For the past two weeks I have been a bit off during the day, actually our whole family has. Being catapulted out of bed at 2:30am for nearly thirteen days in a row, with every nerve ignited, and every alarm in your body heightened, and your blood pressure going through the roof, has a slight effect on the entire rest of your day. To say the least.
Back way up to my Franny, one of my Gran Dames who was one of the best alert dogs we have ever had. She knew what sounds and smells belonged around her home, and which ones didn’t. She would alert with a low threatening growl out of a window or door, and it would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Her alert growl was ominous, deep, dark, and foreboding. And she was never wrong, ever. It would take an idiot to proceed forward, there was absolutely nothing to misinterpret.
If our dogs alert to something around our home, while we are hiking, or out and about, we believe them. They do not lie.
Fast forward to my young Rhumb, our new alert dog, or rather alarmist. She has been sleeping with me in our new bed, all snuggly and cozy, she loves contact with me when she is dreaming, and the long summer days have given us deep sleep nights, until recently.
A little growl from a little dog, with a bit of uncertainty, barely audible, and than a loud piercing, from the gut, SCREAM, right over my face. Flying is possible, just putting that out there.
Rhumb has a bark, a yodel, a roo-moo, like my other border collies, and she is vocal when we come and go, when she is excited, when she wants to play with other dogs, all normal stuff. But she also has a scream. A very loud, terrifying, alarming scream, like someone holding an air horn an inch from your face. And this is her way of signaling danger, malice, or one who should not be on our property. Who knew.
And I learned about this in the very early morning hours, while in a sound sleep.
The first time she sounded the alarm to an intruder, a nocturnal terrorist of sorts, I flew across the room, and hit something. My first of at least thirteen injuries in thirteen days.
I was so dazed on the first morning, I forgot to look outside to see what danger was looming. I was really trying to get my lungs working again, with the possibility of receiving oxygen in the super near future. Rhumb was equally as upset, and her eyes looked terrified. So whatever it was, it was very real.
Each morning, right about the same time, a blood curdling scream, same startle response from me, crashing into random things in the room, and Rhumb looking super upset.
I was probably on the brink of adrenaline fatigue, my cortisol levels probably sky rocketing, if that is possible, and was finding it hard to sleep, and happened to be semi awake when I heard her sweet little dog growl, before the horrifying screaming started. So I calmed her down and looked out the window, and listened.
It was black outside, obviously, and no real wind, and there it was, crunching through the bushes. There was something in our yard, and whatever it was, it had a route at a specific time.
Each day after breakfast, we would go outside and search for what was prowling through our yard. We couldn’t find anything.
Two nights ago, same thing, and when I looked immediately out the window, there was a head lamp clicking off. Was this what Rhumb had been altering too, a person? Or was it something else in our yard?
So it was the chicken and the egg for me, at first. Now was it the person the whole time, a person looking for their cat in our yard that had been disappearing every morning for thirteen days, was it a person trying to investigate death screams coming from our home every early morning, was it someone walking home from a swing shift type job, a college kid doing the walk of shame after a booty call, thirteen days in a row? Or just a coincidence to have a person with a head lamp walking past our yard the same time as our thirteen day nocturnal intruder was passing through?
And then my brain and how it works simply said, what the fuck is someone doing out at 2:30am with a headlamp next to my fence?
My Rhumb was not wrong, she was spot on with her sounding the alarms.
After the past year, I don’t really believe in coincidences. And we have had things like this happen in the past, not exactly the same but similar.
Some of this comes with the territory of my work, most does not.
So am I glad I have an alarmist? Yes I am. I may come down with PTRD (post traumatic Rhumb disorder) but I will take it. Again, dogs don’t lie.
Last night was our first full nights sleep, and we all slept, and slept hard. The dogs are still tired, and just hanging, not even really looking to do anything. I think all of us are fatigued in ways we don’t even understand yet.
I hope this trend continues. Safe space, safe home, and safe yard.
Rhumb is small but mighty, and I appreciate her to the moon and back. I think our entire family does.