Backyard Dog No More

And now, a few dog tails…

Backyard dog

I cringe when I see dogs chained up in yards or to trees. They have nothing to do to fill their days, they turn the grass into dirt and appear to be sentenced to a life of boredom. It makes me wonder, why do these people even have a dog if they are going to ignore it?

the house next door   j.richter 2012

the house next door… my basement apartment windows

Over 20 years ago when I lived in the basement apartment of the house next door, the renters in the alley house behind me had a puppy tied up in their backyard. Constant barking, yipping, whining. They didn’t care enough to feed it on a regular basis and if it had a water bowl, the dog tipped it over in no time at all. The lazy women who lived in the house rarely emerged, and that was only to yell at the little children that appeared to not be allowed in the house. (The children… another story). The puppy was starved for attention–and starved for food.

I couldn’t stand by and watch the neglect of that dog. In the morning, I would take it a bowl of water, (climbing over the fence I ripped my work pants) and in the evening, I cooked up a dish of chopped hot dog and gravy and took to the dog.  The owners never seemed to notice… but of course the dog was immensely grateful, giving me hand licks and happy tail wags.

After about a week, I’d had enough. I called the police to report the neglect of the dog. It wasn’t long afterwards and the dog was no longer at the house, and it wasn’t but a month later that I noticed some children on a nearby street with the puppy on a leash. The puppy was running with the children and very happy. Well fed, too, I am sure.

I am a dog lover, but not overly so. In many ways, I would like a dog, and I’ve been wanting a dog for years yet, I am dog-less… ‘canine-deprived’ so to speak. I often visit the local animal shelter and do a quick run through looking for my ‘perfect’ dog, I do have specific requirements: I don’t want a large one, although if we had an acreage, I’d like a German Shepard (I’ve had two of those in my life). I mostly concentrate on the small dogs; one that could sit on my lap and be my baby, but not so small and delicate that it could be stepped on. It couldn’t shed (so now we are narrowing it down to poodle types, wire-haired types, or what I’ve had previously, Miniature Schnauzers). Alas, Schnauzers are barkers… they bark at anything. I’m thinking not a puppy, as I’m not interested in potty training several times during the night or accidents on my new carpeting. I’m not fond of the idea of gnawed chair legs or scratched up doors, and I know immunizations and Vet bills would be a huge part of the picture. If the dog were just a couple of years old, that might work, but why was the dog surrendered in the first place? My conundrum.

Pen Pen

Enter… ‘Penny’

And here, for your viewing pleasure, and simply for my pleasure, I introduce Miss Penny Jo.  She lives next door (no, not in that icky house, but in the house on the other side of my house–where the nice neighbors live). Penny loves me, I am sure of it. When she is let out and sees me, I call to her and she comes running to the fence, her little doggie ears flapping in the breeze. She makes little happy cries and gives me this look… eyes half-closed as if she is so mistreated and deprived of love and affection. I tell you, don’t believe it for one moment. She is queen of her house and rules the roost. In the winter, she wears a little camo flack jacket to keep warm for the few moments she is outside, and I’ve given her a Christmas gift for the past 3 years. She is sometimes called ‘Jo’ by her owners, and we sometimes call her ‘Pen-Pen’ or ‘Pen’ for short. She answers to any loving name and simply adores it when I tell her what a good and pretty girl she is.

I guess Pen-Pen is my surrogate dog.  No Vet bills, no mess in the house or yard, no feeding schedules or babysitting needed when I am gone from home and she rarely barks, (although she got upset the other morning when I raised my bedroom blinds). But also no fur child of my own sitting in my lap or riding in my car, and no fur child of my very own that loves me the most in the whole wide world. (sigh).

I’ve told myself that if God sent a stray dog to my door step then I would know for sure that I should have one. No dog on the door step yet–I know that’s pretty specific, but He could do it! I know it’s just me… I’m the one being picky and indecisive. Any dog would be happy to have me as it’s owner… I think.  Until that dog on the doorstep becomes a reality, I’ll have to stick with my toy stuffed dog; no barking or mess, but no doggie love either.