THE DAWN BREAK IN – Marilyn Armstrong

You think you are safe. secure. In your warm an cozy bed for the night. When you left to go to bed, the dogs were snoring — a good sign. I slide quickly into sleep and don’t wake up until my shoulder falls out of the socket.

I go to the bathroom, find the lidocaine pain patches, remember (this time) to tie my hair back so I don’t glue my hair to my shoulder — which isn’t good for either my hair or my shoulder.

I brush my teeth on the theory that the brush is here, my teeth are here, so why not? I’m 9-months overdue for my six-month checkup, so brushing is a good idea any time of the day or night.

Back at the bed, I rearrange the pillows, raise the bed a bit up top, lower it on the bottom, realize I have to sleep on my back and crawl in so I have my right arm lying on the pillow. Some readjustments are required to get the angle right. I’m just hoping the lidocaine patch kicks in.

Sleep baby sleep …

I drift off to sleep when suddenly … IT’S DUKE, BONNIE, AND GIBBS. They have pushed in the door  All three of them have broken into the bedroom and Duke (the only one with long legs) has leapt onto the bed and is joyously bounding around, licking Garry’s face.

He’s so happy to see us. It’s a reunion! I mean, we’ve been gone for hours and light is peaking over the horizon.

“Get up, get up, the day has begun.” Translation: “BARK, BARK, BARK … BARK, BARK, BARK … ”

Don’t think Bonnie and  Gibbs aren’t being helpful. They can’t jump on the bed, but they can bark and Bonnie enjoys barking. It’s her hobby. Her metier, so to speak.

In motion

Garry garbles “WHAT THE F##$!” which only gets the Duke even more excited.

“Well,” I comment, “This is a new one.” Until this moment, I was sure the doors would hold. Garry grumbles, using language that would make a sailor blush but which doesn’t bother the dogs at all. He shoos the dogs out of the bedroom and takes them to the kitchen where he does the thing that helps. He feeds them.

Diet? You’re kidding, right?

He stumbles back to bed just as I have finally found a position on the pillow that doesn’t hurt nearly as much and probably the lidocaine patch is beginning to do its job. Garry is instantly back in dreamland, his soft snoring witness to it. He can’t hear a thing because all his hearing machinery is stashed for the night.

I can hear. He has silence. I have barking dogs.

“Bark, bark, bark.” That’s Bonnie. I know who it is because they have different voices.

Bonnie has the deepest bark. She’s a solid bass. Small, with considerable power. Gibbs is more of a deep tenor or maybe a light baritone. But The Duke is a high soprano. When he barks, glasses break. Your brain begins a rhythmic vibrato inside your skull.

She stops barking. I listen for a while. When I don’t hear her, I figure (hope, really) that she has decided it’s nap time.  I drift back to sleep.


Gibbs and the Duke

That’s got to be Gibbs. He isn’t the deepest barker, but he is definitely the loudest. He also has a little howl he adds at the end of his barking. It’s sort of his verbal signature.

The Duke, inspired by this, adds a few trilling barks of his own.

Then they are quiet. Again. I don’t trust them, but I am so tired. I fall asleep.

BARK BARK BARK BARK HOWL BARK BARK BARK and the sound of paws and the loud clicking of doggy toenails on the fake wood floor in the hall.

I wake. I listen. I wonder if there’s any point in taking something to help me sleep. Because even if I take something, I can still hear the dogs. I throw an evil glance at Garry who can’t hear anything. He is happy in his silent place.

Finally, I get up, give them another biscuit and explain, in my most dulcet tones, that if they begin to bark again, I will get up and kill them. They grin with joy and dance around me in a circle. Okay, one more treat.

They are so glad I’m up.

I wonder if there’s any point in trying to sleep. My back hurts. My arm is throbbing — and I’m exhausted. I used to be able to stay up late and sleep quickly, but I’m too old for long days with short nights.

I need to get a full night’s sleep.

I go back to bed and drift restlessly for some hours. Eventually, they recommence their barking. Now it’s full daylight. We are SUPPOSED TO BE AWAKE. It’s our job. I wake Garry because he doesn’t get to sleep in while I suffer.

We got up, this time for the day.

After they get their next treat (how many? I have lost count and they don’t count), they sigh with pleasure and go soundly to sleep on the sofa.

Their work is done.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

35 thoughts on “THE DAWN BREAK IN – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I have quite a few squirrel photos that look just like the one of Duke in motion. Hopefully that doesn’t mean he can move as fast as the squirrels can, because I’d hate to see Duke become the enforcer of the feeder. The cats have yet to break in my bedroom door, but I’m sure they’re been putting their minds at work figuring out how to open it whenever they get hungry (Which is generally right after they’ve been fed)…


    1. You know, he doesn’t chase squirrels. He chases the birds. He isn’t trying to eat them, just roust them from the bushes. He thinks it’s funny. How do I know? Because he grins while he does it.


  2. I love this! And can so relate, with our five dogs and two cats, all of whom cannot be kept out of our bedroom because we don’t really have proper windows or doors. The only time I get an interrupted night’s sleep is if we go away, which is hardly ever.


