Most dogs have a wide array of sounds that they produce—from whining, gruffing, howling, barking, to grumbling. They use these sounds to get your attention, to give you a warning, to beg for food and to sit on your lap, to express displeasure and a number of other unknown reasons. Some of these sounds are pleasant, such as the little tufts of sound that float from brand-new puppies as they discover the world, or when your dog whines when he knows that you are not feeling quite yourself. Another good sound is when your dog is about to mess on the floor and barks to be let out. Some sounds are unpleasant, like incessant barking, grumbling at the TV and passersby and howling like a broken record at invisible entities.
Toady makes all of these sounds…plus one. Toady also makes what I call “demon sounds”. To properly imagine these sounds, pretend that you are alone in the forest being stalked like prey by some massively over-sized canine. This thing in the forest wants to eat you, and you can hear it growling and slavering in pursuit of you. Now imagine what the growling would sound like. Deep, menacing, bone-chillingly terrifying—with an edge almost like two rocks scraping together. Now add a the sound of a few demons from hell—giant things with slow, bass toned, voices and you have what Toady sounds like. He doesn’t make this sound when he is displeased; he makes it when we play together. I take his favorite toy (a Kong Wubba) and hold on to it for dear life. Toady takes the other end and pulls me around the house—utterly and unequivocally providing joy to the perpetual child inside of me. All the while, Toady is “demoning”. The first time it happened, I have to admit that I was frightened. Perhaps that isn’t the right sentiment—I was scared shitless. But, when I said “mine”, looked him in the eyes, and took his “squeakit” away, he let it go without a fight and sat there staring at me with about 10 inches of tongue hanging out of his mouth. After that, I got used to it.
Now when we play it delights me to hear those sounds. They appear to be ferociously dished out, but in reality it’s just how Toady tells you he’s having fun. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to play with him as rough as I or my husband do. We have established guidelines with Toady so that he knows when he’s getting carried away or we are exhausted and want to stop. Still, somewhere deep down, when I hear those sounds a part of me (instincts probably) tells me to run. I never will, but I can imagine that anyone else in their right mind would. I am more afraid of our 9lb ninja cat than I am of our silly 120lb dog.