When we found out we were getting new neighbors, I was nervous. Not everyone loves our pack as much as we do. There are some people that just simply hate dogs and will look for any reason to get them banned from the surrounding area.
Imagine our surprise when we were introduced to Dolly*, a chunky brown-colored Dachshund. As you know, my husband and I recently adopted a double dapple Dachshund that was born without eyes and is completely deaf. We instantly bonded with Dolly and her owners.
I will admit that the first time we let our pack outside since Dolly’s arrival was quite noisy. We have worked very hard are raising polite pooches and we want to keep them that way. It wasn’t long before we found out that Dolly is a runner. She was used to living in the country where she could roam free whenever she wanted.
One bright Saturday morning, I happened to be placing my breakfast dishes in the sink when I see a streak of brown fly by the kitchen window. Sure enough, it was Dolly racing across the street. Horrified, Matt and I threw on whatever shoes we could find and raced outside to help catch Dolly. We definitely did not want to see her get squished. And the people that drive down our street do NOT obey the speed limit.
Dolly’s mom and Matt managed to corner her in a fellow neighbor’s yard. I had just run back inside to use a bag of dog treats as bait. Dolly’s mom thanked us over and over and swore that they would be getting an invisible fence.
My heart fell. While I understand that they wish to protect Dolly, I do not believe that shocking an animal is the best way to do it. I realize that fences are expensive, but Dolly was simply doing what she had always been allowed to do before: run free. Now, they plan on punishing her for being “disobedient”?
Since my husband works late, I am responsible for “releasing the hounds,” as we say, in the evening. I had just let them outside and went back in the house so that I could get their dinner ready. All of a sudden, my fur babies were going absolutely crazy! I feared that another sick raccoon had wandered into our yard.
I threw open the door and ran outside. Keep in mind, I was in my pajamas, complete with fuzzy slipper socks and wet hair. What I saw completely infuriated me. There was Dolly on a long lead, like the ones used for outdoor dog ties. This would have been a wonderful idea had our neighbors not allowed the lead to come all the way over to our fence.
Yes, Dolly was nose to nose with every member of the pack (minus Hope). And what was Dolly’s dad doing? Sitting outside on a lawn chair, talking on his cell phone as if nothing was happening. I don’t know how in the world he could have possibly heard anything.
While our fur babies are typically very friendly, they also tend to be territorial when in the backyard. I was so afraid that Theo (the leader of the pack) would feel threatened and try to take a bite out of Dolly. I tried calling their names, but they were too distracted to even notice me. And we had recently run out of dog treats. In my desperation, I raced into the kitchen and found a box of uncooked pasta shells. I headed to the back door and frantically shook the box.
That did the trick. They all came running…except for Theo. Once everyone was safely inside, I went out and physically picked Theo up. Dolly’s dad was still on his phone. I was beyond mad, but felt like I should try to make peace. I discovered a box of treats in the basement and took one out to Dolly, apologizing for all of the noise. Her dad laughed and said not to worry.
What I was wondering was why wasn’t HE apologizing to ME? And why on earth did he think it was a good idea to let her lead come up to our fence? Technically, the fenced in area is our property. And I don’t want Ms. Dolly thinking she can cause a riot whenever she wants.
Since this incident, I always check to see if Dolly is outside. If she is, I wait until her parents take her back in. It is clear that they are not going to keep her under control, so I have to look out for my babies.
But this all pales in comparison to what happened this morning. I was putting on my make-up in the bathroom, as usual. That’s when I heard Dolly. She was on a non-stop barkfest. Thankfully, our babies had already been outside. However, when Domino heard Dolly, he began to bark. This caused Penny to bark…then Theo, etc. I managed to quiet them down, but Dolly continued with her cater walling. It was 6:45 a.m.
I just so happened to look out of the bathroom window in time to see Dolly racing across the back alley. I waited to see if her owner was following her. She never appeared. Dolly then made a beeline for our carport. I am guessing that she smelled our babies and thought she would pop over for a visit.
“That’s great,” I said.
Matt, who was trying to get some extra sleep, came stumbling in. “What’s going on?”
“Dolly is loose…again.”
He grumbled and soon reappeared wearing shorts and flip flops.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m going to go catch that dog,” he replied.
He soon returned…dogless.
“Well, Dolly’s mom is on an important conference call and can’t be bothered to catch Dolly,” Matt informed me.
We couldn’t believe it. What kind of pet parent wouldn’t put everything on hold to save their fur baby’s life? A conference call? Really? What if this would have been a human child? DCFS would have swooped in in a heartbeat. I think animal neglect should be no different.
Matt had given up on trying to catch Dolly for the time being. I had headed into the kitchen to grab my lunch and head off to work. Who did I see running across the street? Yep, Ms. Dolly.
“Now she’s in the street!” I cried.
I decided to play it safe and ask Matt to come outside with me and watch me back out of the carport. I didn’t want to accidentally run over Dolly. As we walked out, Dolly’s mom FINALLY emerged, curlers in hair, bathrobe tossed carelessly around her.
“Come here, Dolly. I have your bone,” she kept repeating. She then looked up at us, waved and told me to have a good day at work.
Matt stood dutifully in the alley and watched as I slowly backed up. Dolly’s mom was STILL trying to contain her. I drove off enraged. We should not have to worry about the neighbor’s dog. We have enough to worry about with our own pack.
I was halfway to work when I realized that I had forgotten my earrings in all the commotion. I tried to call Matt to see if he could drop them by on his way to work. He never answered either of his phones. When he did return my call, he apologized and explained that he had gone back outside to aid in Dolly’s capture.
I really hope that this is not going to be a new trend with Dolly and her parents. They need to take responsibility for her. We should not be made to feel that we are the only ones who care about Dolly and her safety. Suddenly, that invisible fence isn’t looking so cruel after all.
*Name has been changed