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but this could be the time that it strikes!

When we first got him, Rascal was a very nervous dog. He still is, you might argue, but if you knew him then you'd have to admit that he has made great strides in overcoming his fears. He can walk by a trash can on the sidewalk without having to detour far into the street, for example. But there are some things that still terrify him, and one such thing is the vacuum cleaner.

You'd think he'd have gotten used to it by now. It's not like we're neat freaks or anything, but we do manage to vacuum at least once a week or so—more, when Rascal is in a shedding period (six months in the spring and six months in the fall). He's five now, so he's seen a lot of that machine over the years. And yet he still runs upstairs with his tail between his legs whenever we bring it out. I suppose we should admire that sort of consistency.

In his defense, he's not afraid of it when it's not running. Even if we leave it near his food dishes he'll happily munch on his dinner without a care for the mechanical monster beside him. It's only when it's moving—or when the cord is being retracted—that he gets worried. Maybe the great victory he once won over the machine gives him courage; at least until he hears it's terrible roar.

Not that we mind this little bit of cowardice. If nothing else it gets him out of the way when we're trying to clean; unlike our other child, who would like to stand on top of the carpet attachment when he's not grabbing the handle and trying to do the vacuuming himself. But that's a subject for another post.

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