The mysterious affair of the FRAP

Why, sometimes, does the sound of the 11-month-old barking randomly send a thrill of irritation up my spine, and sometimes it makes me laugh uncontrollably? Does she continue barking as an experiment to see which response is more real?

The dogs are in a constant battle to, I think, determine who will be the alpha dog. With the entitled recklessness of youth, Summer wants to rule the roost. Dejah more or less patiently replies, “Look, kid. I was second fiddle for almost eight years, and I kind of liked being the only child for those six blessed months, so you go be cute but don’t you dare think you’re the boss of me.”

Sometimes the barking seems to be less about this struggle and more, “C’mon! Doesn’t anyone in this sleepy old town want to play?” And, of course, it occasionally means, “Holy cow! There’s a rabbit/squirrel/deer out there!!”

If you bring dogs into your house, you must be prepared for random barking fits, not to mention inexplicable bursts of energy when the puppy runs back and forth through the house at breakneck speed. This latter actually has a name, we recently learned: FRAP, or Frenetic Random Activity Period, less formally known as the zoomies. As far as I can tell, it has something to do with being so happy to be alive that one simply has to run and run and run, occasionally making a sound that might mean, “Oh! There’s so much to see in this world that I have to check it all out as fast as I can while I can!”

Sometimes the crazy behavior turns me into a pre-ghost-visit Scrooge, and I bark back something along the lines of “Shaddap!” or, more gently, “Simmer, Summer.”

But when I’m in my right mind — my Scrooge-after-the-spirits mind — I just laugh and pray nothing gets broken.

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