The people in the town I live in love dogs. I once estimated that there was one dog for every two people in town. That probably isn’t correct, but there are a LOT of dogs.
Vanilla is a little yippy dog who lives across the street and down one house. He is an annoying little thing, and I can remember times when he would bark at two in the morning. He barks at everything, including (I think) the wind. His owner is an elderly lady who has been ill over the past few years, so Vanilla hasn’t been around as much. (I think Mrs. M has been in the hospital and someone else has taken care of the dog.) He’s back right now, and barking it up like crazy.
Jack is a newcomer to the neighborhood, and another little white yippy dog who lives directly across the street. His owners keep good tabs on him, though, so he isn’t too annoying. They used to take care of a friend’s dog, Romeo, who liked to run out into the street a lot. But Jack seems pretty well behaved.
Next door to us are a big black dog and a big yellow dog. I think the yellow dog might be a lab mix, and I can’t tell what the black one is. They bark a lot too, in big, deep barks. Once, when my niece was walking my dogs, the big black dog jumped over the chain link fence and freaked her out. The dog was on a chain, so it didn’t get free, but my niece thought it was going to strangle itself or something. But it jumped back over the fence and was fine. But my niece is still a little bit nervous about that dog.
On the other corner live three little white schoodles. At least, I think they are schnoodles (though I almost typed “snickerdoodles” which might be a good name, too.) They are typically inside the house, but sometimes they are outside. They also like to bark whenever someone walks by.
About three blocks away is a dog I’ve dubbed Mr. Barkley. He’s an old dog who looks like he might be a Basset Hound mix. He seems to take his job very seriously, which is to bark at you from the moment he sees you until you are safely away from his yard. He is so small and funny with a big deep bark that he makes me smile.
In the other direction in down, there is a dog I call Crazy, or sometimes Circles. He is a medium sized dog with white fur with black spots, and he is usually on a chain outside the house. He gets really excited when I pass by, and he barks and barks and barks and hops around in a circle.
When I go on a two-mile run, I pass a medium sized, copper colored dog who is always chained on a zip line. He runs at me full speed until he is yanked backward by his chain. Every time. I keep wondering when he’s going to learn that there is an end to his chain. He doesn’t seem to understand it yet.
There’s a black dog inside a fence at a house near the park, five dogs that look like collies that live near Crazy, and three Basset Hounds that live two houses down from Mr. Barkley. I see all these dogs more often than I see their people, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know them a little bit. When I see one gone unexpectedly (like the ugly black dog whose bark sounded like a cough), I wonder what happened. When a family moves away and takes their dogs with them (like the two beautiful Golden Retrievers who lived on the hill), I’m a little sad.
The dogs are my neighbors as much as the people are, and I like seeing them.
Unless they are growling at me.