Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I am my neighbor...

No, not my house, but every since I found this picture I wanted to use it!

I would have preferred to start off the New Year with an optimistic post title that summed up our Holidays. However, about two weeks before Christmas my neighbor and I had a heated argument – on my front porch! December 15, to be exact.

I wrote about my neighbor here when Bonnie and Darlin’ got into the fight. Darlin’ was tense about the commotion on my neighbors back deck when Bonnie acted dominant and buffed up to Darlin’ when I took her rock.

Bonnie’s rock obsession hasn’t gotten any better. Some days it’s worse than others. She finds a rock or digs one up, knocks it around and barks at it. If you go outside she will pick it up and run with it. I tell her to “drop it.” When she does I say “no rock” and I put it in my pocket. We stopped tossing them over the fence because that only intensified her excited state. I’ll throw her Frisbee or sometimes have her sit for cheese and then carry her upstairs.

On Dec. 15, 2009 I spent most of the day running errands and shopping. I called my son to see if he let the dogs out after school and he said he hadn’t, and that Bonnie was sleeping on his bed. I told him to leave her and I would let them out when I got home. I arrived home at 4:00 o’clock and let three of them out. I did not allow Darlin’ and Bonnie in the yard together without me and Toby waits for me when I take Darlin’ out.

My car was full of bags so I toted everything inside and began putting groceries away and making tea. I heard Bonnie bark at a rock. I know the difference in her barks, not just with Bonnie, but with all of the dogs.

I decided to run check my business email since I had been away from my computer most of the day. I heard her bark again, I looked out my window and she was pawing at a rock. It’s not a constant bark. She barks two or three times, stops and kicks the rock around, then barks again. I opened my window and told her to hush. She looked up at me so I sat back down at my desk. The weather was nice so I left my window up. I sat at my desk about five minutes. When she barked I called to her knowing my voice would distract her. Just as she starting barking again I went to put my Crocks on because we have a yard full of poop right now.

As soon as I slipped my shoes on to go get Bonnie someone rang my doorbell. I opened the door and there stood my neighbor. That was the first time in five years since I’ve owned Sam, our blue heeler, that he made a low growling sound at someone at the door. I told my neighbor that I would meet him outside and I put the dogs in my son’s room. The way he looked at me standing there are my porch made me angry and all of those feelings I’ve had when he throws rocks at my fence, or yelled “shut up” from his yard came rushing back to me.

I walked outside and the first words out of his mouth were, “Could you shut your dog up?” I said as I pointed to my feet, “I just put my shoes on to go get her.” Him – “That dog has barked all day long!” Me - “That’s a lie; I haven’t been home 15 minutes!” Neighbor – “And she’s barked every since, I can’t even hear my TV!” Me – My dogs don’t bark five minutes and you’re out there telling them to shut up! I respect my neighbors; my dogs aren’t outside early in the mornings or late at night. Him – “you’ve lived her two years and you’ve never respected your neighbors! I’ve already called the police, let’s not let this go any further!” Me – “Really? I’ve already called animal control because we can’t trust you! They brought me one of these dogs! Him - “I don’t care where they came from!” Me - “I’ll see what I can do to keep my dogs quiet so you can hear your TV.” Him – “Good!”

I know, Animal Control, but it was the heat of the moment. It could have been worse. I could have mentioned that crazy woman on his deck singing with headphones on all summer from morning till after 10:00 o’clock at night! I’ve woken up to her obnoxious singing before. They play their music loud when they work in the yard or when they wash their cars. I never said a thing because I was so pissed off at the time that he had the nerve to come over here. I could have mentioned the blue lights flashing in front of his house and how it concerned us. I was so hoping his wife would leave him and he would have to move because he couldn’t afford the house on his own. No such luck, she came back.

Dogs bark all night around here, to the point that it hurts my spirit. I have prayed for a white tied-out shepherd several times this winter. I wonder how people sleep when their dog is barking all night in the yard. I think because of that it’s so important to me not to disturb my neighbors, but let’s be reasonable here, they are dogs and it was 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon! My dogs can’t chase each other and bark during playtime because of him!

Woodrow Wilson said, “If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” That’s the first thing I thought when Sam was uncomfortable with my neighbor at our door. He sensed something was up with that guy!

It’s almost 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon and she has just barked for the first time today, not at a rock, I’m watching her look up at the back door. I left my desk and let two of the dogs outside, but instead of them joining Bonnie in the yard, she came upstairs and came in the house. She sometimes barks a couple of times so that one of the dogs will come outside with her. Her barking at rocks started about the time the frogs left for winter.

This neighbor that does not like my dogs has a pond and we have a terrible frog issue because of it. In fact, he has a frog over there that croaks so loud it’s nearly as loud as a dog! She used to catch at least one frog a day from spring through summer. Now that the frogs are gone we think this could be the reason she’s kicking rocks around. I’m going to look into an exercise wheel for her, maybe a treadmill. It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s become an issue because of the neighbor. Bonnie knows how to leave the rocks and come indoors. She handles us taking them and is easily distracted by Frisbee or food.
Darlin’ stepped out on the back deck at the same time that my neighbor stepped out of his garage door. She barked one time, one woof sound, when I heard him instantly say, “shut up.” I’m almost always with her so I was there too. She got scared and went right back inside so we waited until he left.

I don’t like living my life to accommodate this guy, but it’s not possible for us to move right now or this year, unless by some miracle some things change.

