My ears hurt. Not, as you might think, from an ear infection, but rather from the painfully loud yelps of Jeb, puppy #9, who arrived last week.
Did you know that a sleeping puppy registers at 10 decibels, conversational speech at 60, an ordinary barking dog at 75 and a vacuum cleaner at 80? Or that OSHA recommends hearing protection in the workplace at 85 decibels? And that hearing loss may occur at sustained exposure to 90+ decibels (teenager’s headphones)? And that actual pain is felt at 120+ decibels (shotgun blast)? And that some of Jeb’s shrieks register at 111 decibels? No, seriously. Marianne downloaded an app and tested him in the crate in the bedroom. I want her to test him in the car – I’m betting the enclosed space raises the decibel level to 130 or more.
Yeah, ouch. We’re weary around here. He’s cute and all that but dog, does he have a temper! If he thinks it’s too early for bed or he doesn’t want to take a nap or he thinks he’s missing out on the fun, he raises his voice to that 111 decibel level. And you wanna talk about stamina? He can keep it up for 20 minutes or more! Sometimes he really does need to hurry again (even though he always goes outside before being crated) but often it’s a display of pure temper.
“KNOCK IT OFF!” I told him yesterday. “Enough already. The rest of us can’t get any sleep with you making all that racket.”
Jeb let out one last yelp and glared at me from inside his crate. “How come you get to run free around the house? I don’t want to be locked up!”
“I am trustworthy and you are not,” I told him archly. “That means I don’t hurry in the house, I don’t chase the cats, and I don’t chew on carpet fringe.”
“I only hurried in the house once, the cats tease me and the carpet fringe tastes good,” Jeb protested.
“Uh huh. But excuses aside, you won’t get more freedom until you behave, understand?” There was no answer. I peered in the crate at him. His eyes were closed and he was breathing heavily. Asleep -- YES! I tiptoed out of the bedroom but as soon as I stepped into the hallway he began yelping at top volume again.
“You were sound asleep! Now what’s the problem?” I snapped. Really, my nerves are frayed.
“I was just resting my eyes. I’m not sleepy!” He yawned hugely. “Not sleepy.” His eyes drooped.
I groaned in frustration. “You are sleepy! You're exhausted. We're all exhausted! For crying out loud, take a nap. I’ll make sure Marianne lets you come out to play with me later, OK?”
A gentle snore was my answer. I waited a minute but this time he really was passed out. I collapsed on my dog bed figuring I’d better get some shuteye while the air raid siren – er, I mean Jeb, was asleep.