Boo for Barking



Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD accepts that living with dogs means a bark here or there and feels the need to have a bark herself…

My surprisingly happy day just hit a speed bump… in the form of a kindly policeman personally delivering my “First Warning” about my “excessively barking dogs”. Hmmmpffff!

Let me be the first to say that, although I’m a renowned doggie-mad animal lover, I too would be driven to drink by the constant barking of a dog… even by my very own beloved ones. 

However, I work from home and, bar nipping out to collect Aaron from school or hauling in the daily provisions, I am here, in my home… with my dogs. 24/7!

Fact is: dogs bark – that’s what they do! The neighbourhood we live in is filled with dog lovers and generally between the hours of 07h00 and 10h00, and again between 16h30 and 19h00, everyone and his dog is out on the streets getting their daily exercise. Naturally my hounds and the neighbours’ (we all got the warning) will dash down to the gate to have their two pennies’ worth of barking. They bark (no doubt swearing abusively in doggie language at the walking dog for being lucky enough to get a walk) and, once the offending walk recipient has passed, they sprint back up to tell us all about it.

Being at home, I honestly cannot say that I am plagued by “excessively barking dogs”. In fact, as I type this very rant, things are completely bark-free! (Other than my mental barking about what just happened.)

So, pray tell, what is one to do? I have reason to believe – well the policemen mentioned it, actually – that the complaint comes from the ratty old man from down the road (honestly, he complains about everything). Through my sudden red mist (man, I was seething), I had a sudden vision of putting fresh doggie-do in his postbox. Giggle – as if!

No, I will not have my Maltese’s voice box removed – even if she is the first in the “going-to-sort-it-out” doggie line. I will not force a small muzzle on Sammy Bear and I will not be moving anytime soon. So, that leaves me with the following solution: to be ultra-vigilant with the barks. 

I shall be forced to carry smelly hooves and crumbled liver biscuits on my person at all times. (I might pick up a fur kid friend or two when next out). I shall sincerely attempt to use the Reward System and dash out at the first sound of a bark and calling in my sweetest of voices (even if freshly naked and possibly still wet from the shower) for my Maltese to “please be quiet” and offer her a treat on her prompt return to the house.

Of course, this might end her doggie days of fun, and she might end up the size of a barrel and more prone to heart disease or kidney failure… but on the plus side, the extra exercise it will force into my day will be good for me, plus I won’t have to surrender my dogs to an already overflowing doggie shelter. And maybe the old geyser down the road will get off my case.

That’s my bark over!