Quiet Desperation

Relentless barking is the sound of entitled thinking


Welcome to the neighborhood, but your dog has been barking for two hours — and it’s not the first time.

Welcome to the neighborhood, but your dog has been barking for two hours — and it’s not the first time.

Welcome to the neighborhood, but your dog has been barking for two hours — and it’s not the first time.

Gets annoying doesn’t it?

I haven’t met you, but I have met your dog, at least audibly. I can see him over the fence. I think it’s a Doberman pinscher, and it might be the one Sherlock Holmes has been looking for.

Harry could fit in your dog’s back pocket.

The cadence of a dog’s barking that goes on for two hours or more is, at the very least, unpleasant.

It can exceed unpleasant and become angering.

Dogs bark. Faucets drip. Car alarms go off.

Know someone who clicks their pen? Makes loud noises when they eat? Cracks their gum?

“Smith, why not get earplugs?”

Then I wouldn’t be able to hear music.

“Smith, why not try headphones as a way to listen to music in your home?”

Because I don’t want to.

The offending dog is two yards away. A neighbor four yards away has complained.

I don’t want to become too philosophical about this and suggest it’s a case of 21st-century, take me or leave me entitlement.

Namely: I will do what I want to do and so will my dog.

Try listening to Mozart’s “Jupiter Symphony” with a pinscher’s deep voice intermittently adding punctuation.

I have looked into purchasing a lighthouse. There are some available online that are no longer in use as lighthouses.

I could gaze out at a body of water, and be at some distance from immediate neighbors. But there would be something: hunting season or lumberjack school.

An elderly friend of mine solved the problem by going deaf.

Beethoven lost 60% of his hearing by the age of 31 (1801), and was completely deaf by the age of 46 (1816). He continued to write music.

I work at home, which makes the barking pinscher story even sadder. It breaks my concentration, and I’m likely to slip from active voice to passive voice without even knowing it.

“Smith, why don’t you soundproof your house?”

There’s an idea. I’m sure it would do the trick and not cost more than thousands of dollars, and covering those costs on a pension would be a snap.

There have been instances of neighbors fighting fire with fire. All it would take is a recording of a barking pinscher blared from my backyard.

I don’t think Mr. Rogers would go for it. Maybe you have seen the ads for the new Tom Hanks movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood?”

Rogers was born Fred McFeely Rogers in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I don’t know for sure what he would have to say about this, but I think he’d want me to be tactful, be patient, and maybe even try to speak with the pinscher’s owner.

If I have something to say to neighbors, I don’t knock on doors. I respect privacy. Instead I send comments by post. Is it neighborly? Probably not the Mr. Rogers way.

I don’t live in his world.

I live in one where neighbors come and go and behavior often lacks mindful attention.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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