Sounds like the kind of wackiness that happens only on TV. But Sarah, a reader from Reston, says it happened to her.

A former boyfriend turned Sarah's dog against her.

"I dated this guy for quite a while," said Sarah. The relationship broke apart "because neither of us were having any fun."

She figured her former boyfriend had accepted the split "because he never called." But then calls started -- lots of calls.

"I'd get home from work and play back my message machine," said Sarah. "There were just silences -- call after call of total silence.

"I thought it might be someone who wasn't familiar with answering machines. But then I spoke to my girlfriend. She said it might be a heavy breather.

"There was no heavy breathing on any of the messages, but my friend said this might have been his warm-up act. She advised me to call the phone company."

A customer service representative said Sarah's most effective move would be to change her phone number. "But I didn't want to go through the inconvenience," Sarah said. So she grinned and bore it.

Until the squealing started.

"I'd come home from work and there'd be eight messages in a row. Every one of them was a continuous high-pitched squeal. I could barely hear it," Sarah said.

But Rover heard it very well.

Rover is Sarah's collie. "He'd hear these squeals and go absolutely out of his mind," Sarah said. "He's normally a very even-tempered dog. But he'd tear around the apartment, jump onto chairs, jump off, whimper, act generally obnoxious. Sometimes, he'd keep it up for hours. It got hard to sleep."

The key to the puzzle occurred to Sarah one restless night at 3 a.m.

"I suddenly remembered that my former boyfriend used to play with Rover all the time. One day, I caught him telling Rover, `You'll know if anything ever goes wrong between us.'

"I know I should have dumped him right then. A guy who plots with dogs is a guy you worry about. But I didn't. And now I realized it must have been him doing the squeals."

Sarah called her former boyfriend, who lives in Herndon. He confessed -- and then begged her to return to him. She snorted, hung up, hopped up from her chair, found a pad and wrote a note to herself. It read:


This one is built into the phone. Sarah now retrieves her messages without having to play a tape recording aloud. Rover doesn't hear a thing. Mr. Vengeance is out of business.

I advised Sarah that she might have a stalking case if she'd care to take it to the Fairfax County police. She passed. "I'm just glad to be rid of him," she said.

Rover is, too. "He has been so happy lately," Sarah said. "I always doubted that business about dogs and high-pitched squeals. I thought it was the same as guys who say they can tell when the weather is about to change from the knees they banged up playing football.

"I don't doubt the dog legend any more."


The Virginia Lottery ticket came tumbling out of the envelope onto my desk. I studied it. Hey, somebody had won 10 bucks!

The "somebody" turns out to be our annual Send a Kid to Camp fund-raising campaign.

Dan Sughrue, of Reston, had been the lucky scratcher-winner. He sent his winning ticket to me, with instructions to put the proceeds into the 1999 camping pot.

I've already filled out the back of the ticket and sent it to Richmond, the land of redemption (in more ways than one?). Many thanks, Dan, for that slab of generosity.

Any other lottery winners out there? I don't expect the Powerball winner to give it all to our campers. But if you nicked one of the lotteries for, say, $20, why not help an underprivileged local child have a better summer?

It's three-berry cobbler day at McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants. Just order that item today, at either of the restaurant's two locations (Reston Town Center or 17th and K streets NW), and all the money you spend on it will go to our annual campaign.

Same goes if you order the Belgian endive and pear salad (topped with Gorgonzola and glazed walnuts) at the M&S Grill (13th and F Streets NW).

Every Wednesday throughout the summer, McCormick and Schmick's designates one menu item for the benefit of our campaign. You get well-fed; the kids get to cavort in the country. A winner two ways, no?

Our goal by July 30: $550,000.

In hand as of June 25: $123,133.32.


Make a check or money order payable to Send a Kid to Camp and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.


Call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 on a touch-tone phone. Then punch in K-I-D-S, or 5437, and follow instructions.