The other day, I had a very bad day. A brutally bad day. The kind of day that takes days to recover from and leaves you exhausted. A day that changes how you will act in the future and one where you take a big mouthful of ‘fuck you’ so you can spit it out into someones face after slapping them.
Living on a corner lot, means I have a sidewalk running the length of my fence. And it means my backyard is the entire side yard of the people who live behind me. They have a very large dog; 100lb Newfoundland mixed with a Lab, that the mother walks at least once a day, normally every morning. They used to spend week ends at their cottage with the dog, but this year have not been going away much at all.
Two years ago, the owners 23 year old daughter moved back home with her 11 month old pit pull, after breaking up with her boyfriend. This dog is ill mannered, untrained, aggressive and barks with panic as it tries to get through the fences at anyone who goes into their backyards, of the 5 fenced yards that adjoin their property. In 2 years, I have seen the daughter walk the dog twice. The mother tried walking it with her dog and it was a disaster as it can’t be controlled easily.
This dogs constant barking to alert of danger has made the original dog bark as well. When the parents go away, the daughter lets the dog outside to bark non stop the entire day. When the parents are home, then 50% of the time, someone may yell at the dog to ‘stop barking’, but no one actually ever ‘does’ anything to get the dog to stop. Her lunging at the fence in aggression while snarling and barking was so bad, that the mother puts the dog on a tie out leash to stop it from reaching the edges of the yard.
If they don’t take the snarling dog inside or stop it from barking when I am outside, I have to come in the house. For me, it’s not just an annoyance. I have PTSD. I was attacked by our family dog 16 years ago in front of my small children and had 22 puncture wounds in my shoulder and 3 gashes over 2 inches long on the side of my head as he tried to get to my throat. A dog’s barking put me on alert. It’s aggressive barking sets me on edge and I have to manage my fear. I was unable to work as a veterinary technician after that.
I have never called the police or city to report the dogs barking. I’m just not that kind of neighbor. To be honest, as much as it pisses me off at times, I consider it almost a type of immersion therapy that I get to practice; getting my fear response back under control while actually in a safe environment. It took me years to not fear dogs. I am exceptionally wary of large and medium sized breeds and purposefully stay away from them.
In the mornings, I take my two little dogs out front to walk down the outside of my fence line so they can do their business. My cat comes with us as she is always within site of the dogs, ever since losing our old girl 5 years ago. It’s never been an issue until 2 days ago when the mother who lives behind me, was coming home from her morning walk. I saw her 70 ft away and across the street as she bent down to UNDO the leash from her dogs collar.
The dog bolted straight for my cat. I reached down, scooped her up and placed her on top on the shorter 4 ft fence, just as the dog reached us. Snarling and lunging, he jumped up the fence and had my cat by the leg. My one 12lb dog was barking and went to lunge at his ankles, my cat was screaming in pain and fear, I was yelling for him to get off her, yelling at her to get the fucking dog off the cat. And she came up and clearly said “No”…. exactly once.
The cat had pulled back, scrambling and falling down the other side of the fence. I yelled at the dogs to come, as I had dropped their leashes and ran around the fence to try and find the cat. As I am running, I hear her say, “He’s fine with dogs, he just hates cats though”. It took me about 15 minutes to find the bush she had run and hid under. I picked her up and saw the blood on her foot. I did an exam of her shoulder, leg and then her foot.
She started to growl as I manipulated her foot and extended the digits to discover that the dog had bit off the tip of her outside toe at the same joint that you would amputate when you remove the claws from a cat. I cleaned and disinfected it, tried to bandage it, but she refused to keep it on. In the course of the evening she kept hidden behind my sofa where I sit and she stayed close to me all through the night and next day while she continued to clean her wound. My neighbor, of course, has said nothing to me about what her dog did.
As you can imagine, because of my PTSD and past dog attack, this event sent me into a brutal bout with panic, anxiety, stress. Up until this very minute as I write this, I forgot I have medication in the house I could have taken, but I forgot about it, since it’s been so long since I had a full blown attack. As part of my disorder, when I have this type of reaction, I go into a full body meltdown where I sweat like I have been in a sauna for 3 hours. Full body saturation and it reeks with the scent of fear.
