For some unfathomable reason, that will be discussed and debated until I’m a million years old, the hubby and I decided to buy a house without a backyard fence. I have always sworn that I was never going to be in a home that just anyone and their grandmother had access to, but then we stumbled upon a perfect little house that fit our personality exactly. There was just one other problem. Besides the not having a fence thing, there was also a very prominent “the neighbors are just fifty feet away in every direction” thing.
It just so happened that the lovely little house we found is located in a nice quiet little hidden neighborhood with some pretty large and (somewhat) fancy houses. While most of the other houses in the neighborhood are three stories tall (okay, two stories with a walk out basement—and a KILLER view of the Rocky Mountains) ours ended up being a smallish ranch shoved into one of the smallest lots available. I mean, it isn’t even a square lot. More like a polygon gone amok. But the personality was so unassuming and simple we couldn’t walk away. So here we are…
Almost five years later, still in the same house and loving our life. Except, the backyard fence issue has come into play again. For five years we were able to love on our old dog, Shadow, until it was time for him to pass on and then find space in our hearts to add another dog, George, to the family. It was easy to let Shadow out to take care of business in the backyard because he was so old we knew he wasn’t going anywhere. Then we tossed and turned over the fence thing when we first got George, but we didn’t want to mess up the look of the backyard or irritate the neighbors by blocking anyone’s view of stuff, and, to be perfectly honest, we were too cheap to make the leap.
But now we have our (absurdly energetic) dog and because we have no yard we have to take him for walks. Like all the damn time. I have it down pretty well where I can get the hubby to take care of it (almost always), but I’m starting to feel guilty and he’s looking pretty glum every night. Yes, yes, I took pity on him (after abusing his sweetness) and I’ve started to help out in this area a little more. Not that I don’t have my little intrigues—my nine year old is now in charge of taking the dog out for the morning walk before school. (See, I didn’t completely lose my ability to manipulate to my advantage!) But I am trying to step up to the plate. In fact, he hubby’s Valentine’s present from us was a promise to walk the dog every night for a week! (I wonder why he never said thank you. Probably because it was a sucky gift?) I am just realizing how bad I feel that I was busy writing last night and he ended up walking George anyway. (I’m kind of beginning to think that I am a terrible life partner.)
Anyway, because I have taken it upon myself to be so benevolent, I am walking the dog more. And it stresses me out—big time. It’s not like I’m even taking him on significant journeys around town, I’m just referring to our block (not even a full quarter mile)! Am I a lazy ass? Of course. Which is the very first problem I have to overcome every time it’s time to be a responsible adult. It’s too cold. I’m too happy watching Fifty Shades of Grey for the tenth time since yesterday. I convince myself that George can handle it if I take a quick nap before I have to take him out. I only have ten minutes—I’m going to be late for work…sorry Georgie.
You may be asking yourself, “Why did she get a dog?” and the answer would be that she has no freaking clue. The boy is like a drip of water on stone and instead of taking generations of constant work to make change he had me whipped and cheering on dog ownership in about two minutes. Damn, he was that good. The hubby warned me about what it was going to be like to have a young dog around again, but I didn’t listen. All I could see was the image of my sweet little boy nestled in bed with his sweet little doggie. (I guess we shouldn’t have bought the kid an elevated bed then. This plan was ill conceived from the beginning!) Now we’re all paying for it.
So I finally mange to make the commitment to walk the dog and head out the door. I try to always make sure that I have a handy dandy grocery bag in my pocket to pick up George’s poop, but (let’s face it) I don’t have the mental capacity to get everything right every single minute of the day. Those times when I do get halfway around the block and realize I don’t have the baggie with me I am actively hoping that the dog doesn’t have to go. Nothing worse than making a lazy person have to run home and then run back to pick up shit. When George doesn’t go it’s more work for whomever walks him later (probably you know who) but I can live with that.
Right away I am usually frustrated because we can really only walk in one direction. I mean, always. Whoever had George before we adopted him had obviously done some training (and don’t get me wrong—that’s pretty awesome) but probably a little too well. The little punk will only sniff around grass and trees if we are walking the block counter-clockwise. It’s the damnedest thing, really. If we do try a route that’s clockwise, he’ll most likely spend his time walking in the street and not taking care of any business at all. So you can see, going on walks with George can get pretty boring pretty quickly. A routine was created from the very beginning and it hasn’t strayed very much since.
I usually grumble my way through the first part of the walk because it seems like it’s always cold and my legs are exhausted from not doing anything for so long (my hands and fingers get the exercise nowadays—the rest of my body? Forget it.) and I’m fairly tired. But I start to loosen up and breathe in the fresh air. Just about the time I get to the part where I start to think, “Hey, I should take more wal…” the dog tries to rip my arm off the leash because we have made our way to one of the (numerous) bunny hangouts in the neighborhood. I have no idea what would happen if George actually caught one of them, but I just kind of assume he’ll get his ass kicked—and neither of us want to see that happen.
We finally cruise past the bunny danger and immediately come upon the neighbor with the truly psycho dog. (It’s kind of amazing how having a dog opens your neighborly horizons when you’re forced into the light once in a while.) I didn’t even know there were so many dogs in the neighborhood until this walking the dog thing started happening (and I swear, if that other dog that lives near my bedroom window doesn’t stop yapping soon I’m going to go all Fatal Attraction on it—but not really). But now I know about psycho dog and he really has my heart beating faster.
