Scary things are befitting an October post, and today's #inktober idea was brought to me by my fearless little Aki. For a 25-lb. dog, she is incredibly fierce; she won't start a fight, but if challenged she will happily engage and drive to finish it. She seems to delight in proving that small is mighty (I have no idea where she gets it from). The photo above is my girl wearing my Warrior Dash viking hat, and she looks almost as fearsome as the bison that she challenged nose-to-nose. She can pretty much take on anything in the world... excepting a certain feline, of course.
Occasionally even the strongest are tested. This morning Aki woke me as she usually does, crying first, then putting her front paws on the bed and air-snapping, then taking my wrist or ankle in her mouth and threatening to drag me out of bed unless I comply with her demands for breakfast. NOW. But she was also acting unusually nervous. I followed her downstairs and Taylor tagged along. I asked if she was hungry but she whined and hopped around and motioned to the back door. Maybe she needs to go outside, I thought. I let her out, but instead of bolting into the yard to pee, she stood at the door, shifting from side to side, whining and shaking. Hmm.
Taylor wasn't affected. He was very clear about his priorities: breakfast. So he followed me into the kitchen and I prepared their meals (dog food, veggies, and a tablespoon of canned food—they never leave a molecule of it behind). I left the bowls on the counter and returned to the family room to let Aki back in. She shook, whined, and hesitated to enter the house.
I said, "C'mon, let's go eat!" which was significantly more coaxing than she would normally require (both my dogs are fat for a reason... they don't miss meals!). I walked back up the steps and called her from the kitchen. No response.
I looked down into the family room, and Aki was cowering by the back door. I went down to talk to her, and she moved away, hair bristling on her neck, trembling. "C'mon, Aki," I repeated. She hunkered down and shook. I grabbed her by the collar and gently led her up the stairs. When we hit the dining room, she cried and shook and put the brakes on. A 25-lb dog can become much heavier when they want to be! She refused to enter the kitchen and strained so hard against my hand on her collar that I was sure she'd hang herself. So I fed Taylor in his usual spot, and let Aki eat in the living room, curious and disturbed about what was going on.
She acted like she had seen a ghost. I'm not even sure I believe in ghosts, but after a recent conversation with my buddy, Dan, and his ghostly encounters, the thought entered my mind...
It wasn't until 12+ hours later that the smoke alarm began to "beep" every minute, indicating a dying battery or some other malfunction. The dogs HATE that sound—they are absolutely terrified by it. Both will shake incessantly and beg to be let outside when it starts. So now I am thinking that perhaps the alarm was emitting a sound that only Aki could hear. The smoke alarm in question is directly over the kitchen door—precisely the threshold that Aki refused to cross. So now I need to revise my sketch to show whatever a ghost of the smoke alarm would look like. Hopefully that's all it was—and nothing more sinister.