Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adventures with the neighbors' dog

I am the only person in the township who doesn’t let her dogs run loose 24/7. Living in the country, this definitely puts me in the minority. I recognize every single one of the neighbors’ dogs because at one point or another, they have all taken a dump in our yard, chased my van as I’ve driven by their house or charged at me and my guys while we were out for a walk.

Through trial and error, I have learned whose houses to avoid when we go for a walk and have mapped out a long, enjoyable, carefully orchestrated route that avoids dogs whose owners believe in the sanctity of “letting their dogs run.”

But hey, we all live in the COUNTRY, right? And you’re supposed to let your dogs RUN if you live in the country, right? Because everyone knows it’s cruel not to let dogs RUN. Insert dripping sarcasm here.

Honestly, I can deal with avoiding loose, crabby, territorial dogs. Some of them weren’t even crabby. Missy the basset hound was adorable and my boys loved her. She frequently went for walks with us, galloping furiously toward us on her stubby legs if she spotted us in the distance, then mingling with my two leashed dogs as we went down the road as a Belgian/Basset pack. Jamie and Phoenix thought she was all that. The only problem was, she refused to go home when the walk was over. Then I had to call her owners to please come get their dog from our house. Fortunately for Missy, she has since gone to a new home in town where she is appreciated and has her own people to take her for a walk.

What I really have trouble with is dogs who crap in my front yard. Repeatedly. I don’t let my dogs go and take a dump in the neighbor’s yard, so why do they think it’s okay for their dogs to come over and unload in ours?

Fortunately, we only have this problem with one neighbor. Unfortunately, we are related to them. They’re the Farmer’s second cousin (or something like that) and his wife. So it would be in poor taste to scoop up all the crap their dogs have left in our yard and dump it on their front porch. But I’d really like to. But I won’t because I’m trying to take the high road here. And I don’t want to start a Hatfield and McCoys type feud right here in Iowa Township.

Besides, they only have one crapping dog now, their other crapping dog having bitten one person too many and ended up on a one-way trip to the vet’s. Yeah, it was sad but I can’t say I miss him terribly because he was the primary depositor of large, gloppy puddles of stool that made it obvious the Neighbors were probably feeding whatever was on sale at Wally World. He always managed to deposit said puddles right in the middle of my obedience and agility training area in our back yard. Being a “farm dog” he was always free go where he pleased. Literally.

Now the Neighbors just have a schnauzer. We’ll call him Fat Bastard (FB). I have never seen such a fat schnauzer. He is amazingly, incredibly obese. He is a house dog. When they turn him out of the house, he waddles across the road and craps in our yard. I have, on more than one occasion, witnessed this, grabbed the phone and politely - more or less - called the Neighbor to please come and get their dog out of our yard. It still happens regularly so apparently they don’t get it. I’m thinking about sending Jamie and Phoenix over to take their morning constitutional in the Neighbors’ front yard to see if that makes them see the light. (But I won't. I would never do that.) FB is also eating a questionable diet since nothing that he leaves behind is easily picked up with a scooper either.

When I am outdoors and witness FB on one of his missions, I have been known to chase him down the lane, screeching in my best Celtic warrior woman voice, hurling handfuls of gravel and generally making a spectacle of myself. Upon witnessing this, FB runs (waddles) back across the road. He is scared of me. I admit it, that’s okay. Of course, he’s not scared enough not to come over here in the first place. Guess I need to be scarier.

Well, what comes around, goes around. The Neighbors went to a family funeral in a distant town and asked the Farmer’s Dad, who lives nearby, if he would come over to let FB out a couple of times each day. The Farmer’s Dad did just that. FB wanted no part of him. He would not leave the house. He looked at the Farmer’s Dad and growled. So the Farmer’s Dad did the obvious thing - went and got his daughter-in-law the Brilliant Dog Expert and said, “Why don’t you go take care of him.”

Like I said, I try to take the high road whenever possible.

I went over there, armed with a handful of tasty dog cookies and my best neutral, non-threatening, let bygones by bygones voice. Hey, if ya gotta pee are ya really gonna argue with the person withe opposable thumbs who can open the door?

