Mornings at our house have a routine. I get up, I get the dogs up, I get the kids up, I get the husband up. But this morning when I came out of the bathroom, I let out a smallish scream at the sight of an arm in the kitchen. It was just my husband, finally heeding my advice that if he wanted a spot in the bathroom, he needed to beat the kids to it.
He let the dogs out and I had a few minutes to putter, when I heard this terrible howling bay. I'd recognize our Beagle's bray anywhere, and we have strict rules about quiet hours (9:30pm to 7:00am) and this was barely 6:00am. I go to the back door and it's standing wide open. I can hear the dogs going crazy in the yard, and one occasionally runs through the carport, hot on the scent of something.
I cautiously call to my husband, not sure where he's got to, and he emerges from the dark yard, bare footed and grinning. What on earth is going? And why are the dogs being allowed to explode in barking frenzies?
Well it turns out as my husband was opening the inner door to the mud room, to let the dogs gain access to the back door and it's doggy door, our smallest dog froze on her way out, then charged full steam ahead at something coming in through the dog door, and the other dogs followed her lead with frightening speed.
My husband didn't get a good look at it, but it was bigger than a rat (thank God), about the size of a cat or a small dog or a raccoon, but it looked to be all black. Whatever the creature was, our girls chased it right out of the house and the yard and then ran around chasing the scent of it.
My sister in Virginia recently had her house broken into, accessed by the dog door. I'd thought I wasn't worried about burglars so much as I was worried about raccoons. Turns out, my fear was right on the money. My only consolation is that whatever that creature was, it wasn't expecting to be met head on by three fierce dogs.
Maybe it will spread the word to the any other wandering creatures. This house might smell inviting, but we have our own version of Cerberus, and they can be very intense. And I keep telling myself, just because my husband didn't recognize what it was, does not mean it was some kind of boogieman monster......and since that was a serious thought, I'd better lay off the fantasy sci-fi reads for awhile.