My main working dog, Coda, is now an aging adult border collie. We’ve become so intellectually and emotionally connected that he seems to read my mind, and I often think I can read his. Coda isn’t afraid of much. More than once, he has saved me from charging 300-pound rams, and he knows I will protect him when needed.
Last week I taped a couple of scary movies to celebrate Halloween. We don’t get any trick-or-treaters so far out in the country, so a scary movie or a fun cake is about the extent of our recognition of the holiday. With Rick out of town earlier this week, I had the perfect opportunity to curl up on the couch and get scared — but not too scared. I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to these things, so I usually watch them during the day. I had two movies, however, so the second one continued a bit past dark.
As the movie progressed, I realized that I didn’t want to watch the whole thing in an empty house all alone after dark, with only my dogs for company. By about 9:30 p.m., I decided to call it a night and to watch the rest in the daylight — when the scary, jumpy parts would be a bit easier to tolerate. I let the dogs out and went to bed.
Although our other two dogs, Chance and Lisa, sleep in crates in our bedroom (to prevent them fighting), Coda sleeps on a dog bed near the end of our bed. Because he is loose, I know he would protect me if necessary, and I feel perfectly safe with my boy there. Yet on this particular night, I was a bit unsettled going to bed. The movie had given me the creeps, and I was happy to have all three dogs in the room with me. As I started reading my Kindle in the darkened room, Coda suddenly jumped onto my bed, terrified and wearing his ‘Oh-my-gosh-we-aren’t-alone!’ face.
He is only allowed on the bed for major crises such as lightning and thunder, so I commanded him to get down. He slunk back to his bed, obviously unhappy and afraid. I petted him a bit and explained that there was nothing in the room — as I looked around to convince myself. Eventually Coda calmed and I scooted back to bed, retrieving my Kindle.
In seconds, Coda was again insisting that there was something really bad in the room with us! Something that had him so afraid that he was beside himself. He knew he was supposed to stay in his own bed, but I was the only one he could count on to protect him when he couldn’t handle things. He HAD to come into my bed.
I’ll admit that at this point, I was beginning to think about the scary movies. I KNEW they weren’t real but, well, it was dark — and my trusty companion was insisting there was something bad in the room with us. I turned on the light and sat with him at his bed, soothing him to sleep; and then I crept back to bed. But as I leaned over and softly turned off the light, there he was, jumping on the beg again!
“Did you hear that?!” he asked with his searching eyes. “It’s in here with us! Save me! Get rid of it!” I once again turned on the light, got out of bed, and pulled him off. I didn’t know what it was, and I was honestly pretty scared by this point. How could I figure this out? We had to get some sleep!
So I gave Coda the command, “Find it.” Coda never disobeys a command, no matter how he’s feeling. He knows that I depend on him, so he snapped into work mode and began to carefully inspect the room. As he very slowly stalked the area, it became ever more obvious that he was beginning to focus on the area on or next to my side of the bed. The mystery something was there — where I had been just a few minutes before. What was he sensing?
I watched as he crept ever closer to my pillow, eyes searching, nostrils flaring, trying to find what neither of us could see. And then suddenly something happened — and he bolted back, away from my nightstand and to my side. He had found it. It was THERE – at the side of my bed. And it was TERRIFYING!
And then, I suddenly knew what it was. I approached the light on my nightstand — the only source of light in the dark room — and there it was. Down in the recesses of my lamp shade was a fly, attracted by the heat of the light bulb in the cold room. It moved slowly, buzzing when it did so. Coda is terrified of buzzing flies!
I killed the fly, and as is our usual routine, I held it in front of him so that he could see and smell the kill. Now we could sleep. Coda returned to his bed, happy to be rid of the vile interloper, and let out a big sigh. In minutes, he was sound asleep. I, on the other hand, now had a bad case of the creeps — even though it had been only a fly. No more scary movies for me!