FB was having no part of me, either. He growled. He snarled. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and in this case, getting the heck out of dodge before I got schnauzer tooth-marks on my ankles.

I told the Farmer’s Dad I would try again later. Maybe the dog would be more willing to go outside then.

Umm. No. Not only was he not willing to go outside, one look at the floors in the house made it clear he no longer needed to go outside.

Still taking the high road. I grabbed a bag and picked up most of the poop. There is a limit, however, on how much of a high road I can take and it ends with clean up of urine and feces from someone else’s dog in someone else’s house who didn’t even care enough to A) board the dog while they were gone or B) take the time to introduce him to his temporary caregivers before they walked into his house. I left, dropping the poop in a bag on their back step and thus somewhat satisfying my childish fantasy of dumping a huge bag of dog crap on their porch.

I’m thankful I live in the country, in spite of FB.


  1. Well, here's a bright side. FB could be a Giant Schanuzer, lol!

  2. Even if I did live in the country (which I would love to do), I wouldn't let my dogs run wild. I'm paranoid about them. Even if I had a dog that cared about my commands (*ahem* Not Layla *ahem*), like my old Golden Retriever, I wouldn't let them run at large. Cars! Diseases! Random animals! Sasquatches! Yetis! Mountain Lions! Everyone's seen Homeward Bound, look at what happens! Not even counting the bathrooming all over creation. With my luck, they'll pick the yard of some lunatic who thinks the dog is a government spy and shoots it on sight.

    But, that's pretty gross about the dogs going in your yard. That'd make me very angry. You've got a lot of restraint. If it was one of Pat's deadbeat siblings (not that your relatives are, but Pat's are) I'd take sincere pleasure in returning it to them. Not just on their porch either. Maybe in their glove compartment.

  3. One of my neighbors was walking by my house with her dog on a leash and a friend strolling along with them. I was weeding the garden, so not readily visible. Her dog squatted in my yard - which he does regularly. Her friend gave her a very startled look and seemed to expect her to pick up the poop. My neighbor said, "Darn - I forgot the bags." I stood up from about 5 ft away and said, "Here's one. Thanks." What a lovely moment that was for me. She looked completely disgusted to have to actually scoop the poop and take it with her. Very satisfying moment in my life.

  4. What a timely post as I now have only two directions I can go from my house for walks/bike rides! New neighbors to the South have two dogs that run loose and terrorize any bikers/runners that try to go by. I have seen several have to stop and go back. Old neighbors to the East, a cop (a K-9 cop, no less!) lets his non-police dogs run loose. At least they don't come and crap in our yard though! Hate to say it, but my hubby/farmer would probably pepper them with a little buckshot if they did!

  5. Makes me think of my neighbors who had a young boxer for awhile. They let him run into my yard every time they saw me training my dog. Their dog would try to tear to pieces my agility equipment and would jump on my dog whenever we were heeling or we working on stays. Not sure why they thought I would want their dog in my yard while I was training. Maybe they thought their dog would learn something through osmosis. Never could figure that one out and they had to hear me yelling at their dog to go home.

  6. I know it's frustrating but I'm kind of giggling.
    It's a visual thing - running down the lane throwing gravel and a fat dog!!!! Glad my schnauzer is here with me! I once had a kid walking his beagle (every day - good for him) but he never had a bag with him. Once when I actually saw his dog taking care of business in my yard I ran into the house and got a bag for him. He asked me what he was suppose to do with the bag - I calmly said to pick up the poop. He was gagging and I yet again, was giggling.

  7. Great post. We are about the only ones that keep our dogs fenced here. We used to have a whole pack next door that came running over every time I went out, plus pooped all in our yard. They eventually all got given away or hit by cars. Then the people moved and took whatever they had left. Except one. But he mostly stays home now (her daughter moved into the house).

  8. This would make me so mad! Tell them to get a wireless fence for their dog, like that new Radial-Shape Wireless Dog Fence from Havahart. It has a huge 11.5 acre radium. Others are really small, like only 1/2 an acre.
    Here's what I'm talking about: