Living with Other Peoples’ Dogs

Our neighbors have a dog.

Actually, all of our neighbors have dogs.  But for today, we’re just talking about one of them.

Her name is Molly.


Molly in our garage.

Molly is an unfettered kind of dog…largely unsupervised. Sometimes she invites herself along for walks with neighbor dogs.  Sometimes she ambles down here to visit Duncan’s paddock and investigate the smells there (much to the consternation of the Beagle Boys, who let her know in no uncertain terms that he is THEIR horse).  Because she’s a benign little dog, it hasn’t created too much ill-will in the neighborhood–although that’s mostly through the kindness of everyone else.  After all, no one should have to be on guard, as is one of my neighbors, for a local dog who slips into her home, steals her little dog’s bones, and trots off with them.

Last year about this time, Molly–with whom I’d had no direct interaction until that point--came rushing down into my yard while I was doing horse chores.

“Person!” she said.  “Oh, person!  Please help me!  Make it better!”

This baffled me until I realized there was thunder rumbling in the distance, and understood that she’s one of those dogs who fears it uncontrollably.  I took her home, discovered her people not there, and ultimately tucked her away in her direct neighbor’s yard (with that person’s cooperation, of course), where she at least had some shelter and some company.  It didn’t happen again, and life went on.

Zip forward a year.  This past week, the monsoons arrived.  Rejoice!   They started off with a violent and battering hail storm that came down so hard it ran right off the dried-to-concrete land, making little flash floods down Arroyo Major–oh drama!  Since then they’ve have been quieter, including one day where it rained lightly for two whole hours. (!!)

Of course, each of these rains comes with stormy pieces–winds, lightning, thunder.

We had one of these storms on Thursday morning, as I was dashing around in prep for taking Connery to see the Vet Chiro, running in and out of the house to drop things in the front seat of the car before I grabbed up the dogs.  (Dart went too, because he had Stand for Exam to practice.)

This is what it looks like in back when you stick your head into my old hatchback Focus to drop things into the other side of the front seat:

Ford Focus view

But this is what it looked like that morning when I stuck my head into my old hatchback Focus to drop things into the other side of the front seat:

Molly's Face


I only screamed a little.

And then I leashed her and coaxed her out, loaded up my dogs, and ultimately had to pull her into my lap to back out of the garage just to make sure I didn’t run her over.  I sure felt like a monster when I closed the garage door so she couldn’t hide there.  I almost took her with me, but I didn’t have an extra crate for it.

When I came home, she was gone.  Maybe her people had come home; maybe she’d found somewhere else to hide.

Yesterday when the storms came over and I opened the front door to let the fresh air cool the house…there was Molly.



Let’s just say I consider it lucky that the front screen is a metal security door, because the way she was scraping her paws down it, I can safely say a soft screen wouldn’t have stopped her.  I opened the garage and put a bed down for her and petted her trembling self for a while, but it’s not what she needs.  She needs a secure place at home, a yard that keeps her contained and safe, and she needs behavioral and/or medication therapies for her fears, which are true phobias and not to be handled with a few pats by a stranger.

Poor Molly.  I feel so badly for her; I wish there was something I could do.  And at the same time…

Really, neighbors?

I could say more, but I won’t. I don’t live in a vacuum, after all.  And Otherwise Pleasant Neighbors might think I should have approached them about this (I kinda did, when I tried to return her to no avail, and then I left a message via the Other Neighbors who took her in last year), but we have no casual interactions.  But just in case, there it is:  Your dog needs you.  And we need not to have her trying to break into our house.  PS SLOW DOWN on this road!

Bet I’m not the only one with a Molly living nearby…


About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
This entry was posted in Behind the Scenes, The Dogs! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Living with Other Peoples’ Dogs

  1. Crysta says:

    Cute as she is, I’d have screamed if she popped up out of nowhere in my car too.

    This right here is why I hate when people let their dogs roam free. Well, one of the reasons, but it’s a big one. Someday someone is going to take Molly in permanently and then the owner will be upset that their dog has been “stolen”.

    We don’t have any dogs around here that seek us out for protection or companionship (our old neighbors did, however, have an adorable Lab puppy who wanted to come home with me), but back home there was a German Shepherd named Bogey who spent more time at our house than at his own… but not because he was scared. He was friends with our dog. So friendly, in fact, that sometimes he thought he lived with us I think…

    And he brought us a puppy once. The puppy was sick, and my mom worked at a vet clinic. I don’t know if this dog somehow KNEW that or if he just thought “Well, my parents aren’t doing anything but maybe the nice people down the street will.”

