At my townhouse in Atlanta (where Lila lived for her first 3 months) and also the "house" house (where she lived for another few), we had a doorbell. Both were loud and both invoked a barking, twirling, jumping, running frenzy because SOMEONE WAS AT OUR HOUSE!! (This was NOT because someone was trying to kill us, at least in her mind, but because someone was coming TO PLAY! WITH HER! And SCRATCH HER TUMMY!) Sorry ’bout the caps, people, but you’ve never seen my dog react to a doorbell or even a knock or two. It’s a sight to behold.
Since we’ve lived in San Francisco, not only is there no doorbell, but we never have visitors. This is not to point out my loser-dom, mind you, just to state a fact. Most people don’t enjoy a 550 sq. ft. apartment with a mini-menagerie inside (and I honestly don’t blame ’em.) As such, Lila has to rely on the TV to get her into her barking, twirling, jumping, running frenzy that she so adores…I have to explain "LILA! It’s the TV. THE TV!!" each time some crappy show has the audacity to involve a doorbell in their sound effects. Assholes.
Anyway, you get the picture. Doorbell or knock = frenzy.
Let’s change the subject (slightly) here and talk about my huge fear that I’m going to lock myself out one of these days. Since I have a separate entrance from everyone else in the building and don’t know a soul there, I’m deathly afraid I’m going to walk out that door and the bottom lock is going to turn, leaving me outside in some inappropriate outfit with no help in sight. As such, I’m super-anal about making sure the door is always unlocked on the bottom, only locking it at the deadbolt first to make myself sure I have a key. See? Anal. The only time I OCCASIONALLY don’t lock it is if I’m running around the corner to dump some trash in the trashcan, and that’s out of laziness b/c it’s literally 5 steps away. I’m still that paranoid, though, that before I ever do this, I turn the handle to make sure it opens. YES, say it with me friends, TYPE-A. The only thing I’m more afraid of is that someone will break into my house, so I’m even MORE certain that all my windows are locked, esp. since I’m on the first floor. I’m even sweltering in unseasonable heat and not getting a window air conditioner to make me sleep like the rest of the humans in San Francisco (read: comfortably) because I’m convinced the same person that got stabbed or WHATEVER caused them to bleed all over my doorstep will come in through my window and kill us all in the night. How I got this paranoid and scared is beyond me, but ok, let’s go for it.
– Lila barks at the door when knocked/rung.
– I always take my keys, and if I don’t, I make sure the door isn’t locked.
– All my windows are locked, ALWAYS.
See? Safety-minded household with crazy dog. I’d say that’s about right.
Fast forward to today. In an attempt to get Lila to stop strategically eating her way through any and all remote controls found in the house, I got my weary, tossing-and-turning sleepy self up and took her for a walk. I’m a good dog Mom like that, ya know. We took our 35-minute jaunt, and (in another attempt of self-betterment) I was cleaning up the kitchen and decided that my wine box should be thrown away. Hot from our walk, I strutted out to throw it in the trash in my workout pants and skimpy little tank top, turning the doorknob behind me to ensure it was open. It was; I deposited aforementioned wine box into the trash, and headed back inside.
You astute readers know what’s coming: it was locked.
I proceeded to bang on the door, throw all One Hundred and (CENSORED) pounds of me against said door to barge it in; to no avail. I was locked out in a hot pink tanktop, a true mystery since I KNEW I had just ensured that it was unlocked. Lila started barking up a storm, then abrupty stopped, which got my conspiracy-theory paranoid mind all aflutter. What if one of the bus-waiting miscreants (appropriate word here) was waiting behind me and came in, locking the door and coming to rob me!? Why did Lila so abruptly stop barking? OH MY GOSH, someone was in there, stealing my jewelry, kicking my cats and killing my dog. I just knew it.
"Calm down, Aubrey." I thought. "Just bang on the door, Lila will bark and get in her door-knocking frenzy, and you’ll know that somehow the door just shut behind you and you’re just being paranoid."
Knock. KNOCK. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
Oh shit. I’m not paranoid, I’m psychic. There’s a criminal in my house murdering my animals, stealing my jewelry AND my clothes AND my South Beach Frozen Dinners. (They’re tasty, they really are.)
The kind trash man was at my building; he tried to help, but didn’t know what to do. What he DID do, however, was point out the cop car that was driving down the street, the same police car that I sprinted to catch, screaming, and eventually running in front of to make him stop.
Note that I’m now in full-fledged hysteria. After all, there is no OTHER reason besides mass animal murder that Lila would for once in her life fall silent. This is the antithesis of a silent dog, after all. My puppy, quiet she is not.
We (friendly, patient-with-my-hysteria policeman and I) try all the windows. All locked. We try and bang the door…he with his 200+ lbs, me with mine. We even tried it together. NOTHING. Much knocking on the door, screaming "LILA BELLE!" and even banging on the windows presented not even a peep from her. At this point I’m envisioning my lifeless little lady askew on the floor, much in the DaVinci code fashion. I’m near tears.
We decide the easiest thing to do is to call a locksmith. He arrives about 10 minutes later to a (somewhat) calmer me (I was scaring bus-waiting miscreants, after all) and a still-patient (yet surely annoyed) policeman. Picking the lock doesn’t work, but alas, the ol’ credit card trick did. $75 later, the kindly cop leading, we open my door. And this is what we saw:
Curled up, looking quite sedate after her long morning walk, my fuzzy-faced girl looked at the policeman and I with question…and started to bark.
I will never again yell at this (crazy) dog for barking at the TV. You go, Lila, that really *IS* the doorbell.