Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stupid People Suck A Lot

The people who live on our block in the bungalows behind our complex, think that putting food and water in a dish at 4:30 a.m., opening the back door so it can go outside to poop and closing the door at night means they are taking care of a dog.

The first night the dog cried and barked continuously it kept me up. Everyone on the second floor and above in our building has a bird's eye view into the backyards of those bungalows. I noticed that for two days or so the back door had been open. Justin and I actually started to think the lady who lived there might be dead. The dog wouldn't stop barking. Justin and I knocked on the door, but no one answered except the barking dog. We didn't know what to do, so Justin went to work and I went about my day. Our neighbors started talking about it and we decided that the owners must have gone on vacation and left the dog and cat behind for their neighbors to "take care of" while they were gone.

More than a week later the barking hadn't stopped and the complex rumor mill (finely tuned, I must say, what with being filled with gays and retired men and women) had it that the owners had died and the guy who lives on the corner was taking care of the dog. We believed it. The door was closed when we shut the windows at night, open during the day. Before it had been open the whole time and the position of the stuff on the counter hadn't changed at all (a bag of cat food and two Styrofoam little bowls, one partly filled, and a bottle of something bleach-container looking).

The dog's crying was getting worse every night (and day) though. Much worse. Our downstairs neighbor acted out perfectly the reaction we've been having when he said that his home-office window is right next to their fence and when he's trying to work... and then he pantomimed working at a desk, then tensing his arms until the veins stuck out, and then he pretended to pull his hair out.

Meanwhile, yesterday I printed out a packet of information about dog adoption and rescue services to give to the Corner Neighbor Apparently In Charge. He wasn't there and I didn't want to just leave it on the door because that seemed presumptuous. Today the crying was so desperate (and did I mention combined with the scratching of paws against a wood fence?). I felt so bad for the dog that I had to go down there and keep it company until the Corner guy got home.

OK. So is it really trespassing if I go into the backyard to take care of a dog that has been crying and barking loudly for nearly two weeks? Given my cold and my work situation, I have been at home nearly 24/7 and I haven't seen anyone from anywhere taking care of that dog. In my best estimation, and with the agreement of my husband and one or two other neighbors, the dog seems to be neglected. I sat on the steps by the dog and he sat next to me and pushed against my shoulder, then tried to put his whole body in my lap. I called into the house, but (obviously) no one was there, so after a while with the pushing I got up to see if there was a toy or pillow I could put outside so that he could have something to sit on there. (He sits in the corner of the yard with his face pointing toward the wall of the neighbor's house, next to the fence he's been trying to scratch through.) I just wanted to help him feel better. We found a pillow, but he didn't seem interested in lying there while I was still in the yard.

He pushed back up against me and I noticed his paws were bloody. Actually, just his right paw, which he has rubbed raw trying to get out of the yard.

Yeah. I was trying to decide if I could stand to sleep in the house with him. If maybe I should just go down and camp there. But I looked at the yard which was impossible to traverse without stepping in dog shit and I looked at the fleas I could see on his fat beagle coat and I couldn't. Besides, I knew Justin wouldn't let it happen.

So I turned to the dog and said I was really really sorry, and I noticed he was leaning on me and holding that paw up off the ground.

After a little while, one of my apartment neighbors came over, both of us dog lovers, both of us wishing we could do something but living in a building with a landlord who doesn't allow dogs to even visit. We talked about possibilities. His mom has three beagles and would take him, but she lives in New Jersey. I showed him my list of places and we agreed that was a good start. I told him that one of the younger neighbors from one of the houses had said that the three other houses' in that row of bungalows were sharing responsibility for the dog. That he must go on 15 walks a day with all of them there. (Yeah right, we both agreed.) That they were looking for a home for the dog and would keep taking care of him until they found one. That the family wasn't even taking care of the burial of the dead woman, that they left that for someone else to do.

(Later Corner guy said something about her internment and getting the ashes back or something.)

Apartment Neighbor and I agreed that these people's version of taking care of a dog sucked.

So I called the best animal shelter I know that does not euthanize dogs ever. They said none of the private shelters could do anything until I called the county. So I called the county phone number and found out that if a dog has food, shelter and water then they can't do anything. It's the bleeding paws that are the deal breaker. Me, I would use words like neglect, animal cruelty and abuse to describe this dog's care.

