Oso is a great defender of his realm. He barks at and chases bears, chipmunks, squirrels and the occasional bird. He barks at hikers going by and people coming up the stairs to knock at or come in the front door. When he is barking at someone coming in, I am always right there assuring him that it is ok and the person coming in is a friend. Along with the barking goes a wagging tail which dominates the conversation as soon as the person speaks his name. He even barks at Dean coming up from the office. Dean often tells him, “look before you bark.” There is always great joy at the recognition.
Last night was a different situation. The house was dark. Oso and I were in the bedroom where I was already in bed reading. Dean was due home in about an hour. Someone (and I assumed it was Dean) came in the door and started up the stairs. Oso barked and headed out to greet and defend. And then Dean - yes, it was Dean - barked back at him. Paradigm shift. Oso backs up into the bedroom with his back feet on the closet carpet for traction off the hardwood floor, plants himself in a defensive posture and begins to Bark!
I had never heard this sound before. It was a deep chested, teeth bared, “this is my house, my mom, and I will defend both with every sinew of my being and you had damn well better leave before I am forced to do so” bark. He barked so hard and so deeply and so angrily that I became just a little nervous that maybe it wasn’t Dean. Between the sounds of the dishwasher and the barking, I wasn’t sure I had really heard his voice. I called out - “Dean is that you?” Yes, it was. Oso continued to bark.
Even after Dean made his appearance and uttered soothing words to Oso, Oso stayed alert and upset. No tail wagging. More like humphing if a dog can do such a thing. A little pacing. A little shaking. A little upset with his dad for pulling such a trick on him. It wasn’t until Dean had changed clothes, patted his head and told him what a good dog he was that he consented to leave his bed and go down to watch football with Dean. Silly Dean - you don’t bark back at a Knight in Shining Fur.