My body begins to alter itself for optimal performance in a dog-saturated environment the moment I take my first breath inside the house. After five days back, today it took me about forty minutes to be completely awakened by the barking.
I could hear all four of them out on the porch, a rare moment of unity – typically they bark independently from multiple locations to achieve the best harmonic resonance with the walls. When all of them are in the same place for an extended period of time, it tends to mean that they are surrounding another animal (ie, the neighbors’ Pomeranian, a postal employee, or Papaw). So I got up to see what they were doing.
All four were lying down on the front porch, the Saint Bernard’s front paws crossed in a ladylike manner, facing in the same direction and barking with dutiful persistence at the man working on the telephone lines up on the hill. When one got tired and stopped to lick itself or chew on something it had, another raised its voice.
They had obviously been at this important task for some time. The repairman paid them no attention whatsoever.
Nonetheless concerned that they might decide to take a more hands-on managerial approach, I called for them to come inside. They immediately obeyed. Clearly they weren’t doing this for fun. This was their job.