Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boomer: Big Dog, Little Courage

When we adopted our Great Dane, Boomer, four years ago, one of the things that attracted me to him was that I figured no one would mess with me if I had a giant breed dog.  Yeah, right.  You may think I'm pathologically friendly, but you don't know the definition of those words until you meet Boomer.  And get slimed by his big, wet, jowly face.  It's all part of the experience.  He loves everyone, without exception.  And he shows his love by hammering the top of his head into your crotch.  You're welcome.

One of the things Boomer is definitely not?  Brave.  He's the biggest chickenshit Momma's Daddy's Boy on the planet.   He's afraid of basically everything.  Except strangers.  He freaking loves strangers.

Anything out of the "norm" sends him into orbit.  Which is why we have Doggie Diazapam at my house.  Valium: It's not just for overanxious career girls anymore.

Last weekend, Jeff was traveling and I was left home alone with the dogs, which basically guarantees that something ridiculous is going to occur.  Naturally, Boomer elected to used this opportunity to be a giant pain in my ass.  Because he can.

Everything was perfectly normal when I went to bed.  Marley was in her dog bed next to me and Boomer was camped out in the Queen-sized bed in the guest room, which he commandeered shortly after coming to live with us.  Also because he can.

Around 3:30 a.m., I heard him pacing up & down the hardwoods in the hallway.  Click, click, click, click. Stop.  Loud sigh.  Turn around.  Click, click, click. Stop. Loud sigh.  Turn around. This is Boomer's universal sign of distress.

I figured he needed to go out, so I got up and let him out in the front yard.   He did his business and we went back to bed.

Fast forward to 4 a.m., and:  Click, click, click, click. Stop.  Loud sigh.  Turn around.  Click, click, click. Stop. Loud sigh.  Turn around. Jesus, Boomer.

I thought may be he needed to go out (again), so I got up (again) and let him out into the front yard (again).  He didn't even get off the porch. Bastard!  Obviously he didn't need to go, so I opened the front door, and...nothing.  He wouldn't get off the porch and he wouldn't go back in the house.  Mexican standoff!

I've found myself in a lot of strange places at 4 a.m. on a Sunday, but standing on the front porch in my pajamas with a giant dog who won't come inside isn't normally one of them.  There's a first time for everything.

That's when I realized that whatever had Boomer spooked was inside the house.  Awesome.  Now we're all going to die.  It occurred to me at this point that I was glad (for once) that anywhere I go in our house I'm within 20 feet of a gun.  Is that Dueling Banjos from Deliverance I hear?

We were standing on the front porch like a couple of assholes and I held the door open while I decided what to do.

That's when I heard it.  Very faintly.  Chirp!  Boomer heard it too, and he jumped behind me and cowered.  Or at least his big ass tried to cower.

Oh, for Crap's Sake!!!!  Boomer was terrified that the smoke detector was chirping because the battery was low.  Jesus H. Christ.

I got a spare battery, dragged out the step ladder and pulled down the smoke detector.  After some wrangling, the battery was finally replaced.

Here's where I made a tactical error.  I saw the "test" button on the smoke detector, and figured that I'd hit it and hear a strong Chirp! verifying that the new battery installed correctly.  So I pushed the button.  What harm could it do?

Do you know what happens when you press the "test" button on a smoke detector?  It goes off.  Like fireworks.  Flashing strobe lights and Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!  Like the freaking 4th of July in my kitchen.  At 4 a.m.

Obviously, this did not sit well with Boomer.  He took off like a flash, careening into everything in his path.  One circle around the house.  Two circles around the house. At this rate, I wasn't going to have much house left when he was finished.

One the third circle I was able to tackle him and corral him in the kitchen.  And I have the bruises to prove it.  I spent the next half hour laying on the floor with him saying "It's OK, boy. It's OK, boy.  It's OK, boy."  He probably still doesn't believe me.  I made a very big production of picking up the smoke detector, carrying it to the back door and putting it outside.  That seemed to help calm him down.  Slightly.

Around 5:30 a.m. I finally got him back on his bed and I went back to my room.  Another crises resolved!  Guess now I can claim yet another ability has been added to my arsenal of critical life skills.  LAB: Defender of chickenshit giant breed dogs against the heinous threat of a dying smoke detector.

If you're considering getting a Great Dane for home protection, I suggest you consider another breed.  A Chihuahua, perhaps.

 This is not the face of a killer.

End note:  We were warned when we adopted Marley that Dalmatians are one of the most high-strung breeds of dogs, but do you know what she was doing during all the commotion?  Sleeping.  That's my girl!

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