One of the main reasons I’ve not posted here is my neighbor, the guy with the dog, monitors this weblog and acts as postmaster for his friends, downloading, forwarding and/or printing out this text and stressing out the neighbors in a sophomoric attempt to defend the indefensible: leaving his barking dog outside my bedroom. For four years, now, I’ve been posting here about this persistent barking and problems with the dog’s owner, an otherwise friendly guy who has become my Lex Luthor over what ought to be a relatively simple matter. Lately he’s taken to oblique threats of physical violence, screaming and cursing at me, demanding answers and explanations without allowing me to get even one word, I mean not one syllable, in edgewise. “How could you discuss this stuff in front of strangers?!” he shrieked at me, referring to you people who are, for the most part, strangers only to *him* (and, of course, his dog). Over the winter, he called the cops on me because I was yelling at his dog, which misses the point (1) yelling at dogs is not a crime and (2) if his dog wasn’t barking, I wouldn’t be yelling.
Dogs are pack animals. They don’t respond to mealy-mouthed pleas of nice-nice. If I want this dog to stop barking, and his master is not around—which is the main problem, this man leaving his loud animal unsupervised—I have to bark louder than he does. I explained this to my neighbor in better times, and he seemed to understand it. You can’t hurt a dog’s feelings. He’s a DOG. You communicate with dogs the way they communicate with each other: they obey the commands of the pack leader. I am not angry at the dog. I am not ridiculing the dog. I am not being “mean” to the dog. I am not, in any way harming the dog. I am communicating with his animal because the dog’s master has wandered off somewhere, leaving me in hell. Again.
Having not heard of the First Amendment, I suppose Dog Man’s (thus far successful) efforts at suppressing my free speech here are seen, somehow, by him as noble and virtuous. However, threatening me with violence over things I write happens to be against the law. A serious crime. I need to pause here and remind folks: this is about a barking dog. It’s not about race. Not about a bank robbery. Not about selling dope or blasting music or running hookers and bootleg cigarettes out the back door. This is about a barking dog. And Dog Man’s irrational hostility has escalated this mess to ridiculous extremes.
It occurs to me this would make a great comic book. I’m calling Kyle Baker. No, I’m serious. I mean it.
Here’s a crude diagram designed to help explain why I and I alone seem to be having a problem with the dog’s barking. Click to enlarge:
Meet The Neighbors
This is a great dog. I have absolutely no grudge against the dog himself. It’s easy to see why he’s so attached to him: this is the world’s greatest dog. I mean it, he should be wearing a cape. He’s friendly, he’s playful, he’s a giant puppy. I’ve been driving around, for two years now, with tennis balls and chew toys and doggie snacks which I’ve been prohibited from giving to him (Dog Man has asked me not to give him snacks, and the chew toy things require monitoring, which, of course, defeats the purpose of giving a dog a chew toy).
The dog means absolutely no harm to anyone (except, perhaps, the squirrels; but he’s never actually harmed one of them, either). This is not about the dog. This is about the dog owner. Who is, otherwise, himself a man of excellent character and integrity. I mean, this is the neighbor everybody imagines when they think of Fred The Neighbor. Great sense of humor, always willing to pitch in, takes care of his family, looks after the seniors on the block. This is a guy I otherwise admire, the kind of square-jaw family man boys want to grow up to be.
I can’t, for the life of me, explain his irrationality where this dog is concerned. I mean, if you met him, you’d enjoy talking to him. Enjoy hanging out with him. But, after enjoying being with him and hanging out with him, you’d retire to your adjacent homes and he’d dump his huge, barkity-bark dog outside your bedroom window, get in his van and drive away. I mean it, it’s like a bad CW sitcom.