At first we thought the ghost had come back.
A couple of weeks ago, Rion started acting strangely, usually in the evenings, in the living room and bedroom. He'd growl at thin air, sniff the air like crazy, look around in a bunch of directions and then fix on a spot and growl, even bark sometimes. This continued on for this entire past week and now it is a regular nightly occurrence, punctuated with Rion jumping straight up into the air a number of times (can't fight the Jack Russell genes) to get a better sniff/look/hear.
We had ruled out dog dementia (these symptoms are associated with dementia, but is virtually unheard of in young dogs). We also decided to rule out ghosts (for one thing, the microwave was acting fine). Randal then posted to a dog-lovers' forum, where the general consensus was that we shouldn't ignore or dismiss the Jack Russell's best instinctual behaviour; that there were probably mice, birds, or bats in the attic (we are on the top floor of a four-floor walkup).
So I have been meaning to call the super about this, but it's been a busy week. Got home tonight from JET orientation. Rion is a little perturbed in the living room but nothing beyond usual. I make another mental note to call the super tomorrow. Go to the spare room to use my computer for a bit (I was going to post a Japanese Word of the WEek, but now you'll just have to wait). Then I hear this weird scratching, rattling, knocking sound coming from the corner of the room. Rion hears it too. We look at each other then go to the corner and I slowly start taking things out from the bottom of the open-backed shelf that is in that corner. As I remove each item (tiny block heater, printer, storage box), Rion and I pause, look in the corner (he being much smaller than me, he is able to fit his whole body right back into the corner to check it out). It is strange - the noise is quite persistent - I thought at first maybe something on the outside of the building was rattling (it is an outside wall, and it is quite windy and rainy tonight), but Randal ventured out on to the balcony (next to that spot) and verified that there is nothing unusual on the outside making that noise, at least as far as he could tell.
A few minutes later, Randal reports that he is hearing the same noise, though much fainter, from the wall in one of the corners of the bedroom. I check this out and yes, much quieter, but same kind of noise.
We can't see anything unusual. It's an old building, and our baseboards have never been entirely flush with the hardwood floor, nor in particularly good condition. Nothing has punched through yet, but the crunching sound in the spare room is especially loud and agressive at times.
Last year, at this time of year, we had lots of ants come through the balcony door (which doesn't fit tight either), through the spare room and into the kitchen. That was a laugh and a half. After a few false starts, we finally fixed the problem with some good, old-fashioned salt spread in the doorway and on the spare room floor in front of the door. (Randal looked up some home remedies on the Internet and that was one of the many this-won't-kill-your-dog-too-in-the-process solutions.) It worked like a charm.
This time, I suspect we may be dealing with a bigger, meaner foe. I think we have mice. Well, we don't have them yet, but they're on their way. ("The mice are marching one by one, hurrah hurrah...") I am definitely not going to forget to call the super this time.
Right now Rion is lying in the corner where the noise was coming from (which has momentarily stopped), with his nose pressed up to the baseboard. I wonder what he smells.
No better time than now to give notice. Get out while we still can. Maybe this is it and the mice are really beginning their takeover of the world.