Neighbours, Part 2

The back yard hill and doggie latrine

Way way back at the end of the summer, I took Our Best Friend out in the yard, and instead of trotting to the hill to do his thing, he attacked the hedge between our property and the one next door to the east (hereafter referred to as “The Attached”). I thought there had to be some animal up there, maybe a squirrel, or a small bird… instead he came out holding a huge chunk of bread in his mouth. It was so large it filled his whole mouth. He dropped it on the ground, grabbed it back before I could get it, and then– GULP– it was gone.

Bread, as far as I know, does not migrate. It does not walk. It has no independent means of locomotion to get it from the house to the back yard. I could only come to one conclusion: someone (most likely someone from The Attached, but, to be fair, it’s also possible some random kid slipped through the gap in the fence and wandered through the yard) had put the bread in the hedge.

To me, this behaviour is so bizarre I cannot fathom the rationale behind it. Feeding the birds? Strew it on the ground. Hiding it from the parents? Stick it in the garbage under the chicken bones. Instead, it became an unexpected snack for my overweight dog.

It’s all part of the neighbourhood.

There are at least 50 or 60 children ages 0-18 on our block, more if you add in the 18-22 crowd still at home. Eighteen of these children live on either side of me, nine per side. (Well, seventeen now, as The Attached married off a daughter in August.) They run around, play street hockey on occasion (which gives me heart failure, as it’s a busy two-way street, not a suburban cul-de-sac), and the ones to the west (hereafter called Next Door) recently put a trampoline in the back yard. (It was non-stop noise for three days, and they’ve barely touched it since.)

My two neighbours have superficial similarities and wide differences. Both, as I said, have nine children. Both are of Moroccan ancestry. And neither family cares much for our dog. Well, to be fair, some of the kids have expressed interest (Next Door has an 18+ son who has friends with dogs, and he likes Our Best Friend), but the parents could do without him. Especially, I supposed, The Attached, who can hear him barking through the walls.

All that separates us from Next Door

Although Next Door has good reason to dislike him too. A few months after we got him, my girls were playing with him in the back yard. They took their eyes off him for a minute, and he bounded through the hedge to join Next Door’s kids, who were playing with a ball, the ultimate OBF magnet. Next Door’s kids, both under age five, were not amused. They screamed in terror, and OBF, in a clumsy attempt to play, jumped on one, leaving a minute scratch on his back. I apologized up, down, and sideways, and the mother Next Door was very gracious about forgiving us, but I felt sick about it for months. Now OBF almost never goes in the back off-leash, which is so sad, as he loves chasing a ball up the hill and down again.

I get along with both my neighbours; I consider an important survival technique. In a neighbourhood like this, where you share schools and classmates and community events, it’s much harder to ignore those you would rather not know. I’m grateful they don’t complain about the barking, and remain cordial and friendly in spite of their canine misgivings. And as long as it’s only bread, and not poisoned hamburger meat, I’ll overlook the little gifts I find in the backyard and hedge.

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About one person's view

I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
This entry was posted in Dog behaviour, Dogs, Neighbours and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Neighbours, Part 2

  1. Kari says:

    Mesa would be in heaven if someone was leaving bread around

    Stop on by for a visit
    Kari
    dogisgodinreverse.com

  2. Pamela says:

    This post explains why the dog park is so important to you. It gives your BF a place to roam off leash without getting into trouble. And you can take a deep breath and relax because you’re around all the people who “get” dogs.

    I’ll just suggest one other reason for the bread mystery. I’ve found inanimate objects to entice Honey in the backyard as well. I finally figured out the squirrels took food out of our compost pile or garbage bags set out by the neighbors and transported them to our yard where they stayed. At least until Honey found them and made them disappear in one big gulp.

    It’s just weird.

  3. thatjenk says:

    Okay, I’m not sure I can get past the 9 kids on EACH side. Each!

    But moving on – that bread is a weird anomaly indeed. I mean, not weird that OBF gobbled it up – I am familiar with Moses’ love of carbs. But how did it get there? An angry bread-centred domestic disturbance? Prank gone awry?

    The neighbours closest to us on either side are also wary of our dog. There are several people on the street with dogs, but Moses is definitely the biggest, and he’s by far the one that’s out and about the most (a lot of people seem to either drive theirs to a park or figure some back yard play time suffices for exercise). But he’s calm and quiet, and some of the kids have showed interest, and will come pet him if I have him lie down first. I don’t think anyone has yet realised we’ve added another. We dog-sit so often, maybe they don’t think she’s a permanent addition. They’ll figure it out.

  4. Pup Fan says:

    Bread is Bella’s favorite, I think. She would have found it irresistible as well.

    Thank goodness for the dog park!

  5. Kristine says:

    A loaf of bread? Really? That almost beats the half-empty box of cereal Shiva found on the sidewalk yesterday. People are just so wasteful…

    We’ve also had issues with neighbours. Not the ones we’re attached to luckily but the ones on the other side. They seem to only like the little white fluffy variety of dogs and ours doesn’t qualify. Unfortunately, Shiva picks up on their negative attitude and dislikes them right back. Every time she sees them she starts barking, which just makes them dislike her even more. 😛 Oh well. At least they don’t have 9 children!

  6. The Hook says:

    I hope the peace and tranquility continues. See you soon.

  7. Jodi Stone says:

    I think I would lose my stuff if I had 9 kids on either side. Not that I don’t like kids but since we have moved into the grandparent stage, I think 9 on a side would do me in. 😉

    As for the bread well I have no idea why people leave food around the way they do.

  8. The Mysterious Case of the Bread in the Hedge. Hmmmm, plot for my next book? We live in the city and have no space between us and neighbors. It’s not easy.

  9. sami116 says:

    It could very well be ….. magic!! How else do you explain a mysteriously large piece of bread in the hedge?

  10. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday | The Dog Park

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