Scooby-Doo, Great Danes, and Nonresistance. Think they have nothing in common? I'm here to tell you they do! Having moved here in June, I have found so much to be delighted with that I could not believe I would let two wonderful dogs spoil my peace of mind. But until the last two or three days, that's exactly what was happening.
You see, next door to me, along with a couple of adorable little "all boy" boys there live two Great Danes. Jade is the reigning queen of the family and is around nine years old; quite old for a Great Dane I'm told. You can see by her grizzled muzzle that she is showing her years. The family decided to get a "pup" to train in her place, should she decide to depart. Enter Piper. Piper was somewhere around nine months of age when I moved here and had been banished to the pen outside my bedroom window until she "learned to behave" inside the home. How she was supposed to learn to do that when penned up I wasn't told. In the meantime, Jade sleeps indoors at night, and is allowed to stay in the front yard, free to roam at will during the daytime.
When the children are out playing, Jade is having a great time with them, while Piper barks and whimpers from her fenced-in prison. She stands a good head and shoulders taller than the enclosure, and I know it's only a matter of time when she will be up and out of there lickedy split! I am secretly rooting for this day! The pen is too small and usually too nasty for any animal to have to stay in, much less a Great Dane. The sun beat down on it when we suffered so many brutal 100+ temperatures this summer, it gets muddy when it rains, and I cannot imagine the little tin lean-to being much in the way of shelter in a cold winter.
My first indication of problems was when I kept having to fill the small birdbath I put in my front flower bed. I hadn't noticed many birds in the front yard as the bird feeder is in the back, so where was the water going? One day I happened to look out and see this miniature "horse" in the flower bed lapping up every drop of birdbath water. As it was hot, and no one was home at her house, I felt sorry for Jade, and watched her mosey back towards her own yard. Then, to my surprise, she stopped and left a big pile of poop for me on my side of the fence! That evening I pointed it out to my neighbor and she acted very surprised, saying Jade usually never left their yard! She promptly cleaned it up.
Next, my neighbors took a four-day vacation and left both Great Danes in the one small pen. Jade barked the entire first night they were gone, and of course, Piper joined in! This is right outside my bedroom window, so I could not ignore them. I was up and down all night with a flashlight, certain there must be some kind of wild animal roaming in the yards. To make this "vacation" even more unbearable for me, a friend of my neighbors came over to feed, water, and exercise the dogs. She brought her own large dog, too, and let them run and play for a couple of hours. It was after they left that I discovered all three dogs used my front yard for a bathroom!
After reminding my neighbors of the doggy deposits in my yard three or four times, it got to the point that they now avoid me. I let my anger simmer, and even looked up the City Ordinance on animals and found they were in violation of almost every single point of the ordinance. What to do? I know I will be living here for many good years, and I don't wish to have conflict with neighbors over anything. One day recently I noticed Jade back in my yard -- right outside my front door. I had long since moved the birdbath to keep her away, but there she was. When I opened the door, she faced me and started barking in the deep, woof-woof sort of way she has. I kept telling her to go home, and she kept woofing at me. I stepped outside the door, thinking I might get the water hose (I know she hates water), when I heard a deep, rumbling growl coming from this beloved family pet! I stopped in my tracks. We glared at each other. Jade just squatted and peed right there on my front stepping stone, then took her time going back home.
I obviously am not going to turn my new neighbors in to Animal Control, and they obviously don't want to believe that their beloved pet doesn't mind them in the least, so I have had a couple of really sleepless nights wondering what to do. I finally had the theory of nonresistance pop into my head. What if I stop being angry and just send love to these animals and young family? What will happen? Will my yard eventually look like a barnyard full of excrement? Will I have to resort to cleaning it myself? I sometimes think that Jade must have something against me and this is her way of punishing me! Maybe if I start smiling and praising her when I see her instead of running her off my property, she will like me again.... You think?
In the meantime, Scooby-Doo, where are you? These two Great Danes could use a good role model and mentor!
I wish you poodles living next door!