Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

doggone kids

Welcome to the Weekly Friday night Guest Spotlight.

Tonya CannariatoTonight’s guest is writer Tonya Cannariato. Click on Tonya’s picture to visit her website.

(My apologies to Tonya for posting late. As we arrived at our new house last night, expecting the internet to be installed and ready to go, we realized we were the ones expected to install it. Fast forward to morning when the tech support department was awake to activate. Ah…moving!)

Stress, thy name is Tonya: These days I juggle the day job, the freelance job, and the getting ready to release my first novel job. I cram my days full, and stumble into bed, exhausted, at night. Of course, perpetual 4-year-old children that are Siberian Huskies remain blissfully unconcerned about my dire need for sleep. To our two pups, night time is the right time for fun and adventure. That’s when my two fur-kids decide they need to ratchet up their midnight hi jinx.

Within five minutes of the lights finally going out, and about 30 seconds after I’ve rolled over into that comfy prelude-to-sleep position, I am attacked with a “woof” bomb. Kyra, the grande dame at 14 years old, drops the “woof” that means: “Oh yes, but of course I just remembered I need to go out one last time.” Natasha, the 1.5-year-old happy-happy, joy-joy playgirl makes a game of joining her—and sometimes one-upping her pranks.

This week, as Milwaukee enjoyed record-breaking summery weather, and I’ve been putting a premium on getting those few extra winks each night, I’ve acceded to their night-time obsession with sleeping outside—in the interest of avoiding the 4th and 5th “can I go out now?” woof requests in the depths of the night.

This worked well the first and second nights, but the third night I was startled awake by a racket that sounded very close to home. I went to the back door, looked out, and saw both girls by the little stretch of fence that spans the distance between my house and my neighbor’s. Natasha was frantically throwing herself against the gate, yipping and yowling in that particular Husky fashion. A quick glance at the clock confirmed 3:30am cacophony was not going to please my neighbors, so I needed to go out and investigate (in my night shirt… I’m only mostly confident I didn’t flash anyone).

Since both girls were fixated on something in the road, I glanced over and thought a neighbor’s cat was teasing them. So I went to Natasha and tried to soothe her. Kyra was fine with just going in the house and handing over the reins now that someone with authority had shown up. But not Natasha. She strained against me, squeaking and nudging, trying to get closer to the beastie in the road.

At this distance, I looked again. That was not a cat all fluffed up: That was a fully grown raccoon in a “hey punk, you want a piece of me!” stare-down with my baby.

This confirmed all my over-protective fears about leaving her outside overnight and I all but wrestled Natasha into the house.

That’s when the fun started. As a whiling dervish, she thought maybe she could see the raccoon from the living room window. Or the front door, open to catch the least breeze of cool night wind. Then she would tear by me on the way back to the back door. She completed at least three of these reckless circuits through the small space, each time brushing by me as if I were the boogey man deserving the extra burst of avoidance speed. She did not want me holding her back from her goal this time.

Oddly, my husband managed to sleep through this all. And I was lucky that once Natasha was no longer available to make eye contact, the local wildlife shambled off down the road. When I finally re-opened the back door for her and she raced out to her previous vantage point, there was no longer anything to be excited about. But all that extra adrenaline meant she had to trot the perimeter of the back yard for much longer than I was willing to watch.

The good thing about the early morning adventure? Not that I struggled and grumped my way to work the next morning, certainly. Instead, our bonus was a slumbering pup, who slept the sleep of the just. Of the working dog who has protected her family.

Until the next time…I’ll be unpacking boxes! (and boy, will I be unpacking boxes!)

Copyright © 2000-2016, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.