogs.

I’m not sure who loved it more – the kids or the dogs. Finally the kids would tire or have to go home, and the dogs would collapse, exhausted and happy, panting with their tongues rolled out on the floor.

We were there over thirty years ago, yet I can still vividly remember the sound of gunfire from a passing car, the all night conversations and music passing by our window, and those excited little voices asking, “Can we play with your dogs?”