#166 – Fearful Behavior

Our Yorkie Shih-Tzu mix, Prometheus, displays a curious combination of bravery and cowardice, both of which are usually unwarranted. For example, he doesn’t hesitate to chase animals that outweigh him twentyfold. I’ve even seen him try to run down deer in the woods behind our house. Any one of the mammals he harasses could squash him like a bug, yet he’s clearly convinced himself he’s king of his territory.

The things which set him a shiver seem equally odd. From the day we brought him home, we’ve witnessed his fear of certain noises. He practically soils himself at the sound of thunder, even when he’s securely sheltered. Likewise, he can’t stand the pulsing from the subwoofer when I crank up the volume on a DVD.

It’s not easy discerning whether Prometheus is scared of something or anxious to attack it. In both cases, he barks. Only his accompanying behavior differentiates his “let me at ’em” from his “hide me.” Specifically, when he’s afraid, he flees to his nearest safety zone.

Due to the events of the past two nights, while my wife’s been away on business, I’ve added a new item to our dog’s “scared poopless” list: the flying squirrel. I’m not saying the same miniscule canine who’ll chase down a Rottweiler turns to jelly at the sight of a gliding rodent. As far as I know, Prometheus has never seen one. He’s heard them in action though.

As our exterminator’s wildlife removal expert informed me this morning, an indeterminable number of the beasties have infiltrated our attic. He said they probably glided onto our roof from the nearest pine tree and gnawed their way inside, intending to use our humble abode for their winter retreat. Thankfully, the problem’s fixable. For a mere $2,000.00, the expert will install special flashing around the entire roofline and set exclusion traps to allow our trespassers exit but not reentry.

Less thankfully, the company’s busy season has arrived and the expert can’t schedule our job until the first week of December. That means I can expect every night until then to progress like the past two. Sudden barking in my ear will awaken me from a dead sleep. In the brief lulls between subsequent bouts, I’ll notice the unmistakable sound of scratching and scuttling within the wall behind our bed. And I’ll know Prometheus is afraid, not excited, because he’ll bolt to his nearest safety zone.

While I’m not looking forward to the auditory assaults I’ll endure the next couple of weeks, I see those irritants as the least of my bedtime worries. My true dread stems from Prometheus’ safety zone itself: draped snugly atop my head, with his ass pressed against my face, from the moment he hears a hint of fearsome scurrying until daybreak.

 
The terrifying flying squirrel

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