Friday, May 6, 2011

The Hatfields and the McCoys

That's what it's become around here. We're the Hatfields, the McCoys are the people who detest our dogs. I am home most of the time and am pretty good about bringing the dogs in when they bark. But this morning was crazy. I heard them start to bark, I got up from my desk and went to the door to let them in when the phone rang with Mr. McCoy asking if I could bring the dogs in. When I pointed out that I had been on my way to do that and that they had only been barking a couple of minutes, he hung up on me.

He apparently has a dog. A dog who does not bark. A dog who could care less if there are 3 dogs on the other side of the fence trying to either make friends or rip his/her throat out. I watch that dog. Our dogs are leaping at the fence and barking and their dogs acts as if they aren't there.

Maybe they got a blind/deaf dog?

I am the first to admit that, though we love them, our dogs can be a pain in the butt. I hate that they bark so much and I am very diligent about locking them up. But I can't be here 100% of the time, and if we are going to be gone all day, I can't lock them in the house for the entire day. I especially can't lock them up for 2-1/2 weeks.

When we went to Russia last year, Mr. McCoy, whom I had told we would be gone, contacted me in FINLAND to let me know the dogs were barking. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do about it.

I don't know what he looks like. I think if we ever met socially, it would be very awkward because he obviously hates us because of our dogs. And I can't just give the dogs away because they bother him.

This is the guy who complained when Walt was working in the carport on a weekend afternoon that the noise of his saw was disturbing his child's nap because the noise came through the open window (I guess closing the window was not a possibility). He also reported Walt to the police when he finished sawing a piece of wood one minute after 10 p.m. (the noise ordance here in town goes into effect at 10 p.m., unless you are a university or high school which has a football game going on, when cheers and band noises are OK). Walt was packing up his equipment at 10:05 when the police showed up in our driveway, responding to McCoy's complaint.

The funniest thing about this is that I've never looked Mr. McCoy up on the internet, but I finally did today. This is what it says on his professional profile: "XX conducts research concerned with the interpersonal tactics and message strategies that individuals use in the context of problematic social interactions." I guess this is a case of do as I say, not as I do!!!

He's the only one in the neighborhood who ever complains about the dogs. There is another barking dog who sounds like a beagle and who often gets our dogs going. I don't ever hear that dog stop barking, so I suspect the he/she is left alone in the yard during the day when the owners go to work. Mr. McCoy says he also calls those people whenever their dog barks.

We have tried a citronella collar, which worked on Lizzie for awhile, until she finally got used to having citronella squirt in her face whenever she barked. We also tried one of those gadgets which apparently emit an unpleasant sound that only dogs can hear. The gadget never really worked, and Lizzie seemed to get used to the citronella collar. We haven't tried one on Polly.

Up until a couple of days ago, Polly didn't usually bark until Lizzie did (Sheila doesn't bark much). But she has suddenly found her voice. In spades. It is she who often races out the door and starts barking at Mr. McCoy's back fence.

She has also taken over determining when it's time to eat. She comes into my office at 5 p.m. and starts whining. If I don't do anything, she goes into the family room and starts barking. She won't stop until I feed her. I hate being a slave to the damn dog, but she has the upper hand and she now knows it.

I don't even want to think about the what it's going to be like around here while we're in China, but I hope that it's not horrendous. I hate it when people hate me.

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