Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things That Scream in the Night

Last night was absolutely bizarre.  I've been having problems with my dogs going nuts every time I let them outside.  I used to be able to let them out into the backyard and they would get right down to business and maybe sniff around a bit, and then they would quietly return to the backdoor to scratch it or bark once to let me know they were ready to come back inside the house. 

Now literally every time I let them outside, they find something to bark and howl at.  They get themselves worked up into a frenzy, and I have to chase them into the house.  During the daytime I can usually see what got their hackles up, and it is almost always my nosy neighbor lurking a little too close for comfort or her dog doing its business on my lawn.  However, at night they bark in the opposite direction and I can't see what it is they are barking at.  It usually turns out to be deer, but they have a deer bark and then they have a neighbor bark and then they have a completely different bark that is more aggressive and frenzied.

Last night they were doing that aggressive, frenzied bark and I could not chase them back into the house.  I became aware that there was another noise rising above their barking, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was.  I kept trying to shush the dogs so that I could hear it, and from what I could pick up, it was totally unfamiliar to me.  Either it was a person screaming, a cat in heat or injured, or a unique coyote sound I haven't heard before.  All I knew was that something was out there in the dark near my new neighbors' house.

Since the dogs wouldn't go inside, I had to reach down and pick them up one by one and carry them into the house.  When I reached for Scrappy, he thought a predator had gotten him from behind and he snarled and whipped around to bite me.  Once he knew it was me, he stopped biting and I was able to pick him up.  Once inside the house, I became worried, thinking, "What if that was a person screaming and they were in trouble?"

I didn't want to call 911 and then have it turn out to be a coyote, so I tried to sneak out the door without my dogs seeing in order to listen closer to the sound, but it had stopped.  This morning I looked out in the direction of my new neighbor's place and saw that they now have a trailer camper parked on the property and I wondered if someone was living in there.  Maybe another person moved onto their lot and brought an animal with them that makes an unfamiliar noise? 

I really don't know, but I'm getting tired of my dogs being riled up all the time.  I wish this neighborhood could just settle down.  When I was growing up, we had pretty much the same set of neighbors for 20 years and our dogs were familiar with them and their routines, so we never had any major barking problems until new neighbors moved in behind us.  In my current neighborhood, it seems like we're getting new neighbors every other week, because people keep letting extended family members and friends move in with them.  Obviously, the economy is still suffering when you've got so many people jam-packed into one house or one lot.

This wouldn't be going on if we had our usual snowy winter, but we've had fall and spring-like weather all throughout this winter, so there's a lot of activity.  I guess there is some redeeming value in snow, besides the water it provides, and that is the quiet that it brings when it forces both wild animals and humans to hibernate.


fernvalley01 said...

definitely sounds weird esp in your neighborhood,who knows.Hope it was just an odd animal sound

gowestferalwoman said...

Raccoons are known for their scream, especially when they are cornered..and foxes - once you hear a fox scream, you cant get it out of your head when you even see one in a photo!

Do you happen to have any of those critters around?

Johara said...

Cougars scream like a human. I kinda hope it's just the newest neighbors getting kinky...