What came through Spotty's Door?
|It was a gorgeous autumn day, as it always is in the Midwest. Gone were the hot and humid days of summer and the rain that never seemed to stop coming down. The yard had finally dried up enough for the family to begin their annual cleanup before the snow fell. The leaves of gold, green and brown were swirling around us with the slight wind that had risen, and the dried up leaves that had already fallen were crunching under our feet.
All four of us had rakes and each were building a pile of them to be bagged. Spotty, our little beagle, didn't seem to want us to finish. One would have thought he had someone chasing him as he frantically ran circles around the yard and then straight lined it directly into one of our piles, flattening it.
Shouts could be heard from every corner of the yard.
“Stop it Spotty.”
“Knock it off Spotty.”
“Spotty, one more time and you're getting put in the house.”
It was all in good fun though, a subject we would be laughing about all winter long.
When we moved from our apartment in the city to our new home in the country, everyone agreed that we now had to have a dog. After a few trips to the pet store it was decided that we all fell in love with a little brown and white beagle whose sad eyes and long droopy ears seemed to call out, “Take me home”. So we did.
There was work involved in keeping at pet. One had to clean up the yard, remember to feed Spotty (that's what we named him) and make sure he was let in and out of the house. After a few weeks of door tending, the complaining started.
“It's your turn to let Spotty out.”
“Spotty wants to come in, you do it, I did it last time.”
“Really, am I the only one who can get up and let Spotty in the house?”
It seemed we were all a little bit lazy. At various times you could hear someone shouting.
“Spotty, I just let you out five minutes ago.”
“Come on Spotty, you can't have to go out again.”
“Spotty, lay down, I'll let you out in a few minutes.”
Spotty loved the outside!
“I've got it.” My husband said to me one day.
“Got what? What are you talking about?'' I replied.
“A door, a dog door for Spotty. He'll love it, and so will we.”
“A dog door? Where would we put it?”
“In the kitchen I think. It's closest to the back yard.”
It was decided, a dog door would be installed in the kitchen and then Spotty could come and go as he pleased. Come and go he did. One never knew if he would be passed out in the bedroom or outside poking into every nook and cranny he could find. There was harmony! Spotty was in utter bliss and so were we. Throughout the day you could hear someone shouting.
“Hi Spotty, where have you been?”
“Gee Spotty, nice you could join us for a change.”
“Hey Spotty, I missed you!”
Spotty lavished all the attention he could get and it was worth it when he chose someone and plopped down on their lap for the evening. There is nothing like the love and trust of a dog to sooth your soul.
Our days were busy with work and school so our usual routine was to retire fairly early and Spotty was always the first in line to retire next to us.
That evening some time later, a scream, then into our room came the children.
“Dad, Dad, there's a noise in the kitchen!”
“What, what's going on?”
“The kitchen, Dad, listen.”
By this time the kids were on top of the bed with us when a crash was heard downstairs.”
We all froze!
Then, ruff, ruff, ruff from Spotty and more clattering downstairs.
“Grab Spotty and all stay here, I'll go down,” said my husband.
We all huddled together, Spotty growling the entire time.''
More noise and commotion from the kitchen. I was just getting ready to dial 911 when my husband called up the stairs.
“It's all right, he's gone now, you can come down.”
Cautiously we all formed a line, Spotty at the head, myself following, then the children.
Spotty immediately ran to the dog door but it had been locked and he looked up at us like a prisoner who had just been caged in a cell.
“What happened, I asked, who was in the kitchen and where did they go?”
“It's not who, laughed my husband, it's what.”
“Huh, I don't understand.”
“A raccoon, dear. It was a raccoon that came in the dog door. I think it was more scared than I was. When I opened the door, it ran out.”
“Oh my God, the dog door?”
Needless to say, Spotty's liberty was shortened. The dog door was no longer kept unlocked unless we were downstairs in the house.
There were be no more unwelcome guests.
Once more the shouting began.
“Did anyone lock the dog door?”
“I locked it last night, you do it.”
“All right, all right, I'll do it, but tomorrow's your turn.”
“Fine, when the next critter comes into the house, it'll be your fault, not mine.”
And so it goes with all loving families.