Saturday, 6 August 2016

Weighing up 'offensiveness'

I watched a YouTube video the other night where comedian Steve Hughes rips political correctness, offending people and being offended.

On Monday, my husky friend Kiska howled almost non-stop from the moment his dad left for work. We'd had such a super weekend together that my heart ached for this poor dog and his sorrowful howls. His dad returned home much later that usual and I sent him a text message suggesting that he leave Kiska with me during Tuesday - dog sitting.

He dropped Kiska with me and although I wasn't home all day, our domestic worker was around. Kiska fared really well (no howling) and we wrapped up the afternoon with a run before I took him to his home, across the road.

I had a chat with his dad, who is a sweet chap.

He mentioned that he'd spoken to the lady next door to us (directly across from him) and his neighbours on either side. All three women told him that they were not bothered by the husky's howling during the day.

Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Kiska's howl is hardly a whisper. It is a full-bodied, deep-throated HOWL. And, to me, it is mournful and sad and lonely. Facing the street, I have double-glazed windows in my home office (I can see him from my seat) and our front doors are also double-glazed glass. We usually don't hear much.

My neighbours bordering on the back of our property hear him howling. Friends a block away can hear him too.

While I can tolerate the sound, his howls wrench my heart. It is just not right for a dog to be like this.

Apparently this behaviour is not new. Kiska's dad told me that in his previous home, he would howl when his dad left for work but would quieten down when the old man living next door came to give him a pat.

With Wednesday being a public holiday, Kiska had his dad's company but for Thursday, his dad said he would "see how things go" instead of taking me up on my dog sitting offer. See how things go? He is at work all day, not here. How can he see how things go?

As expected, poor Kiska howled a great deal on Thursday and even more on Friday.

When I got back from parkrun this morning my little friend was howling so I went to say hi. He bumped up against his gate, eager for touches and rubs and kisses. He talked to me and bounced and couldn't get enough loves. I rubbed his back and sides and chest and head and stroked his ears, talking to him the whole time. When I left, he continued howling for the next 90-minutes - until his dad returned.

His dad probably thinks I'm a fruit cake because the three neighbours told him the howling is 'no problem'. I think they're probably trying to be kind and understanding with their 'white lies'; they're trying not to offend Kiska's dad.
My mom has a good example of our aversion for offending others. Let's say you're waiting for the elevator. The doors open and inside is an unkempt man with a scary demeanour. He immediately sets off your alarm bells and all your natural instincts are screaming at you not to get inside. What do you do? You get inside - not wanting to offend the guy. And then you're attacked inside the lift or followed to your apartment... Is your safety less important than hurting the guy's feelings? 
By not telling the truth, these neighbours are preventing Kiska's dad from taking me up on my dog-sitting offer, which would result in a much happier Kiska and a far quieter neighbourhood. He, in turn, is trying not to be intrusive to me or to take advantage of my offer.

I am distressed by the howling. I struggle to concentrate on my work because with every howl I look at this poor dog from my window and wish he was here - happy and content with some company. The noise is one thing, but I just cannot begin to understand how my neighbours apparently feel nothing for the dog, who is clearly distressed.

Until other neighbours start addressing this issue, Kiska will continue to stay home alone every day. And he'll continue to be sad and bored and lonely. He will howl. All day.

And all because some neighbours are too afraid to offend.

In my situation, honesty from the neighbours would result in a positive outcome for all - especially Kiska.


Conrad van den Berg said...

Hello Lisa. I hope my comment doesn't offend you.
This is really an interesting people/animal study.
We had a similar situation in our townhouse complex. Our neighbour acquired a dog which would start howling the moment she drove away to go to work. Luckily I went to work as well but my wife had to put up with the howling. Weekends, though, when the neighbour was out I shared in the agony. The neighbour got to know about the inconvenience and moved to a house, as opposed to a townhouse complex where we live on top of one another.
Most people don't like to get into a fight, therefore the other neighbours' reactions aren't a surprise. Neither is the owner's. He reluctantly let you look after Kiska but felt that you are taking ownership of the dog away from him. After all, he has the dog to "protect" the property. He's not at home when the dog howls, so he checked with the other neighbours. With them not wanting to tell the truth, he now thinks the howling issue is merely an excuse for borrowing the dog. My view is that you should break the relationship with Kiska, tell the owner you will report him to the council if the nuisance doesn't stop, and do so if he doesn't abide. It is a sad thing that there are many dogs in Kiska's situation. Most of them are not vocal but suffer in silence.

adventurelisa said...

Hi Conrad. You are so right! I have been keeping my distance. I'm very happy to take Kiska out once a week to run and for the rest I am not engaging his dad. I wave when I drive past and, if Kiska's dad asks, I'll gladly dog sit should he go away for a weekend. But I'll do it on his request. I've made my offer and invitation, I've tried to assist. Anything else needs to come from his side.

My mom says I should report him to SPCA. But, I definitely won't do that. Aside from being lonely and bored, Kiska has a home and his small front yard space is better than a cage.

I've been out most of the morning but returned to a howling hound - so sorrowful. Celliers is shaking his head because it is driving him crazy. We'll see what the next few weeks bring.