Tuesday, March 3, 2015

All his buttons on #sol15

Last night, Bo barked again.

However, this time, the barks didn't stop. Bo sounded the alarm.


I've come to learn the pattern. Bo either needs--NEEDS--to use the outdoor facilities (otherwise he makes his own indoor facility) or Bo knows something is outside.

We live in rural Pennsylvania. Deer, rabbit, owls and hawks, skunks and fox are common. An owl's hoOO-hoOO greeted me from somewhere hidden inside a dark, blustery morning a few weeks back.

But having dogs has made me a man who has all of his buttons on even in the middle of the night. Groggy as I might be, I know to crack the storm door--blocking Bo with my legs--and sniff first.

The smell of skunk.

Bo, utterly crushed, isn't allowed to chase the skunk.
I can't smell it in the house but Bo sure can catch its scent in the middle of a deep, snore-filled, sleep. Closing the storm door and locking up the house I have to tell him, "No skunk. Go to bed." I turn on all of the outdoor lights--skunks don't like light--and light up the room Bo sleeps in until he settles down to go back to sleep.

After an extended moment of showing me how utterly heartbroken he is that he doesn't get to tangle and tumble with a skunk, Bo retires without a fight to a comfortable spot and won't bark the rest of the night.

He transforms from a nervous wreck ringing the call for every able-bodied man to report on skunk-duty into a docile, content family member curled like a comma into a corner of the sofa.

Until the skunk saunters by again a few nights from now.

from A Dictionary of Victorian Slang (1909)

All his buttons on (C. L., 1880 on). Sharp, alive, active, not to be deceived.

He is eighty-three years of age, but as we say hereabouts, has all his buttons on (laughter), and he says, 'I never heard of greater nonsense in all my life.' --Sir W. Harcourt, Speech in Bermondsey, 20th May 1890.


  1. I laughed at your relationship with your dog. You know him so well.The skunks of Pennsylvania are safe.

  2. What would we do without our dogs!
    I enjoyed reading about your Bo.

  3. I'm glad our Max doesn't have that sense (or is it scent). He could sleep thru a tornado!