9: Peace and Quiet

9: Peace and Quiet

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

Peace and Quiet

I just want to live in peace and quiet.

~Agnetha Fältskog

When we moved to the mountains of West Virginia, we brought all our animals with us including our dog, Honus. While Honus didn’t seem to enjoy the humidity, he did seem excited to be in the forest where he barked at squirrels, chipmunks, and birds. His constant barking was a little annoying, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. So much for living in the peace and quiet of the forest!

Honus was sixteen years young and this was an adventure for him, but I worried about what might happen if he came in close contact with one of these creatures. Would his animal instincts kick in? Would something a little bigger be able to hurt Honus?

“Worrying about it isn’t going to change anything,” my husband said. “Honus has never been around other animals, but hopefully if he does get into a scuffle, it will be with something small and he won’t get hurt. You know he really is a gentle soul; I don’t think he’d hurt a flea!”

My husband was right. Still, I hoped there wouldn’t be any trouble and that the forest creatures would stay away from Honus. After all, he was a dog.

Honus was pretty quiet in the morning, but each afternoon the barking and whining started up. On one beautiful fall afternoon, I’d just finished dusting the bedroom when I noticed how quiet it was. I suddenly felt sick as I realized something must be wrong with Honus—it was the time of day he usually barked and whined at his forest friends.

“Please let him be okay,” I said out loud as I ran to the window that looked out to the yard. There I saw Honus, lying on his stomach with his head extended in front of him, a few inches away from his food bowl. His eyes were wide open and he was lying perfectly still while a feral cat and her five kittens ate the leftover food from his bowl.

Running into the other room, I hollered for my husband to come and see. “I told you he wouldn’t hurt a flea,” said my husband as he put his arm around me. “I don’t think you need to worry about him anymore!”

We spent the next couple of months watching the mother and her babies feed from Honus’s bowl each afternoon. Arriving at the same time each day, Honus would wag his tail when he’d see them coming, then lie down in his usual position and watch them eat. It was a beautiful sight and it came with an extra special bonus: For the first time since moving to the mountains, we finally enjoyed the peace and quiet—the way we’d imagined it would be!

~Jill Burns

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