A Canine Street Gang
For two nights in a row, Momo has awakened us around 3 o’clock in the morning with whining or barking. Not my favorite time to wake up, grab a flashlight and venture outside (where the temperature is hovering around freezing) in my robe and rubber beach slippers. The culprits each time have been neighborhood dogs - two or three of them at a time. I think that they are usually looking to take left over food from the dishes of dogs that are tied up. Momo eats her two meals each day in a matter of seconds, leaving nothing in her dish – ever. Sometimes we don’t even make the five meters back to the house before she has devoured dinner. Even if we are going out and won’t be back until late so leave some dry food for her, the concept of saving anything to eat "later" is totally absent from Momo’s doggy mind. She is very Zen-like and lives in the "NOW". And besides, as we remind her, there are dogs starving in China!
So the prowlers got nothing. I chased the dogs away, dragged the metal accordion gate across the driveway entrance and went back to bed until 6:45 a.m. when the local pubic address system loud speakers chimed like Big Ben, as they do every morning, six days a week.
Some dogs are pretty persistent. One female dog, which is at least four times Momo’s size (not hard to achieve) and that lives next door to Momo's friend Goma, (see the post “Momo’s Walk – Talk of the Town” for a picture of Goma), got loose the other day and came to tease Momo by rushing at her and jumping around as Momo growled and tried to get a bite of the pest (and she did give the intruder a nip before I could intervene!). The other dog probably just wanted to play, but there was something mean spirited in the way she would not take a hint and just buzz off. I had to take the visitor by the collar and literally drag her to the street, closing the gate behind her. She later bugged us on our walk until her owner drove up and took her home.
The Quadruped Yakuza!
Yesterday, I noticed that Momo had only one toy in the yard. She owns several and they are usually scattered within her reach, so this was very odd. Sometimes they get moved by wind or tossed a few meters away by Momo, but the missing toys were nowhere to be seen. As I was taking the “non-burnable” rubbish to the local collection bin by bike (brrr), I soon found her toy hedgehog laying in the middle of the road 20 meters or so from the house. Later, while walking Momo a hundred meters from the house in the opposite direction, we came across her favorite toy – a cloth cow dressed in red polka dot under pants. I can only assume those dogs made off with her toys. Pirates! Thieves! Scallywags!
I rinsed off the hedgehog and K ran the cow through the washing machine, hung it to dry and returned it to Momo by day’s end, though the squeakers no longer functioned in either one.
Last night I closed the gate across the driveway before going to bed hoping to nip the problem in the bud. Momo whined a bit last night, but when I went to the door I saw nothing out there except Momo looking at the gate. Dogs passing by on the street I assumed. This morning I discovered that all of Momo’s toys were gone! Walls on three sides, and a thick hedge on the fourth side surround our property. Though we had already put wire border in the few holes there were along the base of the hedge in order to keep Momo in when she was off leash, I found a hole in one corner of the hedge where a larger dog had pushed the wire aside to get through. Today I’ll need to devise a means to block that hole securely.
Exhibits A, B, and C:
Hopefully these measures will keep this local street gang of Canine “Yakuza “ out of the yard. I am sure that they are jealous of Momo’s breeding, high social status in the neighborhood, her two meals a day, bi-monthly showers, heated dog house (yes, it’s true), two walks a day and all those toys. I’m sorry if their lot in life is not as good, but I will not tolerate them terrorizing her, stealing her toys and leaving them in the street somewhere out of spite!
Compassionate or Just Soft on Crime?
Were it not for the fact that Japan has the death penalty for stray animals with a very short wait on canine death row, we would call the dogcatcher. We’ll have to fend for ourselves instead. Maybe we should send for Max and have him stand guard at the gate wearing those cool sunglasses. Or perhaps a social worker for dogs could raise money for a canine youth center. We'll see. Not that Momo is any sissy! To borrow a line from "The Princess Bride":
Santa doesn’t usually come to this house, but this year I think Momo will find he made a special trip with some new toys just for her.