Friday, April 3, 2015

Fences, Fur-Babies and Future Felonies

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you may remember a little incident Opie likes to call Turtle Gate 2013.  If you're new to this blog, no worries, you can read about it here or I can sum up it up in a couple of sentences:

The neighbor kids found a turtle. I freaked out.

In any case, I think poor Opie is longing for the carefree days of Turtle Gate because this week things with the neighbors took an epic turn for the worse.

Tuesday night the neighbors got a dog.

Which probably doesn't seem that dramatic to most of you. I mean lots of people get dogs. Opie and I have two dogs. And considering this is Oklahoma some of you might think I should be relieved that it’s just a dog and not a tiger.

It is interesting to note that my previous comment is not an exaggeration. Friends of ours who live a little further out in the country have a neighbor who has a lion.


But I digress...

The point here is, our neighbors got a dog.

There are many reasons this is a problem.

First, these are people who can't be trusted to keep a turtle alive.

Second, I have no idea where they're going to stuff a dog into their house. It's the same size as ours (two or three bedrooms) and it's already occupied by at least eight people:

The woman who owns the house,  her daughter, the daughter's new boyfriend, four of the daughter's five children, and upon occasion, the oldest child's little boy.

Seriously, it's a little crowded over there.

Now don't get me wrong, I think it’s great for kids to have pets. 

But I also love dogs…so much so, in fact, that Opie is probably the only thing keeping me from being the subject of a really horrifying Animal Hoarders episode.

And these are people who are not good with dogs. The kids and their friends tease our dogs through the chain link fence to the point that before I let Bubba and Sassy out in our yard, I go out on the porch and do a quick reconnaissance to make sure the neighbor kids are inside.

And I know some of you are thinking “Well, now that they have a dog of their own, they’ll learn how to act around dogs.”

This is a great theory but completely unsupported by history. You see, the neighbors have already had three other dogs in the last ten years, all of which they have had to get rid of because the dogs started exhibiting behavior problems and couldn't be controlled anymore.  The last one attacked one of the girls and bit her in the face.

So, I don’t think this poor 4th dog is going to fare any better.  Especially since, in light of their history of animal control, they made the questionable decision to get a Bullmastiff.

(This isn't their actual dog, this is what it will look like when it's fully grown.
 And I'm not violating copyright, it was labeled for free use on Wikicommons)

A fact poor Opie became aware of when I stormed in the house screaming “Bullmastiff!” at the top of my lungs.

And then I spent a really entertaining hour looking up Bullmastiffs on the internet and yelling out interesting tidbits at random intervals.

“130 pounds! That dog’s going to weigh more than I do!” and “Needs a firm master who is consistent with the rules!  The only thing that's consist over there is the police presence!”

Not an exaggeration, by the way. The police have been frequent visitors next door. The last time they came, there were not one, not two, not even three, four or five, but SIX police cars on the scene.

“Aggressive toward other animals if not properly socialized!”

“Any dog can be aggressive,” Opie pointed out. “It’s all about the owners.”

“That,” I agreed “is the whole problem: the owners.”

Because I have nothing against Bullmastiffs; they are beautiful dogs and from what I've read, incredibly loyal and usually very sweet. And I'm not against people owning big dogs.   Our Bubba is half Rottweiler and he’s a sweetheart (unless you're the Tru-Green guy). One of our neighbors has a Pit Bull and another has a Doberman. Those dogs are huge yet I still have no problem with them because they’re clearly WELL-TRAINED.

In any case, you might still think this is none of my business, but here's why you're wrong. This, my friends, is the neighbors' fence:

They have since stuffed a pink Halloween pumpkin in between the missing boards but that fallen over wagon wouldn’t even keep my six-pound Maltese in the yard.

"We're getting a new fence!" I screamed at Opie. "We need to replace our chain-link fence with a huge privacy fence that their untrained monster of a dog won't be able to get over!"

Opie calls this kind of announcement "over-reacting" (although usually not out loud) so he sighed and said, “They get a dog and we need a new fence? Why don't we wait to see if there's a problem before you get all worked up?"

“I'm already worked up!" I told him. “And we need a new fence because you don't want to be here the day their dog breaks through their piece of shit excuse for a fence and hurts one of my dogs! You don't want to be here that day because that's the day I'll be going to PRISON!"

And he allowed as how he thought that, in a physical fight with the mob next door, I was much more likely to end up in the hospital.

Which just goes to show you that he has no appreciation for my Ninja skills and cat-like quickness.

“Besides,” I continued. “We don't need to get a privacy fence around the whole yard, just that side.”

We can't only do the one side,” he said in genuine horror. “It’ll look like we're just trying to block them.”

“We are just trying to block them. I've wanted to block them since the day I moved in.”

“It's obnoxious.”

“THEY'RE obnoxious.”

We continued in this vein for awhile but the long and the short of it is, Toby the Handyman came over yesterday, took some measurements and is going to give us a bid for a fence—actually he’s giving us two bids: one for a fence between us and the one side and one for the whole yard because I suspect that Opie is going to put his foot down on this one.

And as soon as it’s finished, I can stop worrying about my dogs and go back to worrying about the neighbor kids themselves and worrying about the welfare of this poor little puppy who is absolutely adorable and deserves a good home.

“Brace yourself,” I told Opie “and start planning because if they start mistreating that dog we might have to, you know, rescue and re-home it.”

“We are NOT stealing the neighbors’ dog,” he said.

“Not if they take care of it,” I agreed.

But I'm not going to lie, I'd kind of like to know how much they paid for the dog so I know if I'll be looking at a misdemeanor or a felony. 


  1. Move into the country where your yard borders a pasture or corn field. No worries after that.

    1. I would LOVE to do that...except then I might become the annoying neighbor with waaaayyyy too many pets!

  2. Well, I'm now hooked and will be following your blog. Being from England, this sounds just how I thought life in the mid-west might be but rather thought you'd all have massive houses. My friend has bull mastiffs and they are huge dogs and she has spent years training them so I think that fence had better be put up really quickly!! Wishing you lots of luck but surely as a writer this must be fantastic fodder for your books? Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    1. Thanks so does give me lots to write about!