I try to avoid answering the front door when I can, but the knocking was insistent. I grabbed Brody, still attached to his permanent lead as insurance against his naughty behavior, and go to the door. It’s the woman who lives two doors down.
“Hi,” she says, eyeing Brody nervously. “I, um, have a dog in my backyard,” she said in the tone one might say, ‘I have a land mine in my yard,’ or, ‘I found Charles Manson hanging out by the pool.’ ” I was wondering if it was yours?”
“Nope,” I said. “Let me guess, though. Is it big and yellow?” She nodded. “I think I know who she belongs to.”
We have new neighbors in the house between us. They moved in last week with two big goofy labs, Tim and Sunny, who have already escaped twice through a gate that doesn’t latch particularly well. One time they were in my yard, one time down the street, and today the big guy stayed home while the girl wandered over to this canine-fearing neighbor. Their owners, of course, are not home. “She’s nice,” I reassured the lady. “I’m sure you can herd her back.”
She looked at me horrified. “I’m scared of dogs,” she said, looking at me pleadingly. And that is how I found myself hiking through the brambles in her backyard, barefoot (it’s San Diego, what can I say?) and wearing a sundress, yelling to the neighbor dog while this woman’s entire family huddled in the front driveway like refugees running from enemy soldiers. I call to Sunny. She looks at me nervously, then she actually scrabbled over a 5 FOOT CHAIN LINK FENCE back into her yard. This is no petite hound dog- she’s a Rubenesque 70 pound lab. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.
So then I have to go into her yard to confirm she is OK on the other side, and that Tim is still there. I push on the gate, which swings open. The neighbor sneaks in and hovers behind me. I call to Tim and Sunny, who both come running around the corner like linebackers going for the tackle. I hold my ground. The neighbor squeals and runs away, leaving the gate wide open behind her.
You see where this is going, right?
Now both Tim AND Sunny are running around the cul-de-sac, chasing the entire screaming family in circles. I’m yelling at them, trying to coax them back in, but no dice. My kids, enticed by the noise and unable to maintain their good behavior past the 10 minute point, open our door to see what’s going on, and out Brody goes to join the chase.
Fortunately Brody is still on lead, so I’m able to grab him in passing and go back into their home yard with him in tow to use as bait. By now Tim and Sunny have tackled the small, Niles Cranes-esque husband on the sidewalk and, misinterpreting his squeals as happy ones, are attempting to drown him with slobber. I had to use both my kids AND Brody to entice Tim and Sunny back home, slamming the gate shut with a definitive crunch.
I know I need to let the owners know about this little event but I don’t know how much detail they really need to know. I doubt this little incident has done much to thaw the anti-dog sentiment in that particular neighbor’s house.
This is like some tv show episode! When you have the little chat (and yeah, you’ll be having it) with the owners, a nice, stern, “Animal Control isn’t very nice.” might impress upon them the need to fix their fencing problems.
HAHAHA i had this great mental video of this whole event while reading your post..good stuff
Romeo the Cat says
Oh the visuals of this were priceless. I think you in a sundress and bare feet made it all that much better!
Dr. V says
To make it worse, it was one of those long maxi sundresses. So I was dragging it around like Little Vet on the Prairie.
The ‘Niles Crane-esque’ husband line was classic. Thanks for cracking me up this morning!
Time for a cul-de-sac party! Get the neighbors to meet up and potluck. 😀
I agree with Shannon and msubugvet – the ‘Niles Crane-esque’ husband line was classic and you paint a good visual for this scene. You’ve got artsy good writing talent, Dr V.
Dr. V says
A humans-only block party. :/
I love your stories!!!! Always makes me smile on a stressful day of work.
Rwan Hardesty says
Those neighbors need to learn that running is the LAST thing you do with dogs… especially if they’re scared of dogs. Oh my. We had a similar incident with a woman who was scared of dogs and our Learned was off leash, she started running and he galloped right after happy as can be while she’s screaming. We screamed at her to stop running and once she did, Learn sauntered back over to us. Hope that gate gets fixed!
Dr. V says
I hope so too, for lots and lots of reasons! 😀
Dr. V, you are soooo funny! As for dog whispering, it sounds more like a rodeo so maybe some roping skills might come in handy.
Jeannette Shaw says
Boy those neighbors don’t know what their missing.Serves them right.
It’s actually pretty funny.
I had the theme from “The Benny Hill Show” running through my head as I read the chase scene. I think it really enhanced my experience.
Dr. V says
Awesome. And me with the melons in my arms running around.
