I took some pictures of the kittens for you so you can see how fast they're growing. Aren't they the cutest? Ouch, I just nicked myself on the back of my ankle with my toenail and it's bleeding really badly. Oh that reminds me I need to take my birth control pill, yikes I almost forgot. Noemi says it's worse when you cut yourself there when you're shaving. I think it's worse on the shins. I haven't done that in years though.
My neighbors are driving me crazy! My neighbor to the east of me, Sara, who is really a sweetheart, has these two very scary German Shepherds, you know the kind that respond to orders in German like rauss and alt, and look like they'd just as soon rip out your throat as take a little dog cookie treat from you. I want to be friends with them, even though they shiver with doggy rage when they see, smell, or hear me. I try to talk sweetly to them and I've even fed them hot-dogs. Believe me though, when I say scary, I mean they are really scary attack dogs, who bark like crazy when she's out of town. She's out of town a lot.
Anyway my crazy, retired-shop-teacher, peeping-tom neighbor Ted, (remember him) got it into his head that the barking that's been going on for months is actually coming from my yard. He must have been doing his usual peeping and seeing my new dog went screaming like a little girl, that's leetle girrrl, to his wife Martha, the real boss of the outfit, and told her that, "Oh Lordy, Martha, that Jacqui's gone and got a vicious pit bull, what will we do?" I can just imagine him flapping his arms and running circles in his living room, peeing his pants over the fact that he thinks he caught me in a rule violation. "She's got four dogs now, four, four, a ha ha ha ha ha, I got her now!"
He called and told me off on my machine and said that he told all of the neighbors on the block behind us that I have this wild new pit bull and that's where the barking is coming from, and he just knows that I have four dogs, four not three, and that's against the law, oooo, and he's gonna tell. God like I need to have to deal with this crap. It's like living next to a bunch of kindergartners only without the charm and cuteness. I don't think kindergarten children would be half as cute if they wielded real power and had pinched in lemony-prune faces, flapping underarms and dentures, put signs all over saying, "Don't pick the flowers," and wore their polyester pants up their waists. Well, I called him back and straightened him out via his creepy, facetious, retired-gym-teacher wife, (you're getting this picture right) but it didn't do any good because they never bothered to correct the mistake. Another one of my crazy neighbors, a kind of falsely delicate, withered-rose of a woman named Meredith started calling and leaving breathy anonymous messages on my machine.
Beyond fed up with all of this insanity, about a week ago, I wrote a letter that I planned to drop in everyone's mailbox, but then I decided not to be petty and tossed them out. But just today, another neighbor, a sweet older lady who is the chairwoman and founder of a big animal rescue organization here, someone I've been friends with for years, because rescue people just all kind of find other somehow, waved me over, and told me to "watch your back!" She said that Meredith was in a rage over my having rescued this dog, and called me all kinds of names and was trying to et people organized against me. She's just mad because I foiled her plot once before, when she had been marshaling the elderly neighbor forces, against another neighbor with a dog, by calling and warning her.
In our county we are only allowed to have three pets total, and I live in fear that some cruel bastard will turn me in to the authorities and they'll come haul off my beloved animal family and have them all euthanized. You can't imagine the things they do to people and their pets in order to make themselves look good and like they're on the job and doing something with the millions of dollars they get, it's so horrible. So when anyone starts making waves around me I panic. Anyway here's my overly long letter that I went and dropped off in everyone's box tonight. 4-25-01
I wrote this letter about a week ago and printed out several copies to give to everyone but then thought it might be better to let, sleeping dogs lie, as it were, but I was told by a friend and a neighbor today that this gossiping and blaming is continuing and that I had "better watch my back," so I have no choice but to tell you how upset I am about all of this. I spoke with my old childhood friend Web Ferrer today at Beau's school, and told him what had been going on, and how I had unfairly been singled out by the Barber's because of my bringing a new dog here, long after the complaints about barking had been going on, and he reassured me that he would speak with his neighbor and see if we can all work this out somehow. I personally think the problem is getting better. It seems that Sara is doing something to keep her dogs from barking so much when she is away and I am making every effort I can to keep mine from making noise. Considering that dogs do bark and we have all kinds of creatures running along our back fences it makes sense to me that there should be a certain amount of grace and understanding and leeway given for a reasonable amount of noise. I personally do not appreciate anonymous phone calls and threatening notes and being gossiped about behind my back. If I wanted to engage in this kind of behavior I would have joined a sorority.
