THE BARKING DOG GETS ON HOME
SHORT STORY – BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
FEBRUARY 20, 2001
I’m sitting at my desk, engrossed in getting the current task finished and watching the clock – counting the time until the office opens and I can contact a technician to help me finish the installation of this new high-speed internet service that promises to make certain aspects of my daily life run a little more smoothly. There have been some obstacles to overcome since this service was ordered 6 weeks ago. All of the hardware arrived by common carrier to my door. I was encouraged by the rapid response until I found that someone had failed to include the necessary software to run the program. So a phone call was made and a promise given to get the software to me, post-haste. Through a series of silly mistakes, it took three tries before I finally received this precious cargo and am now ready to get on with the installation. Through all of this, I’ve had the grace to keep a good attitude and count blessings rather than focus on the negative part of the transaction.
Only 10 more minutes and the technical support office will be open. In the meantime, I have several current projects that have kept me busy this morning – helping to make the time pass quickly. I have become aware of a dog barking loudly outside the front of my home. We do not have a dog, but my next-door neighbors both have dogs. I didn’t recognize this bark. As I was pondering the exact location, as well as the ownership of the animal, I chose to ignore this intrusion in my morning and concentrate of finishing the current task at hand on the computer. The barking continued without break and actually increased in volume and speed. I could not believe a dog could bark that loud – that consistently – without pause.
I love to play mind games with myself and I found myself in a battle with this dog in my mind. Would this animal demand my attention and would I allow him to force me away from the computer – causing me to leave a task only partly finished, abandon this long awaited completion of the DSL installation, and cause me to take the time and effort to open the front door and find out where the dog was and exactly what was the cause for his alarm siren going off so long and so loudly.
It has now been 18 minutes since this “serenade” began and I’ve just come to the end of my own tolerance. My ability to continue focusing on my task at hand has now found the obstacle larger than the desire for accomplishment and I rise from my office chair with my hackles raised and make a move to the front door… will I scream at the dog with some sort of verbal threat? Or, will I take even more brave action and dare to walk out into the front yard and physically challenge the dog with some justifiable act of violence? Will I have a compassionate streak when I discover the dog’s plight and respond with great tenderness and loving concern? Oh, what an adventure this little interlude has brought to my otherwise productive but dull day.
Well, the moment of truth has arrived. I’ve reached the door, pulled it open with positive action that spells out my determination to put an end to this annoyance. My eyes fall on the shortest, most stocky 40 pound piece of canine flesh I’ve ever observed. There is nothing about this dog to attract any type of kindly action. He is neither attractive, intelligent, blessed with personality, nor desirous of my friendship. It appears he has come on assignment to test my own willpower and stretch my limits of perseverance… both of which have found some success for his side. But I also have to admit that all of my thoughts concerning any type of acts of tyranny have now escaped me and I’m left with one verbal address: without raising my voice, I opened the door and simply spoke “get out of here, dog.” I closed the door, got a glass of water and started back to the office when I realized that the barking had stopped. I again went to the door and looked out – only to realize that the dog had vanished as if into thin air. There was no trace of the dog – nothing to prove that he had ever existed. And then I had to break out into loud, belly wrenching laughter… laughing at this dog on assignment… laughing at myself for my reaction to his dress rehearsal… laughing at the irony of it all… laughing at how humanly I had responded to this test from the mouth of a canine.
My mom always said “It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the most oil.” Had this dog chosen to stay around, he would have been the barking dog that got the bone. By this time, I felt he deserved some sort of reward. But it appears in this case that the barking dog just “got on home.” Perhaps he was yawning and feeling he had done his job well. Who knows… maybe there was even a bone yet waiting for him when he arrived.
BARKING DOG GETS ON HOME [Sunny Orly Coffman] 2-20-01 1