After 850 miles in 30 hours this weekend, all Michele and I wanted to do is come home, take a hot shower and sleep.
We arrived at 10:15 and knew that bringing three new dogs into the dog yard would stir up the others and make a fuss. Our dogs are pretty good about settling down quickly and not causing too much of a commotion.
Not three minutes of our arrival with the dogs barking we started hearing our neighbor, Dave, screaming at the top of his lungs:
Mother fucker. Mother fucker. Mother FUCKER.
Dave lives on the corner of Allen Drive and Sue Drive in our neighborhood of less than 10 homes. In this little community there are five of us that are mushers. The dogs outnumber the humans, something like 12 to 1.
Dave has a reputation of being to the full extreme against the mushers in the neighborhood. Some would call him a bully. Some would call him a pest.
He is out of control.
Dave has a history of filing complaints with the borough. Video taping us as we run by with our teams and even blocking our access on more than one occasion.
Every musher in Willow knows Dave. His actions supersede him. But last night he took it a step too far.
When we applied for our kennel license we were required to have an inspection by Animal Control to make sure we were in compliance. The officer checked things like, proper waste disposal, noise control polices, the number of sled dogs, etc.
We received our license with a bit of advice: If that guy gives you any problems, call the troopers. Get everything in writing and make sure you document everything.
Over the past couple months Dave has harassed my daughter Nicole. Has walked INTO the dog yard while Michele was feeding and harassed her and had more than several screaming fits from his front porch when the dogs bark.
Dogs bark. That’s what they do.
I have lived in the company of sled dogs for the better part of twenty years. The normal cycle of a dog yard barking is that it ebbs and flows with the barking not lasting more than a minute or two maybe once or twice a night if something riles the dogs up.
Up to this point we have dismissed Dave’s actions and non-consequentiual. Just a bitter man that wants to push his weight around and be the neighborhood bully.
Then at 12:27 AM the chaos began that will change the course of history for our little neighborhood and it is not something that anyone should be subjected to.
Michele and I had laid down to sleep and Nicole rushed into our room saying, “Dave’s in down in the dog yard!”
The dogs were barking like crazy.
Michele and I jumped up and ran downstairs. We could hear our son, Tyler, on the front porch saying, “Sir, why don’t you just get outta here! The dogs will calm down once we leave. Sir, just leave!”
Dave was in our driveway at that point standing next to my Jeep. He was screaming at the top of his lungs,”Robert, you mother fucker, shut those dogs up before I bash their heads in!”
That was it. The last straw.
As I was getting dressed in our bedroom at the back of the house I could hear Michele frantic on the phone. She had called 9-1-1. She was giving the dispatcher the run down. Saying things like, “I don’t know if he has a weapon!”
By 12:36 I was dressed and out in my truck. I was shaking. I could taste pennies in my mouth. As I drove down our little road, that is no longer than a 1/8 of a mile, I saw the Trooper vehicle approach–blacked out as they call it–heading up the hill.
The trooper took a statement and was there for no longer than five minutes. Dave, curiously, was not home when they went to his place. I wonder where he was?
I was so stressed I went for a drive.
Some will ask, why did you leave? For one I knew the troopers were there and had it under control. Two, if I were to confront Dave it could have end up much worse than it did. Knowing that Dave sometimes carried a weapon I didn’t want to find out if he had one that night. I don’t own a gun and I don’t intend to.
I arrived back home about an hour later to a quite dog yard and a dark house. I had been texting Michele so I knew what had transpired since my departure.
When one moves into a neighborhood they expect certain things. The right of peaceful enjoyment. The right to privacy and the ability or at least the hope of getting along with their neighbors.
Having a neighbor dispute can disrupt everyone’s lives. I can’t think of much worse. Can you? The satisfaction of enjoying your property is diminished if you don’t know if someone will approach and go off the deep end. I have known people that have moved for neighbor disputes much less than this.
I know my dogs bark. All of the sled dogs in the neighborhood do. It is not an issue, at least as far as I can tell, for anyone except Dave.
It has now been 12 hours post event and I don’t know what will happen from here. I just hope that we could all just get along…