Friday, March 11, 2011

It Takes More Than Good Fences To Make Good Neighbors

Spring forward, Fall back.  What a drag.  What's the point?  Daylight Savings might have been useful back when we were all farmers (?) but it sure seems pointless to me now.  Just an inconvenience, as we adjust our internal clocks to twice a year.  Because dogs are such creatures of habit, and have such a good sense of time, it's interesting to watch their reaction to the changes.  Am sure they don't mind eating an hour earlier, but I know the oldsters will wonder about getting up earlier.

The days are getting longer, the sun in getting warmer, the buds are popping, the dogs are shedding, and the Cardinals are shouting, "What cheer, what cheer!"  Won't be long until mud season.  And neighbor season.  Sigh . . .

Winters are pretty peaceful around here neighbor-wise.  The Bitchy One next door is not the outdoorsy type, so we rarely see her except when she's coming and going to her car.  She never helps her creaky husband with the shoveling, and is not a dog walker, so our paths never cross.  Thank goodness.  As the weather gets better, she will spend time on her deck, and working in the yard, and we have to work around her. 

I feel very strongly that people who own dogs may have some rights, but their neighbors do too, and my dogs are never allowed to disturb the neighbors.  They are walked on leash, we always clean up after them, they are never left in the yard to bark, and even pups are taught "no barking" when they are outside.  Anyone who fusses comes in immediately.  My lawn is well maintained and I have beautiful flowers.  My dog yard is kept picked up and is de-odorized if needed, and I keep my property up.  My dogs are licensed, I'm on good terms with animal control, and I get along with the rest of my neighbors.

So what's to complain about?  Bitchy Neighbor once admitted that No, the dogs did not disturb her with their barking, and No she didn't notice any odor.  It just bothered her knowing I had them.   Not much I can do to fight that!  Her current complaint is that I have rock in my dog yard and she can see it from her second floor bedroom window.  Not much I can do about that either except suggest that she quit spying on me!

I keep my numbers to a minimum, but with three retirees taking up space, that doesn't leave me with much wiggle room.  So maybe I should just kill the retired dogs?  She'd probably approve of that!  Three retirees and Argus, so I figure I have room for one more dog which is currently Mariah.   More than five is difficult living where I do, especially since we have to be so careful about numbers, and because they can never be left outdoors unsupervised where they might annoy a neighbor.  Mariah fits well and is not a barker, something I really appreciate in a young dog.

When Bitchy Neighbor is working in her yard we normally keep the dogs in.  Although they don't bark at her, and normally play quietly or doze in the sun, I try to keep them out of her sight range.  When I come and go I never make eye contact or engage her in conversation and try to keep a very low profile.  It galls me to have to act this way about my own yard, but you never know what will set her off.  After being harassed and threatened for years, I've found avoidance to be the best technique.

I would find all this less of an issue if the neighbor did not have a dog.  A yappy Westie who is left outside to bark endlessly at nothing.    And I am the one who has to watch my back.   At least the current Westie doesn't charge the fence every time I take my own dogs out . . .

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