Barking Time

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?

Lauren: Yeah.

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.



18 thoughts on “Barking Time”

  1. I absolutely loved this blog, from beginning to end. Poor David. But I do know how those conversations go – I could use a good howl now and again!

    • Hey Barbara,
      Howling…it’s one of those things you don’t know that you need until you’ve experienced it and thought, why haven’t I been doing this all of my life? Ha! I highly recommend it. Glad you liked the post, my friend! Mona

  2. I’m so happy others have barking time too. We have 4 and they bark/howl when my husband comes downstairs. I LOVE howling along with them. I’m sure the neighbors hate us.

    • Kathy,
      I know, right? If someone had told me about barking time years ago, I might have gotten a dog long before Bud. Oh my gosh, you have four? Tell me all about them. Also, I’m sure your neighbors wouldn’t hate you if they only knew how much fun barking time is! Thanks for stopping by! Mona

  3. I’m probably giving our dogs neurotic psychoses because barking time was so frequently that we bought them these collars that beep and vibrate (beeping collars alone wouldn’t cut it) when they bark more than three times, and that’s nipped it. Molly is the smart dog, so she barks twice and then does this frantic, fretful grumbling and whining and half-barking that won’t set the collar off, just under its threshold, and it’s the funniest thing we’ve ever heard and we laugh our asses off at it. And it’s usually just a squirrel anyway.

    • Lille,
      I’ve experienced that “frantic, fretful grumbling and whining and half-barking” before, only when it’s because I’ve insisted that Buddy come to me when, clearly, he wanted to do other things instead. That’s really smart, training them through beeping and vibration. I’m glad that’s working for y’all, but I’m not sure either Bud or Iggy could handle that. It might actually make my goofy ones bark more! Besides, they’re not the only ones who need to bark in our family. Ha! Mona

    • River,
      In these weird-ass days, my friend, one does what one has to. I think we can all drink to that! Oowwhoooo!!! Mona

  4. I don’t know about group laugh therapy. I find the idea just ludicrous enough to sound interesting, should I need therapy… in a group… whilst laughing. Goatman’s Bridge sounds like a perfectly wonderful spot, perhaps for a group therapy event? 😉

    • Ally,
      Rumor has it that Satanists throw some pretty wicked parties out that way! I haven’t been out there in twenty years and, thankfully, there was neither Goatman, demons or Satanists to be found the several times I visited. Just beyond that bridge used to be a road covered in a canopy of trees. It was absolutely beautiful to drive through. I wonder if that’s still around. Next time I’m out that way, I may have to mosey by. It was weird seeing it on Youtube as a spooky place since I’ve been there before and it didn’t feel spooky to me. Oh well. As to laugh therapy, I guess the idea is that when you start to laugh, your endorphins kick in and it elevates your mood. I don’t know if I could fake laugh myself out of a depression, though. Come to think of it, I don’t know if I could fake laugh. If loads of money were attached, maybe. But you never know. Hey, if you ever decide to try it, let me know how it turns out. Curious minds want to know. Barking therapy is amazing, though! Mona

  5. Wonderful post, Mona!

    Having one rarely-barks breed (a Malamute) and an Aussie who was raised by my earlier two Malamutes (so he also doesn’t bark much, never really learned), I don’t get to enjoy bark fests here, but I can totally see how it would be valuable – and free – therapy!

    Those two earlier Malamutes of mine would howl at sirens. I would howl with them as encouragement to keep them going because I loved the sound so much. They would alternate, sustaining the howl while the other caught her breath. Sometimes this happened while we were walking through our suburban neighborhood and a police car or ambulance approached with siren blaring. The girls would hear it in the distance, stop, sit, and commence howling as it approached until the vehicle passed and the siren faded. Cars pulled over to let the emergency vehicle by would roll down their windows to listen, smiling, to my howling dogs, sometimes applauding. Based on those experiences, I think howling would be equally good therapy 🙂

    As for creepy boogeyman stories – no thanks! Hard enough to sleep these days!

  6. Rebecca,
    I love a good howl and glad to know you participate! It’s funny that you mentioned your Aussie doesn’t really bark because your other dogs don’t. When Iggy first came here, she didn’t bark much. However, over a short period of time, she’s discovered she has a “voice” and she loves expressing it. Loudly! She now belongs to the badass ladies club around here! 🙂 Mona

  7. Because I live with Dalmatians I’m all too familiar with The Starlight Barking. (I’m going to assume you know the Disney film or even the original book by Dodie Smith, and if you know the original book you probably know she wrote a sequel called The Starlight Barking that is terrible.)
    Although it’s not just Dalmatians. I’ve noticed a lot of dogs in the neighborhood bark at twilight–I mean when it’s crepuscular. The gloaming hasn’t mysteriously become a corporeal thing whose presence causes the dogs to verbalize. Heck, if twilight were wandering around my neighborhood, and it would probably look like Rod Serling, I’m sure I’d bark at it too.
    I think you need to get David in here to shut me up. I had a point here but it disappeared into the darkness.

    • Hey Chris,
      No, I didn’t know any of that! Why am I always the last to know about these things? Also, you make it sound soooo mysterious and special. Also, you taught me a new word today. Now I can’t wait to use crepuscular in something I write or something I say. I’m gonna sound so fancy. Thanks! Hope all is going well with you! 🙂 Mona

  8. Great fun, Mona. Plus the intriguing questions about group laughter/crying dynamics.

    If you think barking time is trying, we experienced dog wars—for years! Long story, but I can simply say David would have left long ago—and they were probably the reason our daughter became a professional dog trainer…


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