They had to send someone out to check on the animal.

I went home to get a jacket (the dog started crying and barking) and waited on the corner for Corner guy or County People to arrive. While I was out there Next Door Neighbor came outside to walk his own dog, but didn't bother to take the sad dog with them. We chatted though, and I got more info on the situation. They're all waiting to find out what will happen, since they rent from the people who have been dying (husband, wife, daughter.... all with the poor dog sitting there by the body). So that's stressful.

All around it's a terrible situation, but the poor dog shouldn't have to pay the price. These people don't want to see the dog put down, but it's for their own agenda and guilt that they feel that way--if they really loved the dog and took care of him they'd let him hang out at their place with their dogs so he didn't cry all day.

As County Lady got out of her truck a neighbor from across the street came out from his house all business-attired for work and called out, "Finally doing something about that annoying dog?"

I know this writing sucks. I'm tired. Corner guy was really mean to me, but I stood my ground and clearly conveyed that I did everything I did for the sake of the animal, which I would not like to have put down either. He kept saying he wished I'd talked to him before calling, but obviously he doesn't know me--I would never obey a man just because he told me to do something. Not when a puppy's paw is bleeding. Especially.

After County Lady checked out the dog at Corner Guy's house (he wanted it to seem more OK than it really is), they came back out to walk over to the dog's house. Corner guy said, "We can take it from here," clearly implying that he didn't want me to join them. (He had already accused me of trespassing--but whose property are you trespassing on when you know the owner humans are dead and the dog is suffering?) I said, "I won't go on the property, but the sidewalk is public space and I can stand on it as long as I want."

"Boy, you're just....," he trailed off, I think knowing better to swear at me in front of the County woman and knowing I had already told him there was no excuse for using the word "dyke" in conversation (not even if he is gay--which was his defense). "And your husband is so pleasant."

I wanted to attack, but I knew that would have given him satisfaction, so I just followed, and when they went into the backyard I shouted out that I put the pillow there to try to help him, I hope it's OK.

I hate my neighbor.

I love dogs.

I hate Corner guy.

I hate the family that doesn't even care about this woman enough to intern her and let someone else (Corner guy, I guess) take care of all of that.

Corner guy is such an idiot. I did tell him, "My husband would defend me and a dog in this situation too..."

After they came out of the dog's house I said, "I really hope you understand that I did all this in the best interest of that dog," I handed him my packet of information, on which I had written a note that a friend might want the dog, and the notes from the shelters, but from which I had torn our name and number because he was so hostile and scary. "I did some research yesterday, and here's a list of 17 shelters that might be able to help. I know you're trying to do good here, and these people is lucky. Sometimes all we have is the kindness of strangers. But sometimes even when a person is doing everything they can, it's still not enough." Then I left.

I walked away from his house and our front garden, as though I were going to take a walk around the block. He had asked me which unit of the apartment complex I live in earlier, and that's when I said, "I'm not telling you where I live! You're hostile!"

I hope he never finds out where I live. And I hope the dog gets a nice home. But he's fat and old and maybe has tumors or something.... he just needs love and someone to hang out with him.

Poor dog.

If I stay focused on loving the dog and try to forget that I was yelled at and insulted by an old, short, balding, mean gay man maybe I'll feel more OK.

The irony is we all want the same thing--for the dog to be OK and not put down. As my Apartment neighbors say, we're more people who want to take care of the dog and take it on walks. But since Corner guy is so nuts we all suffer instead.

Evil stupid corner guy.

oops. Love the puppy. Love the puppy. It's not the puppy's fault and everyone is trying to do good.


Also, the guy in the sculpting class with no sense of personal space is a complete idiot despite being a lawyer. He is truly pathetic. I instinctively want to punch or kick him, but since I am good at my job I remain perfectly still while he comes to close.

Then when I leave the building to walk to my car I have to instantly switch to street-in-a-sketchy-neighborhood walking, and definitely punch anyone who gets to close.

Someone called me "baby" right by my car.

I just said "hi."

Men are idiots.

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