My warning bark pierced the morning stillness. From my defensive position by the front window, I could see and hear the beast approaching. My furry legs are short, but my ears are mighty. I'm built for a job like this. My canine comrades rushed to my side and saw the imminent danger. The big one let loose a string of deep, baritone woofs, and the beagle joined in with his signature howl.
Our people, who are groggy and slow in the mornings, winced and covered their tiny ears. Then they glanced out the window and joined our barking, except their human barks sounded more like "Hush!" and "No!" and "For God's sake, stop it already!" We try to model effective barking for them, but they struggle.
We kept up our clamorous chorus as the Trash Dragon rolled in front of our castle, roaring and hissing as it stopped. Sadly, this is not the first war we've waged with the beast. Every week we must witness the violent attack it makes on our trash cans -- cans I have peed on repeatedly to mark them as my property. But this steely dragon's hunger knows no bounds. He takes, and he takes, and he takes.
I growl and snarl -- my long nose pressed against the window. I bear witness to the carnage. The Trash Dragon's long arm extends from its bulky body. Then its black claw opens and clamps around the trash can's throat, squeezing and lifting it high in the air.
I can hardly bear to watch, but I must. My humans keep some of my favorite things in those cans -- pizza crusts, baked potato skins with butter and cheese still clinging to the edges, restaurant leftovers, and the toy I de-stuffed last week.
How many times must my comrades and I stand and stare as this relentless dragon snatches cans and pours the contents into its giant, open maw? Because this monster is greedy and cruel, it viciously shakes each can to ensure it has coughed up all its guts. Oh, the horror!
Before it's over, the Trash Dragon slams the cans back down on the street, the lids flapping open in defeat. They have nothing left to give. They are now empty husks, devoid of treasure.
Whenever one of our humans rolls these cans to the curb, I run alongside them, barking in protest. It's as if they forget what happens when they leave the cans too close to the Trash Dragon's warpath. (We love these people, but sometimes they're not too bright.)
But maybe it's not stupidity. Perhaps it's fear. Maybe my people are trying to appease the dragon with tasty trash bags, hoping it won't reach its steely claw into our home and snatch one of the children!
My fellow warriors and I will not let that happen. Never! We will stand guard and bark our furry heads off every Wednesday morning. We will tear the Trash Dragon limb from steely limb if he dares to come any closer. Clearly, he fears us because after we verbally assault him from the safety of the house, he gives up and rolls away to terrorize the neighbor's trash cans, leaving us in peace.
Unfortunately, the peace will not last because there are threats everywhere. I must watch for them and sound the alarm. As my fellow guard dogs and I always say, "Neither squirrel, nor UPS truck, nor doorbell, nor blowing leaf shall keep me from my appointed rounds."
These people are counting on me.
Cooper Rockwood is the loud, hypervigilant dog of syndicated freelance writer Gwen Rockwood. Email either of them at [email protected] Her book is available on Amazon.