We’ve always had a really good relationship with our next door neighbors. This is an important thing when your home is the end unit in a townhome complex and you have two excessively large dogs. In all the years we’ve lived here we had one incident, when Thor was a large and boisterous 8 month old puppy and accidentally stepped on the toy Pomeranian while they were playing in the back yard. He broke her leg. We paid the vet bills, and he’s been terribly careful around small animals ever since. We were remarkably lucky that Annie never blamed us or the dog: called it an accident and we all got along great for years.
Last spring, Annie accepted a job in San Diego, I think, and moved out. We now have renters next door: a young Hispanic couple (I point this out because I’m not certain how much English they speak, which will come into play in a minute) and their children. The kids are terrified of the boys (who are DYING to go over and visit and play), so I keep the dogs well leashed when we go outside now.
Last night, I didn’t have a good enough grip. The parents were outside with two songbirds in a cage: the smallish green kind that are about the size of my hand. I’m not sure what they are, but they’re not tiny and they’re not full parrot sized or anything.
One got out of the cage.
Thor jerked himself out of my grip. Chewy barked like a damn madman and charged the poor woman sitting on the grass (to snuggle, but she didn’t know that).
I should explain here that Thor DESPERATELY loves chasing flies in our house, and tries over and over in futile jaw-snapping extravaganzas to eat them.
As it turns out, small green songbirds are REALLY FUCKING SLOW.
He caught it. He didn’t eat it: just caught it, but that was enough. So now I have a dead bird, crying children, and parents who don’t speak good enough English for me to say I’m sorry clearly enough. I started balling (please could I have any MORE reason to feel bad right now? How about NO MORE) and offered to get them another bird when they’re ready, and reiterated again that Thor loves kids and would never hurt a person. Sigh. Of course I don’t speak Spanish, and can’t even remember if “lo ciento” is “I’m sorry” or if I just said something rude.
I realize in a few days it’ll be mildly funny, the sight of him standing there in the yard with green bird hanging out of his mouth, TOTALLY CONFUSED. I think he didn’t expect to catch it, and he thought he’d done well, so getting in trouble for it was clearly a big shocker for him. I’m just waiting for the association or the cops to come tell me he’s a dangerous dog (yes, I have anxiety and paranoia).
They don’t behave this way when Husband is home. Then again, neither do I.