Neighbors and Your Pets – the complaining kind

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The topic of complaining neighbors about pets is a very sensitive one for me because of a situation that occurred with my golden retriever a few years back. We’ve lived in this house for half of century – fifty full years, and we’ve always had pets. Never once has anyone complained about noise. In fact, anything that ever had come up had been handled by intelligent, and caring, discussion.

Then, all of a sudden one day, a woman stopped by and introduced herself. She and her husband had moved into the house behind us, and they were annoyed by my dog’s barking. We had what I thought was a good discussion about the situation. I explained some things to her, and she seemed receptive and understanding to what I was saying. Apparently, her husband wasn’t as understanding and definitely not as tolerant.

Basically, my golden retriever was in her last years. She’d been traumatized by the death of ‘her’ beagle not long before. Almost instantly, she began to go blind and deaf. She wouldn’t know where she was all the time. Now, normally, she stayed in the house, but when I was working, she had to be outside. At that point in time, we didn’t really know much about crates, nor did we believe in them. Plus, I doubt she would have responded well to it, considering how things were going.

The husband would call at night to complain. Well, I had to let the dog out to do her business, and that might take a while. She’d bark as she made her around the yard. She had a path, and she stuck to it. I’d watch and listen for her. The husband had no sympathy. He kept wanting us to do something, like buy one of the collars that would correct the situation.

I’d already checked on the bark collars and was advised not to get them by the vet for a number of reasons, including my dog’s age. The husband actually suggested a collar that spritzed citrus on the dogs. I told him I’d check on it, which I did. Not only was this out of my price range, but I was again advised against it because of my dog’s physical situation. She would not understand the intent or the correction.

Things escalated with this neighbor quite a bit. Nothing I said seemed to matter to him. Oddly, he knew the situation coming in because he had purchased this house from his parents, who had lived there for twenty years. He knew full well that we had dogs, and dogs that sometimes barked, though admittedly not to the extent that the golden retriever had started doing. Not only that, but he’d call if she’d just barked a minute. My tolerance with him was lessening dramatically. He wasn’t even giving anyone a chance to get to the door to let her in.

I began to wonder, though, why he was the only one who complained, if it was so bad. I was doing everything I could think of to help the situation, but it just occurred to me if maybe he had a role in it all. During the last emotional, over-the-phone frustrating argument with him, I essentially accused him of having no compassion. It was obvious my dog was on her last legs, and he just needed to endure it for a little while longer. Then I asked, “Why is it you’re the only one who seems to be bothered by it? I’m listening for her from inside my house, just as close, and I don’t hear what you say you do. Are you leaving your window open?”

There was a pause, and then the husband hung up. I had him! Even though it wasn’t summertime, I think he liked to leave his window open. Naturally, he heard more than most.

I’ve never spoken to this man again, and my precious pup passed on to Rainbow Bridge shortly thereafter. I am still very embittered about the stress this unfeeling man caused us during her last days.

My point in writing this piece is that with some people, you can explain and have constructive conversations. The wife was always nicer and more willing to look for solutions, which is probably why the husband began calling. Yet, with others, all you get is coldness, like with the husband who in my opinion was a jerk with no compassion. “Close your dang window, Jerk!” That’s my response to him. He has a right to the open window, but it’s a darn shame that he didn’t have a heart and some common sense, too.

With some neighbors, there is no way to handle their complaints because for some, complaining is easier than caring and taking steps of their own to help alleviate the problem, if a problem even exits.

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