Pet Peeves or Family Member?

I suppose everyone has their own little pet peeve(s) and I am no exception. Two years ago my suburban neighbors decided to get their children a puppy for Christmas, a blank lab. The little guy was only six weeks old and they named him Cooper. Since that time their kids, a daughter and son now 13 and 10 pay little if no attention to the new member of their household. The parents, now in their early fifties, do not bother with him either. I am guessing that since they put a four foot wooden fence around the backyard they believe they did their duty. Except now Cooper spends his days from their wee early morning hours until very late at night barking excessively.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge animal lover. Our household has always consisted of indoor pet(s) that are loved and adored very much as our own children. I am a firm believer that if you adopt or purchase a pet they should be made a member of the family, your dog should not live outside pinned or tied up, you should be able to provide them with the best and cats…well, cats seem to make up their own mind about how they should live their lives whether it inside, outside or both. For instance, eight years ago we had two dogs. Max was an all-black Shepard Chow Lab mix given to my son when he was four by my grandfather and Zoe; a Basset Hound my husband gave me a year after we started dating. Anyway, eight years ago my youngest daughter decided she wanted a kitten and a woman I worked with was looking for a home for six. So I took my son and youngest daughter over to her house one day after work with the intent on letting my daughter pick out a kitten. All were orange and white with the exception of the only female in the litter, a little bob-tailed kitten who was black, orange and white. Sitting on the sun porch playing with all the kittens I firmly told my daughter she could only have one. But the little female crawled up the sleeve of my son’s sweatshirt, curled up in a ball in his hood and promptly went to sleep. It was one of the most adorable things I had ever seen. Another, the biggest kitten in the bunch, was shoving his siblings out of the way so he could be the only one to nurse. He was rude, mean and had huge green eyes with a little orange goatee. I watched him with humorous interest. Still another, a plain but adorable stripped kitten struggled with the confines of my daughters hands. Needless to say, we came home with all three. My son named his Tiger Lily, my youngest named hers Mischief (never was a kitten given a more appropriate name) and the one I had picked out for my middle child and oldest daughter was aptly named Chubbies (yes, it’s plural).
Today, of the aforementioned five, only Chubbies remains. Michief, who refused to be an indoor cat, was hit by a car and killed instantly. Tiger Lily was the sweetest gentlest girl spent her life curled up on my son’s bed. Sadly she developed leukemia and passed away. Zoe, who quickly turned into my husband’s football/basketball buddy and spent ten years on the couch with him watching countless games, got cancer and passed away last year. Max…my baby and constant companion/protector for 12 years lost her sight and hearing in the last year of her life. Her body became riddled with arthritis and she had great difficulty getting up or walking. My husband realized that despite the pain medication, she was suffering and there was nothing we could do to make her comfortable. Together, we took her to our Vet and put her to sleep. Even now, writing of her, the tears are rolling down my cheeks.
Each of these so-called pets were/are members of our family and we love(d) them dearly. It has been five years now since I lost Max. I think of her often and it always brings tears. My children had grown up with her. She walked them to the bus stop every morning, waited for them to board then she would walk home and lay on the porch all day guarding the house. Then at 3:20 in the afternoon she would return to the bus stop and wait for them to be brought back to her and then walk them home. When they would play outside she was always near, watching over them from a short distance away. She loved them as I and kept them from harm.
Several months after losing Max my son, still grieving her loss, talked me into adopting a rescue. She was a Shepard Chow mix whom we named Phoebe. Thinking she would have many of the same characteristics as Max we held no fear of the sometime aggressive breed(s) she embodied. Phoebe was in a lot of ways like Max, but unlike Max, as she got older she become increasingly aggressive. Not with us but anyone who dared to come to our house or near our fenced yard. Still, I loved her dearly and refused to believe she would actually bite someone. Then last March she jumped our fence and attacked one of our neighbors (unfortunately (hehe) it was not Cooper) little dogs. At that point my husband put his foot down and after four years of being a member of our family, Phoebe went to live with a dog trainer in the town next to ours. I know why we had to let her go, but it did not make it any easier.
And then the addition of one more. A year ago last April a friend of mine told me about her son’s puppy. She said his landlord would not allow him to keep the lil guy and they were desperately searching for a new home for him. He was a six month old Miniature American Eskimo Spitz. She showed me a photo of him on her phone and that was it, I was sold. I forwarded the pictures to my husband’s phone and two days later the little guy came to live with us. We named him daVinci and he has stolen the heart of everyone. He learns tricks easily, is quite the snuggler, hates to be alone and at 17 pounds weighs five less than Chubbies.
Now back to my original rant. Cooper is a pain in the a**. It breaks my heart and makes me sick to see him mistreated and ignored by the family who chose to adopt him. Still, yesterday when my husband came in after working in the yard, he told me that Cooper tried to bite him. He said it’s only a matter of time before that dog bites someone. My daughter and I have jokingly said we want a paintball or Beebe gun to stop his excessive barking. Of course, it is not just the dog who has evoked this type of response from our household…it’s the neighbors. The parents give new meaning to snobby and the children go without any form of discipline. The boy is the neighborhood bully with a mouth filthier than a sailor. I wish they’d move!
Yet, I believe that everyone has ‘that’ neighbor no matter where they live. There is always one who has to go out of their way to bother the people that live around them. I hear my friends complain about theirs and I know that a barking dog is merely an annoyance in comparison to some of the hellish people who live around them. So I guess I do have little to complain about…at least until tomorrow morning when Cooper gives me my wake-up call at 5:30am on a Sunday. And that is one of my biggest pet peeves!

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