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Walter Scott: Full moon on driveway puts watchdog on edge

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa.

Columnist Walter Scott

A lunatic is defined as someone that is insane or with a severely disordered state of mind. In ancient times, the condition was thought to be caused by phases of the moon. Last week, we had a dog that seemed to be on that lunatic fringe.

Billie, the standard poodle, is normally a reliable watchdog. He barks to alert us when someone is coming down the driveway and will back a person he deems a threat up against the wall.

Last week, we had a full moon. While passing our bedroom, he glanced out of the window and up the driveway. He immediately exploded with his most vicious barking and was on full alert.

I got up to see who was coming, knowing the dog does not lie. If he says someone is coming, they must be driving down the driveway.

I looked out of the window to see a huge full moon right in the middle of the driveway. It did look like one oversized headlight approaching the house. I laughed at the dog’s mistake and attempted to convince him all was well. He was not convinced.


It is difficult to explain the phases of the moon to a dog that is preoccupied and sure we are under immediate threat of invasion. Since he would not calm down, I let him go outside. If he wanted to attack the stranger who had one large headlight, he could have at it.

He ran up the driveway as far as his collar would allow and continued to bark. The moon did not seem to him to be getting any closer, so he started to calm down a bit.

After a few minutes, his frequent barking gave way to just a random “woof” to ensure the intruder would not dare come closer. I was finally able to call him back to the house when the moon rose high enough in the sky, so it looked more like the moon than a vehicle coming down the driveway.

I could understand his confusion as the full moon really looked like it was in the driveway. At first glance, it startled me. As the moon rose, it lit up the night. From the living room window, we could see deer walking across the dam.

As the rut is still on, I imagine the deer were moving all night. Moonlight reflected off the while trumpeter swans gliding across the surface of the lake. They too could see well enough to continue feeding well into the early morning hours complete with their contented trumpeting call.

I was happy the next evening was cloudy. The deer would go back to running around during the daytime and sleeping at night. The swans would be quiet, and I did not want to deal with a lunatic dog again when the moon rose at the end of the driveway.

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Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Drakesville, Iowa.
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