Until recently, we had an extremely yappy dog living next door.

She didn’t live alone, of course. She had handlers.

Interestingly, this family of hers was, in every area outside of pet ownership, an uptight, buttoned-down group of people. Their home and yard were tidy, pristine. Their voices were never raised; indeed, they were emblematic Midwesterners when it came to tightness of emotional expression. They rarely interacted with us or each other. Mostly, they drove up, marched sullenly into the house carrying their bags from the mall, and sat inside, in front of the flickering glow of the television. They were nothing remarkable.

Except that damn dog. Remarkable understates her ability to yap loudly, continually, and relentlessly at 7 a.m. She was equally gifted at 11:00 p.m.

Dog had pipes.

And as she sat in the yard, tethered to the swingset all day, her sharp barks were like leeetle needles pelting into my skin. For the most part, I could ignore her during the colder months, when our house was shut up. However, during the warmer months, there was no shutting up–of our windows, of Zoe the Dog, or of my complaints about her blood-pressure-raising ruckus. On the rare occasion that I’d forget about Zoe, I would invariably also be pushing my children in a stroller down the sidewalk next to her house. Zoe, leashed, would rush us, unleashing a cacophony of aggressive snarls and yips and snertles and choler and froth. Startled out of my gourd, I’d leap three feet into the air and scream loudly; the formerly-blissed-out children would wail with fear.

Dog was a bitch.

On the really bad days, when my muttered complaints turned into out-and-out anger, I pondered how best to deal with this interpersonal issue. Sure, I could have tried addressing it directly with the owners. But I expected, at best, a reaction of agitated and defensive marching into the house, bags from the mall in tow. Even further, the benign nothingness between us could have hardened and frozen into a new Cold War. Or, if they really wanted to push my buttons, they could have started putting Zoe out at 6 a.m. and keeping her there until midnight.

I saw no easy solution, outside of taking back the power: I entertained a Kramer-like plan to ‘nap the pooch and drive it, with my good pal Newman, over a state border, ditching her there.

But I didn’t have a delivery van, or a pal named Newman, and the nearest state border runs across a big bridge, which would mean, for purposes of high drama, I’d have to dump Zoe out of the vehicle from a fifty-foot bridge and let her free fall into Lake Superior.

On some level, that didn’t seem fair retribution for a vastly-annoying dog who had unfortunately fallen into the care of owners who were indifferent about her effect on the neighborhood.

So I fretted. I complained. I tutted. I plotted. No matter what tack my brain took, the whole dilemma always degenerated into an unsolvable moral issue.

Ultimately, I peered into my heart and realized I needed to turn this question over to a Higher Power.

Thus, I found myself, cranky and too-wide-awake one summer morning at 6:45 a.m., cursing the beast that woke me, ruminating:

What would Scooby do?





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36 responses to “Dognapped”

  1. Franki Avatar

    Oh my gosh, I’m preety sure we’re neighbors. I wonder how the owners can sleep, eat dinner, anything, with all the racquet their dog is making. I’ve been thinking they must be deaf.


    I bet he’d eat a arsenic laced Scooby Snack.

    Yes, I know. Going to hell.

  2. urban-urchin Avatar

    we have a small dog, and are totally mortified when he barks at a squirrel or anything. The people down the street leave their dog out all day long and she whines and barks and is a general pain in the ass. We all hate that dog, so I can commiserate.

  3. Stepping Over the Junk Avatar
    Stepping Over the Junk

    oooooo this has sparked an idea for me of a blog post…

  4. lime Avatar

    ruh roh rocely!

    our former dwelling was a duplex in town with a shared yard….a yard roughly the size of a two car garage. we had 3 children and the neighbors had one beagle. the neighbors were never home. the beagle was locked inside baying all day. i wanted to shoot the beagle. then when the neighbors got home they let the beagle out to do its beagle business….all over the entire yard…where our kids played…and they never cleaned it up. over a span of months no amount of polite requests to clean up after the dog made any difference. one day when my kid couldn’t get into the shed to retrieve her bike without stepping over many beagle depositted landmines she asked what to do. i took a shovel and flung every last steaming pile onto their brand new patio and smeared it around. it didn’t solve the problem but i felt better.

