Our neighborhood LOVES Hallowe'en. The communal delight with it is getting to be right up there with Christmas, a chivaree at which we historically excel. Folks have already been putting up decorations all over their houses and yards, preparatory to welcoming the hordes of little kids who'll be trucked into the area on the spooky night.
So all this is pretty amazing to a short, feisty little dog. Ruby-Doo has the wildest hypersensitivity to any changes in her environment. And all the new gew-gaws along the way are quite the surprise.
She's always been this way, ever since she was tiny. Put a new plant pot somewhere, move a piece furniture, stack stuff on a table and she'll tell you all about it. Loud and clear, with a peculiar, very specific sharp bark. She's especially dismayed by things that have been stacked up, such as rock cairns and piles of rubbish.
Is she alarmed? Hard to tell. She's certainly alert to any changes, and she certainly thinks some of them are worth noting.
Hence, a series of barkfests as we proceeded down the street this evening. HOlee mackerel, lookit that cardboard pumpkin! Arf arf arf arf... YOW! What is that cardboard ghost? Arf arf arf arf arf... EEEgad! A stuffed black cat up a tree! Arf ARF ARF arf arf arf... Lordie!
Heaven only knows what she'll do when she sees the little kiddies and the teenagers in their get-ups. Normally, Cassie and I hang out at the block party just to the south of our part of the 'hood so as to be smack in the middle of all the doings. However, since I'll be going under the knife again on the 29th and don't expect to be up for strolling around with two dogs in hand, we'll probably camp in the neighbor's driveway -- they always set up a table and sit around a chiminea by way of entertaining themselves and the passers-by.
It's funny how differently Cassie and Ruby respond. Cassie will do some watch-dogging. The teenage girl across the street attracts a shady crowd -- having fallen in with bad company and dropped out of high school, she's said to associate with meth-heads. They come and go in noisy vehicles and slam around the front yard, and when they're holding forth, Cassie will bark at them.
Sometimes if Cassie's outside in back she'll bark at people passing by on the sidewalk, especially if they have a dog with them. But she doesn't bark at oddities around the house. Or anywhere else.
Ruby, on the other hand, will have a barking frenzy at the slightest noise on the other side of the wall, whether it's in the neighbor's yard, in the alley, or on the sidewalk. Strangers making sounds out of sight really do alarm her, whereas Cassie seems to be less alarmed than simply interested. And of course, cairns: heavens to dogsy!
Inside the Funny Farm, Cassie issues her orders to the human with barking. So, when she wants something there's a fair amount of ear-splitting canine conversation. Ruby, on the other hand, rarely barks to get what she wants. She squirrels around, she paces, she gazes portentously at the human. Sometimes she goes ooorrrrooooo! But unlike Cassie, Ruby hardly ever vocalizes in the house.
In fact, Ruby can be so quiet that sometimes Cassie takes it upon herself to interpret for her. When they're trapped in the office with me so that ONE of us can't dump on the family room floor (who could it be?) and Ruby starts to squirrel around because she needs to go out, Cassie will go to the doggy gate and bark to get Ruby out!
They're so different, it'll be interesting to see how they handle the dogmazing Hallowe'en festivities.