Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Won’t You Be A Neighbor? May 31, 2013

Sometimes the cattiness of people throws me off my game. Here I am, going about my life seeing the best in the people, places and things around me, and reality pulls the rug out from under me. Kind of like that day in the dog park when the pit bull attacked me. All I wanted to do was play chase around the park, and he (obviously) wanted nothing to do with that.

This story involves a different pit bull who lives in the home behind my backyard. He’s a terror of a dog, barking madly at nothing at all, jumping and panting by the fence close enough that I am often the slightest bit thankful my lead doesn’t allow me too close. Will You Be My Neighbor?

About a month ago, he was engaged in his usual crazed routine when his person came outside and spoke a bit to my forever mom and dad while they did yard work. Crazy Dog is her son’s dog, she explained, and she has a very difficult time containing or controlling him (she is an older woman who lives alone). The conversation unfolded to reveal that her son is in jail for an undisclosed amount of time, which explains why the yard he was responsible to tend has been left to grow into it’s own sort of weedy forest. (There are also big hunks of tree laying throughout the yard, in addition to random other things like a plastic dog bowl and a shoe.) Finally, the woman was able to wrangle the dog into the house, leaving mom and dad to finish their yard work in stunned disbelief.

A few minutes later, the woman’s neighbor (our neighbor to the back left kitty corner), came over because she saw us talking. We’d been neighbors for years but this was the first contact she made with my parents. She appealed to their apparent sense of generosity, suggesting we all chip in and offer to clean up this woman’s yard. It seemed fishy to me, since she also mentioned that Crazy Dog had recently caused permanent damage to the adorable face of their Boston Terrier Boondock and the woman didn’t offer to so much as help pay the vet bill. (A crime which wouldn’t be easily forgiven in my home, to be sure). Mom jumped at the opportunity to help, while dad seemed more cautious about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help out, he told mom later that day, but something seemed weird about it.

Much to the she-grin of my mom, they opted to stay out of it, and made other plans the day they tentatively agreed to help. Sure enough, the neighbor man mowed the lawn and cut down weed city in the yard, leaving it looking the slightest bit better than before.

Fast-forward to today. As my parents and I enjoyed a game of catch in the backyard, dad noticed a moving truck in the driveway of the allegedly good-Samaritan neighbors. A quick Internet search confirmed the truth: the couple was moving, and likely wanted to enlist my parents to help clean our mutual neighbor’s yard simply to improve the appearance of their own home.

It had nothing to do with wanting to help a woman in need. That was just the story they used to manipulate my mom (successfully) and my dad (not-so-successfully) into helping for their own selfish reasons. None of this would have bothered me if they would have just told the truth. Neighbor to neighbor, they could have explained their real reasons for needing help. But nothing about this story is very neighborly if you ask me. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Is there no decency left in the world? What happened to the basic proverb to love thy neighbor as thyself?

Sure, some define neighbor as just a person who lives within close proximity, but I’ve always thought more of the word. Most of us are offered countless opportunities throughout our days to be a good neighbor to others. And I was admittedly thrown off my game to see such a contradiction of that today. Here I am, going about my life seeing the best in the people, places and things around me, and my own neighbor pulls the rug out from under me. But it’s no use dwelling on it. Today I instead choose take what happened with a grain (or three) of delicious proverbial salt. I turn the other cheek. I forget and forgive. Because that’s what neighbors do.


20 Responses to “Won’t You Be A Neighbor?”

  1. Disappointing all round 😦

  2. huntmode Says:

    Well, and it always helps when they move, eh, Wiles?! Grin. How odd we both did neighbor stories today. I saw yours after I posted mine. I love interacting with my neighbor, though…. you do get some odd ducks every once in a while. Fortunately, for my peace of mind, that guy moved, too! πŸ™‚ Stay happy, Wiles – there is still more good in the world than bad. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! HuntMode

  3. Lyn Says:

    Oh Wiley, that’s sad. Why can’t neighbours just be neighbourly. After all, the Good Lord told us to, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” But you know what I think part of the problem is? Often times, we don’t love ourselves. And if we don’t, how can we love our neighbour?
    May all those nasty bully dogs stay away from our precious Wiley.

    • Dear Lyn,
      Sad indeed, but made much happier by remembering to love them regardless of what they’ve done, and wish them well. Just because they break the neighbor rule doesn’t mean I’ll stoop to their level. πŸ˜‰
      Lots of love,

  4. Sometimes neighbors are less than neighborly. It is unfortunate, but now they’re gone, so forgetting and forgiving is a good plan. I did it too, once when a pit bull bit my neck. When my surgery and healing were finished, I went back to work at the Veteran’s Home and wasn’t afraid of any of the dogs that work with me, not even the pit bull named Dottie (she wasn’t the biter – that sadly was a “neighbor” dog). People were worried that I’d remember and be fearful, but I forgot and forgave (and that mean dog also moved away). I like living in the now.

    Love and licks and hoping for some FABULOUS new neighbors for you,

    • Dear Cupcake,
      You are such an inspiring soul. You definitely walk the walk in addition to talking the talk.
      Too bad you can’t move in and be my neighbor! Oh, the fun we’d have! πŸ™‚
      Lots of love,

  5. Nikitaland Says:

    Not all neighbors are nice. We had a not-so nice one recently move and we were so glad. He got divorced about a year ago and we have talked with him for years, but after he got a girlfriend and moved her in, he turned nasty. He started damaging our lawn with his car, making ruts. I had asked him on many occasions to stop, but he kept doing it, until it got out of control and police were called. In the end, he moved about a month ago, we got new nice neighbors (a young couple who are soon to be married) and all is well in our world now. Phew. We always ask too, why can’t people just get along? Be neighborly, be nice!

    • Oh dear, my Nikita, that sounds terrible! I’m so glad it moved out and was replaced with what sounds like a much better fit for your part of the world. You are good “people,” dear pal. πŸ™‚

      • Nikitaland Says:

        We are good people, and what our old neighbor did was unacceptable. He always acted like he did nothing wrong. Drove me nuts.

  6. I smelled a rat – but that’s really “priceless”. Sometimes I think humans eren’t related with monkeys but with snakes :o) But after all – I hope your other neighbor will be able to manage the dog of her son, it would be pity when she had to give him to a shelter ….

    • I got a giggle out of your snake comment! πŸ™‚ I too hope things come together for her with that dog soon. I know it’s a struggle for her and (unlike the neighbors who are moving) I do wish there would be something we could do to help.

  7. utesmile Says:

    Shame that some people are selfish but pretend to be helpful. Good that they move out, you might get some nicer ones in then…

  8. maryamchahine Says:

    I hear you, Wiley! We are living in a “me” culture. Very selfish and self centered. My mom talks about when she was growing up, so I know people weren’t always like this I don’t know what’s happened to people these days. But forgive and forget is the higher ground that you are standing on, as many others stand on a lower ground acting from selfish motives.

    • That’s a great way to put it – living in a “me” culture. So true and so sad. I do need all the height I can get, so I make a habit of finding and claiming the high ground you speak of. πŸ˜‰ And I love seeing your new paw prints on my pages! Thank you for visiting! Please come back and see me again soon!

  9. […] before I knew it, I was face to face with Crazy Dog. That’s right – the neighbor pit bull who has (unfortunately) never had any training […]

  10. […] was absolutely terrified to see demon dog return. I forgot how big and scary and loud and threatening he […]

  11. Reblogged this on Wiley's Wisdom and commented:

    So happy to report that Demon Dog is still AWOL, and has been since roughly the same time dear baby Carter came home. Coincidence? I call it a happy miracle.

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