  3. They probably spend part of the day telling each other how funny Mummy and Daddy’s barks are when you wake them up.


      1. I can just imagine the conversations:
        ‘Watcha gonna do this morning?’
        ‘Oh I’m gonna go down to that place where the humans live. They’re a real laugh, running about the place and making funny noises,’
        ‘Oh yeh. The dogs are in on the joke too,’
        ‘Yeh I like humans they’re so funny,’


  4. Aw, you had me laughing out loud, Marilyn. In sympathy, though, I promise! We have one dog who barks literally every time a leaf moves outside. And one who is quiet, but is so cuddly that he would be happy to sleep on my head if I’d let him. All 58 lbs of him.


    1. Our Scotties are too short to jump on the bed and too old to be allowed to jump down. Also, I want ONE place in the house that isn’t covered in dog hair. Now that they know HOW to get the door open … all THREE of them stand on their hind legs and PUSH — they are not normally quite so cooperative! — I’m not sure what we are going to do. Steel doors in the house? We may not have one BIG dog (anymore), but the three of them together are quite a force to be reckoned with 😀


  5. Could you give them a little Gravol? Check with the vet for an appropriate amount for their size. It might work once in awhile when you really need that extra sleep.


  6. Ouch!! 😦 Although you’ve given me a bit of peace, realizing that having to clean up poo in the mornings isn’t the worst thing….Ziggy is the barker in the house. Pudge will only bark if the door bell rings, and they do it if one rings on the TV, they don’t differentiate. When I first got them, they didn’t make a sound except if they wanted to come in the house, and then it was Ziggy. BarkbarkbarkbarkbarkHOWLLLLLbarkbarkbark… since I’m half of a ‘twin home’, I usually go get him quickly because i don’t want cranky neighbors. Pudge just tries to paw his way inside. Scratchscratchscratch… I’m glad the outside door is resilient or the paint superior to that used inside. He hasn’t dented it (yet). My sympathies. Is a nap out of the question?


    1. Garry got up around 5 this morning and stayed in the living room to keep them from breaking down the door again. These doors are pretty pathetic, so if they keep doing it, there won’t BE any doors. I’m not a good napper. And I really can’t figure out a solution to this, except going to bed right after dinner so we can get up at dawn — which is extremely UNappealing!

      I recognize “BarkbarkbarkbarkbarkHOWLLLLLbarkbarkbark.” That would be Gibbs.


  7. Marilyn– I loved this. Gibbs deep bark with a howl at the end….I found myself trying to do it! I’m OK. Truly, I am, but this just had me laughing. Sorry for the disturbed sleep…..


  8. They seem to be on a completely different timeline to you and Garry and now they have discovered teamwork will get the door open they will keep doing it. Could you crate them at night or would they bark anyway?


    1. Yes. They are on the canine timeline. It starts with the dawn, ends after the post-dinner treat with a lot of napping in-between. They just like us to be up. Even if they are sound asleep.

      Crating them will make them even LOUDER. And we don’t have enough crates anymore. We gave away two of them and just kept one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cindy does sleep in the bedroom, not on my bed as I have a single now but on her own bed on the floor next to me. She doesn’t bark but will occasionally wake me up with a lick if she needs to go outside. I used to make her sleep in the back porch when I was still working but when I stopped I felt sorry for her sleeping in a cold room in winter and allowed her in with us. I don’t really want her having the run of the house at night because she goes down rubbish bins and I sometimes forget to pick them up off the floor before bed.


  9. LMAO OMG only another dog owner could completely understand this situation and although you’ve written it with a great deal of humour which had me smiling and sorry to say outright laughing, I do know the frustration of trying to take a nap … because as sure as I lay my head on the pillow, the dog will start barking at something. His favourite these days are the ADS not the show, the ADS on tv. At first, it was particular dogs, then it was anything animated or cartoony (he hates cartoons as it turns out) and boy he can power bark! There’s one ad in particular that will wake him from a dead sleep (the sound of a trumpet – just one note – and he’s flying into the room and up on the desk below the wall mounted tv (I thank my lucky stars for that each day of my life) with a vengeance. So you can see why I had to laugh at your story because well…I can relate lol all too well!


  10. Ha, ha – I can relate totally. Dogs are such funny, lovable little bastards, aren’t they? Once Puppy Cody is up, we’re all up. Fortunately, she knows how annoyed I get if her ” up” is too early for my “up” and mostly she behaves.


  11. This is a treasure! I literally lived through your night with you and your brats. ALL dogs are like that but since you have three, you have also three singers, barkers, door grabbers and bed huggers. I love, love, love this kind of story telling and of course, although for you it’s not funny at all, this reader here has tears of laughter in her eyes…. And indeed, the cherry on the gâteau is that Garry hears nothing at all because he has taken off his gear for an undisturbed sleep…. If it helps anything at all, both, my ex and present man in my life are such sound sleepers (without hearing aid) that I could easily have died next to them without anybody taking notice. Or, to put it in other words: If a fire were destroying our house and licking at his feet, he wouldn’t awake but only pull up his feet a bit higher!!!! Thank you for this laugh – I go to bed now a happy woman 🙂


    1. Last night, I realized I’d had it and told Garry if it wasn’t raining, to give the dogs a biscuit and put them outside. It worked. They were really quiet when I let them in. I think they got the message. I sure hope so. I love them dearly, but the insane barking — especially late at night — I know the neighbors are a long way distant from us, but it drive us crazy so it surely makes them crazy, too. So, we asked them. They said it didn’t bother them. They couldn’t hear our dogs through the noise of their OWN dogs’ barking!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks God for THAT. I often had the problem with the barking. Some neighbours were kind and understanding, others not so. Them having their own noise-creators is a definite Plus!


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