Word Prompt: Subliminal

Our three dogs think they have the whole subliminal thing down pat. Like last night.

Thunder was rolling through the valley. Not very loud thunder, but definitely thunder. Rolling. It might mean rain … or just the heat of the day breaking up. Our dogs are not particularly nervous about noise. Guns, fire-crackers, thunder? Meh. Only when lightning actually hits the house does everyone — human and otherwise — react.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It’s hard to not react when a bolt of lightning hits the house or relatively nearby. It hit a pole in front of the house and burned out two computers — and they weren’t even turned on. It hit the pump in our well — 450 feet (that would be almost 138 meters) underground.

I thought that was really weird, but the guy from the insurance company was unphased. He said the combination of electric current, iron, and water had a way of enticing lightning. Not so unusual after all.

I was really unbelievably grateful we had insurance!

Meanwhile, our dogs have figured out when there’s a storm, we check on them, just to make sure they aren’t getting weird. I don’t think they have any idea why we check on them, but they know it’s something about storms, so as the thunder roared across the valley, they poked their three little noses into the bedroom.

Bonnie was first because she’s the dominant canine. Also, she knows Garry will let her do anything.

“Hi there,” she said, waving a furry black paw.

Gibbs’ nose appeared next. “Hi Mom, Dad. How’re things hanging with youse guys?”

Of course, The Duke was grinning up at us. Panting a little bit and using one of his front paws to point to the kitchen. Where the food is. Because nothing makes a dog less apprehensive about rolling thunder than a quick snack.

They were so cute that I got up and gave them one of the little treats.


We have treats in three sizes. Small, which isn’t small unless your dog is a Wolfhound or St. Bernard. Pretty small, which is maybe the size of the upper joint of your thumb. And teeny, tiny … maybe the size of my littlest fingernail. That’s the one I give them when they are looking particularly beefy. They are all permanently on a diet, too.

But since they’d gotten me up and into the kitchen once, they were sure they had it nailed. As I was getting back into bed I heard the little “scratch, scratch” on the door. This is a big improvement over Bonnie and Duke’s previous method which was to fling themselves — TOGETHER — against the door.

Our interior door are not all that sturdy and this usually meant an explosion of dogs into the bedroom.  That did not go over well with me. Garry, of course, slept through it. Will he sleep through it after he can hear? Because having your dogs break down your door is pretty damned loud, deaf or not. Even if you can’t hear it, you can certainly FEEL it.

We discussed the whole “breaking down the door” thing. I explained that if they didn’t cut it out, I was going to put all of them into crates. They didn’t like that idea.

So now, it’s a gentle scratch and if I didn’t fully close the door, a little push and a few noses in the doorway.

That is our dogs’ version of subliminal. Really subtle. Below the level of our inferior human understanding.

Duke is smart. Too smart for his own good and not as smart as he thinks — and seems to feel we need clear instructions about how to do what we ought to do. Since he can’t type, he points. With paws and nose and sometimes, entire body.

They all lick their jowls, just in case we aren’t clear that what they are hoping for is food.

After I told them to cut it out and settle down, they did. But don’t imagine for a moment that they’ve given up. All the subtle hints — like pushing the 40-pound crate of food into the living room, for example — will continue. I suppose we could try to discipline our dogs. Make them “obey” us. But I’ve never really had an obedient dog.

They all do pretty much whatever they want, even when they know better. I don’t really mind because they are much more fun “au naturale.”

21 thoughts on “SUBLIMINAL IS DIFFERENT FOR DOGS – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Just came in from an hour and a half of throwing Morrie’s ball down to the garden from the pool, getting my exercises in between. This is one of the few times I’ve thrown for that long without getting the ball stuck in a tree, bush or high planter. Some kind of magic. Clear sky, stars out, warm water, temperate temperature, no wind. A little music filtering out from the bedroom, soft lights. The water felt viscous. Just couldnt’ come in. I was watching first “Younger,” then “Songs My Brother Taught Me” on the Pool PC…a cheap Acer bought precisely for that purpose. What a perfect night. Morrie didn’t jump in the water once. I was too efficient in my throwing tasks.


    1. Some Scotties can swim, others can’t. Bonnie can swim, Duke cant. I think it has to do with body versus leg length. We’ve got perfect weather, if not a perfect night. 70 degrees with a light breeze. It doesn’t get better than this! And now, we also have a new mattress. Yay.


  2. I have no experience with dogs. Tabby always has food, although she likes to watch us eat with a what about me look making you feel guilty, so she gets a compensation snack from the table. Loud storms no problem, she goes under the bed


  3. I’ve never had a truly obedient dog, either, and I don’t think I’d want one. My dogs have all seemed to know when it was imperative to follow directions, and when they could get away with doing their own thing. That’s fine with me, so long as they listen when I need them to.


