Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A little story...

Once upon a time, there were a mom, a dad, and a baby boy. They moved into a sweet little house on a quiet street in a pleasant city. They greatly enjoyed their quiet, pleasant life in this house and on this quiet street. Things went along cheerfully for about 6 months. Then, one day, a family moved into the empty house next to theirs. This family consisted of a mom, a dad, a baby boy... and two large dogs.

The family who lived in the sweet little house looked and did a double take. They realized that the house next to them had a large, fenced in yard that backed up within six feet of their bedroom window. They hadn't noticed this before. They also noticed that this fenced in yard had a fenced in dog lot within it, a perfect incentive for renters who have large dogs. The little family saw the large dogs, and they took a deep, collective breath. They prayed that these dogs would be nice, quiet dogs. Unfortunately, they were not nice, quiet dogs. These dogs liked to bark. A lot. Loudly. Whenever something moved. Often right by the fence within six feet of the couple's bedroom window. Late at night. Early in the morning.

One night, late, a couple of days after the dogs had moved in next door, the mom in the sweet little house lay in bed, listening to the dogs bark. She prayed that God would please strike them dead. She fantasized about all of the different things she could do to stop the barking dogs from barking, some of them illegal. God, since He is far more merciful than she is, did not strike them dead. He did, however, cause them to cease barking so that the mom could go to sleep. She was grateful. A few more days passed, and the dogs settled down a bit.

Then, one morning, the mom was awakened again at 5:30 a.m. by the barking dogs. Their owners had decided not to put them in the pen on the side of the yard for the night. They sounded like they were going to come through her window at any moment and eat her in her bed. She prayed, and she wondered what to do. Considering her increasing anger over the barking dogs and their incredibly inconsiderate owners, would it be prudent to go over to their house and talk to them? Is it possible that they could become offended by her obvious anger? She didn't want to anger her neighbors; she just wanted their dogs to fall off the face of the earth. What shoud she do? Is this something she should accept with satisfaction or not? =) She still doesn't know, but she's looking for some advice from some people who aren't as angry as she is currently.

The End.


Wendy P. said...

I just have to say...and not to make light of your situation with the barking neighbors....but I did find humor in coming to the end of your story, and then seeing the Big, Red title of your next post: "Acceptance". Sometimes irony is just unfair! (I know, I know, I'm not helping!) I wish I had some advice for you; as I increase in years, I tend to shy away from confrontation, meaning I wouldn't have the courage to confront them about their dogs. Having them bark in their pen is one thing; them roaming in my yard would be another, though. If you shoot them, I won't tell. :)

Meredith said...

I've never had much success talking to people about the behavior of their dogs. Dog owners are sometimes worse than parents in that regard.

I can tell you that we've moved from 2 different houses when neighbors around us brought home pit bulls. But that's just me!

Suzanne said...

I've been's awful. Our former neighbor left her 2 large (inside) dogs outside when she was out of town which was frequently. We approached her several times and nothing ever happened until we moved. Maybe your neighbors will be more considerate if you mention it to them......good luck.

Brandy said...

Wanna borrow our air rifle? :)

I am really commenting to tell you that I haven't dropped by in a week (or two) and I was astounded by the new look. Just beautiful!

The Mom said...

I'm with Meredith here, I don't think (obviously God can do anything) you'll get far talking to the neighbors.

Keep praying. Move house? Are you worried about safety or the noise? Ear plugs? Could you move the bedrooms round so you aren't next to the noise all night? Double glazing?

When we had our first five children, a couple of doors down from us the neighbor bought a Rottweiler - huge dog, tiny garden and I was scared for the safety of my children. The dog seemed the size of a small calf, and was not good tempered.

I never walked past that house without praying - the front yard wasn't fenced in and the dog would bound up to the hedge at the front and bark ferociously at us - and I was conscious of having two or three infants walking next to the stroller on the pavement only two or three feet away.

Scarey. Hope something works out soon. Lack of sleep can get pretty stressful.

Bethany said...

Major Bummer! But here's my advice. . . you never know until you ask. When Josh and I were in Maine we had a duplex in a little neighborhood and we had 2 dogs that were fenced out back. Normally they were good and we were conscious of their barking and would bring them inside if they did bark. But alas, one morning we had a neighbor stop by and ask us to bring our dogs in. He was very rude and by God's grace Josh was very kind and gracious. (I would not have been!)

