The Hounds of Silence

the queen

From the website “The Jack Russell Terrier is almost certainly not the breed for you.”


It used to be that Riley, our dog, felt the need to engage in battle with the various noise-making machines around the house – mainly the vacuum and lawn mower. She would dart about, lunging and barking at the offensive contraptions, doing whatever was necessary to defend her peeps and her domain. There was no use admonishing her. She’s a Jack Russell – it’s what she does. The doorbell was another trigger, sending her into histrionics whenever some unsuspecting rube was foolish enough to give it a poke. In a related note, we always scrambled for the remote to mute the TV if we happened to be watching House Hunters because, well, how was she to know that the doorbell sound effect at the beginning of the show wasn’t actually a serial killer on our porch looking to gain entry and make worms meat of us all.

However, in the last year or so, she has gone deaf as a post. At first we were concerned and more than a little saddened. But since she remains otherwise healthy and active (as active as a 15-year old pooch can be, anyway) and in no pain, we’ve decided that her silent world is not so bad. Indeed, it has proven a blessing in many ways, including a distinct lack of doorbell insanity. And prior to this, thunderstorms and fireworks were a source of grief for everyone, as she would go into a panting, zombie-like panic and either crawl under the bed to shred the lining of the box spring or cower in the laundry room, where she would try to claw her way into the dryer until long after the bangs and booms had faded away. Now, storms rumble through and the 4th of July passes without so much as a twitch. Still, every new development brings its own unique challenges.


So I’m wondering if the folks at Black and Decker make cow-catchers for their lawn mowers.


16 thoughts on “The Hounds of Silence

  1. Having fostered a few Jack Russells ( in various configurations of mixed breeds- but one knows clearly when the JR is dominant in the mixture) indeed I agree they are not for the faint of heart, but no breed makes you laugh right out loud as often. Paws up to Riley!

  2. I have no idea what motives Scooter. He will keep us up all night barking at shifting shadows in the woods then we will find him curled up with a litter of six week old kittens in the morning.

  3. Until her dying day, my mother would tell stories about her grandfather’s Jack Russell. I’ve never known one personally, but everyone who has is unanimous in declaring them smart, loyal, dedicated to their owners, and danged nuisances at times. The barking seems a common thread.

    Riley’s a pretty thing. She looks like she’d be affectionate. I love your idea of a cowcatcher. That’s funny, right there.

  4. Riley has certainly got you wrapped around her finger (which is where we belong). While I don’t have experience with Jack Russel’s, your wonderful post reminds me of our dearly missed Shiba Inu. And the intense “conversations” she would have with our blender when I went through an embarrassing protein shake phase. I give her all the credit for breaking me of the habit;)

  5. I’ve never shared my home with a Jack Russell, but I do admire the breed. They are terriers on steroids! (My son and his wife have to lock their two dogs in the spare bedroom whenever they try to sweep the floor, because their Bulldog attacks the broom, whereupon the pug mix starts screaming and helpfully launches himself at the Bulldog.)
    Since my old dog lost her hearing, I can really relate to what you say about life being more peaceful. But take it from me, don’t even think about a cowcatcher on your lawn mower. Just mow around your dog….which is exactly what Riley expects you to do. He was there first, you know, and also looks as if he’s in the middle of a good nap.

  6. Aw. Well, despite the loss, she probably feels a lot less anxiety. She’s chillin 🙂 As a high-strung human, I can say that’s a nice side effect.

    Also, our mailman just delivered packages here — oh yeah. No one could hear anything else.

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