Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Say hello to my little friends

Last week’s freak storm saw our family, by the third night without power, clearing out for warmer climes. Which was probably a-okay with two of our next-door neighbors.

To this particular duo, what we might once have considered an old-fashioned polite disagreement about property lines has devolved into, two or three times a week, a shouting match. Not that we’re the ones doing the shouting; we’d look pretty stupid.

Then again, the subject never seems to come up when I’ve fired up the leaf blower.

A little clarification is in order. On one side, we’ve had the wonderful family we’ve known since the mid-nineties, when we bought the house. On the other, to the rear behind the shed, are much newer neighbors that, we've learned, prefer to keep to themselves. The humans, that is.

The Chihuahuas are quite another matter.

There are two. The one I’ll call "Tony" is actually the only Chihuahua; his sidekick, “Manny,” is another toy breed (alas, no off switch there, either) but might as well be a Chihuahua for the similar pitch and volume of his bark—not to mention his enduring reverence for borders. And, of course, there’s his penchant for following Tony out to bark at me each and every time I even open the back door. And once while I was in the kitchen with doors and windows closed.

You wouldn’t know from this situation how well I get along with most dogs—including “Omar,” ironically another Chihuahua, across the street. In one of our few conversations with Neighbor Father, he was holding Tony. The dog was shivering from the January cold and also in pain from a soccer ball that, said Neighbor Father, had hit him by accident. Without having been there (honest!) I knew there’d been no accident. I let Tony sniff me, which with most dogs meant the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Tony sniffed.

Tony growled.

The relationship has only gone down from there, mostly because Tony and sidekick Manny like to do to our yard what a few folks in the OWS crowd have been doing to Zuccotti Park. Silly me. Why walk your dogs in the rain or snow when you can let them out the door to roam the neighbor’s yard? For that matter, why wait for the rain or snow?

To be fair, I have to give Neighbors Mother and Father some credit. Once I began to chase those rodents—er, dogs—back to their yard swinging whatever yard implement was handy, Neighbor Father and Neighbor Mother took notice.

An invisible fence went up…or so they said. The dogs trotted right past the little white flags in defiance. Eventually, a metal chain-link fence followed. It’s four feet high; the dogs couldn’t jump over it no matter how hard they tried. Not that they’d need to try. Even small-brained dogs, after all, quickly deduce when a fence borders a rectangular property on only three sides.

Now that I think about it, the backyard has been strangely quiet since last week’s nor’easter. This past weekend, Elena and I picked up leaves for at least two hours with nary a yip from next door. Now I’m wondering. Could…could the storm’s high winds have carried the poor little things away?

Well, you know, it’s hardly my place to tell God where to aim His leaf blower.


  1. Try a super-shooter water pistol... A squirt bottle makes my yappy schnauzer turn mute and docile!!!

  2. Ha ha, it's the humans, if anyone, who need a good soaking! Thanks much for the comment.

  3. Oh, Tony and Manny, where are you? Ed - as always, wonderful. I must admit, even though I'm a cat lady, I like the Chihuahuas. Be nice to Tony and his friend!

    Great entry - really funny.



  4. Oh, Sharon, they might have landed across the river by now. Let's see how nice yoooou can be!

    Thank you for the comment!