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There Is a Reason Why I Do Not Have a Gun

October 3, 2007
I have been tackling the emotional attachment concerning my dog. As I stated before I have always been a cat person, loved many cats in my life and it was the death of a cat that became the straw that broke the camel’s back regarding the relationship with my mother. Now I have a dog, a dog that I would not have chosen voluntarily, not because of how he looks or his size or temperament but, simply because he is a dog. Nevertheless, he is my dog now and I refuse to love him less than loving him fully.

After a recent incident with our property owner’s daughter (adult) regarding our dog, I have been thinking about how one can possibly determine a person’s character by how that person treats animals. If not determine at least use it as an indicator. We all know about the serial killer who more than likely killed and/or abused animals when he was a child, however, I am seeing something more subtle, less extreme, yet more prevalent, more acceptable happening in everyday interactions. I know I touch on passive-aggressiveness a lot, but I really do believe it is an epidemic in American society, mostly because it is rewarded, even considered polite behavior, –desirable behavior. Many people seem to view the antithesis of passive-aggression as aggression, perhaps violent aggression, therefore, they tend to nurture passive-aggressiveness, but that is black and white thinking. The pendulum does not need to swing all the way to passive-aggressiveness or all the way to the other end of violent aggressiveness. It is sad that a true sense of moderation (or the pursuit of) has been lost (if it ever existed).

Since we have been here the woman (the property owner’s adult daughter) who shares the other half of the duplex has been trying to insert herself in our lives. Perhaps she needs this, however, just because she may need it does not mean we have to accommodate her needs. Maybe we could be called unneighborly, but in our defense, I ask, why should we befriend someone simply because they desire that connection. What is in it for us? How does it affect our quality of life if we are not interested? The truth is I do not like her, the Mister does not like her, so why would we purposely include someone in our life we do not like? I support the village theory, the community theory, and I do so by not interacting in a potential relationship that will not benefit the community. In her attempts to insert, to interact through notes left on the door, stopping and interrupting when we are trying to go to and from, I detect (using my instincts) trouble, –drama. We are too old, too busy, and not interested in that type of life. Period. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps Mr. Glendower is wrong, but you know what? I am tired of doubting myself, then extending myself, and suffering from it, just to learn that my instincts were correct from the beginning. So no more. Hence lies the problem, the conflict. The people who want to be left alone versus the people who want to be seen, heard, paid attention to. The latter, particularly when they are controlling and me-me-me types, do not want to be rejected, do not want others to have or make the choice.

When the pseudo-neighborly approach does not work apparently the next best thing is to become the warring neighbor (how tiresome, cliché), which is where the dog comes into play. She cannot attack our yard because their gardener, who they pay sees to it. Where we park our cars has already been criticized and we changed that to meet her specifications. Then it was an issue about the trash bin. We leave it exactly where it is assigned to rest during the week and take it to the street on garbage day. “Why do you leave it on the street until late afternoon when the garbage is picked up by midday?” “Wouldn’t it be neighborly if you were to bring my bins in when you bring yours in because I have a bad back”, etc. Well, you know what, Mr. Glendower was discharged from the military with a bad back and is compensated by the VA for it. My back hurts. Hell, my ass is high up on my back making it doubly painful and if I miss one day of walking or some kind of stretching it tightens, —everyone’s back hurts. WTF? Honestly.

Predictably, it leaves the dog to be kicked. The most recent complaint, and I must say the most annoying and the one that caused my deepest primitive desires to come forth (for a flash second I wished that my dog were dead so she could not have anything to power over us. When I realized the brutality of the wish and how I know it will affect my psyche, I wished that she was dead, and then I had to ponder the affect of that on my psyche. Notice how people will shame someone for saying something bad aloud but who is to shame when the thoughts are there. Or should one be ashamed? Perhaps one should simply allow the thoughts then deal with processing those primitive thoughts, instead of entangling oneself with shame.), is that our dog barks too much. An innocent dog, who for seven years has never garnered a complaint, ever. In his lifetime, this is his third residence and no one has ever complained about him. He is a gentle dog, a loving soul, never even snapped at anyone. His wants are few, —food, water, a belly rub, and the freedom to roam. Yet the demand is made that he wears a shock collar. A torture device. I know my opinion can be considered subjective. Still I am sure the dog does not bark too much. I started researching this area and apparently, there are many people who complain about barking dogs. Reading them with a reasonable slant, I assume they must be talking about dogs that bark when their owners are away, or dogs that yap, I do not know what they are talking about, I just know my dog does not fit in that category. I am so sure of it, that she can go through the proper channels if she likes, which is to get two people to sign a petition for the animal control to come out and investigate if the dog barks too much. Unless we are in topsy-turvy land, the conclusion will be that our dog does not bark too much.