  5. Shari Avatar

    Can’t a discreet call to the police to warn/fine the family for “disturbing the peace” suffice?

    I always worry if our puppy makes too much noise outside.

  6. frannie Avatar

    maybe the owners hate the barking just as much– maybe that is why the dog is outside.

  7. WSG Avatar

    Dogs become aggressive when they’re chained up because they realize their movement is limited and feel vulnerable and frustrated. Many dog lovers and vets would consider it abusive to chain a dog up all day. You could try reporting your neighbors to the Humane Society or ASPCA, but they’re probably overworked and won’t be able to investigate unless there’s severe abuse. I’m sorry, I know it’s a huge pain for you, but it’s not the dog’s fault so please don’t blame the poor thing. The neighbors sound like assholes.

    (And keep your kids away from the dog, because a chained up dog will get scared and aggressive and bite.)

  8. Hammer Avatar

    I had a yapper, It was in his breed.

    I’m sure the neighbors hated him.

  9. Jeannie Avatar

    Our dog was a yapper until he went blind. Sometimes we’d forget and leave him outside and couldn’t hear him in the rec room – oops. Other times he’d just yap at kids going by. And other times I’d be painting or digging or something and couldn’t get to him. He would just never shut up – even if you turned the hose on him. We got a lot of nasty phone calls. HOWEVER – there were 4 OTHER poodles that were also yappers in the homes just behind ours in the crescent. People assumed every yap was OUR dog and they were very wrong.

  10. chelle Avatar

    Some people are way too careless of pet owners! Frustrating!

  11. Dorky Dad Avatar
    Dorky Dad

    Scooby would get a gun with a scope. And a lawyer. But I don’t think guns come with lawyers. You have to buy them separately.

  12. Lone Grey Squirrel Avatar
    Lone Grey Squirrel

    What would Scooby do? I think it would involve luring little Cujo away with Scooby Snacks.

  13. oreneta Avatar

    That dog sounds deeply annoying, but I have to confess your neighbours are the problem not the dog, if the damn beast was ever taken for a walk, and not tied to the swing set all freaking day it may be a happier and less frightened animal….why don’t you call the local humane society, you don’t have to say who you are and they may well seize the dog if it is indeed chained up all day.

    That makes EVERY dog bark incessantly.

  14. Mother of Invention Avatar
    Mother of Invention

    I’m with the people who said phone the police and ask them what they can do because of the noise by-law of noise after 11:00 p.m. and before 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Also, I’d phone the Humane Society for their advice. If you could get up your nerve, you could always just talk to the neighbours when you cut them off at the pass of their doorway, carrying mall bags! Good luck.

  15. Patience Avatar

    We had a dog that barked but only for a reason. He didn’t simply bark at air! One morning the neighbor called me at 2ish in the morning, complaining that my dog was barking, waking his baby! So I apologized, got up, went outside to yell at the dog. Didn’t see the dog. Momentarily though he came strolling out of his doggie house, rubbing his sleepy eyes, trying to figure out why I was out there in the middle of the night disturbing his doggie sleep! I don’t know who’s dog had been barking, but it wasn’t mine!!

    I never did tell the neighbor ’cause he was psycho anyway.

  16. Jazz Avatar

    But, what DID Scooby do?

    Oh, and for the record, I tagged you. I figure it might take your mind of Dog for a bit.

  17. cathy Avatar

    Scooby would have investigated the situation and discovered that the yappy dog was really a texas oil baron in disguise who was trying to drive all the neighbours away because their homes were sitting on an undiscovered oil well.

  18. susan Avatar

    Scooby would have kidnapped the neighbors (with help from his good friend Newman) and drop them in the middle of the lake.

    Then he would have adopted the poor yappy puppy and had Dogwood sandwiches with him.

