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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Have Aliens Landed Or is that Just My Dog Barking?

Why is it on days when I don't get enough sleep and my brain is foggy a lot of funny ideas come streaming into my mind? There's probably some good neurological or scientific data to explain this. Or maybe it’s just that most of the filters in my brain temporarily are shut down due to lack of sleep—napping as I wish the rest of my brain were. In a vacuum without filters, funny thoughts bubble up. That's the theory I'm going with. Or maybe aliens have taken over my brain.


Last night was one of those nights without much sleep.  I had neglected to pick up Blazer’s, our collie dog, full food bowl when I went to bed. As a result, I've been extremely foggy all day.


You see, Blazer loves to have a post-midnight snack. So, around 1 o'clock last night he went into the laundry room where his food and water bowls reside. He proceeded to eat everything.


Do you remember the movie, “Gremlins”? The first rule was: “Don’t feed the gremlin after midnight”. Whoever came up with the concept of Gremlins must have owned a collie dog. After our 5-year-old-but-still-a-puppy collie eats, he has an immediate blood sugar spike. Which is fine most of the time. We play with him, take him for a walk or chase him around the house as he herds imaginary sheep and our furniture. 


But if he eats after we’ve gone to bed he still gets that blood sugar spike. He gets frisky, wants to play, or just goes to the back door and barks. This is not nearly as much fun at 1 or 3 AM as it is at 1 or 3 PM in the afternoon. At least for non-collie-dog residents of the house, the people who are trying to sleep.


I've fallen for our dog’s middle-of-the night barking tricks in the past and, thinking he needed to relieve himself, let him outside, only to have to repeat this multiple times. I’ve discovered by watching him out the window, he does nothing that would merit a trip to the backyard.  Unless you consider standing on the deck and surveying his backyard domain as a top priority.


So last night when he started barking sometime between 1 and 3 AM (I was too sleepy to look at the clock) I went to get him where he was barking near the back door.  He greeted me with a big tail wag, sloppy grin, and playful antics. It was clear he wanted to play: herd imaginary, indoor sheep or chase a stuffed animal or ball. Any rough and tumble game would suffice for him.


Instead of returning his play proposals, I strongly encouraged him to go lie down and go to sleep. By taking him by the collar, leading him to his bed and saying as firmly as possible, “Go lay down go to sleep."


Even though they don’t teach that command at dog training class, it worked for about an hour. Then he barked uproariously again. This time my husband got up. Our dog didn't even pretend to want to go outside this time. Instead he simply laid down in our family room with that well-known collie look of, "What?  It wasn't me who barked."


This morning when the sunlight started peeking through our windows, always-on-the-alert Blazer again started barking furiously. This time the ruckus was coming from the bathroom.  When we went to check to see what monsters or spooks might be worthy of such an uproar we found Blazer furiously ready to attack a small space heater.


I had bought said heater a few days earlier, thinking it would be nice to chase away the chill when I step out of the shower on a cold day. In fairness to our collie, the heater does look a bit like a satellite dish ET might use to phone home. Our dog appeared certain aliens had landed in the bathroom.


By that point, I didn’t care if aliens had landed in our bathroom as long as they would let me sleep a little longer. I rolled over and tried to go to sleep. I hoped any aliens in the bathroom would be the type willing to play with our collie.


Tonight, I hope to get more sleep than the previous night. I can assure you, when I go to bed I’m not leaving out food for our dog, aliens, or even Santa. They all will have to fend for themselves. And I’m going to try to remember what rule two was about Gremlins—oh, don’t get them wet--or they multiply. And one collie “pup” sure is enough for us.

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