It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I am locked in the computer room with the dog. The newer dog. The “I’m not supposed to be a puppy anymore, but still chew things up” dog. And the barking. Oh, my dear Lord…the barking!!!! Here’s how the day has gone:

Mabel woke Dom up at 5:15 this morning, for no other reason than to be awake. At probably 6:45, I could hear her barking from the backyard. And considering that my bedroom is on the front of the house, that’s saying something. We don’t want her disturbing our neighbors, so Dom ushers her in. But here’s the problem: It’s now daylight. She can see from the inside all the squirrels and birds frolicking outside in her yard. Yes, in HER yard. So she barks to go out. She runs outside, at full I’m-going-to-catch-you-and-eat-you-for-breakfast speed, scares all the critters out of her yard, runs back to the door, body slams it, and barks until we let her in. Within two minutes of coming back inside, the cycle starts all over again.

Now, gentle people, consider from whence we came: Mason is now 10. Huge and yellow and full of love, he only considers that every living creature is put on this earth to either play or peacefully coexist with him. He once gave a kitten a big ol’ happy slurp-kiss, and didn’t understand why the kitten wasn’t happy about it! He’s our gentle giant. Truthfully, one day five squirrels were playing in our yard at a moment when I needed to let Mason outside. As I opened the door, all five squirrels directed their attention to the door and froze! Mason sauntered out, and the squirrels breathed a collective sigh of relief and resumed their activities in the yard. It was almost as if they were proclaiming, “False alarm, everybody! It’s just Mason! Carry on!” I sort of think Mason can let squirrels and birds enjoy the backyard because he knows his place is in the house.

But for the last year and a half, it’s been a different story for the poor critters that use our yard as a playground. There’s a new sheriff in town. And she rules with an iron paw! At least until Daddy gets tired of her antics and locks her in the computer room with Mommy. Oh, but curse me for leaving a curtain open…she now spies a bird…and is barking.