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In Which I Am the Classiest Bitch Alive

This is me.
To find out why I am so fracking classy, read on.
I came home last night to a note stuck in my door. It read as follows (CAPS and other grammatical errors unaltered):

"Your UNSUPERVISED DOG has been barking All Night If this continues I am going to report this to YOUR LANDLORD and the HOMEOWNERS ASSOC. TAKE CARE of this problem immediately. If you cannot care for a DOG correctly get RID OF IT." 
1. This is the first time I have heard a single complaint about my dog, Cupcake (expect a blog post about her soon!!), barking "all night" much less even once. That being said, she is a new dog to me, so I haven't figured out all of her idiosyncracies yet. It is a learning process, and I will address each issue as I discover them (Please take note when I say "AS I DISCOVER THEM").

2. I cannot say with confidence that my dog does not bark when home alone, but I can say that she absolutely does not bark when I am at home. I am home starting at 8pm pretty much every day, so I'm not entirely sure what my neighbor is talking about with this "all night" business. However, there have been two or three nights over the last month where I haven't gotten home until later on in the evening (for example, I didn't get home until midnight tonight because of work), so I can't say that Cupcake didn't go off on a wild hair and woof her loneliness for all the world to hear when I wasn't here during normal bonding time.

3. "...get RID OF IT." Really? I have so many things that I could say to this comment that I'm just going to state my complete and utter distaste and leave it at that.

4. I am both understanding of and sympathetic to my neighbor's plight. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to sleep when some jackass dog over whom you have no control is out there howling into the night, trying to signal the friggin' Twilight Bark or summat. I get it. Really. That doesn't excuse this passive aggressive behavior, though, and that is just not how I operate.

As all of you know, I'm a big proponent of confronting trolls head on in spite of the "don't feed the trolls" rule, so of course I had to take pen to paper and write out a snarky response filled with quips that will make the person receiving said response wonder if I'm insulting them or not. Right?

I'll admit it. I started to write an equally passive aggressive response and fully intended to make the writer of this note feel like the smallest, most immature person on the planet. Halfway through, though, I realized that I needed to take the higher road.

 ^  This road right here.                               ^ Not this one. 

I did end up writing a response, but it is so freaking polite that I actually got a cavity writing it.

I am trying to keep in mind that I am new in this complex, I'm still getting to know Cupcake, and these people are still getting to know me. There is going to be a learning curve, and how are they supposed to know that I don't react well to passive aggressive bull-hockey? Some education is required for all of those involved, myself included.

My official response is as follows:

"Dear Neighbor,

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my pet's barking has caused you. Before receiving your nasty note, I was unaware that there was an issue. Now that I know, I will be doing everything I know to alleviate the problem.

In future, please do not hesitate to contact me directly should I be affecting your quality of life in any way. If this had been addressed when it first started happening, there would have been no reason to get angry and write a note in the first place. I am more than reasonable and take no issue to an open line of communication.

Again, I am truly sorry that my dog has been bothering you.

Both sincerely and respectfully,
Stefers the Great (not really... I put my real name here, unlike the original note which had absolutely no form of contact whatsoever)"

I am a classy bitch, guys. Seriously, basque in my classiness.

What would you have done? Shoot me a comment!



micci orion said…
um wow, good job! I would have probably demanded some proof of the dog's transgressions.
You know, an audible version of 'pics or it didn't happen'.
Lisa Shafer said…
No one ever seems to think their dogs bark when the dogs are left alone. I have lived far too near to far too many dog owners -- whose dogs "never" bark. Yeah, right.
Dogs get bored and lonely. And they bark. Sometimes all day and all night. Those of us who've listened to such dogs for hours and hours can get grumpy.
And every single time I've ever hinted to a dog owner that their dog barks, I have been told off.
I don't live by you, but I bet your neighbor is right. It's a dog. It barks. And I can see exactly why he left a note.
I doubt you'll post this -- because you're a dog owner. But perhaps you'll have read it before you hit delete and curse my name for agreeing with your neighbor.
Stef Howerton said…
Lisa, if you actually read this post in its entirety, you'll see that I discuss your point fully, and nowhere do I ever state that my dog does not bark when home alone. There is no way that I can confirm that without video or audio proof, and I make no assumptions that my dog is mute.

I understand the frustration, and I am more than sympathetic to it having been in that very place myself. But the fact that this note was written at all is what bugs me. I've had the dog for over a month. If this has been an issue for over a month, then the author of the letter has been holding it in, stewing about the problem without letting me know about it for that long until they couldn't bear with the anger any longer. It's ridiculous. If it was an issue, all the person had to do was tell me about it.

I am an incredibly reasonable person, and I would have nipped the problem in the bud the very minute I found out about it (especially since she is still a new dog to me).

That being said, perhaps the way you approached the offending dog owners in your past was aggressive. Perhaps every single dog owner you have ever met is a complete shithead. I don't know. I wasn't there.

At the end of the day, I suggest you stop making assumptions and actually fully read blog posts on which you comment.

Thank you.
Marlia said…
Stef, many of us talk tough when we are upset. Few follow through. I think I would have done what you did. Not just because of the high road but also because in this day and age you just don't know which of our neighbours is the psycho. Let's not piss him off more eh?

Bravo to your restraint!
Shiva rei said…
nice post ..
really very nice your post
Senja Berita said…
love this post
because your article is very interesting to read
HI1204 said…
I love this post... and I am the owner of four mongrels who go through bark-fests - usually in the pursuit of a squirrel who has made the tall pine tree in the middle of our backyard his home. Of course, they will also bark at the garbage truck on Tuesday and Friday mornings, the children next door, which I often feel like barking at as well, and a host of other things. I am blessed that my neighbors are understanding and many of them have canine companions as well.

As you and your new buddy get to know each other, you can probably figure out what Cupcake's quirks are and do what you can to eliminate them. Enjoy the time together and if anyone has a problem with you, remember... you're a classy broad!
Judy said…
As a dog owner, I sympathize with you and your neighbour, but it would have been nice if your neighbour addressed the issue in a less confrontational manner. I am aware that my dog barks (she's a 5 month puppy and I just got her two months ago), but we all have to work, and there is no reason why we can't work and have a is frustrating when the other person doesn't have a dog, but I think people who don't own pets or dogs don't understand that the barking is frustrating even for us dog owners too. We don't want our dogs to bark non stop (it drives me nuts too).

I do agree taking the high road is a better approach, some people are jaded from past experiences or whatever they got going on they just bark (pun intended) at you instead of approaching you with civility!

Love your blog by the way. I stumbled upon your blog when I have the writer's block myself and it inspired me to write again! :)


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