Editorial January 2018 Issue

Quiet Time

Here’s hoping that our move to the edge of town will mean less barking, all around.

Unless something blows up in the next few days, there will be a new editorial office address listed in the masthead, to the immediate left, in the next issue of WDJ. My husband and I are in the last days of escrow on a new house on the outskirts of town, just a few miles away from where we live now.

whole dog journal editor nancy kerns

We have been living in the historic downtown of this Gold Rush-era town for the past 11 years. There have been some wonderful benefits of living in an old neighborhood in a cute, old small town. I could go out my front gate with my dogs and walk four blocks to a paved trail alongside the Feather River, which flows right through town. The historic center of Oroville is a bit like a ghost town at night; there are no businesses, not even bars, that stay open past 10 p.m., so on hot summer nights, the dogs could safely walk with me off-leash downtown. When I’m on deadline and don’t have time to take Woody out for a miles-long hike to wear him down, I often walk him at night to a grassy area that surrounds some government buildings downtown (two blocks from my house!), to play fetch with a glow-in-the-dark ball.

But living downtown has also had some drawbacks. From the day we adopted Otto from our local shelter nine years ago, it’s been a challenge to keep him from barking to alert us to every UPS, FedEx, and U.S. Postal Service truck that drives within a block of our house. And since we live across from the town’s YMCA, people park in front of our house to attend classes or swim in the Y’s pool. When they get in and out of their cars, Otto thinks he should let us know this, too. The main post office in town is on the next block, and lots of apparently suspicious-looking people walk by our house every day to pick up their mail. Otto does not let this go unremarked.

If I’m in the same room or part of the yard as Otto when these “alarming” events happen, Otto will usually just let out a soft growl; then he will look at me, to make sure I’m aware that he’s done his job. I acknowledge this; “Thanks, buddy. That’s enough.” And that’s it. But if Otto is alone outside when, in his view, any of these potential home-invaders skulk by, he lets out a full-throated “ARROOOOOOOO!” and follows up with some ferocious barking.

Before you feel too sorry for my neighbors, you should know that there is a Dachshund next door who launches into fits of shrieky barking any time we open our front gate, or upon any appearance by any human or non-human animal (dogs, cats, chickens) in our own backyard. And the neighbors across the back fence have two dogs that live outdoors 24/7/365; they can hardly be blamed for their boredom-based barking.

Anyway, wish us luck. If all goes as planned, we and our dogs will be sleeping through the night for the first time in years!

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