Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Neighbors

I live in a strange neighborhood. Because New Mexico rarely meets an architectural zoning law with any consistency, I am surrounded by homes that run the gamut from million-dollar Taco Bell Mansions to properties on which their long-time landowners stubbornly cling to acres of cobbled together pre-fabs, trailers, and busted up barns and outbuildings.

More disturbing, however, is the tendency of these folks to play what I call musical canine chairs. Because I do a lot of running, I'm well-acquainted with the furry beasties that reside behind my neighborhood's fences. And those who regularly jump them, like Axl, a good-natured hulk of a Malamute who, if he sees me, jumps his bounds in a single leap and hitches along for the duration, his tongue lolling out in sheer joy because, well, that dog was born to run. He may lumber on ahead a few paces, but he will never leave me entirely. He is a dog impossible to shake, so when I'm done, I call the number on his tag and tell his owner that Axl is out front of my gate, come get him. And his owner does, apologizing profusely, but I don't mind. I have half a mind to ask if I can have Axl, I love him that much.

But a good percentage of my neighborhood dogs are here today, gone tomorrow, replaced with something else. It's so odd. Surely, not everyone is involved in fostering? Nor can they be so incapable of training their animals that they just keep trying different ones on for size until something clicks? I don't get it. I can count on one hand the number of households whose doggie denizens have remained the same for years. The rest are a revolving door of breeds. Not added, mind you, but substituted.

Take these fellers. For several years, the only dog who resided behind this fence was a spunky yellow Lab. Then came a Border Collie, who I last saw just last week. Now THESE dudes, two Akita-looking things (Troll?) with bad attitudes. Lab and Border Collie nowhere to be seen.

If I give you a snack, will you promise not to take my hand off?

27 comments:

lx said...

Coyotes taking the dogs?

Even in urban Austin, coyotes take pets. My previous next door neighbor lost an indoor/outdoor cat to a coyote.

Troll said...

Yes, they are Akitas. After a thousand years as a pretty mediocre working dog, they've found something that they're GREAT at. Coyote protection.

They'll swiftly kill the bold and/or stupid ones. They won't chase the smarter ones long distances.

It's a good bet that's why your neighbor adopted them. And a fair bet that the lab got lost chasing and the border collie got killed fighting coyotes.

Were you running with your dogs when they displayed a "bad attitude"?

moi said...

lx: I hadn't thought of that, although most people have pretty high and secure fences. Little dogs and cats are constantly getting plucked by hawks, too.

Troll: No, Maddie doesn't go on any runs longer than 5-6 miles yet. So I was alone. The bigger feller was busy posturing at the German Shepherd across the street. The littler one (second photo) seemed more amenable to my baby talk, though, but wary. Ivan was attacked by a pack of coyotes once. He held his ground but had to get quite a few stitches in his haunches.

Boxer said...

I've been on a small walk with you around your 'hood and I was amazed at the size of yards and EVERYONE has a fence. I worry about the dogs because as you said, I doubt they're all being fostered. I hope they're not dispensible. I immediately thought coyotes were picking them off. I know they have taken down deer on the Island.

And yay to Ivan and his smack down of coyotes. Oh, what a noble beast.

Rafael said...

Moi--

Are any of your neighbors Asian?

Might wanna check their cook pot...

Rafa

moi said...

Boxer: Lots of fences, lots of dogs. Can coyotes JUMP fences, I wonder? I'm sure they do. Or, crawl under. I hope these dogs are not dispensable either, but there's one property, the one where the Hell Hound used to live, that seems to have a revolving door of just about every breed imaginable.

Rafa: Buh duh buh! Someone had to say it, I suppose, and I'm glad it was you :o)

Karl said...

Good evening Moi,

This may be a bizarre concept, what about asking the neighbor about the dogs?

Pam said...

I've seen a coyote jump through a barbed wire fence (or bob-waire, as they say around here) ... so I have no doubt that coyotes might be part of the missing dog problem. I hear coyotes so close to our house sometimes that I wonder why neighbors let their dogs stay out at night. Of course, that might be one way to downsize our cat problem, come to think of it. I have heard that Akitas make very good pets. Seems like a lot of dog to me though.

Anyway, snark station is up. Stop on by!

fishy said...

Sounds like a fine beginning to a mystery novel. It does not sound like a fine life for these dogs. Have you taken the direct path and asked the dogs ????? If no response, ask the owners?

moi said...

Karl: That would mean I'd actually have to SEE my neighbors. The smallest piece of property around here is two acres and everything is fenced. I supposed I could just lie in wait . . .

Pam: They're everywhere around here as well. I spot them on a near weekly basis, although they've never come onto our property. And I cannot STAND their yipping. It's not a howl, like the movies make them sound, but a high pitched banshee screech that makes every last nerve stand on end.

Fishy: Oh, to be Dr. Doolittle :o) Although, I'd hate to have to listen to the cows . . .

chick'ry said...

I loved your neighborhood and the fencing -each yard contained a dog of some sort. This fellow is quite handsome. Maybe you will acquire him in the same way you got Maddie. I hope they arent disposable dogs! That is too sad.

