Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Girls

The Girls, 2011

You have to like dogs to live in our neighborhood. There are seventeen of them among the seven houses on our dead end lane. We’re the only people to have just one.

The dogs used to all wander freely. Some liked to swim in the river. Others would hang out in the woods. The late Cookie, a beagle, liked to stretch out and sleep in the middle of the lane, daring the mail carrier and Fedex guy to pass. Cookie was a real sweetie, but you had to be careful when you leaned over to pet her because she liked to French kiss.

Then some new people moved in across the street and let it slip out that they had a mean dog. “Uh, I hope she won’t be a problem.” Indeed, that dog bit assorted children and grownups until the owners finally installed an underground electric fence. She even went after some of the other dogs. So everyone else started installing underground electric fences to keep their dogs contained. (We’re the only people not to need one of those, either.)

The Girls, above, shows four of the eight dogs living next door to us. They are all labs, from left to right, Skyler, Annabelle, Lucy and Gracie. Skyler is mother to Gracie and great aunt to Lucy. Annabelle is of uncertain parentage. Missing from the scene are three Yorkshire terriers and a giant American pit bull, the latter of which we’re told is “just visiting.” All of them are female except for one of the Yorkies, a feisty little guy called Wookie because he looks like a miniature Chewbacca from the Star Wars movies. All you need to know about Wookie to understand him is that he has a Napoleon complex.

When we moved to the neighborhood two of the neighbor's labs served as our passive security system; one spent her days sleeping on our front steps and the other did the same at the back. No one messed with our house.

These particular neighbors have had a total of fourteen dogs since we’ve been here. The lady of the house looks upon the death of a dog as an opportunity to thin the herd. But the man of the house is never happier than when he’s surrounded by a bunch of yapping dogs. So the roster of canines never declines and has actually increased by two over the last year.

One of their dogs used to be famous for swimming across the river late at night. Her owners would be wakened at all hours by phone calls from people on the other side asking them to come pick up the dog. It’s not far across the river as the crow flies. But it was a 40-minute round trip drive if you had to go pick her up, not counting the small talk. So they eventually started taking off her collar and ID tags at night. That took care of the calls and they knew that if you just left the dog alone she’d eventually swim home on her own.

The dogs on our street live too well to want to run away.

1 comment:

  1. Fun to hear about them. Dogs really do have such personalities. Certain neighborhood dogs are so sweet, and then there are the yappy, irritating ones one could do without...just like people, eh?