I’ve posted about the neighbor dogs before, I think. There are three of them: Sugar, Spice, and Shaka. Sugar and Spice are sisters of unknown parentage. They are big, and yellow. When they were young (I’d guess they were 4-6 months old when they came to live here), Sugar and Spice looked quite a bit alike (smaller, and yellow). But when they grew older they began to diverge. Sugar is somewhat smaller and has longish hair, with slightly fluffy ears and a slightly fluffy tail. Spice (whom I now call Spice Girl) is short-haired all over. So Sugar looks like she might have been descended from a Golden Retriever, whereas Spice Girl looks like she was descended from a yellow Labrador,with maybe some German Shepherd thrown in. Or all of the above. Shaka is a purebred Rottweiler.
The yard they live in is on a corner lot. Because their house faces one street and my house next door faces another, their back yard backs up to my driveway. I see a lot of Sugar, Spice, and Shaka. In fact, everyone does. Because there are no shrubs or vines, or for that matter grass in their yard, they live their entire lives in full view of everyone walking down the street.
Sugar is a sweet, sweet dog, who spends her entire life chained to a tree. Because if she isn’t, she will jump the fence and go exploring. There was a period of time where all three of them were chained to trees, but I guess the owners finally figured out that Spice Girl and Shaka will stay put. They only try to leave when Sugar does.
It’s terribly painful to see Sugar chained up all the time, but I am forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. If they let her off the chain, she will get killed. She has no wariness, no understanding that cars can kill her. Not to mention that some of the neighbors, being confronted by a big dog they don’t know running at large (especially if she is accompanied by Spice Girl and Shaka), might shoot her. Of course the ideal solution would be for them to keep her in the house, but that’s never going to happen. So I’m forced, completely against my nature, to choose the chain.
Shaka is a classic Rottweiler. Stoic and reserved, nice, but not in the least demonstrative. I can sometimes get him to wag his little stump of a tail by talking to and cooing at him. Spice Girl is an entirely different matter. If she were a human, I might describe her as almost catatonic. She never shows the slightest emotion. I’ve never seen her wag her tail. When you look into her eyes, there is nothing there. She’s just vacant. About the only hint that there is something there, is that she follows Shaka around wherever he goes, so she must “like” him.
The only time these dogs get human attention (except for me and the people walking by) is when they get fed. And they get so excited when a person comes out of the house; it’s heartbreaking to watch. Because today, just like yesterday and the thousands of days before it, is not the day someone will pet you or hug you or play with you. They are the very definition of “Hope springs eternal”.
These days they do take the dogs inside if it’s raining or if it gets horrifically cold. They didn’t used to do even that–until I called Animal Control. Animal Control is religiously discreet, and they never tell who made the complaint. But the neighbors figured it out anyway. As the Director of Animal Control later said to me, “Process of elimination”. Indeed,who loves these dogs enough to complain? That would be me. I figured out they knew is was me one day when I got out of the car in my driveway and there was a group of men in the back yard barbecuing, and one of them said, “Oh look! It’s the bitch!” But that’s been over a year ago now, and I’ve had a couple of interactions with them that were pleasant, so they appear to have forgiven me.
The reason they are on my mind today is that last night, Shaka barked and barked and barked, and kept barking until you would think he would get hoarse. Finally he just exhausted himself and went to sleep. I could just picture him standing at his back door, begging for someone, anyone to either let him in or come out and be his friend. Sorry, Shaka, like the thousands of nights before it, tonight will not be the night.