Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Dog Next Door

Last September a very old blue tick hound quickly set-up house and soon after a nursery in the large red barn next to our house. Our neighbors, who are clearly dog lovers, quickly took to task helping this aged mother and her 7 puppies. My kids heard the news and thus, twice weekly trips to the barn to check on the puppies began. It wasn't long before an ad was put in the paper offering free puppies to good homes. Each visit brought some sadness, particularly from my Sadie, as there were fewer and fewer puppies left. One day, there were only two left along with their mother, who was named Abigail. At that point our neighbor decided to keep the last two puppies and their mother. Sadly, not long after, the mother was bitten by a black widow spider, never fully recovered and was consequently put down.

Our neighbor named the two puppies Euro and Sadie (much to the delight of my own Sadie). Euro has grown into this Goliath of a dog - beautiful shape and coloring like that of a German Shepherd. He is extremely unaware of his size, very active, very curious and thinks everything is a game. Sadie likens to a black lab and is very timid, almost painfully shy, yet sweet. Good dogs, but I am just glad they are not mine!

Our neighbor works retail and is away most days. Given the lack of leash laws in Davidson County, she allows them to roam a bit mainly to have them release some energy. Therefore, upon hearing my kids voices outside, I can usually find Euro and Sadie hanging out in our yard. Our own dog, one-eyed Bobo, doesn't seem to mind in his old age as long as they don't eat his food or sniff his behind. Who can really fault him for that?

Unfortunately, we have started having some "issues" with dear Euro. He is a chewer. The kids toys, shoes left outside, any piece of trash, pool noodles (what a mess) and the worst - the trash. He is so large that he can put his front paws on the side of the toter, flip the lid off and start digging in. Of course he would find an old pull-up from Lily and the vacuum cleaner bag and completely destroy them in the pine needles. Add to that the rain for the past several days and clean up is going to really stink come Saturday (literally and figuratively).

I made the dreaded call to our neighbor whom we really, really like. She was embarrassed (I hated that) and profusely apologized. She even came over and brought rice krispy treats. She adamantly stated that we were to beat him and send him home. Of course, I couldn't do that, but I clearly instructed the kids that they could NOT play with them. Instead they should try to run them away, shout at them, etc. Under no circumstances were they to play with them.

So imagine my surprise this afternoon when I looked out the window to see Sadie (I had no idea she was even outside), in her bathing suit, in the rain, RIDING Euro. What am I saying...I wasn't surprised. I mean I am talking about my Sadie here. But I did emit a little giggle.

Later, after all the kids were in bed, the phone rang. It was our neighbor. "Have you seen Euro? I have been calling him and calling him," she asked. I replied, "Well, he was here most of the afternoon. Let me check outside." I walked to the front door, turned on the front lights. There he was, curled up and fast asleep on our front porch. I said, "He is here." I held the phone up to his ear so he could hear her call him. (We live in the woods, with no visible neighbors). He barely opened his eyes. I told her I would put a leash on him, grab a flashlight and walk him over. She was very appreciative.

So the dilemma. He obviously loves playing with the kids. The kids love him. We have great neighbors. We can hide anything in the garage with the door shut and he won't come in. But when, oh when can we expect the chewing and destruction to end - if ever?!?

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