with just a few barks
everyone can understand
that Lassie is saying
Timmy fell down the well
but with my endless whining and gnawing
you can’t understand
that I am saying
I’d rather the earth swallowed me whole
than go out in public wearing this raincoat
by Francesco Marciuliano
After Dolce spent weeks at the vet’s recovering from her several surgeries last summer, she returned to us with a new vice. Her days rubbing paws with other canine inmates manifested into a penchant to be heard. In the 53 days spent at the vet’s healing, Dolce learned how to bark. Loud. Often. And for no reason.
This is no Lassie bark. This is no “the house is burning down and I’m saving you” bark. It’s not a doorbell bark or a TV bark or a car just drove up bark. Nope. This is a trumpet of deafening, abrasive clamoring. With no translation. No explanation.
Now, Tiamo, she had a few Lassie bark moments. She would come down into the den as Malcolm and I watched TV and do the bedtime bark shuffle. She would stand in the doorway and back up as she barked three times. It was nine o’clock and time for me to come to bed. Nine o’clock on the dot. She never missed the dot. Three sharp barks with exclamation marks. She would then race back to the bedroom and wait for me.
Once Tiamo came down to the den calling out to us with an excited yawp. There was enough bellow in her bluster to give us pause. It wasn’t nine yet, there had been no yelp from the TV, we were curious as to her behavior. I followed her back up into the kitchen and discovered Thugs, our old and aging cat at the time, had gotten himself stuck on the counter and could not get down. He had expanded all his energy in his jump up and now found himself without the stamina to climb down. Thug’s days of enterprising activity had long passed him by. He had twenty years of hard living behind him and his life style had catch up to him. Tiamo just wanted her buddy safe, down on the ground where she could look after him.
Another time, another barking frenzy, Tiamo came to warn us the replacement mousers had knocked over a glass vase full of water. Not only was there water all over the table and floor, but shards of glass was everywhere. Her mayday kept our bare feet from being sliced up.
But Dolce, she just barks.
Bark. Bark. Bark. She knows only one word. Bark.
It’s all about context.