Who am I, really? How much of what others see is just what I want them to see about the person I think I should be: smart, generous, good, creative, energetic, perfect parent, etc. Well, I guess most of it is true, but they don't know that while the kids went off to church on Wednesday evening, I had dinner alone at home: a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats and a martini (with four olives!).
This morning a neighbor complained about our dogs barking. I’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen, and I know it was justified. Still, I want to know who it was (he/she only spoke to Ben while he was out waiting for the school bus). And I want to tell them our story and make sure they understand why I put up with the dogs and why they should, too. In other words, I want to shame them and make them feel bad for what was really a reasonable request. I have to work hard to sort this out before I do anything. I really don’t know what to do about the dogs; I’m about at my wit’s end. They go on a barking rampage about twice a day morning and evening – times when lots of people are out in the neighborhood, going to and from work and school, walking, gardening, etc. This activity makes the dogs crazy. I want the dogs to be watch dogs, I feel much more secure during the night because they are here. I put up with a lot to keep them.
For starters, I put up a fence to keep them in the yard and then spent more to add to the fence so I could plant a garden and keep them out of it. I have fought and struggled with ways to keep them from digging under the fence, installing chicken wire and other barriers. They have fouled the carpeting on the screened porch, ruined the downstairs carpet so that I had to have it ripped up and Pergo installed. Cinder, AKA Chainsaw, has destroyed every left shoe I own, eaten the crotch out of most of my panties, shredded the venetian blinds on three glass doors and descreened the porch. But, I can’t get rid of them. First of all, I don’t know how to ethically: I can’t euthanize healthy dogs; I can’t wish them on anyone else; and besides, I don’t want to throw away my “investment” in them. Oreo has mellowed now that she is around four years old. Cinder is getting better – he’s nearly two years old. And then there is the boys ‘ attachment. How could I take Oreo away from Logan who has already suffered more loss than any child should? Not only the loss of his parents, but his first puppy died two weeks after Christmas, breaking his heart. And Ben! Ben found Cinder straying one day when we were having a garage sale. Ben is very cautious about forming attachments, so when he asked if he could keep Cinder, how could I say no? So, what do I do about the neighbors? I guess I will try to be attentive to when their barking cycles occur (both the neighbors and the dogs barking cycles), and enlist the boys to distract them (the dogs).