How is Ivan?

czar said...

Ssshhh. Your neighbors are running a canine Underground Railroad. Their properties are merely way stations on these dogs' road to freedom.

czar said...

PS: Forget about talking to animals. I just finished a book where people were talking to fire.

czar said...

PPS: Maybe the pups are lured by the smell of the McTaco Mansions.

moi said...

Chickory: Yes, the little girl (I think she's a girl) in the second photo is cuter than her brother. And seems to be sweeter. I dunno. I'll test it out tomorrow. Thanks for asking about Ivan. Oh, not good. Stumbly, cross-legged when he walks, back legs slip out from under him when he stands. Our concrete floors don't help, but damn if he still doesn't get feisty about stuff and LOVES his mealtimes, so we're not "there" yet. Soon, though . . .

Czar: Perhaps to that mythical places that PETA stupidly seems to think all dogs should go? That's it. It's PETA's fault. Talking. To. Fire. I won't even ask.

chick'ry said...

I still see him half in and half out the dog door. He is so his own person. I had a hard day with Trout wednesday. I cant write anymore. I will have to call and tell you what happened. But for a cliff notes I will just say oBOMBa isnt the AntiChrist after all - Trout is. grherhaha

serendipitouswildmoments said...

Revolving dogs, we have on family on our lane with that concept down well. Only the nice dogs disappear. The ones that bite are kept, and encouraged with their bad behavior through no appropriate discipline or training. When I ride past, I have a handful of rocks. One of these days I may lose it. No mater which new dog, the learn the family "culture". Of nine dogs in 7 years, only two have not tried to bite me. Of those two sweet natured dogs, one is missing and presumed dead. The other is Molly, adopted by another neighbor.

Sigh, poor dogs.

Moi, come play Haiku Monday/ The theme is THE EGG.

Serendipity

moi said...

Chickory: Yes, you got that right. In all my years and all the dogs I've owned, trained, and encountered, Ivan is probably the most self-motivated I've ever met. Trout comes in at a close second. Please, please tell me you didn't sell her to a Korean restaurant :o)

Serendipity: No kidding? That troubles me to hear. If it's a culture, it's a terrible one, that's for sure. The worst-behaved of these revolving curs was a blue tick hound from hell that used to jump his fence and charge me and my husband when we ran past. Just when I decided, fork it, I'm going to shoot him, he disappeared. To be replaced, of course, with another equally wary-eyed canine, but at least it doesn't jump the fence at me.

BlazngScarlet said...

Poor babies!
I certainly hope they're not being used for something other than being a PET!
In another life, I worked at my local SPCA, and it always broke my heart when dogs came in that were trained specifically to be as mean as possible.
*sigh*
People suck.

moi said...

Scarlet: I know, right? I saw the same thing for many years. Why do you want a dog, I'd ask? To guard the house, was the inevitable answer from the awning-browed mouth-breather standing in front of me. Then get a BURGLAR ALARM, ya jacktard!

Unless someone has paid boocoop bucks for a perfectly trained guard dog from a reputable breeder of such dogs, AND does the work to learn how to handle the dog, then all they're doing is raising a pain in the ass of yet ANOTHER unsocialized, dangerous critter, which leads to the gubmint making all kinds of stupid laws against all kinds of breeds, punishing those of us who are responsible owners.

Madness and stupidity.

Curmudgeon said...

I've lived on working ranches for short stretches. Dogs are like livestock unless trained, not pets. People don't pay attention to them. Usually they are not cruel. Dogs live and die, there's always another, same with cats. They catch mice, that,s all.

Raf's got a point. Watch out for fortune cookies that say. "Ever tasted pooch before?"

foam said...

i had the same thought as scarlett up there. but perhaps they are there because they can survive the coyotes.

i'm charmed by axl. take a picture of him, pretty please?

moi said...

Curm: I grew up on a working ranch myself, and while our dogs and cats were not pets by any means, and certainly not indulged the way most are indulged today, neither did we ever treat them as expendable. We saw them as valuable help meets and if one went missing without explanation, it wasn't shrugged off. Mainly because I raised holy hell until my dad agreed to go out looking for them :o) Still, I see your point. Dog jumps fence, goes wandering, doesn't come home . . . oh well.

Foam: I need to remember to bring my iPhone because I really would like a photo of him. He's such a sweet dog and so handsome. But his owners love him, too, and treat him well, so I doubt he'll ever be mine. Boo.

Curmudgeon said...

I guarantee that I wasn't so cavalier,just my uncles. On a dairy farm, a different relative owned they didn't even have a clue how many cats were around, but they fed them.

moi said...

Curm: Yeah, cats can get out of hand real fast! But around here, they're mostly hawk-bait.

Big Shamu said...

Here's hoping you find the answer and it's a good one. This is mountain lion country yes? Would that also be a possibility?

moi said...

Sham: There are cougars up in the hills, but we've never had any come down into the neighborhood. By and large, they're pretty shy and will leave large dogs alone.