Thump, shuffle, whine, squeak. Thump, shuffle, whine, squeak.
It was a dark night, a cold, dark night. The only thing preventing me from freezing to death was the strategic placement of the five little dogs along the length of my body, under the covers.
Thump, shuffle, whine, squeak.
Those noises could only mean one thing: Sarah had to pee.
Really Sarah? It’s the middle of the night! It’s freezing out! Can’t you just hold it?
Thump, shuffle, whine, squeak.
Okay, Sarah, but if you make me do this, you’re off my Favorite Dog list forever!
Judge me all you want but keep in mind, in our home it’s impossible to sneak one dog out of the house at any time, including the middle the night. Every time I show any hint of movement, at least half a dozen dogs are doing the happy dance. The time spent dealing with one dog is increased x the number of dogs stirring at any given time.
But I did it. I left the warmth of my bed and the the warmth of five little dogs snuggled under the covers to let Sarah out. But it wasn’t just Sarah. While the intelligent dogs stayed all snug in their beds, some of the more stupid ones went out that cold, dark night.
In order to keep the sleeping dogs settled, I let the stirring ones out, without turning on any lights. The aquarium light in the kitchen cast enough glow for me to make my way. To be considerate to the horses at that un-Godly hour, I also refrained from turning on the yard lights.
After letting the dogs out I sat on the couch, wrapped in the imitation warmth of the couch cover, while I gave those stupid enough to brave the frigid temperatures enough time to do their business.
In the same darkness I let the dogs out, I let them in, and this is when I discovered something was terribly wrong.
The first one in was Mortimer. Usually he’s one of the last. As Morty came through the door, his head and tail were low and he glanced nervously over his shoulder. I didn’t think much of it because Morty’s a sensitive guy and sometimes overreacts to simple things.
Then came Sarah. Sarah rarely, if ever, does anything wrong, but if one of the others strays from the Light, Sarah acts guilty. As she came through the door, she had the appearance of a Sarah who had just watched Morty knock over the trash can. Her head and tail were down but her eyes were turned upward looking at me with remorse. I still wasn’t concerned at this point but I did start to wonder.
Next through the door was Gertie. One word that can never be used in the same sentence as “Gertie” is “fast”. Gertie only has 1 1/2 gears: ‘super slow’ and ‘super slow.5’, but on that cold and dark night she added ‘almost rapid’ to her gear count. At this point I was becoming alarmed.
Slugger was the next to enter the house and on his face I saw a fear that I had not seen in him since his terrifying ordeal with the scary Chihuahuas at the beauty contest he was entered in a few years back. At that point, I began to get scared myself.
There was only one dog left at that point and that was Marcy. She was nowhere to be found so I went outside, bare foot, half dressed in the cold dark night to find her.
Suddenly, without warning, a blur went by me and into the house. I assumed it was Marcy. I assumed wrong. It was not Marcy.
Upon entering the house I heard Morty’s fear whistle. I heard Sarah whining. But above it all I heard a sound that can only be described as something that was born from the unholy union of a rabid badger, a wolverine, and a Tasmanian devil. I didn’t know what it was that I just let in my house but from the sound of it, it wasn’t a benevolent spirit. That was the point I started turning on lights.
I ran into the living room where my dogs were clearly in the presence of a monster, afraid for their very lives. If the beast so much as looked at the others, they took deliberate steps backward, or fled to another room. There was a monster in my home and it was hideous. For the safety of my dogs I had to get it out of the house, but try as I might, every time I got close I was met with snapping and utterances of rage which only a hybrid rabid badger, wolverine and Tasmanian devil could make.
The creature ran in and out of every room in the house, including, but not limited to, over Crabby’s sleeping form, several times. As it approached the other dogs they ran from it. Those dogs previously enjoying a peaceful slumber did venture out to see what the commotion was, but upon seeing the cause they returned to their beds, hiding their noses in the deepest recesses attainable, hoping what was transpiring in their previously happy home was but a dream, a bad dream, but a dream just the same.
Eventually I was able to capture the beast in the hallway by the back door, trapping it by closing the baby gate. That’s the point it became its most dangerous. Not even I was safe from the snarls and snapping. I somehow had to find a way to get it out the door, but the only way to do so was to enter the chute with it. My family wouldn’t be safe unless I rid our home of this unholy creature. (Crabby, incidentally, never stirred through this entire ordeal).
Because I knew no one would believe my story about this, this thing, I entered the danger zone with a camera. As is always the case whenever anyone gets photos of strange and dangerous beings, my pictures were blurry. It was a combination of the beast thrashing to and fro while threatening both me and my dogs (on the other side of the baby gate) with its cries of the hybrid rabid badger, wolverine and Tasmanian devil, and my hands shaking in terror. But there was one that came out clear enough to show you the terrible beast that terrorized Run A Muck Ranch, at 1:42 am, that cold, dark night.
This is what I inadvertently let into my home:
I still have nightmares.
The only way to convince the creature to release its treasure was to pick it up. To this day Marcy hates to be picked up. In her beastly rage, she turned to bite me, but but in doing so, she dropped the rabbit . As soon as I got the rabbit out the back door, the beast turned back into the Marcy we all know and love.
I don’t condone the killing of any animal by my dogs under any circumstances. Marcy is well fed and had no justification for killing the rabbit. In order to make the best of a horrible situation, I took the rabbit to a high coyote travel area in the front yard. The next morning he was gone. At least for one coyote dinner came easy that night.
Note to self in the future: If Marcy ever catches something again, RUN!!!!!