    • Doranna says:

      Crysta, I did almost take Molly with me that day, and I’m not sure I would have felt bad if the neighbors got home and worried. Well, yes I would, but still. Interesting about the puppy! Maybe your friend dog just brought him to a place that felt safe.

      Elizabeth, when I was in the Appalachians we had packs form around loose bitches in that way, and they were dangerous as all get out. Normally fine family dogs would go rolling through other people’s yards in a frenzy, killing chickens and family pets. Not so great to meet them on foot, either, if you were out in the woods. I had them in mind when I wrote A Feral Darkness (among other things).

      Kendra, that sounds awful. I have to say that what happened to these little dogs isn’t even in the same league as what happened with Connery. A batch of dogs boiling onto your property and being appropriately scolded by your dogs isn’t even in the same UNIVERSE as if you were in a public area and your dog launched itself so viciously at another dog that you lost the leash and your dog attacked that other dog. It just really isn’t. You have a right to use your property; your dogs are appropriate to take ownership of their property. I’m really sorry that this neighbor has put you in the position of making choices about how you use your five acres!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I suppose you couldn’t print out a copy of this blog post and put it up at the nearest telephone pole/vet clinic/feed store with “IS THIS YOUR DOG?” at the top of it and no identifying URL….no, I guess not. I do understand about not wanting confrontations with neighbors and about the problem of neighbors who don’t even begin to be responsible for their animals. (We once lived next to someone who had a blue-tick hound bitch they let run loose. Every so often, packs of male dogs chased her through the neighborhood, because lots of people there let dogs run loose. The male dogs would growl and snap at kids coming home from school, people on bicycles, etc, and Grace–the bitch–had a lady problem that made her cry out when bred and then prolapse. The owner? “It’s just nature. It’s how God made dogs.”)

  3. Kendra says:

    I am the Only person in my neighborhood (back-country-hood?) who contains their dogs. I’ve not had the ‘running to me for help’ scenario, I Have had the fun of being ‘Grandma’ to a sweet lab who would come for a visit. Unfortunately, mostly what I’ve had has been trauma. One neighbor has LOTS of small dogs. Who lay out IN the road and then come over to my fence and talk smack to my Large dogs (two 100 lbers: German Shephard and GS-Border Collie mix) and a medium 60 lb very Vocal girl. I have 5 acres – we all have at least that – and when I’m out and about when I first moved in, I would let my dogs come with me. They never left my property. Well one day the little ones came surging over to my place at this time and of course my dogs were just Ecstatic to finally “Shut those dogs UP!” Truly I suppose I’m naive, but I believed they wouldnt hurt them – they live with cats. And they didn’t, bad as it all looked and sounded. I DID immediately yell at my dogs and chase and well – finally the little dogs got Out of the yard and ran for home. And for quite awhile those dogs didn’t come over. But I feel BAD about the situation. Especially feeling so bad about Connery’s experience. Well- I don’t let my dogs come with me in the pasture anymore. Mumph.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Actually, here’s a problem… a Beagle problem. Babette Beagle is an escape artist. (I think it comes with Being a Beagle.) In any case, we have a 4′ chain link fence around the yard. We have chicken-wired the base so she can’t go UNDER. We have locks on the gates so the utility men can’t come in and let her out. But, she was out today. Twice. Fortunately, she only got into the neighbor’s yard. But, the third time, Harry picked her off the top of the chain link fence as she was balance-beaming across it. We’re not sure if she’s climbing a nearby tree and jumping from the tree to the fence. Or if she’s climbing the fence and bracing against the tree. (Lower branches have been removed. We’ll cut the tree down if we have to, but it’s the only thing which gives shade to the patio, so if we don’t have to, I’d rather not.) She has tags which read “If I’m Out, I’m Lost” and give our phone numbers and address, but I can’t figure out how to further Beagle-Proof the yard because I do not WANT her OAA. I know she gets bored because Shadow & Sunny Dachshund are 14 and no match in energy for a 3 year old Beagle. But… does anyone have any suggestions for how to prevent Babette from going a-wandering?

  5. Doranna says:

    Ohh, yeah–Beagles are known for their cleverness and curiosity when it comes to fences. I’m lucky in that the only time my guys have staged a break-out, it’s because they’re trying to reach ME. But in that respect, Dart has been a significant challenge to keep in. No climbing, though. I think ours would be very hard to climb out of. (I used to have a Britanny who could do it, though. I watched. I almost hated to put her back in after all that work!)

