Friday, November 16, 2007

Do-Gooder No More?

This past Tuesday I attempted to do a good deed. One should always be ready to help others in need, but especially at this time of year it seems appropriate that we would all try a little harder. So it was with this attitude that I set about my day on Tuesday. When I left my house for class (thankfully the one I co-teach and not one I am enrolled in) I saw, running around in my front yard, my next door neighbors' german-shepherd/lab mix.

My first thought was to put him in my backyard for safe-keeping, as this was the second time I have seen him out and roaming the neighborhood in the last few weeks. However, closer inspection of my gate revealed that he had actually most likely escaped from his yard, into mine, and then out of mine as was evidenced by the gate to my yard hanging open. So, I brought him into my house and shut him up in the laundry room, also relegating Finlay to Nick's and my bedroom.

I knew this solution wouldn't work long-term, but I was very late for class by that time. The situation got more complicated when, upon trying again to get in my car and leave, I saw their other dog, a Jack Russell, running around in my front yard. Now, this dog gets out all the time - three times in the last week - but since I had rescued the big dog I didn't feel that I could neglect the little one. I decided that I could make this work if I got Finlay's kennel out of the attic.

I have been quoted as saying "I don't do attics" which probably doesn't surprise most of you, but to save a little helpless animal I will stretch my comfort zone. So I climbed up into the scary, cold attic, rummaged for the kennel, upon finding it in-tact and too large to fit through the attic door dismantled it, and began to drag it down the stairs. By this time I was admittedly not in the best of spirits, was 30 minutes late to class, and was rushing to settle affairs so I could leave. So, when the kennel wasn't cooperating in being pulled down, I just yanked harder. Big mistake.

I did manage to get it down, but when I returned to the attic door to shut it, it refused to close. Closer inspection revealed that the impediment was a spring that had sprung off its track. No matter how hard I tugged, it would not go back, but I was now 45 minutes late so I had no choice but to leave the attic door hanging down. Thinking about it now, it was kind of like my house was sticking its big, nasty tongue out at me...

So I went on to class, for all 45 minutes that were left, and then rushed back home to figure out a better solution. Unfortunately I was too late. When I opened the front door, the stench of dog poop was overwhelming. That was due to the fact that my neighbors' big dog had escaped from the laundry room and pooped all over the living room. Even for a big dog, it was a lot of poop.
aside from some chewed up blinds he didn't do any more damage to the living room, but he had done a number on the laundry room. He had spilled all the water that I had left out for him, and judging by the smell, added to the wet mess by peeing on the floor. He had scratched huge gashes into our wooden door and had apparently chewed on the deadbolt cover so hard that he crunched it (fortunately it still functions). Needless to say I was livid. But I still tried to hang onto the dog for my neighbor. So I put him out in my backyard and did my best to chain the gate shut.

I then set about cleaning the house and brainstormed about what I could do with the little dog. Once the house was somewhat cleaned-up I went into the backyard to find the spot of the dogs egress into my yard. I should mention here that the Jack Russell jumps up so high that the neighbors have had to add 18 inches of chicken wire to the top of their chain-link fence (resulting in a very attractive fence I might add). I finally found a spot where the chicken wire had fallen down so I took the little dog and placed him back over the fence and pulled the wire back up the best I could.

It was then that I noticed that the big dog was no longer in my backyard and the gate had been forced open. I gave up on him. I figured, given the day's events, batting .500 wasn't a bad average. By then I had to go back up to campus for work so I reluctantly bid farewell to Finlay, who, by the way, had behaved perfectly all day, not even complaining when he was eventually stuck in the bathroom.

My efforts were made complete when, as I was driving down the street on my way back to work, I saw both dogs happily prancing around in someone else's yard. I give up.

Nick and I have vowed that the next time we see those dogs out we are calling animal control. For actually feeling this sentiment alone, I feel totally defeated, and it makes me wonder if doing good deeds for others is really ever worth it.

I guess we'll find out when we spend our Thanksgiving volunteering at the Salvation Army. Hey, I'm not giving up on my conscience that easily!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Carolyn would have been proud; however, at some point you cross the line into self-deprication. Sounds as if you have learned your lesson.