It’s Not The Dog’s Fault…

…it’s their owners…

When we saw a tiny little rat terrier type dog on our leased lot on a -2°F morning a few months ago we were appalled that someone would let their not-built-for-arctic-weather pup run around in such weather. But accidents do happen, dogs do slip out, so Pete spent nearly a half hour trying to catch it to put it in Junior until the owner could be found. 40 minutes later, the tiny pup still outside, he learned that the dog belonged to a neighbor further up the lane, and Toby was returned to her.

As Pete had been trying to catch this ADORABLE little dog, Toby had learned that there was fun and games to be had here, and, with an owner who was opposed to tying him up or otherwise keeping him home, he had lots of opportunities to return. Though we ignored him in order to not encourage his visits, he showed up daily – at the very least.

Meanwhile, our dogs in the house went crazy. Here was an intruder who was in their space, in their yard, peeing all over their trees, staring up at them through their windows, taunting them, and they just had to watch. Their frustration and eagerness to get at Toby just kept increasing and increasing…

A few weeks ago I called Toby’s owner and told her that this HAD TO STOP, that she had to find a way to keep her dog at home. I explained that if our dogs were to ever get out, or be out, when Toby showed up I couldn’t say he’d end up uninjured, or worse. I told her it isn’t fair that our dogs – who stay in their own yard – can’t exercise off leash in case Toby showed up, but even worse that we can’t come or go in or out when he’s here as they’d try to run us over to get to him, so great is their built-up frustration with him. And what if we’re backing out of the driveway and Toby runs up behind us? I don’t know how we would live with that…

One of our dogs is 80#. There are 7 steps to navigate to go in or out of the motorhome, when the door is open. If Toby shows up while Pete is going in or out and our dogs rush him to get to Toby…well…we all know what happens when cancer patients fall and break bones already brittle from their treatment. It addition, because of my disability I need to go down the steps backwards. I wouldn’t see Toby coming. But Maisie would, and there’s no doubt in my mind that when she saw her “enemy” rushing at her mom from behind, she would react strongly and instantly – leaving me on my already-fragile spine in the dirt.

So I explained ALL of this to said neighbor, in detail, she said she understood and claimed that, though she hated to, she would tie Toby up when she let him out.

Nothing changed.

On my last day/Pete’s first day of the stomach flu I went out to feed the birds. Pete was in the house burning up with a fever and throwing up whenever he moved. My head was ready to blow off and I was wobbly and weak and using my walker of course. So I just wanted to get the outside birds fed and get back in as soon as I could. As I spread the seeds and grain the birds came to eat…and then came Toby, rushing out from the woods, scattering birds everywhere, and jumping at me to play with him. Meanwhile, our dogs in the house were going crazy, jumping on the bed where Pete lay and barking… I was FURIOUS! I yelled as loudly as I could, a dozen times, “TOBY GO HOME!” but his owner either didn’t hear hear me or chose to ignore me. I couldn’t get back in the house because the dogs were going crazy inside the door and Toby was right at my heels, at the bottom of the steps. If they got out, they’d mince that little dog. So I was stuck outside.

When Maisie was learning not to rush the door we kept a water bottle just inside the front door. We haven’t had to use it for a year or 2 but keep it there, just in case. So I came back, opened the door just a crack to reach in for it, and started squirting Toby while yelling for him to go home – more for his owner’s benefit than his, because he was having a great time with this new fun game! I squirted and yelled all the way to the furthest corner of the lot; then she must have heard me, because she called him home.

A few days ago we had a beautiful group of deer come into the yard with a magnificent buck (no rack yet) bringing up the rear, strutting and prancing. As I reached for my camera, there came Toby running right at them, and they were gone within seconds of arriving.

Pete and I have HAD it. Pete pulled out his pistol and shot off a few rounds out the open window – not AT Toby of course, we would NEVER EVER hurt a dog. But it took 4 rounds for him to go home. This morning Pete had the same experience as I did last week, and couldn’t get in the door because Toby was right at the steps. Our dogs had just watched him mark everything around our patio, right next to the house – our dogs’ territory – and were anxious to get out. Finally Pete managed to get in by yelling at our now-confused dogs as he worked his way up the steps. Again, he shot a few rounds out the window to “scare” Toby enough to go home – but this time it took 6 rounds.

So clearly THAT isn’t working either!

We don’t want to have to take our problems to our landlord. He is a wonderful Christian brother and we love him, and just don’t think he should have to deal with such issues. However this has gone WAY past being a petty problem between tenants, and is clearly a potential danger – to us, to our dogs, and to Toby – to say nothing of the stress and loss of our peaceful life we’ve had since we moved here (something our landlord has done everything to promote and provide for us!).

I have several reasons for sharing this. One is to get any feedback anyone may wish to offer. Another is to offer a warning to those who allow their dogs to roam: you may have NO idea what your dogs may be causing to others, and robbing them of peace may be the least of it. Another is that, given my diminishing mental capacity as time goes on, I don’t want to forget any of the details; here they are preserved. And lastly, should either our landlord or the neighbor want or need to see this “documentation” it is here for them.

Right now Pete has a massive headache from the stress of all of this, his Sunday is ruined. And as a result, so is mine. And we are both frustrated, sad, angry, and concerned. And most of all, sorry that it has come to this and an adorable playful sweet little dog is stuck in the middle of it all.

7 thoughts on “It’s Not The Dog’s Fault…

  1. We had also explained to the neighbor that we all know there are predators in the area from Coyotes, Owls, Hawks and even recently a pack of bug dogs chasing a deer on the either sued of the river. If it tangled with one of the Raccoons under the shed, Toby would not fair well.
    We can’t be responsible for someone else’s pet. Toby is so cute, we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to him.
    By the same token, we know Maisie would protect her owners. In the process, once if doing so, she, on her leash, ran past me to protect her mom, which spun me around and with least in had landed me 10 feet from our door and onto the hard ground.
    I can’t have that happen again..and today was a reminder of how fast and forceful she can be to get past us if she feels we are in danger. Like I say I don’t want anything to happen time Toby. I don’t want anything time happen to our dog(s) if they get past us. And, most certainly, neither Sherry nor I cannot risk injury(ies).
    Only the owner of Toby can prevent any of the above from happening.

    1. YES! We have all kinds of hawks and owls, and the coyotes come in REALLY close too! That pack of feral dogs you spotted across the river were pretty adamant that you weren’t going to chase them off, that was pretty scary too. Lots of dangers out there for a little tiny dog… I had forgotten about the time that Maisie pulled you down; yes, too much risk to others, I hope we have seen the last of little Toby, as adorable as he is he is causing more and more problems for others.

  2. Yes! Your landlord needs to be aware of all of this. He is a good man, but you pay for your ‘home-spot’, and deserve to live your lives, with your pets, in peace. Talking with the neighbor lady has not worked. You tried…many times. Your landlord needs to get involved. NOW! Best wishes and lots of love (and concern) sent.

    1. Yes, we are in agreement, though we believe she got the message this time as we haven’t seen him since Saturday. Pete was prepared to talk to the landlord on Saturday…he can always text him the link to this post, too…at any rate, if it isn’t over, Pete will go to him immediately. Love to you too dear Annette!

  3. Another pro/con of firing my handgun. Pro, besides scaring Toby back home, no predators are going to be active in an area where gun fire has been heard. This may be a life saver for little Toby. Con, it scares away all the other animals too so we don’t get to see them again for a few days.

    1. We have kind of decided that if he shows up again we will…though it’s been a couple of days, so I hope he will be kept home.

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