"Your dogs are coming through the gaps in your fence and pooping in our yard," I told the owner of the house behind us.
"Good thing they're not big dogs," he said. I don't think I got my chin back to its normal height for a good hour and a half. Not big dogs?!? THEY ARE POOPING IN OUR YARD. Over the course of years-- years, do you hear me?-- I asked over and over whether he would be replacing the falling-down fence. "I just can't afford it," he said, with a pitiful expression. I even tried telling him he might get in trouble with the code enforcement people for failing to maintain a proper fence around their backyard pool and their three utterly undisciplined, yappy little dogs. "Who's going to tell them?" said he, with pretty close to a wink, like, har har, who cares about the law?
The man died a couple of years ago, and his widow and resident grown children have kept up the tradition: it's not their fault. They're not responsible. And how dare we call Animal Control when we find the dogs lounging in our yard, having thoroughly relieved themselves, and they growl and snarl at us. In our own yard. Don't you know our father died? I didn't quite grasp the connection. But they did make a little more effort to block some of the gaps with cooler lids and old garden fencing and a couple of boards. Then one of the little rodents got out of their yard by some other way and slithered under our gate. To poop. To bark at me. I blocked under the gate with bricks. We gained some respite.
Then Tiger Lily, our first dog, 50 pounds of muscle packed in a remarkable tiger-striped coat, came to live. She owns the yard, and she finds the obnoxious yappers to be beneath her notice.
At the end of a long walk, we came past their house. She pulled resolutely onto the strip between the sidewalk and the street in front of their house and deposited one of the biggest loads of doggie calling card she's ever produced. She'd already gone earlier in the day, and I hadn't thought to bring a bag. My first thought was, "That's my girl." I kicked some leaves and dirt over the pile and headed home. Into a moral dilemma.
It served 'em right. She'd scarcely matched the quantity their dogs had left in our very back yard, and it was on the right-of-way, so it wasn't even as bad. Let 'em see how they like it. But, dang it, I'm a Christian. And our pastor has been preaching on the characteristics of love for a couple weeks. Love doesn't take into account a wrong suffered. I could just about feel the Holy Spirit shaking His finger in my head. Do not return evil for evil. Do good to those who persecute you. I told the Hubs my dilemma. "You have to go pick it up," he said. Yeah. It would probably bug me for the rest of my life if I didn't. So I grabbed a bag, sought out the camouflaged pile and carried it back to our outside garbage can.
Now I'm a better person. Hahahahahaha. Not really. But I was kind of obedient. And if that's what I expect from the dog, I'd better be like that myself. Woof.