Being neighborly

Our home backs up to a greenbelt. There is about 100 yards between our back fence and the fire road that leads to the bike trail and local lake. Sometime before we purchased our home three years ago, the state approved building of a bridge to the untamed greenbelt area. M runs the greenbelt trails pretty regularly and has been quite vocal in his displeasure of the bridge built that now offers mountain bikers opportunities to ride trails meant for horses and hikers. The signs saying bike riding is prohibited are ignored and the rangers do not enforce it routinely, so there are frequently kids and adults riding their bikes behind our house.

So I get home tonight and hear M out back, and it sounds like he is lecturing someone about defiling the greenbelt with their mountain bikes. I shake my head and wonder again if I am soon to be identified as the wife of the fanatical old coot who is way too young to be a fanatical old coot yelling at passing bike riders breaking the unenforced law. He is speaking so loudly I can hear his voice in the house even if I cannot make out his words, so I march out back, determined to drag his ass back into the house and release the offending bike riders. I am so determined to make what I perceive as crazy-old-man behavior cease that I don’t realize until I get to him …

and find he is yelling at the neighbor’s dog. *sigh*

Now it is not as bad as it seems; we are animal lovers and do not even yell at the other neighbor’s cats who routinely use our doormats to sharpen their claws. The dog in question is about 100 years old, deaf, completely blind in one eye, almost blind in the other, has lost a lot of his teeth, and is quite feeble with arthritis. But he is super sweet, once he lets you close enough to pet him. Unfortunately, he can be skittish if he does not know you, and he is elderly enough not to remember if he knows you or not. Anyway, you do have to speak loudly to get his attention. M was trying to speak loudly enough to attract his attention yet soothingly enough to not make him hobble further off. We have had some experience with this particular pup. Somehow or another he breaks free of the neighbor’s back yard and goes on walk-about. When we see him, M charms him with calming words (that the dog apparently cannot really hear) and bribes him with turkey dogs. We have kept him in our yard until the neighbor returns on more than one occasion.

We did finally coax him close enough to bring him in the back gate and keep him calm and safe until our neighbors got home from work. I think poor Brooklyn is nearing the time when he spends his days in a crate or in the garage rather than the backyard and it makes me sad. It’s for his own safety; he could wander into the street or the path of a wild mountain biker.

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