Too funny! I loved the image you portrayted when you said they came running at you like linebackers. My lab used to do the same. Everything would be fine…as long as you stood your ground she would run right by. But, if you tried to move out of the way at the last second, invariably the stutter step would lead to a collision. Thank goodness she outgrew that!
hidden exposures says
thank you for making me laugh out loud…so easy to picture such chaos!
Long, rather boring story follows, but I feel compelled to share:
When I was moving out of my mom’s house she had two dogs, a very good-natured and obedient pit bull, Yo-yo, who was unfortunately easy to egg on, and a hellion of a blue tick, Ruby, who was sweet as she could be but caused a ton of trouble.
I had let them into the backyard while I packed some boxes and when I let them back in realized I hadn’t closed the front door all the way–it was open a crack. I darted in and I still have an extremely vivid picture of Ruby outlined in the door as she bolted out like she’d known it would be waiting, with Yo-yo at her heels.
I ran for an entire mile without stopping, chasing them, which I honestly didn’t think I was capable of doing, and Yo-yo disappeared around a corner although Ruby couldn’t keep up. I caught Ruby with the cunning ploy of sitting quietly until she came over to be petted, then dragging/leading her home by the collar. An hour of exhausted searching followed without a sign of Yo-yo aside from the heartstopping news that he’d been seen running along the very busy mainroad, from which I had heard tire screeching and brakes squealing. I staggered home eventually, emptyhanded, just grateful I hadn’t seen his flattened corpse, and then sat down in the driveway and burst into hysterical sobs that I’d killed my mom’s dog, cursing Ruby for making it happen, and thinking I was never going to see Yo-yo’s silly butt wiggle ever again, and right as I did so, I looked up, and saw him barrelling down the road towards my house after a squirrel.
He’s usually good about coming when called but he was now worked up after a couple of hours of heady freedom, so I had to chase some more, tired as I was. I finally managed to corner him in a neighbor’s yard when he squeezed into the fence between the shed and the garage, only to realize he was trapped. I grabbed him when he tried to bolt past me (I think he was tired at that point) and he went home just as docile as could be, with that cocky strut that only pit bulls can really manage like he was oh-so-pleased with himself. I was so relieved I couldn’t even be mad at him, although I gave them both a good yelling when I got him home. They slept like little angels after that, naturally. There then ensued a burst of post-trauma crying while I got the whole “I killed my mom’s dog” thing out of my system.
Moving after that ordeal was one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever gone through. Dogs! It’s a good thing they make everything worth it.
Dr. V says
OMG. That was awesome! What a bunch of little stinkers.
I had to laugh as I have experienced similar situations way too many times. I’ve seen people terrified of my overly friendly Rottie when he was on lead and firmly attached to my hand while visiting our neighborhood plant nursery that is dog-friendly. A woman there skreetched and grabbed her approx. 10 year old son and dragged him away once we got within 20 feet of them. It was a 5-foot leash so she was well outside his slobbery reach. I had to laugh. Then I felt sorry for her son – whose mother set such a poor example. Using caution when around unfamiliar animals is good, fear is bad.
Dr. V says
Oh no! ROTTIE! AUGH DEATH! lol
Okay, this made me laugh so hard I was crying. Yes, I can see the whole scene. What is it about doggies that when people don’t like them, the doggies are convinced that means if they just love the people MORE they’ll win ’em over? (I am thinking of a friend who doesn’t dislike dogs so much as she is very wary of them – scary childhood experience maybe. She tends to keep her hands in her pockets when she sees a dog, which of course just prompts the dog to try to love on her more, so as to get pats. And what is IN those pockets? It could be treats! They must know! My dogs LOVED her and she was wigged out by them. To this day, she calls me from time to time to report that a “big” dog in her building has decided she is the Best. Thing. Ever. and thus deserving of smoochies despite her discomfort.)
Rochelle Lesser says
These dog-phobic folks have no idea what they’re missing. Can you even imagine a world without dogs? How tragic that would be.
Dr. V says
I can’t imagine. How sad for them!
Can we get some more pix of the puppy?
1. My childhood black lab could scale an 8′ chain link fence, and did so regularly. This eventually led to my mom being **arrested and jailed** one night. It was before ATMs, so she couldn’t get cash out to pay her fine until the next morning, so they jailed the single mother of three kids overnight. We slept at the neighbor’s. 😀
2. The enormous pit bull from two doors up used to regularly get into next door neighbor’s yard, and then into mine, over both (board) fences. Breedism, shmeedism, if an unattended pit bull shows up in my yard where my toddler plays, I call animal control. Luckily for the dog/owners, he’s only ever done it when my husband was home, and not me. The intervening neighbor put in new fences a year ago, and that has fixed the problem.