A tale of neighbors

“When seconds count, the authorities are only minutes/hours away”

The truth about the above came home again, in another manner, last night.

When I was riding home on my bicycle there was a dog lying in the road at the top of the hill one street from ours. As I approached him he just looked and didn’t do anything, until I swerved enough to get by him and he got up and looked around at me and started trotting in my direction. He seemed to have an odd gait, possibly favoring a leg, but seemed unstressed and unconcerned. I took no note of him as I turned the corner to our street and came down the hill to hour house.

15-20 minutes later Nathan came along the same course walking our dog Rocky. He got in front of our house, and spotted the same dog on the side of the road across from us. Grabbing Rocky firmly he intended to keep Rocky moving to not be distracted by the other dog. Instead, the other dog lunged across the street and went straight for the back of Rocky’s throat. Nathan started yelling, trying to hold on to Rocky and get the other dog off. Betsy heard this and headed out the door, which got my attention.

Nathan’s yelling also got the attention of two other neighbors from the other side of the street. Both men came out, one with a hammer at the ready, and they pulled the dog off Rocky. Somewhere in the scuffle the dog’s harness came loose, and Nathan hauled Rocky into the house based on his collar alone. The neighbor with the hammer got ahold of the other dog’s collar and escorted him up the street. The dog became instantly calm once separated from Rocky.

In our brief conversation none of us knew where the dog came from, hadn’t seen him, but thought he  might belong to someone up the street.

We got inside and checked Rocky. He seemed fine, couldn’t find any cuts or bites — thanks to heavy fur — though Rocky was shaken enough that he didn’t eat all of his supper right away.

I called the cities 311 services number to get ahold of someone where I could file an animal control report. The person commiserated, took down the details and said he would send the dispatch out. We never did see the dispatch.

So we have a report filed, if needed for reference in the future, but the real issue was resolved, not by the authorities, but by the intervention of neighbors. None of them thought twice before bolting out to take care of someone or something that needed taking care of in our neighborhood.

We don’t even really know our neighbors that well, which is a condemnation of ourselves, yet we have this knowledge that being neighbors means being responsible for each other. It is a good thing to know, and hopefully a good thing we too can live up to.

I’m glad the authorities are there. But I count on my neighbors.


(Note: Update — woke up this morning, to find the control officer called after we went to bed the prior night and left a voicemail. Officer called, he asked if we knew where the dog lived, said we needed to contact owner if we knew, since no officer was present would need to do a signed complaint, was any medical treatment required, was dog running loose, both dogs running loose. Didn’t leave a number. officer, said we could contact next day. Every question he asked we had mentioned in the 311 case we had filed. It was as if none of our information was communicated to him.)

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