  4. Gosh, you GOTTA love them pets… 🙂
    But heck, burnt computers, switched off and yet made to cinders by the lightning?! I do unplug the cables when I’m away for longer but sadly, thunderstorms have a tendency to not announce themselves hours in advance. I’m glad for you to have an insurance for the damage….
    And again, dogs are NOT there to be subtle. It’s not in their genes as you well know 😉


    1. I now DO unplug them, but there are still TVs and lots of other devices. Lightning is incredibly powerful. We seem to get hit more often than other people. Four times in 18 years. Losing the well-pump was bad because they are expensive and that one was pretty new.

      Dogs are hilarious when they think they are being subtle. Ever seen one try to tiptoe across a room? You can hear their nails clicking two rooms away, but they do try 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. I had a dachsie who cried actual tears, I kid you not…. Or when they rope along the floor, belly on the ground and seemingly think that you don’t notice that something or other went terribly wrong!


          1. Yeah, or the crows, or neighbourgs’ children, or our child – oh wait, that’s not true: Son often said: It was Tiggie (tiger, our dog with an entirely different name but was renamed by son) who stole it…. 😉


  5. We have cats, 3. Porsche pushes any door open and enters. Abby scratches and she doesn’t have a mew, she has a squack that will waken the dead. The second she hears movement she starts. Porsche just jumps on top of me when he hears me moving first thing in the morning. If I’m still mostly asleep he scares the crap out of me and he’s 16 lbs. Abbey is 12 and Sugar is 12. He seems like a monster in comparison, but really, he’s a huge fur ball while Abbey is the smallest boned cat I’ve ever seen but the loudest purr and snore! She woke me up from a dead sleep and she was in the front room!!! Porsche had never heard such a thing and he woke jumped off his chair and stood on his hind legs stared at her sleeping in the chair snoring happily away then looked at me as if to say, do you hear this? Is she ok? What is that noise? What’s up????


      1. roflmao it’s so true! haha I have WAY more attitude than I had when I was younger. smirk smirk. And animals do too. Porsche was easy going relaxed laid back. then he had surgery 4 months ago. He’s changed. He’s become territorial and he’ll bite at the drop of a hat. Not happy with his attitude change!


        1. I think that’s how many cats show they are in pain. We had a cat that required serious surgery and she was never the same again. We also never put an animal through that kind of surgery again, either. We learned a lesson which is “do not do to your pets what you wouldn’t do to yourself.”


          1. I’ve never had to do anything like this before. You’re right. I won’t do it again. The alternative was unbearable. I still can’t think about it. He started peeing on my sons bed, then he pooped on my floor. Adam would carry him outside and stay with him until he’d done his business. He was terrified of going outside and wanted his litterbox back. (We had to get one for a week because of the cone). It took several days but he eventually went out side again and now he stays out all night as before. He’s hurt because Adam won’t allow him to sleep on his bed, but we can’t trust him. He sleeps on mine and is fine, but Adam had bought an expensive new fiber filled blanket and expensive cover and pillows. He peed through it all. Two days running and it takes almost 24 hours to dry. He’s still not allowed in Adam’s room. While Abbey and Sugar both sleep on his bed. He’s the “cat” man. Every cat known to man loves him. Dogs too. They gravitate toward him. Makes Kelsy and the kids annoyed because their 2 are now ours! We share Abbey, she loves both of us, but Sugar, is all Adam. Abbey is too in reality. She adores him!


            1. That’s how WE felt about it. It was massive surgery and it was supposed to give her life back to her, but in reality, she lived less than a year and was miserable for all of it. We finally put her down. We looked at each other — and it was also a HUGE vet bill — and said NEVER AGAIN. And we never have. When the dog or cat is that sick, we let them go because they aren’t people and they don’t need to learn to live with pain. We are their gods and we can let them die peacefully. We have never forgotten.


              1. I spent 400.00 for the surgery. And it healed him but when she explained his behaviour to the vet afterward she was shocked. She said she’d never seen or heard this before. I’ll never do it again. Sad as it is, I’ll spend the 100.00 to have them put to sleep. harsh but true.


                1. Our pets don’t understand “dealing with pain.” They just feel it, hate it, resent it and us for apparently causing it. I think we all have to sometimes remember that we can’t explain to them how it’s for their own good. They don’t see it that way. They don’t understand and can’t. I’m not sure that I understand either.


                  1. I know. That’s how I see it too and it certainly is how it is reflected back from them. Ppl scoff at 7 years to a dog is….break it down into minutes and a day can be a lifetime to a pet.


Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.