    I bet she’s climbing the fence and bracing against the tree.

    You might check out coyote rollers, re the fence climbing. Or if push comes to shove, electric horse tape, on the inside top of the fence, not the center top of it. I know, I know, I’m a horrible person. But I’d rather have my dog secure. It’s the world’s worst feeling when you look out into an empty yard…

  6. Marilyn says:

    A friend of ours who did two tours in Iraq said half the people he served with weren’t as smart as Babette. I had to look up coyote rollers… I’ve sent a request for info. I’d never heard of them. I’ll also have to look up electric horse tape. Not having horses, I’d never heard of that, either, but I could figure out from context what it probably was.

    I’m inclined to think you’re right. We may have a solution in about 6 weeks as Harper Longhair Dachshund is joining the Pack and she will have a 12 week old puppy to harass her and play with her. Unfortunately, TDM (too d@mn much) could happen to her in six weeks. We didn’t choose her — she found us — but if we can possibly keep her safe, we will do so, because she’s a sweet heart who deserves the best.

    Harry grumbles, “She’s doing THIS, and you want to teach her AGILITY?!”

    I pointed out that if we channeled some of that intelligence and energy CONSTRUCTIVELY, she might not be such a terror.

    I’m keepin’ my fingers crossed, because Dag’s House, about six miles from us, may be putting in an agility yard for people to train at.

  7. Doranna says:

    I think coyote rollers are a Southwest thing, at least for now.

    I suspect you have electric horse tape figured out, all right. ;>

    And yes! Channel all that Beagley goodness to the Force! Then she’ll stay away from the Dark Side. ;> (Fingers crossed for Dag’s House!)

  8. Sue Farrell says:

    We had a neighbor dog problem when we lived in the big city. Our next door neighbor had a pit bull that was ignored and I feel mistreated. We had a beagle. We also had chain link fence surrounding our property. The pit bull jumped the fence and attacked our beagle. Luckily we got them apart with a water hose before he killed our beagle—but until they got rid of their dog we were afraid to even let our beagle out into the yard. It was HORRIBLE—and not the pit bulls fault, the neighbor’s fault. Of course there was a huge vet bill that the neighbor refused to pay, too.

  9. Doranna says:

    Oh, that’s AWFUL.

  10. Alex says:

    I bet she doesn’t have a tag, but if she did, I’d be tempted to take her over to a friend’s a town or so away, and have them innocently ring up and ask the owners to collect their stray. (“Oh, you live all the way over there? Well I never!”). That might knock them out of their complacency.

  11. Doranna says:

    LOL! I like the way you think!

    She has a collar, but I don’t recall seeing any tags. I should look, the next time I have her wet self in my lap as I juggle to back out of the garage without running her over.

  12. Kendra says:

    I just have to support your electric horse tape – that’s what I’m doing. I have an ‘inner’ yard inside my regular (large) chain link yard. The inner yard is fenced with the electric horse tape. It keeps Barry, my basset-spaniel in- and the other Much Bigger dogs Out. I’ve also heard bad things about it, but figure it’s better than the alternative. About once every 6 months, Barry would have puncture wounds in his neck from being ‘punished’ by the other dogs. He’s just too dang stubborn to learn his correct place in the ‘order’ of things. Huh- so now I realize I’m talking about my Own Dogs mauling my Own Dogs. Maybe that’s the definition of having Too Many? Anyway- it’s worked Great- noone goes NEAR it anymore- they all obviously got the ‘lesson’ Very Clearly. I have one that could jump anything – several that would dig… A normal fence just wouldn’t do. Hmmm – applying that statement to the outside fence- they LIKE to be HOME. Lucky me. 🙂

  13. doranna says:

    That’s very cool that the horse tape works so well for you. 8)

    There are down sides to putting the tape where a dog would get zapped for simply responding to the presence of another dog. If a dog is anxious or fearful, getting zapped as a result of the presence of another dog can simply escalate their behavior. But that’s not what we’re talking about, and if that’s truly an issue, tape placement can be adjusted to ensure that it enforces the exact problem behavior: Do not climb this fence! ;> In my mind, keeping the dog inside is a critical, primary safety issue. And not all fences can take coyote rollers. (Mine wouldn’t, without extensive additional construction work, because it’s a horse fence.)

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