What amazes me is, on any given day noise can be heard from planes circling and landing at the nearby airport, loud cars, diesel-engine trucks (and cars, a Mercedes next door), excavators and scrapers across the field building a new development, a man unsuccessfully practicing the guitar, the woman who blow dries her hair every single morning at 6:20 am, the gardener’s leaf blowers, weed eaters, lawnmowers at someone’s house every single week day, UPS, FedEx, the mail truck, other delivery trucks the garbage trucks, an endless string of visitors opening and closing the door adjacent to ours and all around at other houses, the garage door opening and closing, opening and closing with the majority of the time not to back the car out (her garage is next to the side we live on, it is really weird, it is her yard, her living space, our living space, our garage, her garage, our yard) other dogs barking, yet our dog, the new people’s dog is the beast that is simply too much to tolerate. I guess manmade noises are fine because she cannot bully anyone about those noises. Those noises are progress, a meaning to a capitalistic existence. Refreshing! Whereas, an occasional bark from a dog who does what comes natural is too much to bear, so much so, that he must be tortured into submission. Why should he speak freely, when she is not invited to?

I do not like this kind of mess, I simply wish to be left alone, but I am willing to fight. Nevertheless, Mr. Glendower bought the collar and now the dog is tortured from bedtime to morning. Fortunately, he is a good dog, a smart dog, and knows to go to bed once the collar is on and does not try to bark anymore. It only took him one or two barks to learn. Even though that angle is covered there is still an aftermath to deal with. For one, Mr. Glendower becomes anxious when he hears a dog bark, “is that our dog?” It makes me nervous too. The child is worried that our dog will be taken away. And, I am worried that I may catch a case for punching her dead in her mouth the next time she complains about something.

I see the same dynamic play out on the beach. We live by a beach, not a pretty beach, but one that has uninviting terrain. The dunes are high and the waves fierce. The surfers love it, especially the ones that want to hone their skills instead of preening for attention. They make driftwood huts and wait for favorable tides. Sometimes the tide is out enough that there is flat smooth sand to follow the shoreline, making a walk pleasant, but most of the time, if one walks the shoreline it will be an up and down journey, a work out indeed. Even though there is a leash law at every beach, this is the only beach that it is not actively enforced. All the locals know this and it has become a haven for dogs. People take their dogs there to roam, to play. I have yet to have a bad experience with a dog. The dogs love the small reprieve from daily imprisonment. I met a man the other day because my dog ran ahead of us to him and his dog. It takes some time to get from the street to be shoreline so the dog got there first. I could tell the man was worried, uptight and was concerned about what I would think of his loose dog. When I made it to him, I asked if his dog bites, he said no. Then I told him that my dog does not bite either, that I was worried too because so many people are guarded and stress out over dogs. Instantly, before my very eyes his countenance changed. He was so relieved that I understood that the dogs should be left alone. He went on to tell me that his dog is now eleven and very happy. I understand the concern about vicious dogs, and the lack of accountability some dog’s owners refuse to accept when their dogs bite, but there are many dog owners who have dogs that do not fit into those categories, and my dog is one.

A little ways down the beach, my dog met another two dogs, no problem, they all played and moved on. Then further down, an old couple, tanned like leather and dried-up like acidic grapes as if they owned and lived on the beach forever had two of those rat dogs on leashes and was bitching to no one in particular about dogs running loose. Their bitterness followed them like a dirty plume..

  1. archcrone permalink
    October 4, 2007 3:05 am

    Years ago, I had a neighbor that was a loner, for the most part. He worked from home as a song-writer, and he also would record his work at home.

    Our homes were in-line with each other, but there was a good 25 feet between them. But, the were in an echo spot (I don’t know how else to explain this). Everything he did in certain rooms in his house I could hear in my house, and vica versa.

    while he and his SO lived quietly, hubby and I and our three kids lived life. It’s not like the kids (eldest was 4 at the time) were totally screaming brats, or anything, they were healthy rambunctious boys.

