I'll admit that I wanted him dead...

For months now, no years now, I have secretly held on to angry feelings for someone who lives in my neighborhood. I have never had a conversation with this person. I know almost nothing about her, except that she lives about ten houses down from me and that she is nuts for her dog.

For years now I have watched as she walks her little dog down the street, methodically allowing him to relieve himself on any green patch of land that is not his own yard. He is let off his leash just long enough to get comfy in his business, and then he returns to his owner's side happy as a clam (a clam that has a very healthy digestive system).

This has gone on for years now and I have never seen her once bring along a little baggie or anything to help with clean up. Nothing. Because she has probably lived in the neighborhood for decades nobody is going to approach her and ask her to change her ways. I am not naive enough to believe that is going to happen. If I weren't so opposed to anonymous notes I might send her one, but I can't go against my morals on that one. So, I just turn away or go into the house when I see her and her little white fluff ball coming down the sidewalk. I avoid it.

This morning, however, avoidance was not an option. I was leaving my neighborhood, looking left as I was beginning to make a right turn. As I started rounding the turn I see her, the dog lady, standing there with a terrified look on her face and her hands on top of her head as she stared at my front right tire. I slammed on the brakes out of reflex and she came running to my car. I had just enough time to think, "I might have just killed the fertilizer!" before I jumped out of my car and ran to assess the damage. Her equally elderly sister-in-law, whom I know a little bit, was standing on the other corner holding both her own dog and my nemesis, who obviously had escaped the tread of my tire.

Before I knew what was happening my neighbor and I were embracing and making sure each other was alright. All angry feelings were gone and I had a small glimpse into what this little dog means to this woman. Next time I see them coming down the street I will wave and smile and practice a little avoidance again as the leash is unhooked. But this time the avoidance will help me remember an important question... Aren't there bigger things to worry about?

8 comments

Connie | September 19, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Ten years ago, I had three missionaries in the field so I took on a newspaper route in my neighborhood to supplement our income. I would leave the house at 4:00 a.m. with the newspaper bag over my shoulders and "walk the streets" delivering news to unsuspecting neighbors. In a cul-de-sac lived a dog. A big dog. A big, black dog that blended into the shadows and waited until I was in front of his owner's house. He would charge out after me, barking and baring his teeth, leaving me shaken and wondering when he was going to take a bite out of me. After several days of this happening, I realized I needed a higher power to get rid of the nuisance and of my fear of entering that cul-de-sac. There were many heart-felt prayers said before I left my house and as I approached that house. One morning, the big, black dog didn't come out. I assumed that his owners were tired of hearing his barking at 4:30 in the morning and had either put him in the back yard, house or garage. Much to my surprise (and I must admit, my delight) I learned that the dog had been killed by a car. I really didn't want him dead... or did I? Karen, you're a compassionate person to be concerned about her feelings and to be able to see what that dog means to her. If things change though, would you like me to say some prayers?

Mrs4444 | September 19, 2008 at 11:27 PM

Fantastic. You're a sweetheart :)

Lisa | September 19, 2008 at 11:45 PM

Great story! That's so funny that even where we see a glaring fault when someone is so inconsiderate to others there's STILL another side! This is a wonderful reminder, because I'm still a little upset for you (and your neighbors) about her behavior, but knowing that you're over it makes me want to look at people like that differently as well. Thanks for this.

Luann | September 20, 2008 at 7:15 AM

Whew. When I read the first sentence of this post, I was afraid you might be talking about me. I'm as relieved as Fluffy on my front lawn to find out you weren't. :)

Joking aside, this is a great example of how it is impossible not to have love for someone you are serving. Great post.

Heidi Ashworth | September 20, 2008 at 3:04 PM

Oh my, that's a tough one. Tho, I must say, having a postive experience with someone sure creates a lot of tolerance. (Is that why they say Make Love Not War?)

charrette | September 20, 2008 at 10:56 PM

Nice post! Hopefully nobody wants OUR dog dead! (How could they? He's too cute!) Yeah, that's waht they all say...

Anyway, next time we're together be sure to ask Jeff about his brush with wishing death on the neighbor's dog. It is beyond hilarious!

Kazzy | September 21, 2008 at 7:11 AM

I will do that!

yarell | September 21, 2008 at 5:23 PM

i know the neighbor of which u speak ... i've seen her dog in action many times in the morning. and i've often thought of cleaning up after it and delivering a brown paper bag to her front doorstep.

but don't worry - i'd never do that to a sweet old lady. it's nice to get your perspective on her.