The fall and winter months aren’t so bad with psycho dog because he’s restrained nice and cozy in his warm house, but in the summer he’s a true menace. As George and I begin to creep our way past his house we are (okay, I am) very cautious about whether the wooden front door is closed or open to just the screen door. It may not seem like much but there is truly a huge difference. Wooden door means he can’t see us. Screen door means we are in deep ca-ca. If we’re lucky he’s off doing something else besides reconnaissance at the front door but we’re usually not that lucky. The freaking dog starts barking and running and then charges at full speed until his head crashes into the screen door. Seriously. It gives me a heart attack every. Single. Time. I hate that dog. Sorry. It had to be said.
Is he one of those huge dogs with snarling teeth and foaming mouth? No. He’s one of those tiny white fluff balls that looks cute but thinks he’s a German Shepherd. And he terrifies me to no end. Logically I know that he doesn’t have a vendetta against me (at least I don’t think he does) and that it’s probably just something he does to pass his time, but I truly dislike having to pass by his house. Each time I creep by it’s like playing Russian roulette. I’m waiting for the door to break open someday. I don’t think George will be that great at protecting me from whatever would happen if that dog got out. I kind of believe he’ll just stop and revel in the fact that after months of trying, he finally found a way out.
One particular day as we continued on one of our thrilling adventures, I noticed a destroyed orange flattened on the sidewalk. It had been there for days and I felt a sense of grief for its demise. I had seen that orange when it was still round and juicy and I had made the decision to leave it where it was. Was that a decision made out of laziness? I guess it was a little bit, but mostly I had decided to leave it there because surely whoever dropped it would see it and pick it up and take it to where it was originally supposed to go. If it was someone’s lunch, then that someone would know they had a missing orange and would go find it. At least, I think that’s what I thought I thought. Either way, I left it there. And now it was squished. Dead. Brown. Faded. And I felt the guilt. Can anyone else hear a faint screaming sound? No? Just me? Maybe it’s not the dog who’s psycho…
We keep going to what I think of as the M*A*S*H house. George just thinks of it as the house with…actually, I don’t think George thinks about that house at all. Anyway, I think of it as the M*A*S*H house because the numbers in the address make me think of the 4077 (I’m not well, you guys). It’s also the house that has the lady that runs inside whenever we come around the block. I’ve seen her dozens of times and have only managed a hello one of those times. She also has a little dog, but she won’t let him/her (?) close to George at all. It’s kind of funny (when it’s not sad) actually.
Then we happen upon the “No Poop” house. They haven’t put up a clapboard sign or anything, just a little bronze stake at the corner of their yard with a picture of a dog doing his business with a line crossing over his body. It’s cute. It also makes me paranoid that George is going to want to poop there and that I’ll be assaulted with sirens and spotlights when he does. It is absolute hell when he gives into the urge to go on that lawn and I have forgotten the grocery bag. My knees actually start wobbling. Life is not good again until the offending poop is taken care of.
Of course on one trip George did his business right next to the sign and (thank goodness) I had a bag. I picked up the crap and tied it securely, ready to take it home when I noticed the seven bags of trash at the corner of their driveway and I contemplated throwing George’s goodies away there. But, they were probably watching. I feel like they’re always watching. No, I had to to carry that shit home. Oh well.
I start to get happy that we are in the last part of the journey and that I will be able to sit down and do nothing once again. George is in his zone and sniffing the hell out of every particle he comes across. I’m starting to feel that “I really do need to go out for more wal…” when I notice the freaking mailbox again! It seems that every time I pass the last house at the corner that their mailbox is just hanging open. I have this mental thing (okay, I have many mental things but this is just one of them) that will not allow me to pass a mailbox that is hanging open. I have to close it. I just do. And then I stress out that I am tampering with “Federal Property” or that someone will think I’m stealing blank checks or trying to take gift cards out of birthday cards…
The mailbox gets closed (with absolutely nothing happening) and I am just ready to get the hell home already. If it’s a beautiful sunny day it’s usually smooth sailing from here on out. Just don’t get me started on what happens when it’s snowing. I really didn’t know that some of my neighbors were such a-holes. Live and learn, I guess.
George is barely panting while I am more than a little winded when we get home. He’s a happy camper for a little while longer and I bask in the glow of my having done something for my fellow man (and dog). I notice that my fitbit is barely registering the effort and I take a second to wonder why I’m even wearing it. That wasn’t exercise. That was the equivalent of walking up and down my hallway seventeen times. No matter. I was a grown up and did my business while George did his.
The hubby and I are still battling about the fence though. I think I might have him convinced on one that’s just half as tall as a regular privacy fence but, again, we’re cheap. We’ll probably stew on it for another year or two and by then who knows where we’ll be. Until then we’ll just keep walking the good (short) walk and waiting for the time to come where we can take the little nerd to the dog park and he can just go crazy as much as his heart desires.
I question my decision in adopting George everyday, and as much as I hate how much he makes me work I love him so very, very much.
Only for you, Georgie. Only for you.
© DRB 2016
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