    Enter the echo.

    Suffice it to say, how you are being made to feel about your dog, is the same position I was made to feel about my kids. I went out of my way to take kids out, away from the house, every day, so that he would not be bothered. I was constantly shushing them, reminding them to not be “so loud.” It was totally unnatural. My hubby offered to soundproof his recording room, so the echo from our house would not get picked up on his recordings. It turned it down.

    This went on until the day he called, screaming and threatening our lives. I called the police, as he and hubby started to face off in the front yard.

    We had to go to court over his threats. The cops, and eventually the judge, all said that I had been more than accommodating, when I listed out how much time I purposely spent away from home, and he had no right to expect more from me or for the kids to be silenced all day and evening. He was admonished by the judge for not accepting hubby’s offer of sound proffing, and then told hubby he didn’t deserve that offer now. Finally, the judge decided that as long as he left us a lone for 6 months time, the charges would be adjudicated.

    A few days after the court date, this idiot stood on the roof of his house, and cussed me out, in front of the children as they played in the back yard. I was a whore, a bitch, a c*unt, and every other demeaning word he could think of, because couldn’t keep caving into his demands.

    I found out several months after I moved away (we moved out of state for work not because of him) that a number of his songs he had tried to sell were “stolen” by a couple of bands. Actually, I think what happened was these bands took bits and pieces of some of his songs. Even weirder, a few months after that, he moved to the same state we moved — but I haven’t run into him. thankfully.

    I didn’t even know this guy but the power he wielded over me, because of a stupid echo scared the hell out of me.

  2. Kitty Glendower permalink
    October 4, 2007 3:42 am

    Archchrone thanks for reading this, I know it was long and if I did not stop, it would have been longer I am afraid. You are right, I do understand the anxiety that you had about your children. And as a matter of fact we too have an echo area outside. However, it is an echo area that disturbs us, not her because it is at our end, which makes me more angry because we have not complained when she parks her car and walks to her door on her cell phone passing through the echo spot causing us to endure her conversation in our living room, or when she has visitors and stand in front of her garage which again is the echo spot, or the time one of her visitors brought over his dog and they stood out there talking in front of the fence that our dog lives hence driving our dog crazy.

    That songwriter seemed to have been projecting. I would think a creative person could tune everything out unless someone is standing in the room directly talking or shouting at them. I believe it all about power, exerting power over someone. I am so sorry you had to go as far as court. How insane.

  3. Kitty Glendower permalink
    October 4, 2007 3:44 am

    By the way, I go out of my way to take my dog out too. It seems come hell or high water I make sure I take him somewhere, somewhere he can get tired so he will be willing to sleep more, especially through the night. Sometimes when my legs are tight and my back is sore I don’t feel like doing it, but I do it anyway because of this.

  4. Rent Party permalink
    October 4, 2007 5:51 pm

    In Chile they had these huge stray dogs, half wild, wandering around the cities and it made it kind of scary.

    But otherwise I don’t see the concern about animal control in this way – it seems so anal retentive. My neighbor gets really upset about wandering dogs and cats and I could see it if the situation were really serious but it just isn’t. I wouldn’t feel very comfortable asking someone to use one of those anti-bark collars.

    I wish there were no leaf blowers.

  5. archcrone permalink
    October 4, 2007 7:43 pm

    Kitty, yes, it was always about power, and the fact that I felt powerless while my children were the pawns, made it all the worse for me.

    After all that, I really, really detest people that use animals and small children to exert their power over another. It’s just completely immoral.

  6. Chris permalink
    October 7, 2007 1:44 am

    And there I go thinking this was going to be an anti-gun rant;)

    We are fortunate to live on the shortest street in the neighborhood at the back of a dead end street and we have great neighbors. The rest of the neighborhood is mostly petty and fucked, but our street is really cool people. By no coincidence, our street has 8 of the 9 kids living in a neighborhood of 170 homes (actual figure, no joke). I’m thinking not having kids makes one prone to assholism.

    You should move here:) (But keep your dog from pissing on my bell peppers… makes my spaghetti taste all salty! ha ha ha)

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