(No, I don’t have children.)
For a year, it was incessant pounding above my head, which turned out to be an upstairs neighbor who was really a Clydesdale horse wearing a human suit, which she failed to mention in her apartment application.
But there was also two-year-old child who lived next door – in a separate building altogether – who was visited by the devil every afternoon and night and responded with blood-curdling screams because his mom was pregnant and he couldn’t handle sharing his Thomas the Train set.
After that, it was the ongoing construction in my old neighborhood in Mid-City New Orleans, which IS the construction/home renovation capital of the world.
(Its motto: We throw shit from the roof into metal dumpsters down below at 7 a.m.!!!)
When I moved back to South Carolina last December, back into my house in the suburbs, I thought I’d finally get some sleep past 7 a.m.
…on the weekends.
I imagined only being woken up by the smell of coffee and birds chirping.
No, of course we’ve had the fortunate luck of new next-door neighbors whose dog incessantly barks every single second it’s in the backyard.
Oh, and my bedroom window faces said backyard.
The dog doesn’t bark at anything in particular, just a constant (Stressed out? Bored? Asshole?) unnecessary bark ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY.
I laid in bed one morning – Saturday morning at 9 a.m. – and counted ON MY FINGERS exactly 100 barks in two minutes.
ONE HUNDRED BARKS!!!!
Oh, HELL NO.
I’ve long given up on humanity caring about making so much noise that it wakes the neighbors.
If they’re so loud that it bothers you, they’re already inconsiderate. So expecting them to suddenly BE considerate just because you ask them is fruitless.
And in this case, I was told that a previous tenant in our house had already spoken to the neighbors about the dog, but nothing has changed.
Even so, I paid them a duplicate visit:
“Hi, I’m having a HUGE problem with the fact that your dog won’t stop barking all the time.”
“Oh, we know. We’re looking into getting a trainer.”
(i.e. We KNOW our dog is annoying, but we don’t care and have no real plan for how to make this stop.)
“Ok, well, until then, could you not let him out before 10 a.m. on the weekends???”
…And then of course they let him out at 9 a.m. on the weekends.
I was helpless and furious.
Do I call animal control??? Tell PETA they were beating it and hope it's removed???
Stand outside with a bullhorn making 100 barking noises in two minutes facing THEIR bedroom window??
But then a lightbulb went off. A solution by which I could take matters into my own hands!
I never felt more empowered in my life.
I remembered an item for sale in SkyMall Magazine — a ultrasonic dog bark deterrent disguised as a bird house.
The way it works is that whenever a dog barks near it, the “birdhouse” emits a very high-pitched noise that only dogs can hear and they hate it.
Eventually, the dog will realize that the noise only comes on when it barks, so they’ll learn to effing COOL IT.
Essentially, a trainer.
It cost $50, with shipping.
“Won’t that…scramble the dog’s brain??” one of my more sensitive friends asked.
“Oh, I don’t care.”
I figured if the dog was negatively affected, I’d blame it on the owners. They literally left me with no other choice.
"Looking into a trainer..." I have YET to see Cesar Milian over there.
The birdhouse arrived last week when I was out of town, and it sat in the corner of the kitchen forgotten until I was in bed watching TV at 11 p.m. Friday night.
I heard it bark.
I timed the dog barking for four minutes and 24 seconds. Straight.
THIS IS NOT A JOKE.
I immediately got out of bed, tore open the package and flipped through the instructions.
I put in a battery and skipped the part about “starting at the lowest setting, and working your way up if the dog doesn’t respond.”
I turned it to 100 percent immediately and “tested” it.
I turned it to 100 percent immediately and “tested” it.
“WOOF!” I said into the birdhouse and a red light came on and HOLY SH*T I heard the high-pitched noise and recoiled.
Me! A human! With non-specialized hearing!!!
My eyes gleamed.
I crept outside into the backyard in the dark, looking for where to hang my new favorite toy.
I walked up to the fence line, hoping to find a branch that provided an unobstructed view of the neighbors' yard.
Yet, right when I was lurking around, the neighbors’ back door opened and the dog rushed out…WITH THE OWNER.
Of course. Because I always have the most perfect timing.
The dog saw me immediately, creeping at the fence line and BARKED.
I was like a deer in headlights. The owner looked over.
“Oh…heeey,” I said, hiding the birdhouse behind me, trying to be casual.
“I’m…uh…looking for a ball our dog lost around here,” I said, kicking the nearby bush for effect.
“She’s, uh, really freaking out over it being missing.”
The owner said nothing and I ran back inside with the birdhouse.
#&^$@#(@%&^(#@%&)#!!!!! I screamed over the dog’s incessant barking outside.
I waited until after midnight to try again.
This time I brought my roommate Marie, and we took a flashlight (even more creepy) and we found a hook on the fence and angled the birdhouse so it faced the neighbor’s yard perfectly, at dog height.
(Then I may or may not have rubbed my fingertips together like an evil cartoon character).
The next day, Saturday morning, I was awoken by the dog barking.
The barking stopped.
I sat up in bed like it was God damn Christmas morning and stared at the window.
Wide-eyed, I rose out of bed and put my ear near the window just to be sure.
I woke Marie up to rejoice.
It’s been three days now, and I have yet to wake up because of the dog barking.
Granted, the dog has now started barking on the OTHER side of the yard facing the OTHER neighbors’ house, but that’s not my problem, and it doesn’t disturb my cat-like slumber.
IT’S A MIRACLE!!!!
TECHNOLOGY ALWAYS PREVAILS!!!!
Thanks, Hammmmmmacher Schhhhhhhlemmer!!!!!!!
Now, if only they had these for 2-year-olds screaming next door.