The Dog Next Door

      The dog next door to our home is lonely.  The poor thing has no company during the day. Her original owner who worked with her has passed away from cancer.  She seems to be tolerated as an outside dog.  I think she has a kennel or the garage to sleep in and to use as a place to get out of the rain. She really is not our next-door neighbor’s dog, but the behind our home dog. Their fence is our fence.  It run along the back of both our back yards.  So yes, I guess we are neighbors in a back fence sort of way. 

Kara is the name of the dog next door.  She is a German Short-haired Pointer purebred, I think. She looks just like the picture I looked up one day. She is the typical breed and she is bored and lonely. She acts just like the description of her breed.  A bored dog will make trouble.  One thing you can say about Kara: She barks.  She barks at everything throughout the day or night.  It is a penetrating noise. She is rhythmic with it, too.  Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark, pause, bark, bark, and pause just long enough so you think she is done, then start up again.  I have awakened in the mornings to her barking.  She barks at her owner leaving early for work, the kids walking down the street to school, the van or car that pulled up on the street across from her house, a leaf that falls from a tree,and even at us.  Yes, this dog barks at us, her neighbors.  We were living in this house before she was even brought home to live next door.  But in her world, we might invade her territory, so she barks at us. 

 She did consider us the enemy until the day my husband, being the kind soul, he is, walked out into our backyard with a dog bone.  It was a large size dog bone, meant for a dog her size.  He walked over the fence that separates our two yards showing her the treat in his hand. Kara was so excited to see a treat coming her way, she slobbered and licked the fence.  She stuck her nose into the fence to smell what it was he bringing her.  She danced on her front paws with excitement.  Her entire body wiggled, her stubby little tale bringing up her rear into the all over body wiggle, all the way to her stubby tail.  The bone was pushed through the fence to her. She snatched it out of his hand, carrying her prize away to have it all to herself.

I have no idea what Kara does with the bone.  She might bury it, stockpiling it for a rainy day in a hole in her back yard.  She might bring it to her owner’s porch and leave it there to gain their permission to eat it.  I doubt she does anything but crunch it up between her big teeth and down it before anyone can take it away from her.  (Greedy little thing that she is.)

The first day’s reaction from Kara must have touched my husband’s heart.  The next morning, he carried another bone to the fence.  This time Kara saw him coming and grabbed one of the tin cans that was laying in the yard, over to the fence in her mouth.  She was offering a gift in exchange for the bone.  She had to drop the can out of her mouth to take the bone.  My husband came back into the house laughing a little at her gesture of a gift.  Every time he brought a bone out, she would stand at the fence with either a tin can , an old piece of rope, or an old dolly toy that was hers.  It was comical, yet sad to watch. 

This sharing of a bone every morning has developed a bad habit in our neighbor’s dog Kara.  She used to bark at us as her enemy.  I had taken to telling her “Shut up, we have lived here longer than you have.” Some days she shut up, others she still barked.  She can see us in our kitchen because we have windows on the door to our back room and a window on the backdoor.  The neighbor’s property is higher than ours to help with drainage (not that it helps).  So, Kara has a straight line of sight into our kitchen through a hole in the pool fencing that gives privacy to both yards.  Now, when she sees some one walk into our kitchen in the morning, she starts another rhythmic bark. “Bark, bark, pause, bark, bark, bark.”  I tell my husband that his friend in the back is calling him.  She is telling us she is up, welcoming us to the day in our house, and not to forget that she would like her bone.  I ask my husband in the event of our moving out of this house, if we are going to leave a box of bones for the next owners to give to Kara.  Maybe we will wait to move until she is gone from their backyard.

“Good morning Kara.  Yes, I hear you.  You are just going to have to wait until himself gets up and takes care of you.”  I usually comment to the dog slobbering and barking at our back fence when I am up and in the kitchen first.  I let my husband handle the morning ritual of ‘the giving of the bone.’   Some morning I cannot stand the incessant barking. Just to shut her up, I will walk a bone out to her. I guess the old saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true.  This gift of the bone started over the past year.  Kara has lived next door for the past seven or eight years from puppyhood. She learned a new trick.  Bark, bark, pause, bark, bark, bark.