My dad said I shouldn’t have let him upset me. That I should have told him that his first mistake was ringing my doorbell. He said I should have asked what kind of TV he has and offer to buy him headphones. My daughter said maybe he can use the headphones that woman wears outside all summer!

Darlin’s Christmas…

What a blessing it’s been knowing Darlin’ is safe indoors this winter. She has made phenomenal progress recently! She stayed in my room while we opened gifts Christmas morning, but spent the afternoon in her bed by my feet as I struggled to keep my eyes open while watching TV.

Daddy petting her on the couch...

She and Bonnie have been fine together, however I have not allowed them in the yard together because I can’t handle all of the dogs alone should one of them instigate a fight. In the house I’ve had three issues, all were because of Darlin’!

One morning I let Bonnie out of her crate. She was being sweet with her tail down and wiggling her little butt wanting me to pet her. Darlin’ rushes over to us from her side of the bed and nips at Bonnie! She was like a bulldozer and bumped into Bonnie’s side head on. I quickly corrected Darlin’ when Bonnie went ballistic. I picked up Bonnie and put her outside and let Darlin’ calm down because she gets excited to see me upon waking in the mornings.
Two other times it happened in my office, which is a small bedroom. Darlin’ doesn’t mind any of the dogs in here, but since the fight I keep the door closed so that she and Bonnie are not too close. Besides I’m working and can’t watch them closely. I left the door open thinking Bonnie was downstairs with my husband. She was but he left the door open. Bonnie walks up to the threshold of the door when Darlin’ growled and charged at her, but it was dominance, not aggression. Bonnie got scared and withdrew to the hall, but then ran back inside like she was going to settle it. I snatched Bonnie up and removed her.

The other incident happened just a few days ago. I was leaving my office when Bonnie approached me at the doorway. Again she was sweet, her tail lowered, ears back, she had a little wiggle in her butt because I acknowledged her presence. Darlin’ jumped up and darted at Bonnie! I corrected Darlin and picked up Bonnie and removed her. So the only issue now seems to be territorial dominance for Darlin’. She charges and growls, but I think she’s claiming the space as her own to prevent Bonnie from entering. If she was aggressive we would have had a real dog fight, but we didn’t. Now if these were two powerful breeds, I probably couldn’t have stopped it the way that I did.
Darlin’ has become more confident. She’s pushy, often wanting her treat first and leans over the other dogs to get theirs. She pushes past them to come in the door from outside. At dinner she sits and waits patiently for her bowl to go down.

She’s been playing more, mostly with Toby, although she did give Sam a play bow in the yard last week. She’s not comfortable with the others yet. If they get to close she stops playing with Toby and becomes more guarded. She and Toby are needier and are always by my side whereas the other three are independent. I wonder if that’s why she’s bonded with Toby?

I’m going to work on introducing Darlin’ and Bonnie to my office together this month. December was extremely busy for me that maintaining balance and preventing issues between the dogs was more important than teaching. I’d like to get back to the point when all of the dogs could come and go from my office without any dominance or territorial behavior. For the time being I have rotated Darlin’ and Bonnie, sometimes allowing Bonnie time in here to sleep at my feet and other times Darlin’ gets the office. Toby is always with me and sometimes Sam is here too. Our cat, Baby, has recently decided the office is where she wants to be too.

I have a cat, Lilith, a small black female shorthair that was feral and still behaves a like a feral cat. It's took me almost four years to get her to come to me. She usually sleeps downstairs or in the garage. Recently she’s started coming upstairs more and sleeps in a pet bed in the dining room. Lilith is the cat that always gets scared and growls at the dogs when they see her. Darlin’ has become intrigued with Lilith in the last two weeks. She has to check her out in the dining room when she sees her there. It could be that Lilith’s growling stimulates her curiosity, I’m not sure, but I don’t want her to start bothering the cats so I'm keeping a close eye on her.

She’s been drinking from the community water bowl! I guess it helped that I threw out the old pool because she got most of her water outside until recently.
She played with toys one night! She just decided to play on her own and started chewing on the stuffed toys.

In her bed - it was fun watching her get comfortable and scratch herself.
She is taking food from my husband and son now! She will bark at my husband and grumble as she eats her treat. Someone train my husband, please. I asked him not to give her a treat if she's barking at him. We don't want to reward the barking.
Eating a chew next to Sam. It was great seeing her lie in the floor like a dog!
Four minutes outside without me! I don't always go to the yard with her unless she waits for me at the top step. I was standing on the deck and snuck back in the house. Four minutes is great! I was keeping time!
The only picture I have at the moment with her by the tree.

I love this one. She and Toby had been playing, but she stopped to see what Sam was up to when he sniffed her. The look on Toby's face is priceless! You can click on images to enlarge, then Click your Back button to return to this blog.

The videos are taking a long time to upload. I'll be back within a week to upload more.

This video was taken when I vacuumed. She use to hide and tremble in fear. I guess if you live in a house where someone vacuums once or twice a week, you'll get use to it rather quickly.

I hope everyone had a great Holiday. Best wishes for a healthy happy New Year!


  1. Woof! Woof! Happy New Year. Hope you had a great holiday ... I have not heard from you since I got back so just saying hello. LOL! on the house for sale photo. Lots of Godlen Woofs, Sugar

  2. Say woof woof to your delightful neighbors, or let Darlin give them one of "her special looks" - might just melt their hard hearts. Shes a doll. I am posting anoynom. since I can't remember my ID on any of the option. Its me Sandra. Stay well.

  3. Sounds like quite the debacle