A couple of months ago, some new neighbors moved into the house behind us. I don't think I would have noticed if I hadn't seen the "Sold" sign in their yard when I was out on a walk one day. We live in the suburbs, where privacy fences and trees work well for privacy, but do little for neighborly relations. Added to that, the houses behind ours sit much lower than the houses on my street, so its almost impossible to see into one another's backyards.
When the "new people" moved in, it wasn't long before my kids announced that they got a new chocolate lab puppy. Kids aren't held in by boundaries like privacy fences. Errant baseballs and curiosity have them climbing fences or peeking between the slats to see what's on the other side.
I soon learned that the new puppy's name is Charlie. I know this because Charlie would go out for his morning potty break at about 4:00 a.m. And once in the yard, Charlie liked to explore and wasn't interested in going back inside. So Charlie's mom would stand at the back door and call, "Charrrrr-lie," in a pleasant enough voice, but it still carried through our open bedroom window and into my sleeping ears.
Charlie is about three months old now and prefers being inside with his people, while they now want him outside. So he tells them in the only way he knows. He barks. And barks. The weather has been nice enough to have all of our windows open and the AC off, and last night his barking was getting on my last nerve. It was late, it's a good 10 minute walk around the block to their house, so I did the next best thing. I went outside, climbed up on a landscaping rock so I could peer over the fence and first beseeched Charlie to be quiet. Then, seeing Charlie's people inside their house, moving around just inside their open windows, I called, "Helllooooo!" in a friendly voice. Finally, Charlie's dad came out and seemed startled to see me hanging over the fence.
"Hi," I said.
"Hi," he said.
"We need to talk about your dog," I said.
"Okay," he said, no doubt wondering at this crazy woman hanging over his fence.
Our exchange was pleasant enough. He said they're trying to train Charlie. I explained it wasn't working, leaving him out to bark for 20 minutes at a time. We didn't come up with any solutions, but it was 10 o'clock at night and I was in my pajamas and perhaps we both just need some time to think about it.
For the sake of neighborly relations, I think I'll take some puppy biscuits over for Charlie later today and introduce myself. I'm not upset with Charlie. I think we're a lot alike in that we both just want to be heard.