The neighbors renting the unlicensed duplex two houses down got some dogs. At least four dogs, best we can tell. They spent summer chaining them outside and letting them bark. A lot. I accept that dogs will bark some. But there are limits to how long a dog should be left to bark at nothing but its own anxieties. Ten or fifteen minutes, for example, that's getting a bit much. An hour is certainly too much. Multiple hours is ...
We had hoped that something would change while we were away, up north in the Traverse Bay area. The thing about unlicensed rental properties is that people move in and out a lot, when they get moving. Pets can appear and disappear like traffic clots on the highway. We wouldn't be so lucky. After we got back the dogs were still barking, nonstop, except for the days when it was raining and they weren't set outside all day.
After one Monday when the dog was left to bark, nonstop, for nine hours that we were aware of we had to do something. Part of that was keeping a log of the excessive barking because somehow that's of some evidentiary value somehow. There were a couple days of rain or threatening rain and the dogs kept inside. And then back to hours of dog barking, and later at night too. I can understand a dog being left outside and barking while the owner's at work and oblivious, but, at 10 pm? 11 pm?
So I finally summoned my courage and talked to them. I went down the street and caught a couple of women and a girl bicycling down the driveway, and asked if they were the dog's owners. The girl admitted they were. So I said, you know, we've heard the dog barking a lot and a healthy dog just shouldn't be barking without some reason, not for hours at a time. It suggests there's something wrong, that the dog might be in pain or something. And I gave the girl a fridge magnet with our vet's phone number. I explained it was the vet we take our arthritic rabbit to, and that he's very good: he's one of the people the zoo relies on for animals they can't handle themselves. (Which is true! The clinic has expertise in bird and reptile care, and the zoo does sometimes call on them.)
bunny_hugger was terribly anxious about all the ways telling the neighbors their dog is too blasted loud could go wrong. I was worried too, but I got incredibly lucky. I was able to frame the problem not as ``everyone in the zip code can hear your stupid dog all day and night'' but as ``I'm worried your dog is hurt''. And I was able to talk to the kid; however upset the parent might have been at the implicit ``you're caring for your animal wrong'' message she couldn't escalate the issue in that scene, not easily. I think having the magnet with the vet's number on it was key. It's hard to call someone a liar to his face; to say I don't care about the dog's health when I have a fridge magnet with my own vet's number on it is very socially awkward.
Since then the dogs have vanished, or at least not been let outdoors. Our sense is that there's multiple families somehow inhabiting the place, and that the dog care there was a matter of controversy between families. Possibly my intervention, and the magnet, tipped the balance. Maybe the dogs just vanished the way pets in unlicensed rental homes will do.
There is a plastic doghouse in the backyard now. But we haven't heard anything.
We got a new fridge magnet from the vet's, but it's one with their new logo. I'm sad to have lost the old-logo magnet. I hate losing stuff like that.
Trivia: Early advertising copy for the Gem rotary pencil sharpener noted how it would ``point a red or blue pencil perfectly, which all will appreciate who have tried to sharpen these pencils''. Source: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski.
Currently Reading: Nessie: Exploring The Supernatural Origins of the Loch Ness Monster, Nick Redfern. See, I figured it would be about the blending of myth and how the Loch Ness Monster fits into folklore traditions even as it's reformed in modern media and to fit modern paradigms. Instead, within four chapters he's already pointing out possible time-travel incidents that totally relate to Nessie being some kind of spacetime anomaly or whatever.