Well Hello Everyone,
This is just a kind of update letter about barking dogs, and how tired I am of being the mistaken recipient of complaints. Last week I received a call from Ted Barber, my neighbor to the West, blaming a new dog we had only just rescued, for the nuisance barking that has been going on here for some time now. Then just yesterday, Easter Sunday, I received an anonymous message on my answering machine from Meredith, it's not like I can't recognize her voice, pleading with me to stop the barking, "Oh God just stop the barking, do something about the barking, please, please, do something!" What can I do when the dogs who are barking are not ours, other than feel angry and harassed?
Recently another neighbor of ours, from Albata, stood in the street yelling something threatening like, "Shut your dog up or I'll call the cops!" This was the second time he had done that, (the first time was well before we brought this new little dog here) but I went outside in my nightgown, we spoke, and I assured him our dogs had been put to bed, and were not the ones who were barking. He was visibly upset because he has young children who can't get to sleep. The dogs who had been upsetting him were my neighbor's, who was out of town at the time, and not mine. Additionally this neighbor's yard is much closer to his, and mine is farther away. Nevertheless it was nighttime and our dogs had been put inside.
I spoke with Ted's wife Martha because I wanted to make it clear to her that we had only just rescued this puppy who had been wandering on Sunset, darting in and out of traffic and heading for the freeway. We did have a couple of awkward days where we were trying to get adjusted to how best to care for her here, but she is not the dog who is barking continuously. She is not a pit bull, she is a mixed breed dog with a small trace of bull terrier. Clearly someone has been making assumptions and spreading gossip. She has a short little bark, not a loud, long, aggressive bark that goes on and on for hours. Since Ted is a stickler for rules, and had told me that having four dogs is against the law, (Oh Lord will the stress never end?) I reassured the Barbers that we have a total of three now, not four dogs. (We had had a Japanese Chin, but we found him a wonderful home with our sweetheart of a gardener Tom, and they are very happy together.) However, I believe that in speaking with neighbors on Albata, the Barber's must have misinformed people by telling them that this new little dog, who is just a sweetheart and only whines a bit when we feed the other dogs, and she has to wait her turn, is the one who is doing all of this barking. How can one newly rescued puppy be held responsible for barking that was occurring long before we brought her here, particularly when we put her inside along with our other two dogs every night by eight?
I want to make one thing very, very, clear so that people will stop harassing me about this;
MY DOGS ARE NOT THE DOGS THAT ARE DOING THE NUISANCE BARKING!!!
I don't know how I can be any clearer about this! I have three dogs at this moment. These are all happy even-tempered dogs, none of whom are fiercely protective of our property, like the guard dogs of another neighbor. Those are the dogs who have been causing the barking, when their owners are out of town or away for the evening. I don't want to cause trouble for anyone, I don't even have a problem with the barking, I just don't like being accused of something I am not responsible for, and when people start making noises about legal matters, and threatening my peace of mind, I am forced to get involved.
I have two dogs, a black standard poodle named Spirit who is older, and usually can't be bothered to bark, unless there are people working on the other side of the fence, or my neighbor Sara's dogs are barking at him, a tiny little Chihuahua named Puck, who we are only keeping for another month or two, until his new owners move into their home, (although I doubt you can hear a Chihuahua all the way over on Albata), and the little rescue dog. That's it. These are not big fierce barking guard dogs. They will bark occasionally, just like everyone else's dogs do, at things like squirrels or lawn blowers, but not often and not for extended periods of time, or late in the evenings, or early in the mornings, because they aren't even out then. If you hear dogs barking late at night or in the early morning, the dogs you are hearing are not mine!!!
