Thursday, May 07, 2009

On neighbors' dogs

We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor. - GKC

We know our neighbors on one side. Not well, but enough to chat, and to offer help when needed. The wives are both outdoor types, always puttering about in the yard, so there is regular contact. When an ice storm knocked out our power, the husband came over to help rig up a generator. When he got sick we were the back-ups for rides to treatments.

We know their names.

But we did not make friends with them.

On the other side are the new neighbors. New - as in they've lived there for only four years.

We occasionally nod in passing. But no conversations per se. I did bid them welcome when they arrived. And once when their dog got loose I took it back over. That's about it. We rarely see them go outside. When they do, it's for some utilitarian purpose, like mowing the lawn. Then they disappear.

We don't know their names.

I suppose that is unfriendly of us. We could probably be better neighbors ourselves. But I'm kind of reclusive myself.

We did not make frinds, or enemies. We're just neighbors.

I do know their dog. She's a friendly beast. A tail-wagger who always used to come up to the fence to greet our tail-wagging dog, and to get a scritch on the head from me.

I know the dog's name.

Now there's a second dog.

We don't know if this one is a temporary, or a permanent resident.

But this dog barks. Constantly.

Open our bedroom window.

Bark.

Open our back door - on the other side of the house.

Bark.

Pull in the driveway.

Bark.

And go out to the yard to do some work - or chat with the neighbors we know.

Bark.

And worst of all, the other dog, the tail-wagger, has now picked up the habit.

Bark. Bark.

We don't want to complain - and make enemies.

But ...

Bark. Bark.

At times it's hard to remember that God did make neighbors. Especially when it comes to reclusive ones with barking dogs.

I sometimes think Frost had it right: Good fences make good neighbors.

Too bad it can't be soundproofed fences.

But God left it up to us to make those.

3 comments:

Jeanne Simard said...

You are me and vice versa...on a nod and wave level with my neighbors. Being too close, thus sharing intimate details with each other, makes it a bit more difficult to call the police. Can you tell I've 'been there, done that'? A friendly letter stating the noise disturbance is the first step. Keep a copy, of course. You MUST state exactly what you want...don't dilly dally around the subject! You want peace and quiet to be restored to the neighborhood, PERIOD! If you are in city limits and your city has a noise ordinance on the books to deal with this then don't hesitate to quote it in the letter and let the folks know that you will be involving authorities as the next step if they don't get a clue. Harsh? Perhaps, but I have a right to peace and quiet on my property. It's that simple. You should NOT be a prisoner in your own home, fearing to open windows or sit in your yard to enjoy nature. A 'good' neighbor will get the message with the first letter. If not, then, trust me, they aren't a good neighbor. We all live in the great community called the world...too bad some folks are so disrespectful of the rest in the community. Please don't blame the dog...it IS the owners fault. From what I can gather from your posting it appears the owners aren't real involved with the first dog and they probably thought that he needed a companion, thus to relieve them of the guilt of neglect of dog number one. If you don't take care of this right now you are setting yourself up for even bigger problems in the future. They'll wonder why it didn't bother you at the beginning, yet does now, six/seven weeks later. Might be a thought to copy your post and my comment and let them read it. Hope my comment helps you out. I've been through this three times with three different renters in my neighborhood...now I have a reputation that I won't put up with ongoing barking dogs...something other neighbors tell newcomers about when they first meet and greet. I'll take that reputation and relish it if it serves to pre-empt barking and keep the quiet ALL the neighbors appreciate, yet were always too afraid to stand up for. No, I don't hate dogs...I much dislike irresponsible owners. Good luck.

Lee Strong said...

Although I grouse, it's not bad enough to resort to the law. And I'm a dog lover, so I'd hate to see anything nefarious happen to the critters.

Maybe I'll just bark back!

Persiflage said...

Same here - around plenty of neighbors with dogs who bark. But all these dogs bark at things, at people, at cats, at squeeling tires, etc.

But one of our neighbors is a couple, and the wife has a little tiny rat (disguised as a dog) that just barks 24/7. Not at anything, just for the sake of barking nonstop with it's little screechy high-pitched voice ALL THE TIME. I am a huge dog lover. We have a dog of our own. But I have my doubts whether this yipping pipsqueak poor excuse for a dog actually qualifies as a "dog." It may actually be a rodent of the sort you dispose of with a just litte ...

I would suggest watching the film "How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog" with Kenneth Branagh.