Critic / Lifestyle / Op-ed

Your dogs getting on my nerves…

It’s past 1am and I’m trying to enjoy some much-needed peace and quiet before going to sleep. Unfortunately, there’s a dog in one of the neighboring apartments that won’t stop barking. I’m resisting the urge to start flipping out.

It might be a puppy. Certain people might think that means I should have the same attitude I would have about a newborn baby crying next door. I won’t say what I think those people should do…

The barking right now is sporadic – a burst of high pitched yelps every once in a while. This latest one seems to have been going on for several minutes. It’s annoying, but not as bad as one of the other dogs nearby that really gets on my nerves. I can’t help but be reminded of a certain Seinfeld episode.

Hopefully I won’t have any problems after I actually fall asleep tonight…

I’ve been woken up on countless mornings by the sound of a howling dog. The poor thing seems to be in misery, alone in a small apartment. When it gets started, it seemingly takes forever before it stops (I usually leave before then). It’s cry is also high-pitched, but it’s more like a whine than a whimper. It’s become like an alarm clock… an extremely annoying one!

My work schedule doesn’t lend to a steady biological clock, so sometimes I really need to sleep in. That’s a little hard to do when you have to deal with a squealing dog across the hall. The same is true when I want to fall asleep (although I’d be lying if I said nighttime barking was a steady thorn in my side thus far).

This is the first apartment building I’ve lived in that allows occupants to own dogs. While I hope it will be the last, I have a feeling that might not be the case. It seems like more and more people own dogs nowadays. For many people who live alone, it’s a great form of companionship. I’m obviously not one of those people.

I find any comparison between children and animals to be a little bit off-putting, but I can understand that for many people the boundary is somewhat blurred, at least in how they think of their pets. After all, a dog is often considered a member of the family, and we all know people who get certain types of pets as a precursor of sorts to children.

I don’t have pets and I’ve never been a huge fan of dogs. I like them from a distance, but there are very few that I’ve been able to tolerate up close for long. On the other hand, I love children (who are not spoiled brats).

We’ve all seen it before – the crying little boy or girl at the store who won’t shut up. He/she usually wants something and will stop at nothing to get it. Good parents shut the tantrum down quickly and effectively. Bad parents indulge their children and seem to let them get away with anything.

A trusted friend once told me that he saw a boy at an ice cream store crying because he wanted an eclair. His mother apologized profusely to him because the store didn’t sell any eclairs. He whined and whined before kicking her and insulting her with vulgar language that I won’t repeat. She smiled and tried in vain to calm him down.

The initial reaction in a scenario like that is to look at the child with disdain, but most people’s resentment will quickly turn to the parents. Granted, there are some children who might have some real problems (other than ADHD), but usually, the parents deserve to be punished for letting their children go bad. The same is true for parents who put their children on leashes.

The way I feel about a spoiled child is about the same way I feel about a ‘spoiled’ dog (although I will always be more sympathetic towards a child). Both expect far too much attention. They’re a nuisance to mostly everyone they come in contact with, but they’re not ultimately responsible for that. The blame usually lies with their parents… or in the case of dogs, their owners/masters.

That whole analogy may not apply to the little fur ball getting on my nerves right now, especially if it’s a puppy that’s being broken in. Someone just needs to put a muzzle on that thing and lock it up in a closet or something (it’s still barking).

But I have little doubt that the spoiled child analogy holds for the dog that has ruined so many of my mornings with its incessant whining. Of course I feel sorry for the little thing being left alone in a little apartment. I hope it’s owner doesn’t decide to find it a companion… unless she makes sure it’s well behaved.

Even the little purse dogs that have become so trendy deserve to have room to move around and enjoy life . They should be outside where they can run freely and defecate at their leisure. But sadly there are too many people who live in apartments nowadays who feel the need to have a dog or two. Often times it’s because they’re lonely and aren’t ready (or able) to have children.

I’m not one to judge. To each his own. All I ask of people is that they do a better job making sure their dogs’ needs are properly tended to, especially when they live in apartment buildings. And keep them on a leash, literally and figuratively.

I don’t like to preach, but I also don’t really like dogs… and I’m unapologetic. I’m not a big fan of cats either, but at least I don’t have to worry about them ruining my mornings or evenings with the noises they make. And for those of you who think I have ‘no soul’ please think again.

It seems like the barking is over for the time being… hopefully I can get some sleep now.

Damn dogs

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