Monday, January 12, 2009

Toby the Love-Hate Dog

Yes, we now officially have a love-hate relationship with Toby. Toby is the dog owned by our neighbor. Description of neighbor: Gets drunk just about every day, has a bunch of cronies who come over and stand around a barrel full of burning trash to stay warm. They pee outside, behind an old wrecked cinder-block shed.

Now. Guess how he keeps his dog.

Yep, you guessed it. Outside, all day, all night, year round, on a chain ... "I love my dawg," he says. You can tell ... he bought Toby a house of his very own. Probably even put a blanket in there. Yeah, that's luurve.

The neighbor's a good guy. Really. He tries. Just because he doesn't succeed isn't necessarily a reason to hold anything against him. He's pathetic and he's a loser, and that about sums him up. But there are many, many worse people in the world and it's one of those things where you say, if he left, one can only guess what sort would move in. The old "better the devil you know" dilemma.

But Toby, true to his tied-up, fenced-in, neglected dog nature, barks ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT, ad infinitum. Loudly. He's a beagle, so he always starts out with a nice, robust howwwwwwwwl! And then the hysterical yapping commences.

Drives Carl nuts. Carl is a nervous individual and a fitful sleeper. He grabs naps whenever he can, and that's generally when Toby decides to howl and yap at something. I bought Carl the loudest table fan I could get and he runs it year 'round, just to drown out Toby. Sometimes even the fan doesn't help.

Last night, Carl tried to grab a nap around 7pm (he wanted to be awake for Desperate's a new season). Toby, however, was in fine form, just off the scale. I even went to the living room window to see if anyone was out there provoking this ruckus. It doesn't take much, but when Toby goes on at such length, it means a group of pedestrians (often with their own dawg, invariably a pit bull) is loitering in front of my house or the neighbor's, just taking their time getting along up the street. I didn't see the expected crowd, just one guy walking at normal speed. Once that lone pedestrian disappeared from view, Toby quieted down, but it was too late for Carl, who emerged from the bedroom grumbling under his breath, cursing the entire canine species.

So this afternoon I get home from work and there's my neighbor outside. He greets me -- we rarely have long conversations, but they're friendly nonetheless. I was pondering whether or not to broach the subject of his little noisemaking quadruped, when he said "Say -- you hear Toby last night barking up a fit?" Um, yeah... I told him yes, and he said "Well, I knew somethin' was up. I looked outside, and there was a man right there--" he pointed to our living room window -- "tryin' to peek in through yo' window. He come 'round from the back, so he probably was casing your back patio too, so make sure you got everything locked up. And then he come 'round and tries to peek in your window. I told him he got no business on your land and told him I was gonna get my gun and call 9-1-1, and he took off right quick." I thanked him, went inside and told Carl.

So much for trying to shut Toby up. No telling how long the trespasser was lurking around; he might have looked in through the window of the office when I was sitting right here in plain view.

Words fail me, trying to express how much I love this neighborhood...


Kay Dennison said...

Perspective is an interesting thing -- right?

Mojoey said...

Toby sounds like a good dog to me. My dog would have hid under a blanket until we were murdered, and then he would have made friends with his new owner.

Dumb dog.