We are quiet people.
It has always been so. That’s probably what drew the two of us together in this noisy world. And since the children grew up and left us, our house has been even quieter. So quiet, at times, that if not for the sound of the television in the family room when one of us is down there, there would be no sound in the house at all. It’s the way we live. It’s what we are accustomed to.
And so, bringing a young, 21 pound hound into our lives has been an adjustment, to say the least. Lilly, you see, is a beagle with a lot to say. She is a real loud mouth.
If the wind happens to blow a leaf across the sidewalk outside, she feels compelled to tell me with a throaty “ROOOOOO!!!!! Mom! There’s a LEAF outside! LOOK!” If Libby the Lab comes to visit and presses her nose against the sidelight to let us know she’s there for a treat, Lilly sets to bleating uncontrollably on the other side of the window until we DO SOMETHING. When it is time for dinner, Lilly’s internal “I’m hungry. Feed me!” ear-splitting donkey-braying commences. I’ve made a list of the various triggers that set her off. In addition to the three already mentioned, she barks, howls, screams, or woofs at:
- birds in the yard
- other dogs in the yard
- any and all knocks at the door, real or imagined
- the kids next door
- her stuffed rabbit
- the timer on the washing machine
- the timer on the microwave (see a pattern here?)
- ringing telephones, cell phone or otherwise
- dogs on television (why, oh why are there so many commercials with dogs barking on them? I want to know.)
- lady bugs in the screen porch
- spring peepers in the swamp across the street
- her reflection in every window
- pretty much everything else that moves or makes noise
If she was a two-legged creature instead of a four-legged one, she’d already have been kicked out of class by some frustrated teacher for disturbing the peace. There would, no doubt, be a conference with her apologetic parents and suggestions regarding medications to try and good therapists. Good thing she’s a dog. But Lilly just finds the world so darn interesting. How can she NOT tell anyone who’ll listen? It’s a beagle thing.
That said, for all of her bleating and braying and and general peace disturbing, there is one time when she’s quiet as a little tri-colored mouse. In fact, no matter how many times I’ve pleaded with her to tell me, she seems not to grasp that the very best, fastest way to get the attention of a human, when a small beagle needs to use the great outdoors to do one’s business, is to bark. Just. bark.
So, yeah. In addition to trying to find the magic word to get her to stop talking, we are working on that around here. Uff da. Good thing she’s cute.
Knowing when to say something, and when to keep one’s mouth shut, is a challenge for us all, isn’t it? Cute, or not.