We finally bought a house! Yeh, I know, not many people are doing that these days.
I’m so glad to finally be out of a rental. Our previous abodes have had busy streets with all that noise, but our new house is nestled in a small community away from busy streets.
The first few days we were blessed with wonderful autumn weather, perfect for keeping the windows open.
But enjoyment of that was immediately interrupted by the sudden awareness that our yard is surrounded by noisy, barking dogs.
Why do people get dogs only to leave them in the yard all day and all night? It breaks my heart because dogs are social creatures, and to cut them off from quality time with people and other dogs just seems cruel to me.
This conviction became tragically evident to my family in 2006. Three months after we had moved into a rental house, our next door neighbor’s two dogs broke through the wood fence and killed our beloved cat, Cici…. right there, in our back yard.
Prior to this, I rarely saw anyone interacting with the dogs, and they were never taken for walks. Not surprisingly, these dogs were obnoxious barkers. They would bark incessantly at any and all things: squirrels, birds, airplanes, my kids playing in the back yard, or any neighbor doing any thing.
One day shortly before Thanksgiving, as I was walking by the window, I saw Cici sleeping peacefully on the playscape. A couple of hours later, my 5-year-old daughter was standing in front of the window, and said to me, “Mommy, why are J’s dogs in our yard… And why do they have Cici in their mouth?”
Horrified, I ran outside only to have one of the dogs slightly snarl at me when I got close to a lifeless Cici Cat. I picked up a big stick nearby, and they took off and hid in the far corner of the yard while I gathered Cici and put his body in a box.
I now know that I should have called Animal Control right then and there. But no, we “did the neighborly thing” and waited for him to get home so he could retrieve his dogs from our yard. He took them back to his yard, repaired the fence for the umpteenth time, because this was not the first time they had broken through into our yard.
The next week was rather unsettling when my kids would want to play outside. What if the dogs busted through again, but this time attacked me or one of my kids???
Eventually, our neighbor got rid of his dogs, but there seemed to be this residual underlying resentment towards US, like we’re the horrible neighbors that made him get rid of his dogs….that he never spent any time with unless he was mowing the lawn or BBQing dinner.
WTF ever. Now my 5-year-old is talking about death and asking questions about God and heaven and angels….and OMG now she’s having night terrors because she thinks everyone’s going to die…. Thanks a lot.
Fast forward to the present.
Here we are in our beautiful new home, with the to-die-for weather……and nearly all my neighbors have dogs that they leave in their yards for countless hours or most of the day. When my kids play outside, sometimes I can’t even hear them talking to me because of the entire chorus of barking noise around us.
It has been difficult to keep my agitation in check. The occasional short-lived barking is understandable, of course. And I realize there is nothing I can do about dogs barking in the middle of the afternoon when my son is supposed to take a nap.
He stopped taking naps permanently a couple of weeks after we moved here. Coincidence? Any mom will tell you it’s a really sad day when their toddler gives up the afternoon nap. So, not only are these dogs annoying, but curses for no more naps!
Well, the other day, after a month of this crap, I reached a breaking point.
It was another gorgeous day, and I had opened all the windows to enjoy some fresh air. While unpacking, I could hear a dog barking. This wasn’t any kind of alarm bark or playful bark. It was a non-stop, incessant, rhythmic, deep, loud bark-bark-bark-bark-bark-bark…
Well, while I was unpacking, inside this box was an air horn… The kind you can buy at the dollar store or party store. And I suddenly felt the need to establish my superior pack leader status among these noisy, undisciplined dogs.
You want noise, do ya punk?
I went over to the sliding glass door and blasted the air horn outside for a second. Then, for a moment, there was sweet, blissful silence.
But I didn’t move from the door.
A few moments later, the dog resumed his bark-bark-bark. So I blasted the horn again, and again, SILENCE. After the fourth blast, I didn’t hear ANY dog bark for a long time. It was awesome.
At some point, the dogs did start barking relentlessly again, so I blasted the horn again. I did this probably about a dozen times over the course of the afternoon. And each time, I was granted a momentary reprieve from the ruckus.
Well, the very next day, Animal Control and the Local Police knocked on our door, and thankfully, my husband answered it. I was upstairs on my computer with music blasting so I was unaware.
Apparently, the air horn is a violation of the noise ordinance. Apparently, I’m supposed to report relentless barking, but they can’t define relentless. Apparently, some consider the air horn to be cruel to the dogs. Apparently, quite a few neighbors were upset at my noisy disruption.
I’ve been asked to cease and desist usage of the air horn.
So, even though I am an avid animal-lover and currently hand-feeding 4 abandoned 2-week old kittens left by one of the numerous feral cats in this neighborhood, I am evidently cruel to animals because I subjected the neighbors and dogs to the ear-piercing air horn, poor dogs.
Their barking at all hours, including the middle of the night, is just fine and not a nuisance at all. Evidently my priorities are screwed up. So now I must go and order Bark Off from Amazon…..
So, in closing, as Bob Barker used to say, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered!”