Always pay attention to the dog

March 7, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Keith Schell

Like most dogs, our dog was a smart dog. In her own way, she was a very good communicator and could make her needs and concerns clearly known to the family when she felt it was necessary. 

If she wanted outside, she would go to the door and look at you. If she wanted a treat, she would go over and sit by the box of treats and look at you. If she wanted to play ball, she would bring a ball over to you and look at you. If she wanted to play tug-of-war she would bring her tug toy over to you and look at you. And most of the time you couldn’t help but smile at her antics and give her what she wanted.  

Our late Father often said he wished our dog could talk. Especially when they were outside together and the dog stopped dead with her nose in the air, catching the scent of something in the wind. Dad would always look around, and seeing nothing, would wonder what the dog’s nose had detected. Being out in the country as we were, it could have been anything from bears to deer to raccoons to – you name it. Watching the dog with her nose in the air you always wondered what was out there and how far away it was.  

More than once over the years Dad said to us, “Always pay attention to the dog. You never know what she might be trying to tell you.” 

And as it turned out one night, that was a very true and prophetic thing to say.

One night at home, about three in the morning, Mom and Dad were asleep and the dog was sleeping in her doggie bed on the floor at the foot of their bed. 

Suddenly, something woke the dog. With the bedroom door wide open, the dog went out into the hallway to investigate. Eventually, she came back into the bedroom, went around to Dad’s side of the bed, and began licking Dad’s face in an attempt to wake him up. When Dad finally awoke, the dog started to walk out of the bedroom, stopped, and turned to look back at Dad. When she did that it usually meant that she wanted you to follow her. 

Puzzled, Dad followed her out into the hallway. And the dog just stopped and stood there. 

At a cursory glance, there was nothing out of the ordinary around the house as far as Dad could see. Everything appeared to be in order. So he began asking the dog, “What’s wrong?” “What’s the problem?” But the dog just continued to stand there and wouldn’t move. 

And then, all of a sudden: 


The dog looked up. And so Dad looked up. 

And then suddenly, Dad understood: 

The ‘low battery’ indicator on the ceiling smoke alarm had just started beeping! And because the noise was new and something out of the ordinary in the middle of the night, the dog wanted to bring it to Dad’s attention. 

Dad changed the smoke alarm batteries, everything returned to normal, and everyone went back to bed.

Animals, if they are loved and treated as a part of the family, will repay your love and kindness many times over in their own way. You are always seeing stories on the news about dogs and cats that have saved families from burning homes by waking them up in the middle of the night so they can escape from the fire. 

Obviously, our little incident was nothing on that scale, but pets generally are very much attuned to their surroundings and if they think something is out of the ordinary, they will find a way to make you aware of it if you know how to properly read the signs.  

So, people, always pay attention to your pets. They may not be able to talk, but they certainly know how to communicate. And like our Father always said, you never know what they might be trying to tell you. 

And in addition to that, always change your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm batteries twice a year at or around daylight savings time. Better safe than sorry. 

After all, you may not have a dog around to warn you!

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