Like most tenants, there are a few things that annoy me about my rented accommodation. The garage being stuffed with my landlord’s stuff, so I can’t stuff it with mine and have to pay for storage (extra rent!). The fact that only the front and back doors actually close, so I can’t shut the cats out of the bedroom or have the tidy look of actually closed cupboard doors in the nearly counter-free kitchen. The bathtub taps not working, though the shower ones do. The sad, lumpy brown lawn, no matter how much it rains. The overwhelming, oven-like heat in the house in the summer, and the drafty, refrigerator-like chill in the winter.
But the worst of all is the dogs next door.
They are two smallish, yellowish dogs who live in a fenced cement yard. No grass, no nothing. Just poop and concrete. They apparently are never allowed in the house, because I have both seen and heard them outside in the rain, though there seems to be a little door under the house which is sometimes open. Obviously, the dogs are bored and miserable – I have never seen them taken for walks or petted – and are protesting their deplorable living conditions. But understanding this does not make it easier to endure the ceaseless barking. I have to admit that my sadness at their plight is seriously tempered with bad temper from the nerve-wracking racket.
The thing I find the most incomprehensible is the owner. She is there most of the day, and is even closer to the barking epicenter than I am. Yet I have never seen or heard her admonishing them, or bring them in the house, or do anything to stop it. Once, I saw her standing in the yard, hanging out laundry as the dogs barked their heads off at her feet. No reaction whatsoever. It’s as if she’s deaf and blind. Having spoken with her, I know she’s neither. But she’s certainly blind to the well-being of her dogs. Why does she even have them, when she doesn’t interact with them? And what, if anything, should I do to avoid losing what little is left of my mind?