If you’ve ever worked or otherwise spent inordinate amounts of time at a pet shelter, vet hospital, boarding facility or grooming parlor, you may well know what I’m talking about when you read this.

After a full day of just one indefatigable barker and I’m usually ready to crawl under the sheets and enjoy a soundless night’s sleep. It’s no secret I love my dogs for their resounding barklessness. It’s only the nine-year-old human in the household that disturbs the silence I crave.

An iPod in surgery helps bring a much-deserved respite but no volume of The White Stripes will block the piercing “baruuuu” of a beagle encaged. And the vast quantity of stainless steel in the hospital ward doesn’t help the acoustics any.

And have you noticed that one booming bark always begets another? Today’s motley crew was no exception: two big Bouviers, one vocal hound mix, and the instigator: one tiny, geriatric Dachshund named Heidi (what else?). The rest of the bunch is quietly resigned to its collective fate (a terrier mix, a German shep cross, a spaniel-ish pup, a Yorkie and my two, everpresent Frenchies).

I don’t know how shelter workers do it.

This morning’s overrepresentation of dogs in the hospital inspired a renewed appreciation for the respectably stealthy cat. The blessed silence of the species even allows me to forgive the occasional scratch and uncommon bite.

But today just wasn’t meant to be a stressless one: After the morning’s cacophony, my first patients of the afternoon—two cats—provoked an episode of allergic rhinitis like no other I’ve suffered in months.

So you’ll have to forgive me for the brevity of my post because, today, this vet has a raging headache.