The dog next door

My kids have wanted a dog for a really long time. But not as long as I have wanted one.

There have always been valid excuses: When I was younger it was that I worked really long hours, far from home. And then it was that I was too busy with three young kids. Finally, it was that my two–and then one–elderly cats needed to be let to pass on quietly, without the stress of a puppy in their lives.

As Cally, my beloved 19 1/2 year old cat, took her last low, rattly breaths, Jilly went over to say goodbye, patted her head, then looked up to me and asked plaintively, NOW can we get a dog?

Well, not just yet. Summer is too frenetic for us this year to make me want to bring in another family member. But soon after. . .

Fortunately for all of us, we have had a dog all along, just he’s not quite “ours”. He’s our next-door neighbor’s dog, a big black lab named Bailey. From the moment he appeared as a puppy, he has been part of our lives even if we don’t house him, feed him, take him to the vet or even walk him. (my husband says he is the perfect dog for these reasons)

Thankfully we have the best neighbors ever who don’t even blink an eye when they find one of us in their yard (again) playing/patting/talking to Bailey. They know if Bailey hops his electric fence after a deer or rabbit, that we’ll bring him home, happy that he is safe. Last week, Bailey even came into our cat-free home for the first time and I marveled at how huge he seemed in our kitchen. (mental note: I’ll need a smaller dog if I hope to keep my food from disappearing off the counters).

There is no question that Bailey loves us as much as we love him. If I call his name, he does the whole-body wiggle in anticipation of my visit, and last winter, after not seeing him for a while, he practically spoke to me as I crunched across the snow to say hello.

And if an unfamiliar car or stranger comes up our driveway, he will bark with the ferocity of the best guard dogs out there. Only our driveway, though, not his own. I doubt he’d do anything to a stranger other than lick them, but it always makes me feel a little safer when I hear his booming bark.

If all goes well, by the fall, we’ll have a dog of our own to love. But, one of the first things we’ll do when we bring our new bundle home? Introduce him to Bailey to insure that they become fast friends.


  1. That is cute about the dog next door. We have a pug and she is old, like 12 I think. We got her when she was already full grown probably 2 or 3 yrs. And I have a cat that is 15…and we too have a dog next door, more like 3 annoying French Bulldogs, they are cute and all but man do they bark at any small noise and they bark some nights until 10PM. I know talk to their owners, umm no way, LOL they are young bucks, tattoo's all over them and they keep hours of vampires, so no thank you. I will just deal with the annoying barking…

  2. Chicky Chicky Baby says

    Doing the happy doggy dance over here for you guys. I look a bit like Snoopy, if I do say so myself.

  3. That's how we feel about Lola, our friend from across the street. My son now wants a small black dog. One that looks like Lola. One we would name, er, Lola.

    When I explained that may get confusing for the two dogs, he sighed.

    "OK, mom. We'll get a black cat instead. Named Lola."

  4. Your next door pet story is a reassurance to me. My neighbors have made the lives of my two young Border Collies & myself a wonderful experience that could have been a disaster.
    My adult sons felt a dog would be great for their mother. I was alone in my large home. One son drove 200 miles to pick up 2 beautiful, fluffy red & white Border Collies.
    2 Border Collie litter mate pups are the equivalent of active twin toddlers. My neighbors are a gracious, wonderful couple in their 70s. They have had 2 Australian Cattle dogs over the 30 yrs we have lived sideXside They would loved having another.
    I asked them how they felt about a cattle dog moving in next door and received their full support. Their Eyes Popped and Blinked over the fence, when 2 happy puppies danced on my patio and tumbled over to them.
    I had 1st hand experience with my twin boys & a "dynamic"loving pet collie, Flye Girl. This was a bit much.
    Al&Madeline, my neighbors, have been terrific.They've been patient,actively physically supportive & loving. They don't criticize, only help. They were there for me as a young married,and mother. Now our bonding grows golden sharing "Buster" & "Sammy".Al came over to build the "mutually acceptable discreet relief area for the pups" and he daily provides a few minutes of expert pup training. We are all exercising more! Madeline watches over, out her kitchen window & comes out with a couple pigs ears.
    Now if my rotund black cat, Gouda, were to think this all was marvelous, things would be perfect.

  5. Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog says

    We're looking for a dog in the fall, too. Hold me. I am scared…

  6. Oh, my goodness, we are exactly the same way. Miss Dickens is 19, but still kicking and we've adopted the lab next door. I'm still not sure if we're going to bite the dog bullet…but I can live vicariously through you, right?

  7. My favorite thing about dogs? That "whole-body wiggle" as you so aptly put it.

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