Every day, like clockwork, she would bark. Howling madly, eyes fierce, teeth bared. Normally, she was the sweetest and most loving creature you could ever hope to meet, but at the coming of the postman…
For a while, we simply let it go on. It was natural, after all, for a dog to bark at the postman. A time-worn cliche. What could be more normal? But then the complaints from the neighbours began to mount. Threats of council interference loomed from those passive-aggressive busy-bodies who couldn’t even bring themselves to sign their notes. And a distant, but ever present, memory from my father’s childhood – a beloved dog poisoned by some unhappy neighbour – lurked in the dark corners of our minds, hovering like an uncomfortable silence.
Finally, we sought training. For several days she found herself in the care of professionals. Professionals who would approach her in the garb of a postman, and slowly, but surely, gain her trust. Finally, she returned to us; cured. Money well spent.
And our street grew quiet, and all were at peace.
Her legs twitch when she dreams. She dreams of chasing… chasing… what, exactly? She has never seen a rabbit, or a fox, or any more significant quarry than a cockroach, or a pigeon, or the odd cat. But she is built to chase. It is burned into her very being. And so when she sleeps, her legs twitch, and she knows that she is chasing. That she must chase. That she must run and run and run through the grass until she catches…
She wakes with a start. Her legs issue a final, unsettling kick. Downstairs… there, yes. Sounds. Scratching. Scrabbling. Down there, in the darkness. Her hackles rise. She creeps down the stairs, along the darkened hall, to the back room.
There. A man. Scent, unfamiliar. She bares her teeth. But then – wait! He is wearing a bright orange vest. A floppy blue hat. A large, red backpack. Strange garb indeed, for a burglar.
Slowly, quietly, she backs away, and softly makes her way back up the stairs, careful not to rouse anyone.
That was close, she muses in thoughts without words. What a fool I would have made of myself… she drifts once more into the chase.
Only the postman…
In retrospect, this bears, I must confess, somewhat of a resemblance to The Mixer: Chapter 1. He Meets a Shy Gentleman, by P.G. Wodehouse.