ABC Dog School
copyright 2009 Carole J Sulser
Dogs At Large
  2008 was a banner year for roaming dogs from next door.  As the number of dogs increases, and the tethers get shabbier, and the pens and fences get more rickety, I get more traffic.  From the beginning I did not complain; I just tried to locate the owner to let her know, so she could prevent the dog from getting lost or hit by a car.

   These folks are not home much on weekends, including Fridays.  The Mr. works four days a week, and they spend their three-day weekends with family members elsewhere, and probably do the shopping, too, as the Mrs. has no driver's license or vehicle.  They don't usually return home for the night until around 10:30 or 11:00.

   I say all of this because a lot of the action that I see, takes place in their absence, and because, when dogs get loose, I have the option of trying to get the dog tied up or into one of my pens, or calling their daughter to see if they are there, or ignoring it altogether. At least these were my options before the big blowup.  Now there is nothing I can do..

   I have not been chasing the dogs away, or trying to discourage them from coming over here because, at some point I may need to get ahold of the dog.  I need them to not be afraid of me.  Bubblegum is so shy that I can't even get a photo of him sometimes.  Grumpy doesn't run from me, but he was clearly afraid when I led him out of my dog yard.  Buster was not afraid of me at all when I had to spend several minutes trying to loosen  his excessively tight collar.

   Unfortunately, these roaming dogs, and cats, are bringing fleas and worms onto my property, and it has been costing a lot of money to deal with these problems.  My dogs are picking up the fleas, and the fleas are carrying tapeworm eggs, and both of these require expensive products to get rid of.  And they're going through a LOT of cat food besides.

   When Chloe's owner had to move into town, he was feeding feral cats that he didn't want to leave behind.  So he trapped the five of them and brought them to the neighbors in a wire fox pen - the very pen that is pictured on these pages and that I call, the dreaded rabbit pen.  The Mrs. let these feral cats out one day and they spread to the four winds.

   Three of them were never seen again, and the other two showed up at my house.  One of these was a female, and a few months later, had kittens in my overly cluttered garage.  I later trapped all but the adult male, and had them altered.  I returned the mama cat to the wild, and she seems to be here to stay.  She even rubs on my legs when I'm filling feed dishes.

   The point is, I either had to let this feral female have kittens continuously, on my property, and her offspring following suit, until I was completely overrun.  Or, spend a good deal of money preventing it.  I chose to prevent it.  They were altered, wormed, and Mamba, the mama, got her rabies shot.  And now I'm feeding the five of them, in addition to the feral male, my two aged cats, and the neighbor's cats and dogs.

   These people have helped me in times past, and I feel I've helped them a lot, too, especially with their dog problems, but they are darned expensive to live next door to.  Not to mention what that unmowed, trash-littered, at times rat-infested, ugly mess does to my property values.

   I believe that people should be free to live the way they want, so I'm not planning to interfere, but it's pretty agravating to be told to keep my damned nose out of their business and never set foot on their property again, when I'm being invaded on a daily basis by their animals.

   When the cats come over (and what can you really do about cats?) my dogs make a big fuss over it.  My aged indoor/outdoor cat is leery about going outside because she's been bullied, and chased, and treed, and had her hunting spoils confiscated, as well as her favorite sunning spots.  When she's outdoors, she doesn't hang around much.  Instead, she heads for the hills.

   Before I let house dogs out, I have to scope out the area, because if there are any visiting dogs, mine will be racing around, barking, jumping on fences, and not doing what they're out there for.  The visitors poop all over the place, pee through the fences, eat cat food, sniff noses with my dogs (some of which they are related to,) and when Jasmine was in heat last spring, one of them actually climbed into a dog yard to get to her pen. 

   I certainly don't mind these guys visiting their family members.  Bubblegum and Grumpy are brothers to four of my dogs.  If I had a choice, I would bring those two, and the rest of the 2005 dogs into the fold.  But, I've been told that if I want any more dogs, I should get them from the pound.  The pipeline is closed.

   In addition to Bubblegum and Grumpy, there are two yellow males, another spotted male, and Chloe.   But, I don't have time, space, and resources for so many dogs.  If I win the lottery, we'll see.  Providing that woman can be persuaded to give them up.

   These roaming dogs cost me money; cause inconvenience; cause concern and anxiety.  When I resume having obedience classes in my yard, there will be the problem of feces, fleas, and maybe a drop-in.  I had my demo dog attacked by one of the neighbor's dogs (Annie) years ago, and had to rush a student into a fenced yard another time.  This is not what you want going on with paying clients!

   So, if anyone thinks I'm a nosey old fuddy-duddy with too much time on my hands, who just wants to get back at my neighbor for yelling at me one day, and looks down on people who don't mow their grass and have junk vehicles in the front yard, and thinks my dogs are better than her dogs, I think I've made it pretty clear that I've put up with a heck of a lot.

   And if anyone thinks I'm just a bleeding-heart with a need to dictate how other people should take care of and handle their dogs, and thinks every dog should be spoiled rotten, I think I've made a pretty good case for real animal cruelty and neglect on my neighbor's property.  And I waited four years to do it.
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