I think you should also be aware that we have found possums and raccoons traveling along the fences of our properties and living in the bushes and behind people's garages. This will cause any dog to bark. When our dogs bark, mindful of your discomfort, I bring the dogs in. I hardly ever go out of town these days and if I were to go away for say, a day or two, our live in housekeeper will take care of the dogs. I do not make a practice of rescuing dogs, we are not set up for it, the cost and the stress and worry of being held responsible for every bark is more than I can bear.
There was a time last summer when we were out of town, and our housekeeper, who had been specifically hired to sleep over and care for the pets, was taking advantage and just stopping in once to feed them, and then leaving again. They were lonely and would bark. As soon as a neighbor told me this had been happening, we let the sneaky housekeeper go, replaced her with someone honest and kind, and the problem was corrected.
I understand that you are upset about the barking. It has been bothering me too, a bit, but only because I worry you think it is coming from my yard. However it seemed like it was getting better. I never hear Debbie's dog anymore, or the Salukis, there's an older dog on Albata somewhere east of us who we sometimes hear but rarely, and then there are the German Shepherds who had been barking constantly. I think Sara is doing something about it now because it hasn't been as bad. The only reason I mind at all is because it brings unwanted attention and accusations my way. I just don't need the stress of it. Truly. I can't stand getting phone calls from people accusing me and threatening me and harassing me. I just want to be at peace with people and put my little energy where it's needed. I haven't been well lately and I can't stand how childish everyone around here is behaving. Come on you guys, we're neighbors, let's work this out amicably somehow. I understand that you are upset but it appears to me that I have been the scapegoat of some gossip and I don't want to bear the brunt of it. I have heard from several neighbors that the Barbers and Meredith have been talking about me and my dogs. This is ridiculous and unfair. I cannot stand to live under this kind of stress
The only people I can truly understand in all of this are the families who live directly behind or adjacent to the barking dogs. I am totally in sympathy with anyone with a new baby or young children who are worried about their sleep. I was so sleep deprived when my son was a baby and I so remember how hard it was to get any. I also remember how hard it was to get him to fall asleep and if something would wake him up I'd be so upset because it meant I wasn't going to get the much needed time in which to get anything done while he slept, plus he would be really cranky and I felt very protective of him.
For those of you who know me, I am a friendly, neighborly kind of gal. I will always do whatever I can within reason to accommodate people. I really do care about all of you. That is why I have help here twenty-four hours a day. We have become so vigilant that if we hear barking we are outside within minutes trying to ascertain the cause of the problem, and invariably it is not our dogs! One night very recently I was in my bedroom, which is on the second story of our house, watching television, and there was a dog barking very aggressively for a long time. It wasn't our dogs as usual, but I was so worried that all of you would think it was. My boyfriend who was over, commented on how much it was bothering him, so I understand that some people find this more upsetting than others.
I guess all I can ask at this point is that you please find it in your hearts to be a bit more patient and understanding, or at the very least ascertain whose dogs are truly causing the barking, and stop blaming us. It seems to me that things have been getting better rather than worse, and if we just have a little more faith I'm sure things will continue to improve to your satisfaction, clearly none of us want to be a cause of upset to each other. Please know that I will continue to do everything I can to be a good neighbor and hope you will do the same. I absolutely do not appreciate people making assumptions and spreading rumors that make things harder for me and for my family. It is unfair and unpleasant and threatens our happiness and peace of mind. Please direct your complaints in the future where they belong as I am soooo tired of this constant harassment.
Thanks for hearing me out.
Who thinks a certain amount of noise during daylight hours should be considered reasonable.