Thursday, August 18, 2011

Morning, Noon, and Night

Imagine this with me...

You wake up in the morning.  You still have a thin veil of sleep covering your face, such that the world isn't yet 100% lucid.  You roll over and turn off your sound machine (you have a sound machine in this scenario - it creates a "thunderstorm" every night in your room - just go with it).  So anyway, the machine is off and you notice the calming silence of the 6 o'clock hour, the way the early light seeps through the shutters.  Only, one second later, before you can even enjoy the peace of the morning, you hear a dog ferociously barking. Your mind starts to race.  Oh no!  Is it your dog in his crate in the back room?  Is something wrong with him?  Your eyes fly open and you go to check on your dog.

He's startled awake when you walk into the room.  Unbarking.  But the barking is louder in this back room.  Could a dog have gotten into our backyard during the night?  Is he lost and hurt and therefore barking his head off for someone to help?  A scan of the backyard dismisses this theory.  It also confirms that the barking is coming from somewhere else...

The dreaded dog who lives across the back alley from us.

You guys.  This has become a major problem.  This dog barks morning, noon, and night.  He never stops.  The barking is so loud you can hear it from every room in our house.  We ate dinner on our back porch a couple nights ago and he ferociously barked the whole time.  When I get home from work to let Hank out, he gets a little nervous (tail in between the legs) when he's standing on the deck before he goes into the yard, presumably because he thinks an attack dog is in our backyard ready to pounce.  After it's dark, we have to go outside with Hank so he'll leave the deck to tinkle (because again, he's probably scared of being ripped to pieces).  If I ever take him down the alley after a walk (to dump the poo bag in our garbage can), he gets really scared because the other dog goes in-sane!  I mean, this is not just a lighthearted bark.  It's a I-will-kill-you-by-ripping-you-apart-and-then-laugh-about-it bark.

So this other dog's owner is a young guy, probably aged 28-35, who lives alone.  The dog is an enormous, full-sized pitbull who doesn't ever go in the house.  He's always attached to a huge chain in the back corner of the guy's yard (behind a fence, but you can sort of peer through to see him) and has a small doggie house.  I've never seen the dog off the chain (that is to roam around the yard or go on a walk with his owner).  So, I mean, in the most basic sense, I can sort of understand why he barks all day.

Now I get that people have different philosophies about dog ownership.  Some people think a dog belongs outside, and I mean, even if that's not what I think, I get that some people do (I even think these feelings can be more pronounced in different races and ethnicities - and this guy is a different race/ethnicity than us).  I get that some people get a dog for protection - and I wouldn't be surprised if this guy is keeping his dog outside for protection.  But keeping the dog outside vs. straight-up neglect seems like a fine line, and I'd argue this dog is experiencing borderline neglect.  When we were having our al fresco dinner the other night, the owner was outside doing stuff to his car.  As far as we could tell, he never even addressed the dog - there certainly wasn't any playing or petting - but there was also zero notice that the dog was barking his lungs out with no break.  (Can I also say that a sort of odd element to the whole thing is that this man has about 5 ferns on his front porch that are growing well and thriving?  Just seems weird, right?  That he would care enough to water ferns everyday, and yet doesn't do anything about the public nuisance in his backyard?)

I mean, what does one do in this situation?  The guy hasn't lived in the house all that long.  Jonathan met him once and he seemed friendly enough, but it seems pretty intimidating to go talk to him about it, especially given that this guy most likely isn't going to change his behavior.  That is, if we talk to him, he's probably not going to unchain the dog and instead keep him in the house.  Calling animal services seems passive aggressive - but also seems like it might create some kind of war between us and this guy (even though he wouldn't know exactly who called, there would only be a few options).  But at the same time, imagining months, even years of this day in/day out barking seems absurd, right?

I hate that guy.

1 comment:

Team DesGranges said...

Wow, that is super awkward. One thing I learned from reading a lot of passive aggressive comments on my old neighborhood's blog is that it's not your responsibility to come up with a solution for his problem - all you have to do is politely communicate what effect his dog's behavior is having on you and your dog. Then if he can't figure out how to handle it and it gets worse, you worry about what to do then. Or you could just leave a shock collar on his doorstep with a bow on it.