Every time I go out into my yard to do a little yard work or head down the street for a walk, Max, our neighbor dog, goes into a barking frenzy. I have lived in my house since 1976; Max has only lived next door for maybe seven or eight years. I feel I have a right to be in my yard or walking down my street, but he treats me like I’m the neighborhood deviant and he’s the Neighborhood Watch.
Max is not an attractive dog. I think he’s mostly Pekingese—with a little Shitzu (or Shitzhead, as Tom guessed) mixed in. I suppose Max has a breed name, but he’s just a mangy looking dog with a medically serious under bite. Even when he’s not in a barking frenzy, he just looks like he’s mad at the world.
He also roams the neighborhood at will. He will sit in the middle of the street and look at oncoming cars as if to say, “Go ahead—hit me. Make my day. I’ll sue.” Of course, no one would purposely run over a dog, and Max knows it. So drivers swerve and honk and curse while he just sits there on his furry little haunches and looks annoyed.
Once, a new neighbor told me that he thought the dog was ours. That hurt. Just because Max is just always in our yard barking at me doesn’t indicate ownership—or even friendship. Besides, he uses the neighbors’ lawn across the street as his bathroom, which I believe means that Max prefers their yard to ours.
I am generally an agreeable person who likes animals. But Max has a face and disposition that only his mother could love. I'd take a picture, but he's got the kind of face that could seriously damage a camera. My only consolation is that I’m going to outlive him. Dogs don’t live forever, and women in my family tend to die really old, like 95 or 100 or more. I’ll win in the end.