Howling in Harmony

Whenever we leave the house—or come back after being away—our dogs serenade us with the most beautiful howls you’ve ever heard. Fred sings bass with his mournful-sounding howls, and Jed and provides percussion with his rhythmic woof, woof, woof, woof. Georgia adds her high-pitched yip, yip followed by a happy alto arooo! Pearl’s soprano barks blend with Truman’s yodeling tenor. It’s really quite amazing, the beautiful music they make together.

Today, when we came home from having lunch with a friend, we could hear the dogs’ singing to us all the way out at the garage when we parked the car. When we opened the door to the house, Hans tried to usher the dogs outside immediately, but they weren’t done serenading us yet. They wanted us to hear and appreciate their song. They also wanted to finish for their own enjoyment. So, Hans and I stood in the doorway while the dogs wrapped up their happy tune, then we all went outside and played ball.

Our dogs’ song—the tones and melodies they blend with such beauty—reminded me of the Drum Circle I attended last night with some friends. Someone starts the rhythm, then everyone else joins in with whatever beat or stroke sounds right. It’s always impromptu, nothing planned, and people change their drumming whenever they feel like it. Eventually, the drumming fades away by unspoken consent, or by one person at a time dropping away to sit in stillness and soak up the ambience of the music, the fire, the good company.

I think that making music like this gives an important since of community that most of us are missing in our lives these days. The sacred sounds of the music we make together is healing to our bodies, minds, and spirits. I’m grateful to my friends who give me this gift on a regular basis, and I know our dogs are grateful to one another for the same reason.

Last night when we were drumming, a group of coyotes started howling in the distance. It sounded to me like they were singing along to our drumming. I think that the next time our dogs start singing to us, I’ll join in.

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