Dear Neighbor (in the overpriced condos to the South with the little white dog that barks incessantly),

Hello.  You may not know me, but I’m your neighbor in the early 80’s apartment building with a balcony close to yours.  Your dog knows me though.  Whenever I go outside to water my plants, it’s there, greeting me with tiny dog barks.  Not the deep, fear-inducing ones of a German Shepherd, but the more high-pitched, urgent, I’m-a-good-watchdog-despite-my-size ones of a Bichon Frise.    I usually acknowledge him/her, say hello, and if the barking continues, it usually ends with a shush from my end. Believe it or not, it works, despite me not being the alpha dog in your house.

I’ve got a little bone to pick with you though.  It seems that you seem to find it acceptable to leave your dog outside at all hours of the day, for many hours of the day. I know this because I hear the poor little thing barking all.the.time.  I get it. Dogs bark. I’m not mad at the dog. I’m mad at you.

I’m sure you wanted to get a dog that was hypoallergenic, small, adorable and playful, not to mention one that was a good watchdog.  But in order to be the beneficiary of such great qualities, you seem to have forgotten this breed, like most others, needs attention. It’s quite loyal, like many dogs, but when this little one is left alone, it gets upset and it barks. It needs companionship, be it you or another pet. I’m sure it’s more convenient for you to keep it outside at times, maybe when you’re out so it doesn’t destroy your furniture, or when you can’t give it attention and you’re home, but guess what? That’s too damn bad.  Your dog deserves your attention. Not just shelter, water and food, but your love.  What’s the point of having this kind of dog if you’re going to leave it outside all day?

If you can’t give it your love, then find it another good forever home… that pup deserves better. Loyalty is precious, don’t squander it.

Sincerely,

Your neighbor to the North