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Homer's Pet Peeve

I know it seems like a small thing to most of you, but have you ever thought about the effect that your vacuum cleaner can have on your precious pets? Have you ever watched them hastily retreat from the room as you grope around in your closet for your vacuum cleaner?

Okay, it's my gripe, so let's go right ahead and couch this discussion from the viewpoint of your family dog. Let the cats, ferrets, parakeets, rabbits and guinea pigs mount their own opposition to this viable threat to animal sanity.

There are just some combinations of sounds that dogs find difficult to handle. Combine whirring, clanging, roaring, with the addition of the sucking sound of an air intake, and you are totally able to 'break the code.' I suppose a human could compare this sound with standing upstream from a 747 jet turbine. Today, these wonderful sounds are fully embodied in your innocent little vacuum cleaner!

We dogs sleep a lot; that's just the nature of the beast. On winter days we earnestly search the house for those warm shafts of sunlight that stream in through windows and skylights, and we luxuriate in their cozy radiance. Conversely, a cool wood floor on a hot summer day might be another of our choices should we wish to stay comfortable. Since, we can't turn on a fan, or pour ourselves a glass of cool lemonade, our options are limited. We take our 'rest' where we can find it.

I don't know whether it's because dust particles are so readily visible in these warm rays of sunshine that trigger the 'cleaning response' in people, but invariably, Isabel and/or Micah will root frantically through the closet for the vacuum cleaner and start up the Hoover just about the time I am getting to sleep. And where would they start their rude and intrusive task? Precisely in the spot where I have chosen to lie, that's where! "Oh, here's the dog, let's start up the vacuum cleaner!" I originally thought it was some kind of personal thing or a "hidden vendetta" when they would so punctually appear with the Hoover; but ever since Isabel hired Pauline and Rita to clean the Inn, they, too, seem to have the innate intuitive ability to 'hunt me down' and find me with their cursed sucking beasts! The terrible roar and the relentless whoosh seem to scramble my brain and elicit very non-Homer responses. According to Isabel, I am known as a gentle, amiable, and somewhat passive guy, and I rarely growl or show my teeth. However, on some occasions I have not hesitated to show Pauline and Rita my darker side as they carelessly bang around with their Hoovers, disrupting rugs, furniture, and, eventually, me. Even if they were to tell Isabel that I snarled at them, she wouldn't believe it. With her, only "seeing is believing!" Heck, I'd snarl at my own mother if she came at me with a Hoover.

It's amazing; you can fly a man to the moon, record hours of entertainment on video cassettes, and prevent polio, but, somehow, your scientific community doesn't seem to have the ability (or desire) to invent a vacuum cleaner that doesn't come close to breaking the sound barrier!

It's not only the noise they make, but they 'suck' as well! Like you, we dogs can't see air, so it really spooks us. Many of us will become unnerved and bite you if you blow in our ears. The dreaded sucking finally becomes a visual reality when we are lying there, in denial, pretending that we don't hear the Hoover coming, and we begin to see dust bunnies (that seem to come from nowhere) rolling lazily past us like desert tumbleweed as our environment morphs into tornado territory.

Believe it or not, I actually do watch television, and I have often seen and heard references to "no-fly zones." Originally, I believed that they were areas near the kitchen where Louella and Isabel have been successful in hanging flypaper, but I have since learned that they refer to sacrosanct areas (cities and heavily populated areas) where planes are not welcome. I guess, if we didn't have an endless stream of guests at Faded Glory, I would do my best to enforce a "no Hoover zone." Pity . . .

So, next time you decide to crank up the old Hoover, Kirby, or Electrolux, look around to see if your faithful pet is present for the audible carnage that you will cause. Consider putting Fido outdoors or just save his space for last; but give him an opportunity to escape the room with dignity. He will love you for it.

Fully realizing how my brilliant, evolved, and logical canine mind works, can you guess what would be my favorite slogan? How's about, "let sleeping dogs lie!"

© 2010-2011 David Johnson, All Rights Reserved