So. . . I suggest you bring over some muffins, welcome them to the neighborhood. See for yourself if their dogs are friendly and try casually mentioning that its quite ruffling to have dogs barking at 5:30 in the morning. =)

Andrea Casey said...

Growing up, we had 2 little dogs (but not the kind that fit in your purse). They'd bark and sometimes drive our neighbors nuts. :|
What did they do? They had the police drop by our place to let us know our pets were being a nuisance. Although this was utterly humiliating for my family, it sent us the message to be more aware of our dogs' barking and realize how it affects our neighbors...and we never knew who filed the complaint. ; )

Maybe this would work for you? I hope the barking madness ends soon for you!

Susi said...

Hi, Ellen...I don't know if you remember me, but we've met (long time ago, homeschooler's Colonial Ball)and perhaps you've noticed my blog on and off again through Rachel's. Anyhow, I felt OBLIGED to share a very similar story to the one you're experiencing right now. In the military housing we are currently in, we share a backyard fence with our neighbor, 8 houses in a row. They moved in about 3 months before I gave birth to Violet. They brought with them 2 large dogs. The dogs were sorely neglected, and we could hear them barking and whining pitifully all night, and all day, even when they were shut up in the house, since they were frequently abandoned by both owners for sometimes days at a time. Not only that, but they several times dug under the fence into our yard, wreaking havoc with plants and such, and would be there, racing around furiously digging up the grass, too hyper with excitement (even dangerously so) at seeing me approach the back door to try to "shoo" them back into their own yard. My husband was very patient with the neighbors, and would console me when I'd leap for the door with fire in my breath to break down their door and tell them what I thought of them whenever I'd hear the annoying little beggars scratching at our back door and making snot marks all over the glass. Well, my husband left for field exercises in February and I was alone caring for a 9-week old baby for 2 weeks. The first night he was gone, I was nursing her to sleep for the night, and, as usual, the dogs started barking at NOTHING. I got that queasy, tight feeling in my stomach that meant even if the baby managed to make it to sleep in spite of the noise, I knew I would not, for the resentment and indignation that was at war in MY heart. I felt completely helpless and utterly VIOLATED by these heartless IGNORAMI who lived next door, who were sitting in their living room LISTENING to their own dogs barking up a storm, doing absolutely NOTHING!!! So, I began to pray. I prayed that God would somehow rescue me from the situation, my own anger, the hearless neighbors, or just make the dogs *somehow* stop barking. Almost instantly, the noise became quieter, and was slowly replaced by a whining, whimpering noise, which then dulled to silence. I was doubtful, but thanked God quickly anyhow. I put the baby down to sleep and went downstairs. Minutes later, the neighbor man knocked on my door. "Could I walk into your yard for a moment?" he said. "I think my dog might be in your yard." "Ok," I said, "and do you know the number to the MP's? he asked, "I think he might be dead." "Oh, " I said, confusedly. "I don't think--" then I SAW the DOG. The hyperactive, underfed, poor ignored brute of an overgrown puppy had jumped the fence wearing his collar while still attached to the leash which had been tied to something on the other side of the fence. He was HANGING from the FENCE by his COLLAR, completely limp, neck snapped......and, yes, he was, indeed, dead. I was absolutely horrified. More horrific, though not so much surprising, was the owner's reaction: completely blase. He didn't even go over to the dog to touch it or feel its pulse or cut it down. He just stared at it calmly, and nodded, "Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's dead." I was about to puke, so I went in the house and left the back gate open for him and the MP's to collect the body of the poor animal. :( It was pretty traumatic, especially for a nursing mother (you know, hormones and all) without her husband. Upon reflection, however, and remembering the timing of it all, my prayer, the whining, *gasp* I felt a shiver in my spine when I thought of how quickly and ruthlessly it seemed God had worked on my behalf. I hadn't exactly asked for THAT....but, hey. God is God, right? He answers prayers however He likes.

So that's my story.....I'm never sure exactly what it *means* when I tell it to people. In my mind it was just a fresh reminder of how powerfully God is at work in my life, even when it just looks like everyday, petty stuff: annoying barking...a quick prayer from a frustrated heart. Well, He heard it...and He definitely had an answer!!!