Visiting Rights

I'm not a natural born dog lover. Unlike a brother-in-law who cannot go for a walk without stooping to pat every dog he meets, I tend to admire from a distance. But I have almost always had a dog.

George was my first dog. My parents got her when I was a toddler and, so the story goes, George was the only name I could say. By default, she became mine (I can't remember my younger sister having much to do with her) and we adored each other. I was devastated as a teenager when she died. For a long time I didn't let another dog fill that hole in my heart.

Fast forward many years and Co - short for Calico - became a beloved family pet. My boys fell in love with her while I fell out of love with her mischievous ways. She was the first dog of ours to form a trench in our yard from her constant running back and forth - a tradition which other dogs have followed to this day.

Sadly Co was hit by a car one Labour Weekend when we were all at the beach. We brought her home and buried her and several months later, Kielsie replaced the ache in our hearts.

Kielsie was the pup we never should have bought. She was nervous and riddled with fleas, but we loved her anyway. With five boys in the house she quickly became socialised and the vet helped us send the fleas on their merry way. With her unusual colouring, she garnered attention wherever she went.

Three years ago when she became ill, we each had time to say our farewells and to take photos. We had made the hard decision not to let her suffer but she died at home, naturally, the day before the vet's appointment, sparing us that additional pain.

We learnt something after she had died: we are a dog family. By this time our sons had grown and left home (one had returned) and my work hours had increased, making a family dog or companion less necessary. But we found we couldn't live without one.

Enter Nehli. It will be three years this Christmas since she was given to us as a gift. She has driven us crazy with her barking at birds and constantly bringing us balls or sticks to throw (anything as long as she can work) but she is loyal and gentle and friendly.

The problem is a neighbour disagrees. This one neighbour (out of a possible nine houses) believes our dog is vicious, always at the ready to attack her, and a menace to the neighbourhood. Since being made aware of this concern (with much yelling and colourful language and outrageous accusations) we made the decision to place Nehli in a kennel until we could build a solid fence down one side of our property.

This is not a job that gets done in a day. Or even a week. Most fencing contractors are booked months in advance. However, we're praying that someone will be available soon. We want to being Nehli home.

Meanwhile, we visit her when we can, and on days like yesterday when we plan to be in our yard all day, we bring her home for a short visit. Yesterday DH and Son#4 removed the fence that is to be replaced. A fence she could have easily jumped over numerous times but hasn't. She knows the boundaries. The new solid fence isn't for her but for the neighbour.

She seemed a lot more settled yesterday. More like her old self. We had been suspicious for a month or so that she was being provoked. Now we're almost certain of it.

It was hard to take her back to the boarding kennel but she didn't seem too stressed about returning and the owner is really gentle with her. We just hope it's not for too much longer.





Sarah/winterwren said…
Jules! How terrible! It seems strange that your dog would only have an issue with one neighbor, without that neighbor doing something to provoke the dog.

I worked with dogs for a while when I was younger in a variety of settings and it is true that a dog can be generally sociable but not like some people, often out of fear, so I guess it is possible, but it seems strange to just be one neighbor. Like a dog might be afraid of men, or young children (a hard issue), but just one person? Does the person have a large hat or anything? I have known friendly dogs that are scared of people in large hats. I guess that is a long shot, though. I mean, she is okay with the kennel people, and that is a scary, stressful situation for some dogs, so if she is okay with that...I do not fault dogs with fear/agression issues, as they are dogs and cannot help that, but your dog does not even sound like she has those problems. It sounds like it is just this one person.

Perhaps you neighbor already has an issue with dogs? Or yelled at your dog? Or scared her in some other way so she now views your neighbor as a threat? If they were so rude and yelled at you, that makes me think they maybe scared your poor dog. I think your provocation theory makes sense, since they were verbally abusive to you, so why not your dog.

Oh, well, in any case it is a really lousy situation and I hope it is resolved soon. Nehli is very cute. I stopped by because I am considering knitting a hat and I thought of you. I have not tried to knit anything since 2010, when my husband was sick, and am a bit worried that something else bad will happen again...pure superstition, I know. Mostly I stopped because being basically a new knitter, I just associated knitting so much with waiting rooms and illness. But today I thought of you and your kind knitting encouragement. Your blog always made me want to knit.

Take care!

Sarah (winterwren)
Jules said…
Hi Sarah, we do know that our neighbour has yelled at our dog on two different occasions (we witnessed it). Whether it has happened at other times we do not know.

I rarely knit hats (socks and shawls these days) but I understand how knitting can be associated with unpleasant memories. I have a pair of socks that I was knitting when we had our car accident but rather than dwell on that, I remind myself of God's incredible goodness and His protection that day. I hope you can make new knitting memories/associations too.