My dog, the practical jokester

I am sure Brody has a sense of humor. I can sense it in the twinkle in his eye, the way he waits until his chew toys are nice and soggy before dumping them in my lap. When I’m in a deep sleep, sometimes he rests his chin on the side of the mattress and stares at me silently, breathing doggy breath two inches from my face before I wake with a scream.


He’s full of ’em.

Last night, with my husband far away, I flicked on the TiVO and watched the latest episode of the Walking Dead. Now, I keep telling people it’s not really about zombies as much as it is about people, but don’t get me wrong- there are a TON of zombies in the show. Scary, well made up zombies, shuffling, moaning, and slovenly, bloodily, violent.

Now I should know better than to watch it when my husband’s out of town, but I really wanted to know what happened in this episode, and I figured, it won’t be that bad.

Well, it was pretty bad. It’s one of those shows that lulls you into a false sense of complacency during a long monologue before a walker bursts through a broken pane of glass and grabs for someone’s throat. In this episode one of the characters was trapped on a schoolbus while the zombies screamed for his blood; we’re talking Nightmare on Elm Street bad, this episode. ย So now it’s the dead of night, and I’m curled up on the couch rueing my decision to watch this right before I needed to go to bed.

So of course, Brody gets ideas. He strolls, or stalks is maybe a better word, over to the back door. Now, we have no blinds or curtains along the back wall since it doesn’t look onto anyone else’s property, so at night it’s a pitch black wall of window that looks onto whatever emptiness or terrible things might be lurking out there, me inside bathed in a wash of light like vittles on display in the grocery store of the undead. Outside there could be nothing. A stray cat, perhaps. Or perhaps a walker, jonesing for my blood.

Brody stares out into oblivion, and slowly, hair by hair, his hackles raise. And he growls, one of those low, drawn-out growls reserved for “something bad but I don’t know what.”

I look at him. “Brody, stop.”

He swings his head to look at me, stares back outside, and continues to growl.

I say it again, a bit more pleadingly. “Brody, stop. You’re freaking me out.”

He drops his head and presses his nose to the window, continuing his scary growl. Koa goes into the pantry. I contemplate joining her.

“Brody,” I say, backing into the kitchen. “No way am I opening that door. That door is all that stands between us and-” well, whatever it is that is freaking him out, which by now I have imagined is a flood of shambling grey animated corpses dropping over the low wall separating us from the neighbors and slowly, inexorably making their way to the back door.

He keeps this up for a good two minutes, during which I am powerless to do anything except wait. In my mind’s eye, the palm frond brushing the windowsill in the nighttime wind looks strangely like a skeletal finger, an image I can’t erase as my overactive imagination starts wondering just how much it hurts to get devoured.

And then, just like that, he drops it, then comes over wagging and leans into me for a pat like nothing’s wrong. “Good one, huh?” his body language says. I never did figure out what it was that was bugging him, because I immediately went upstairs and set the house alarm.

What a stinker.

Anyone else have a prankster?

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  • Tabitha W

    My cat that I had when I was still living at home use to hide my socks. When ever I would pack an over night bag or a suitcase she would dig around until she found my socks and just take one or two out and hide them. I never found WHERE she would hide them until I packed up my bedroom and moved out of the house. The whole time she was shoving them behind and under a piano I had in my room.

    • How many did you find?

      • Tabitha W

        about 14. It was strange to find so many socks that I had been missing for years. My mom didn’t believe me that the cat was taking them at the time so she was shocked! The cat (teaspoon) is still alive, however, her sock hiding days are over.

  • Lisa W

    <3 me some Brody!

  • Anonymous

    Ahhhh Brody! You can’t scare your momma like that!

    Blade was a huge prankster and it usually involved oyster shells (and other things he knew he wasn’t supposed to have, but mainly oyster shells). He like to toy with me and then watch out of the corner of his eye with his big goofy grin.

  • Jezandia

    What a coincidence! Last night my Basenji Raisin (you know the type of dog that doesn’t bark, makes plenty of other noises though) went out on the porch and barked. Repeatedly. Freaky. She never does that. Granted I wasn’t thinking Zombies. More like skunks. She didn’t get to go out either.

  • Sue W.

    You. Are an amazing writer. I love this throw-away line: “Koa goes into the pantry.” Seriously. That’s some great comedy right there.
    I have trouble watching scary stuff, too. When I’m alone, I pause it. Walk away. Come back. Fast forward. Etc. When I have to watch it with the boys, it’s unrelenting. And there *will* be dreams. And yes, I’d go into the pantry, but it’s too dark in there.