As part of my therapy, whenever I had a reaction of this level, what I HAVE to do, is immediately engage in extremely hard, very vigorous and prolonged physical activity. I need the exercise to raise my heart rate and not fear. I need the exercise to make me sweat, not fear. I need to exert energy using exercise, not in wanting to run away,because of fear. I have a flight instinct kicking into high gear and I need to be able to stay put but still expend the energy and control the adrenaline.
So I went into the backyard and starting digging in my garden as if I had 2 hours to bury a body that had been in the sun all day. And her fucking dogs started barking at the fence. Which I simply could not handle. AT ALL . So I went to the garage, got a boom box I’ve had for 25 years, and for the first time in 9 years, I brought it into the backyard and hung it from a tree I planted between houses and turned it onto a radio station playing soft rock music. I needed the filter as I HAD to be outside exerting energy and I could not handle the barking as it sent stabs of panic through my system.
I was wearing still wearing the same work dress I had I that I had gone out in the morning with. I did not stop to change or even think about it as my mind was elsewhere. I worked for about 60 minutes before the phone rang, a work call I had to answer. My laptop, and phones were on the deck, which is where my home office is, for the summer. About 10 minutes into the call, I hear a horrible banging at my front door. I got up, went thru the kitchen and front hall to find a man I have never seen before, standing at the front door, hand open handed slapping it very vigorously on the glass, making the entire door bang and shake.
I said “What are you doing?!” and I grabbed the screen door to make sure it was closed. The screen on the bottom was open. He started started screaming at me to turn my fucking music down or he’d come in there and do it for me. That I had the music blasting all day and he was sick of it and he was going to come and smash the fucking thing if I didn’t turn it off. His son couldn’t sleep and he was fucking tired of my shit. The person I was on the phone with asked if I was okay, asked if she should call the police. I slammed the inside door and locked it.
I have been attacked and beat up badly twice, which has been part of my PTSD issues. Take a leaping guess at what this violent confrontation did to me? I had to get off the phone with her, forget work as I simply could not think let alone do what I had to for my client. I went outside, 5 ft in front of the radio and on hands and knees started to remove sod from a 2×6 fr area. I was shaking, crying, felt sick. That’s when I heard a man’s voice call “Hello!?” from my deck in the backyard.
JesusmotherfuckingChristOMGJesusFuckareyoufuckingkiddingme! (I seriously almost lost control of my bladder and bowels from fear)
I looked up and saw it was a cop who had come through my side gate, in response to a call they had about a noise complaint that a neighbor had made. Thank God….it was a cop and not the psycho who had been pounding on my door. Imagine what I looked like. Wearing a summer business dress for work, filthy dirty from muck clinging to me from dirt mixed with sweat, hair soaked and dripping with perspiration. Obviously had been crying, makeup completely messed up and smeared over my face.
I came up onto the deck. He explained he had a call about loud music. I explained it was mid day on a Thursday and we seemed to be talking normally and the music was not loud enough to disturb our normal volume of speech and in fact I had been on the phone working outside when crazy man (who is apparently the neighbor who lives across the street from the people who live behind me, so kitty corner across the street from my backyard) came up to my door to verbally assault me.
I pulled the plug from the wall and he told me I didn’t have to do that. But then I gave him a brief overview about my morning: dog attack on cat, my PTSD reaction, my witness to crazy man’s threat’s. He said he was sorry if he ruined my day and he looked at me acknowledging that I looked like I had had a brutal day. I asked him to speak to neighbor making it clear the man is to not come within 100ft of me or I would call the police on him and he thought that was a fine idea.
I put the music back on before he left, walked him out to the front yard, went and got a lock for the side gate and watched him speak to the offending neighbor from my back deck. Then I went and got my 9 inch nails CD. Let’s see how he likes those lyrics instead of Elton John’s Rocket Man, every fucking morning for the rest of the summer. Except Sundays. Sundays I’ll play the highland pipes and drums music CD. I’m saving Tu’Pak for bedtimes.