Every day for the past five-plus years, I’ve walked two blocks to my local deli for coffee and, when available, breakfast.
For the most, it’s a quiet journey, a peaceful few minutes for me to clear my mind before I have to interact with fellow human beings.
Upon arrival this morning, I walked by a car with tinted windows. No big deal, really, because in Connecticut tinted windows aren’t much of rarity, but the sound emitting from the car’s interior was unseen but instantly recognizable.
Call it a woof, call it a bark, call it a dog being a dog, going absolutely bonkers thinking a tired old crank like me was going cause harm to the car. But, there again, it’s a dog so maybe it thought I had a stick hidden up my rear end, and I was going to let him out to play fetch. Or maybe he had the worst owner in the world and he barking out “Help, please help me, hey mister .. Don’t walk away – Hey Asshole!”
I don’t speak Woofian and my Barksdale dialect is rusty.
But I digress. This story isn’t about one dog. Who would write about a single dog? Other than a dog-lover, I suppose, writing for a dog blog.
I am not a dog-lover. Nor do I write for a dog blog, though some might say this blog should go to the dogs.
I grabbed my coffee and my breakfast sandwich and began the downhill journey back to my abode. Sipping the coffee, which I once described as my morning hit of crack, I heard it coming from my right.
Woof. Bark. Bow-wow.
I looked up the driveway that I’ve passed countless times and there it stood. A dog I had never seen before – a dog I had never heard before, for that matter – standing in the drive way, looking at me with that cock-headed look.
Bark … Bark … Bark.
As I said it before, this was usually a quiet journey up and back and now I’ve had two dogs ruff-ing me up with their noise. I walked a long a hedge that led to the mid-point of my journey, the first block of the trip, over the second block of the trip about to begin.
And don’t ask me how, but I just knew what was going to happen.
At that corner is a house that owns a dog. I’ve seen THAT dog many times of the year. Unfriendly to those who do not know him (Much like its owner, I’d say), that dog has barked at everybody who walks by the house when it’s outside. I knew in my heart that mutt would be sitting there waiting for me once I cleared the shrubbery because that’s how life happens.
In threes, right?
Good things happen in threes. Bad things happen in threes. Celebrity deaths happen in threes.
It’s the backwards E of life — Dogs were about to happen in threes, as well.
And there he was. Or she. It. Whatever.
Sitting at the bottom of the steps that led up to the porch was Dog Number Three, ready to complete the canine trifecta by — wait for it —
— Barking at me.
A three-dog morning over a journey in which I might see one dog a week. It had to be a sign, right?
I rushed home. (Mainly so I could chug my coffee) and when the time was right I turned to ask The Almighty what message he was trying to send.
I Googled, “Dogs Barking In Threes.”
The very first website was for “KODY KUPS – by Three Dogs Barking.” Or, in other words, “A healthy alternative to ice cream for your dogs.”
Once I got over my anger and frustration of the fact that dogs could eat ice cream and not put on weight, I briefly perused the website before moving on.
I can’t imagine three dogs were joining cosmic forces to tell me to avoid ice cream, though the dog term “Bow-Wow” could translate to “Lose Weight” – at least in terms of straight-up syllables.
The second offering from Google was titled, “Why do dogs bark?”
The very first item read, “Continuous rapid barking, mid-range pitch: “Call the pack! There is a potential problem! Someone is coming into our territory!” Continuous barking but a bit slower and pitched lower: “The intruder [or danger] is very close. Get ready to defend yourself!”
Hmm, sounded like the first dog, trapped in the car. So it didn’t want to escape and run free from a horrible owner. Instead, it thought I, despite my foggy head from having just awoken, was going to wreak havoc to the family car. What was I going to do, Rover? Piss on the tire? Though that would be some nice revenge to countless dogs who have walked by my car and watered my tire.
I read on: “No. 4. One or two sharp short barks, mid-range pitch: “Hello there!” This is the most typical greeting sound.”
Sounded like the second dog, perhaps somewhat new to the neighborhood since I’d never seen it before. It was just being a friendly, a dog’s version of “Good morning, kind sir, how are you today?”
Now I feel guilty I didn’t answer. The dog likely thinks I’m just another rude Connecticut resident, nose in the air because I’m better than the four-legged community that can hear sounds no humans can.
The third dog I had figured out a long time ago. Like his owner, he’s just a grumpy, miserable pooch who would bark at a girl scout selling cookies. (The owner, not the dog).
But still three dogs barking within a block of each other? Something was up.
It was time to dig deeper into the meaning I had uncovered. After all, what if the pooches were about to rise up and take over the world. After all, us humans aren’t doing such a great job.
I found my answer in the little-known book “Legends of the West” by James Hall. The book was published in 1854 in New York City.
There it was on Page 206, “All at once, a barking was heard.”
Yes, exactly, it was just like that. During the usually tranquil walk, all of a sudden a barking was heard.”
I was one to something and kept reading.
Page 210 — “On they went, full of hope, the scent growling more and more fresh, and the dogs barking louder … “
True. Each dog barked a little bit louder. From the possible friendly Dog 2 to the mean, angry hate-the-world Dog 3, the barks were louder.
I was about to discover the answer, adding to the World Order of Threes and perhaps changing human kind forever for those who come across The Barking of the Threes.
I kept reading, anxiously chewing up the words and waiting for the answer to leap off the page.
Finally, on page 279, there it was.
“Now it doesn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to tell,” Hall wrote, “that the man who serves the Master one day and the enemy six, has just six chances out of seven to go to the Devil; You’re barking up the wrong tree, Johnson — take a fresh start and try to get on the right trail.”
On Page 285, more: “Have your own way, said the farmer; if you do quit money hunting, I am satisfied; but I must say when I hear you talk of spirits and such like, I am sorry but you’re still barking up the wrong tree.”
Barking up the wrong tree?
Well, I suppose, that could be the case.
Three dogs barking might mean nothing more than a coincidence, but I can’t help but wonder Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon and John Ritter might think of that. They died during the same week in 2003. Less than five years later, Suzanne Pleshette, Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro all passed. And, of course, who can forget Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon all approaching the Pearly Gates together — easy as 1-2-3.
Woof to the non-believers.
Just beware the dog today. And, remember, you heard it here first.