Knowing when to speak

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

At times it’s hard to remember that my dog Bosch can bark.

He can, trust me. He’s an 85-pound American Staffordshire terrier mix (a.k.a. pitbull), and a real sweetheart to us as a family.

I came across a video I took of him when we first went to adopt him from Brookhaven Animal Rescue League. He’s in one of the large outside kennels and all the other dogs are barking like crazy. Finally, Bosch joins in and his “voice” is so deep and loud that it’s heard easily over all the others.

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But since we took him home, he’s only barked a few times — most of those have been in his sleep, muffled because his mouth is closed, as he chases dream rabbits.

He barked at our visiting daughter one day because she startled him accidentally, and he seemed more embarrassed about it than we were shocked. He rarely speaks.

But the other night, we were not following him to bed on his schedule. Around the same time each night, he heads into our bedroom and turns and looks at us as if to say, “C’mon, it’s bedtime.” We were taking our time, I guess, and he gave a low bark/growl, like, “Rawr, rurr, grrr, ruh ruh!” My wife and I looked at each other and said to Bosch, “OK, buddy, we’re coming. Settle down.”

Bosch tends to speak only when he feels like it’s necessary. Kind of like the wise elders to whom you listen when they speak because they don’t talk just to be heard.

Knowing when to speak (and when not to) is a mark of wisdom, even for dogs.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at