I was thinking about how much has changed since Lauren moved home with Iggy and Millie last February. I mean besides the social climate and the coronavirus crap. That’s a given. What I mean is how much has changed within our four walls which we call home. There’s so much more — stuff and noise and joy and stress and fur with which to contend.
Then there is barking time.
No one told me about barking time before, but if you have more than one dog, you have barking time at your house, too, I bet. I haven’t been a dog owner very long and while I’ve never heard of other dog owners talk about barking time, I assume other dog owners enjoy this as much as we do. This didn’t start until Iggy joined us, so we’ve only been doing this for about four or five months. Somehow or another, between Ig and Buddy, barking time just evolved into an almost daily habit.
Barking time usually happens sometime between the hours of 6 and 8 PM. There’s no set hour or minute when it starts. If there were, we would plan around it because, unfortunately, barking time tends to interrupt TV time. However, that’s what the pause button on the remote is for. Because during barking time, Iggy and Buddy and whichever humans are so inclined (I usually am) spend time barking and howling our heads off. I’m the one howling because…why the hell not? Okay, the only other human to participate in our house is Lauren. However, she isn’t always here for that; but when she is, look out because she can bark with the best.
I don’t know what exactly starts barking time, but you know it when it happens.
Either Ig or Bud will begin and then the other will join in. At this point, you can either join them or wait it out because it’s going to happen and it’s not going to stop until they’re all barked out.
Usually, David and Ryan look annoyed at me, the dogs and Lauren as though we’re nuts; and they patiently wait for this 15-ish minutes of madness to run its course. Personally, I think barking is a healthy release. It kind of gets the pent-up frustrations of the day out of our systems…or at least that’s my thought. Plus, there’s a sense of bonding within our little pack. Dare I say it? It’s a helluva lot of fun.
I mean our therapeutic ritual can’t be any worse than coming across a group of people who get together for laugh therapy in a park on a daily basis. Right?
I’ve never experienced a laugh therapy group or meet up other than reading about it and perhaps watching once or twice online; although, I would love to wander into a park sometime and run into a group of people hysterically laughing at nothing. I wonder if they still do this during this time of social distancing? Also, I’ve often wondered what would happen if someone came up to this group and just started crying; like a good, solid, ugly cry. What would this group do? Would they stop laughing? Laugh harder? Would the one crying eventually start laughing? I mean which mood is more contagious, sadness or unabated joy?
In our household, it’s unabated barking. I wonder if our neighbors ever wonder what the hell is going on over here but don’t dare approach. Because I happen to know that if you’re walking by our house when the dogs are barking, you can hear them as though our brick walls were paper thin. So I have no doubt that our neighbors can hear all of us when barking time ensues. Whatever the neighbors may think, I know this is our cats’ least favorite time of the day; but since they are nowhere to be found, who cares?
And just like that, barking time is over and we unpause the TV —
until it gets paused again, usually because Lauren and I start having some sort of conversation much like the following ~
Lauren: So do you know the backstory to Goatman’s Bridge?
Me: You mean the Old Alton Bridge?
Me: I mean we used to go out there because it’s a really cool, old bridge and a fun place to hang and take pictures, but they’ve built another bridge to bypass it, and it gets a lot more traffic out that way than it used to. Other than that, I’ve always heard that the Goatman is supposed to live underneath. There’s a backstory?
Lauren: Oh, yeah. It’s great. I mean…not for the Goatman because that story’s really sad, but the story of the Goatman haunting this bridge is a really good one. You should look it up sometime. Anyway, one of the stories is if you knock on the bridge three times at midnight, he’ll come up from underneath. You know he’s there because you can smell the decay of rotting flesh. Even if you get away, he’ll hunt you until he finds you and then he’ll kill you.
Me: Really? And you know this how, again?
Lauren: My friend Becky’s the one who brought it up. Just think, you used to take me out there, too! When I was a little girl. You took me to a place where I could have been hunted down by the Goatman and killed.
Me: Well, it’s not like we ever went out there after dark, so I seriously don’t think that was an issue. How does Becky even know about the Goatman or Goatman’s Bridge? Is she from the Denton area?
Lauren: No, Arlington. I think she saw it on a paranormal show.
Me: Whaattt? Really? So Goatman’s Bridge has made it to the big time, huh? How about that. I’ll have to check that out. When we moved out that way in the late 70’s, we were told by neighbors that if someone knocks on your window at night, don’t look to see who it is. It’s the Goatman and if you look, he will kill you. Of course the only time anyone ever knocked on my window, it was a friend of mine who was more of a peeping Tom. I think Billy’s in prison now.
David: Oh for God’s sake! I’m trying to watch TV over here!
Lauren: Well, stop listening to us.
David: Don’t you think I would if that were possible?
So usually Lauren and I wrap up our conversation so David can finally have a little peace and quiet if only for a little while. It’s too bad David doesn’t participate in barking time. I think it would do him a world of good.