Saturday, March 27, 2010


My family had a few dogs while I was growing up. Early in my childhood, we had Sandy, the world's dumbest Cocker Spaniel. I shouldn't say that. He may not have been the world's dumbest. As a child I had no way to actually test that theory. However, as a child, I was quickly able to see that poor Sandy wasn't too bright. I would play with him in our back yard by throwing a ball and expecting him to fetch it and bring it back. Sandy would run after the ball, sniff around the general area, sniff around the not so general area, come back to sniff in the general area, sniff directly over the ball, and then return with nothing.

We had to give Sandy to another family when we moved into an apartment complex that didn't allow pets. It was kind of heartbreaking, but I got older and got over it, as kids often do.

Later in life, when we were living in the Denniston house, we were able to get another dog. I don't remember how it was decided that we would be taking on a new pet, but I do remember it being a surprise to me and my sister. This was Princess, a Cockapoo. That's a hybrid Cocker Spaniel/Poodle. Biology is a crazy thing when it comes to breeding dogs. It's like these people just sit around thinking "What happens when I put these two together?"

Princess was a very intelligent dog. I'm not saying she could open doors or verbally tell us when Timmy fell down a mine shaft, but she had a clever way about her. She was very small and quickly made it known that she was Mom's dog. Or that Mom was her human. I'm not sure how these things go.

A couple years later, while we were at a neighborhood 4th of July celebration (in someone else's neighborhood), we came across a family that was trying to give away some new puppies that they had been blessed with. This family apparently bred Shelties, or Shetland Sheepdogs, and a strange mutt must have gotten in one day and... well... one thing led to another... yadda yadda yadda... here comes a litter. Somehow, my sister and I convinced our parents that we absolutely needed to get another puppy.

By this point, Princess was full-grown and as big as she was ever going to be. Duchess (our new dog) was very small and pretty intimidated by the older, wiser lap dog. But then Duchess got big. Duchess got bigger than Shelties are supposed to get. So we figure that, whatever the father was, he was a big one. But the two dogs got along great.

We had them both up until just before I finished high school. Why we got rid of them is a story that's really involved. I'll get around to sharing at some point, but this isn't the time.

I said all of this about my previous experience with dogs to say this: I love dogs. I really do. I wish I were able to have one now.

But I have to be realistic. I live in an apartment. Yes, there are plenty of places outside that I could take a dog for a walk and allow it to get some exercise. And yes, I have a lot of open space in my apartment, so really, a smallish dog could get plenty of exercise running around inside.

My workplace is a 45 minute drive from my apartment, on a good day. On the days that I work both my jobs, I'm gone from 7:30 in the morning until sometimes 9pm. Tell me it wouldn't be cruel to leave a dog trapped inside an apartment for 13 and a half hours.

It's not so much about where he/she would go to the bathroom. I know they make those pads that look like a piece of your yard that are "perfect for apartments." But what about my neighbors?

My concern would be for the time that I'm not here and I can't control the dog's barking. The walls between units in this place are held together by little more than many sheets of notebook paper. Sound tends to carry very well between apartments. This has been exhibited to me all day today by the sound of a crying and yapping puppy in the apartment next door.

I wasn't even sure that anyone lived over there anymore. And from the way the barks have been echoing, it almost sounds as if someone dropped the dog off inside an empty apartment, then shut the door to let it fend for itself. Not cool, next door neighbors, not cool.

So as a neighbor who has become irritated with the sound of an unhappy dog next door, I just wouldn't want to do that to my neighbors if our roles were reversed. Although, right now, I'm thinking a little noisy revenge might be in order. When I hear something other than the echoing bark of a young pup, I'll try and think of something appropriately annoying for them to listen to.

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