  • Vicki

    Love how you wrote this out I have 2 goldens,and Tye is Brodys twin and a big pransker.while I was cringing in my seat watching that episode.Tye lying on the coach next to me pops his head n ears up looking around.I was terrified to let him out to.After my heart and nerves calmed down he looked at me with that gottcha mom haha.Puts his paw up the tag me and rolls on his back pounding his tail on the coach like he was cracking up laughing.not funny Tye lol

  • Anonymous

    I can’t watch the Walking Dead after dark any more, I get too many scary dreams……and it always seemed like my dogs did the same thing. They start growling and barking at the night, and the cat on my lap always got scared and clawed my leg.

  • oh, yeah, and Finn has a warped sense of humor. His favorite is putting his big wet cold nose in your face when you are sound asleep. Or in the middle of your back when you come out of the shower all warm and steamy. He will sneak up behind ladies with skirts on, scoop up the hem and goose them in the butt. One time we were walking by our neighbor, who had headphones on and didn’t see us. I watched as Finn stalked him, came up behind him, goosed him in the butt, then ran off laughing. (you know, that bouncy, ha ha run). Scared the poor guy half to death. He will pretend something is the back yard, and get the puppy to go outside. Then he sneaks back in and leaves her out there. He also tricks her out of her cookies.

    • Leigh

      I have a butt-goosing dog, too! And he knows *exactly* where to punch to lift the person right off thier feet. And you can tell he thinks he is hilarious after he does it.
      My dog must be an expert in physics, because he also knows the exact moment when to poke people so that they will fall over. If I am gardening, picking up laundry, etc… leaning or bent forward… he rarely pokes when I am able to stay in that position. He waits until I am slightly precarious, and then comes and pokes with the exact right trajectory to make me fall over. Every. Time.

  • Digitaljoy1

    We have 2 doxies, and one of them, “Two-Two”, is definitely a prankster! And she gets the biggest kick out of herself.
    I enjoy a nice soak in the tub occasionally for my bad back. Inevetably, while I’m soaking my cares away, I hear the teensy-weensy click-clicks of doxie nails coming acorss the tile in our bathroom. Although I know just exactly who it is, I always play along and ask, “Who is that?” Then over the side of the tub pops up the head of our Two-Two, grinning (yes, absolutely grinning like a possum with teeth showing: she knows she’s funny!) as if to say, “Ha Ha, Mommy! I snuck up on you!”
    For anyone who refuses to believe dogs have their own unique personalities, I would invite them to see our two litter-mate doxies to experience how completely unique their personalities are!!!!

  • Caroline

    Really, now, Dr. V. You should know better than to watch shows like that when you are the only adult in the house. When I’m in your position, it’s all chick flicks! Tsk. Tsk. You left yourself open and vulnerable to trickster doggies.

  • Jackie

    All the dogs that I and/or my family has had have been tricksters in one way or another. But the champion was Dudley — a son of a Basset and “a black dog (?)” — who ruled the roust as I was moving away into college and beyond. His best trick was when my Mom had a dinner party. He would behave himself beautifully around the guests, and once all were seated at the dining table, would work his way around under the table to — very gently! — relieve each person of the napkin on his lap. The napkins would end up in a neat pile under the table. And Dud would have a big grin on his face.

  • JaneK

    hahaheeheehohoHA! sorry to laughh at your expense! and there is a reason I don’t do scary. I laughed partly b/c it reminded me of a Far Side cartoon: there was a man sitting in a chair by a window and it was dark out; 2 dogs were at his feet; one said to the other: “hey Rusty, wanna have some fun? let’s stand at the closet and stare and start growling” Brody must be a Gary Larson fan ๐Ÿ™‚

    and one more thing, do you really think a little alarm system is going to protect you from Zombies? Did you see “I am Legend” ….sweet dreams, now ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous

    LOL, I love it. (and WHAT AN EPISODE, eh?) Koly definitely is a little prankster. The boy drives me crazy with his little jokes. The latest? He likes to leave gross, slimy and/or smelly things under my pillow, just to hear me shriek. Dirty rotten puggle…

  • Haha… too funny!

  • I always get so freaked out when they growl like that because I think, “well they can hear and smell so much better than I can, plus the potential for a sixth sense…” so it seems like they ACTUALLY know what’s out there versus me just imagining the very worst. Plus, Hamlet rarely growls so when he does I feel like it’s, “I mean business.”

    My fiance doesn’t like “The Walking Dead” (I know, go figure) so I always have to watch by myself. I have Hamlet for company but he just digs under the blanket, falls asleep, and snores (not very comforting).