Trick or Treat
Dogs and Halloween, now there are two words to scare the bejeezers out of me. It’s a great time to keep your pet safe indoors and watch closely the candy you have placed near your door for little visitors. I have six unruly dogs when it comes to company and food.
My house does not sound goblin friendly when you walk past it. Six dogs sit in the picture window waiting to alert me of any movement they detect on the street. My fifties ranch is nestled behind tall loblolly pines, far from the road, in a quiet area by a dead end street. The window is floor to ceiling, and wide enough for six bodies to squirm, and wiggle past the table and chair immediately in front of it, to sit and watch. Their eyesight is keen. I never know which dog starts to bark, but you can be sure, five follow. I shudder wondering what the neighbors think as the crescendo starts to escalate.
The howling from my dogs on any given night makes the Hound of the Baskervilles seem demure. Halloween is an especially devilish time when my dogs are more aware of the little children that are crossing the street in front of my house. Their small shadows dart back and forth in the glow of the moon. I wonder what monster they fear lies behind my closed door. For they never make the walk up my driveway. They just hear the sounds of my hellhounds echoing into the night and walk in the other direction.
“A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smoldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I still buy candy, but end up eating most of it myself, while whispering to the dogs, shhhh. They pay no attention and bark until I turn off the lights and sit by the soft glow of my TV, waiting for the evening events to subside. Their interest then turns to snuggling down under the quilts I have strategically placed over my leather chairs. Only then can I switch on the lights and breath a sigh of relief.
Halloween is actually a favorite holiday for me. I have just learned to appreciate it behind the scenes, keeping six dogs at bay.
Several thoughts come to mind to make Halloween safer for everyone.
Keep your candy out of reach of sniffing dog noses. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and many candies contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, than can also be deadly to dogs. Don't leave candy wrappers where your dog can snarf them up. It would be easy for a dog to choke on these yummy castoffs.
I know my dogs are super friendly, but when strangers approach, I err on the side of caution. Even the calmest dog can be startled by a quick move from someone new.
When I was an antique dealer, doing the Lakewood Antique show each month, I was amazed at how many parents allowed their children to just reach out and touch someone else’s dog. As an adult, I still ask permission before I pet a dog I’ve just met. I want to give that courtesy to other dog owners that I would like for myself. Then it is a free for all when I get the OK to approach. Puppy dog tails and kisses fly through the air.
From my collection of Halloweenie doggies! Early postcards to celebrate a holiday that is enchanting and magical.