Scooter barked in the bed last night. He barks every few nights.
Then Olly barks. Then the two of them are barking. It lasts a few seconds that feels like minutes that could be an hour that is all actually over by the time you count to five. I slap near them, Dottie hops out of bed, and Scooter and Olly stop their late night songs and everyone goes back to sleep.
Why do they do that? It’s too dark to see where they stare and is too late to have heard anything else but them. Why do they bark in the night?
A few potential reasons.
A neighbor, late night crawling up the stairs, rumbling the halls a bit too loudly.
A potential prowler jiggling a lock, attempting a break-in that would mean little dogs nipping at their feet.
Trash rumbling outside. A can being dragged, a dumpster being dumped: the dogs hate those sounds, so big and unexplainable to their little inhuman minds.
Those tiny kicks, the shuffling of five creatures in one bed rumbling around. A thwack to the face while asleep during a deep sleep. That would make me bark too.
A sleep bark turned real bark. Perhaps there was a dream, one where they were in deep play and a little somnambulant arf escaped before turning real, before another dog caught on to make you consciously articulate the sound.
Something fell somewhere else inside the apartment.
To hear his own voice. There may have been a moment, like when you are alone too long , when he may have thought that he was unable to speak. A night terror of sorts. The bark was his way out of it. A way to know that he is real.
An escaping of death. Maybe he saw his little life before him, a context that he wasn’t prepared for and wanted to escape. Dogs do not understand their mortality, this context. When facing these moments, these memories, maybe he thought it was a ghost. Bark bark. Chase away the thoughts. The undecipherable storm for the dog mind. Shoo, shoo.
Maybe I barked in my sleep. Maybe I dreamt I was a dog and, in those midnight moments, the dogs thought I was a giant dog. Maybe my dream was coming true and I woke to their validation.
It was a song! He was singing a song. His favorite song. It couldn’t come out as words but the only way possible for a dog: a bark.
The creak of the bed. Our bed isn’t particularly creaky but, alas, there are some sounds. Maybe at a certain point it sounds like a bark or an intruder?
He hungers. A rumble in the tumble well into the night, the bark is a call for help. Feed me, perhaps. Feed me.
Answering a call. Not a real call but a metaphysical call. My mom sometimes tell stories about spirits and how, at certain times of night, spirits try to communicate with you. To her, the answer is to always wake up and tell them that you are listening.
It was Barking Time™.
A confused wakeup. No, they do not bark when it is time to wake up but, maybe on some nights, they think that is appropriate.
To be the alarm. Like the confused wakeup, sometimes one wants a new role. Perhaps they just wanted to be a clock, to tell time, to become immortal.