Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I try to be a good neighbour

First off, this isn't the blond terrier that turned up on our back deck while I was grabbing another cup of tea. But this looks very like her. We see all sorts of things on our back deck: sparrows, cardinals, squirrels, pigeons, morning doves, blue jays, finches, cats, chipmunks, raccoons... I'd never seen a stray dog out there before. I noticed she had no collar and my heart sank. I went out to talk to her and she bolted, heading into our new neighbours' recently renovated back porch, whimpering as she ran. I spoke in as gentle and friendly voice as I could manage, trying to get her to come to me. She gazed at me through the slats and snuffled and sneezed a few times before starting up a steady bark. As I approached her, she backed herself into the kitchen door, glancing over her shoulder and barking all the more.

Our new neighbours arrived last summer, shortly before I fled for my annual Victoria visit. The Resident Fan Boy gave a rundown on their renovation progress with each of our evening calls. (Rather tedious, really; I guess he couldn't think of anything else to talk about.) They had left postcards for their surrounding neighbours, apologizing for the noise and mess, so I knew their first names, but had never actually met them. I certainly didn't know they had a dog.

However, the dog's behaviour was signalling me that this was her home and I'd better not corner her. I went to check the front door and this time I felt a dropping in my stomach. The door was ajar. I rang the door bell. No response. Gingerly, I pushed the door a little farther open, and called. No reply. I rang and called again. I could see a bottle of cleaning fluid standing in the hall, with piles of stacked up wooden chairs in the kitchen, beyond which was the anxious face of the canine sentinel, watching me guardedly.

I headed back to my own kitchen, pondering the possibilities. I didn't want to enter the house. I certainly didn't want the little dog to stray into the street. Was this an emergency? Somewhere, I'd made a note of the non-emergency number for the police but I couldn't find it and I felt the time ticking by. Finally, I picked up the receiver and made my very first 911 call ever.

I went out to wait, then decided to find the postcards with the neighbour's first names. When I came out again, the little dog was gone. As I scanned the street, two police cars roared up, and parked in a V-shape across our driveway. The officers asked me cursorily if this was the house before heading in and I could hear the little terrier inside as they closed the door. I went back to my house to wait and less than five minutes later, the police cars drove off.

I guess I never will know if I did the right thing.


chrissie_allen said...

Oh Persephone, I can certainly empathize with you about that. I had a very similar experience a couple years back, that is, suspicious circumstances concerning a neighbour, calling the police and then not really being told whether or not i had done the right thing.Personally, I think that you DID do just that...and those are the times when you react HOW you do because you ARE who you are.It simply comes naturally, you are that person. I worried for quite some time about what I did and whether it was right. Upshot is...that it was right for me given the circumstances at the time. Obviously it was correct for you too.
Try not to worry.

Best wishes.

Jane Henry said...

Eek spooky. I had a similar experience with elderly neighbour a while back. A friend called round and noticed his front door was open. Went inside and called his name, but like you didn't want to go right in (don't know him THAT well). Luckily he turned up a few minutes later, he'd forgotten to shut the door properly. But real wind up isn't it? I think you did the right thing. You don't know what was in there.