As I am still fighting a cold, we were hoping to turn in early last night.
No such luck.
About 8:15, as we were sitting in our living room watching The Big Bang Theory, I heard a dog barking outside.
It sounded like a big dog, and it was barking non-stop.
Since my ordeal from about a month ago, I have become very aware of my surroundings when I hear a dog bark, and to hear a dog barking right outside of our house is not a normal thing.
So I looked out of the front window to see what was going on.
In the middle of our street I could see a big dog, running loose and barking at our house!
My mind immediately flashed back to those pitbulls, but, I knew that, at least for the time being, they were still impounded by the city.
Then I noticed that the front door of the neighbor’s house across from us was wide open.
And there weren’t any cars in the driveway.
And I realized that the dog belonged to those neighbors.
Ack. Ack. Ack!
Something was not right.
This is not normal behavior for our neighbors. The family consists of a woman in her mid-forties and her severly handicapped son (he has one of the extreme forms of Muscular Dystrophy).
There used to be another son (also with MD) but he passed away this past Summer. The husband/father doesn’t live there currently as he and his wife are separated (although we do see him about once or twice a week, when he comes by to take care of the yard, and visit with his son).
But, we had seen the remaining son taken to the hospital by ambulance a week ago (another neighbor had told me that they didn’t expect him to live much longer either…) and since then there has been very little activity around the house for the last week.
Most nights there is a light on in one room and the front porch light is on, and there is a van in the driveway, and we have assumed that the mother is probably spending every evening at the hospital with her son.
So, what the heck was going on across the street?
We watched the house for another fifteen minutes. There was no activity other than the dog going in and out of the front door.
We called the police.
When the policeman arrived I went out to talk to him to explain the situation.
He went over to the house to try to check it out. No one answered him when he yelled into the house, and while the dog let him enter the house, he wouldn’t let him check one of the bedrooms, and the cop didn’t want to check the basement while the dog was running loose in the house.
So the policeman had to call, you guessed it, Animal Control.
And it took them almost an hour to get there!
And for most of that time, stupid me stood outside waiting as well, because every once in awhile the cop would stick his head out the door of the neighbor’s house and either ask me a question or tell me something.
And it was a chilly night in New England last night, my Minions!
Finally after about twenty minutes of not seeing the cop, I went back in our house and watched from the front window.
Finally the Animal Control van pulled up, and just as the Animal Control officer and the cop were about to go back into the house another car pulled up and into the driveway!
We could see a woman get out of the car, but, it wasn’t the mother. And they all went in the house together!
After a few minutes everyone came back out of the house, the woman shut the door and the woman and Animal Control each drove off!
The police officer was coming back up our driveway so I went out to talk to him.
Apparently while he was inside waiting for Animal Control to arrive he found some emergency numbers and called one of them.
It was for one of the son’s regular caretakers.
When the cop explained the situation she came right over. The dog knew her and let her put it in it’s crate and then she secured the house.
Apparently, whoever left the house last had not shut the door securely, as nothing was missing and there was no sign of forced entry. So either the dog had nudged it open or the wind had blown it open.
And that was that.
So, I was glad that we had called the police, because we didn’t know what time the mother would have come home, and who knows what would have happened to the house or the dog during that time.
And I came away from this experience with a good lesson.
While I knew these neighbors to say “hello” to, I couldn’t remember their last name, nor did I have any idea where they worked or who to call in the event of an emergency!
And in the same vein, none of our neighbors know anything about us. If something were to happen at our house neither they, nor the police would know who to call or anything.
So I am putting together a list of our work and cellphone numbers and our family member’s numbers and will be posting it on the refrigerator.
Better safe than sorry!