Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I love you, but I hate your dog

All in all, we are pretty fortunate. We have some fabulous neighbors.

There is the couple across the street who take care of our dogs when we go out of town. They save us hundreds of dollars and allow us to visit family when we might not be able to afford it otherwise.

There is the family across the street who ushered us into the social circle of young families in the neighborhood. They have been supportive and fun, sharing birthdays and holidays and lots of laughs with us.

Then there is the family next door to us. We love them too. The wife is from the Ukraine and the husband is from Mexico. They met in an English as a second language class, which I think is really cool. They have a beautiful teenage daughter whose best friend is their German Shepherd, Dutch.

When we moved in, there was a little chatter about Dutch and what an annoyance he was. But we are dog people, and appreciate a little understanding when our dogs are annoying, so we afforded the same tolerance towards Dutch.

He barks when someone walks past.

He barks when you pull in the driveway.

He barks when the mailman comes.

He barks when our dogs go outside.

He barks when a leaf falls off the tree.

Occasionally it has bothered me. In years past, it was just a "HEY! Look at me! I'm a dog! HEY HEY HEY!" bark. I can totally tune that out unless I'm doing something in the driveway, in which case, after about a half hour, it's really annoying, and I'll yell at him until someone comes to bring him inside.

Lately though, the barking has been more of a, "HEY! I hate you and your children! I'm going to take your fingers off if you stick them through that fence! HEY HEY HEY!" bark.

I don't like it at all.

Worse than the aggression though, is the timing of the barking.

Ever since we moved Christopher into his new room down the hall from us, he has been waking up around 5:00 in the morning. It's killing us. He used to sleep until about 8:00, and losing three hours of sleep seems to have turned him into Mr. Crankypants from hell.

He needs more sleep.

We've tried longer naps. We've tried putting him down earlier. It's not working.

Unfortunately, what we need is for Dutch to not be in our neighbor's backyard BARKING INCESSANTLY AT 5:00 FREAKING A.M.

I really like our neighbors. I do. But the dog is turning my child into a sleepless monster.

The neighbor behind us just calls the police to report the dog as a nuisance. I think that's a little over the top and incredibly passive aggressive. However, I'm not relishing the idea of having to go talk to them about it. I know they are sensitive to the issue (having had the cops called and all), and we've tried to be very understanding of it.

Maybe I should just start sending Christopher over to their house at 5:00 A.M. when Dutch starts in. Or better yet, I could send him at 8:00 when he turns into the most evil, sleepy two year old on the planet.

What would you do?