Night Visitor

Everyone loves going to bed on Friday night knowing that the pressure is off for at least one night, and the alarm clock can sleep un-set deferring to the sun for Saturday morning wake-up duties. I was basking in that happy state last night, or rather this morning when my sleep was penetrated by the crying and fussing of a dog, obviously a small dog by the sounds of his voice. In my resentful half-awake thoughts, I was mentally composing poison-pen letters to my neighbors for not managing their pet responsibly, when it penetrated my consciousness that the noise was not coming through the wall or floor, but sounded like it was inside my apartment. When out on the porch there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Well, maybe sprang is an exaggeration, but clatter is not. The little bugger was now barking and scratching at my door. Threw open the window, tore open the sash. Actually, I looked out the window to verify my size estimate being in no mood to entertain a Saint Bernard at 4:45am. 

I opened the door and in walked, big as you please, right between my legs, a coal-black, fairly young Scott's-Terrier. I hadn't turned on a light, so he instantly disappeared into the darkness of my apartment, leaving me standing in the doorway in my underwear wondering if this was really just a dream. I was reluctant to turn on a light at that point for fear of giving up on the idea of ever returning to bed and to sleep. I crouched down to floor level to try and spot my short legged visitor, and was greeted by a good-morning kiss that was not exactly the stuff early morning dreams are made of. I obliged his greeting with the requisite ear scratching, followed by extensive back scratching. While he appreciated my hospitality, he seemed to realize that he was perhaps somewhere other than home, and he had better check things out before he decided to whether to stay or go about his business.

He started to explore the apartment in some detail, starting with my garbage pail, which I immediately put up and out of his reach. While he was making the rounds, my mind was doing the typical tour of my options for feeding him -- hot dogs might offend him -- and how to go about finding his owner. He had no collar of ID tags. At this point I was lying on the floor, wishing it were my bed. Scotty finished his tour and came to stretch out by my side. I stroked his fur hoping he would go to sleep and let me go back to bed. We talked for awhile, about the end of baseball season and the Diamondbacks' miserable season, the debates of the Democratic candidates for president (he likes Kerry, says he's good to his dog), why I can't keep a girlfriend (he said I should get a dog), and finally got around to the war in Iraq (he says they eat dogs over there, and thinks we should bring the boys home).

Just when I was starting to like him and thinking about a name for him, he went to the door and barked to leave. I reluctantly opened it and he walked out on my life forever. I went back to bed and back to sleep for awhile but this morning I'm wondering what that was all about. Maybe its a sign. Or maybe it was just a dog.

Gene Ziegler