  19. Voyager Avatar

    Scooby would have cut his chain and taken him along to solve mysteries. And eat Scoobie snacks. But you needed to call animal services I think.
    A friend of mine had a continually barking dog next door, tied up 24 / 7 to a pole in the yard. One day in frustration she went over to her neigbour’s house, knocked on the door and said “This is cruel to your dog and annoying to the neighbours. If you can’t treat this dog better, give him to me. She went home with the dog!

  20. Top cat Avatar
    Top cat

    when neighbors allow their dog to bark like that I often wonder especially when they are home and have to listen to it as well..what are you thinking?? can’t you hear the dog? doesn’t it drive you nuts?
    so it comes down to it really not being the dog’s fault but the owners who are responsible.
    I can only think of calling the city and complaining, maybe that will work.
    good luck

  21. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    Scooby would convince Zoe to hop into the Mystery Van with him… and take the ride of her life.

    Seriously, though, why did they even have a dog? Unless the whole loving affection thing only happened overnight.

  22. jen Avatar

    i feel sorry for that little dog with so much to say and no one listening.

  23. Theresa Avatar

    Scooby would adopt her, that way Scrappy would have a cousin. Either that or you could find her a boyfriend to keep her busy.

  24. Glamourpuss Avatar

    I would call the SPCA. Leaving a dog chained up outside all day every day is just plain cruel. No wonder the damn thing was yapping all the time – it was going out of its tiny dog mind.


  25. Her Grace Avatar
    Her Grace

    “But I expected, at best, a reaction of agitated and defensive marching into the house, bags from the mall in tow.”

    It’s lines like that that keep me coming back.

    I’m for making an anonymous complaint to animal control. But that’s just me.

  26. WanderingGirl Avatar

    You didn’t!!!!

  27. actonbell Avatar

    Cut the leash? Maybe this dog would like to just take a trip…I agree with orneta that this pooch probably needs owners who take some responsibility! I might talk to the neighbors and see how they feel, too. Maybe you could form a posse.

    Good luck! I sympathize.

  28. actonbell Avatar

    I meant, talk to your OTHER neighbors, the other victims, if there are any.

  29. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    Your neighbors must be brain dead. To say nothing of rude, inconsiderate and unbelievably self-absorbed and cruel to animals.

    I have had such neighbors with such dogs, and much as I love dogs, this causes me to accelerate to full rage in about 60 seconds.

    Did someone else dognap Zoe? Did they move? The Humane Society and the police should be apprised of such a situation in the hope that at least one of them will do something.

  30. Theresa Avatar

    After rereading this I see you said, “until recently, we had an extremely yappy dog…”. So, fess up Jocelyn, what did you really do to the dog?

  31. choochoo Avatar

    wow. I don’t envy you. Pooch is so quiet, people barly know she excists.

  32. Endora Avatar

    It sounds like the dog is bored and not getting any exercise. All that energy is comming out the only way it can– through barking. How about asking the neighbors if you can take the dog on your routine walks or runs? Tire the pooch and quell his bark. Even if they say ‘no,’ you’ve moved the relatinoship with your neighbors from indifferent to friendly. They’ll be more receptive to your future requests for peace and quiet.

  33. My Reflecting Pool Avatar
    My Reflecting Pool

    RutRow, roo have a probrem.

    I know in the past, neighbors have sent anonymous letters to “those” type of dog owners. In areas where there is noise ordinances, the police have been called. Animal control have been called for apparent abuse of an ignored dog.

    Good luck. I would have said something by now because I am an A-hole with little patience.

  34. Diana Avatar

    Poor Scooby would be pressed into service catching the dognappers, so probably not your best option on that front, either.

    If dropped into a large body of water, though, we of the state of Wisconsin (your nearest neighbor and putative receiver of the dog from hell) at least stand a fighting chance of it ending up in Canada or Michigan.

    Maybe a large wad of chewing gum in a coating of bacon grease, lobbed at her would at least buy you a temporary peace?

  35. Diesel Avatar

    In college, I used to spray our neighbor’s dog with the hose until it shut up. It learned remarkably quickly one autumn Michigan day.

  36. BarkingDogATLAS Avatar

    Time to add the noisy pest to the barking dog ATLAS

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