The lady next door to us has a big, mean old black lab named Jack. The only reason I know this is because whenever I hear her come home she lets old Jack out of her car without a leash and he inevitably runs over to pooh or pee on our lawn or bark at some passerby. She then proceeds to yell “Jack! Jack! Come back here mister” On multiple occasions he’s ran into my yard to bark at me, my dog, or my neighbor – and this is a big dog! Luckily whenever I see her arriving I put Tyke into a sit and do not allow an ounce of protectiveness to exude, even though the dog is on OUR property, barking at us like we’ve invaded his turf. And the lady NEVER says sorry.
Needless to say I’m not a big Jack fan. I began to get annoyed every time I’d hear her car pull up. I kept having little fantasies about eventually, one day when I’m not watching Tyke close enough and Jack come looking for a fight, only to have his doggy butt whooped.
But the truth is, in the past couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of time outside and Tyke has charged people on two different occasions when I didn’t have time to stop him. Tyke’s a fairly friendly dog but he does not like strange men walking by the house. And downtown SLC is just full of creepies walking here and there.
The first time he was sitting with me by the side of the house while I grilled some hotdogs when he spotted a guy walking on the sidewalk. He got the look in his eye and before I could stop him he charged. He was barking and growling and stopped just a few feet away from the terrified man who had his hands in the air. I quickly ran up and called him back and yelled to the guy “Sorry! I promise he won’t bite!” This guy was really nice about it, said he probably thought he was the mailman. I felt REALLY bad though.
Then, last night, a guy was riding by the house on his funky bike and Tyke charged him as well! I didn’t get to the front yard quick enough to say sorry but Tyke got a flick on the nose for that one. I felt really bad about flicking his nose later because he acted like I’d like cut his tail off (we made up eventually).
But the truth is I like to feel like my dog is protecting me!
And then it hit me: Tyke and Jack are really just dogs being dogs and although it is annoying to be barked at by some stupid mutt in my own backyard, I would probably want a mean dog like that if I lived alone too. And I can totally appreciate that. Luckily Tyke doesn’t ever bark at children or women or normal looking dudes. LOL! And even though Jack can’t tell a neighbor he sees every day from a real intruder I have to admit that I appreciate a dog who will protect his owner.
So here’s to Jack! I vow to no longer cringe whenever I hear that name. And to be kinder to my single-lady neighbor. Because she’s a people too.