It’s always barkest before the dawn

Dear Gabby,

I have new next door neighbors, and they are complaining about my dog barking in the backyard. I am very mindful and try to bring the dog in as soon as I hear her bark, but sometimes it takes me a couple of minutes. My dog is not a constant yapper, mind you. She just starts to bark if she sees a squirrel in the tree, and then she stops. I understand the sound can be annoying, especially to a non-dog owner, but on the other hand, they just moved to a suburban neighborhood where people own dogs.

It’s Always Barkest Before the Dawn

Dear Barkest,

As a dog owner, I’m eye-rolling right along with you. As a lover of the quiet, however, I can see where they may be frustrated. But I think you could go over there, brownies in hand (I stock up when they are a buck a box), and ask them to give you and your pooch a grace period of five minutes before getting hot under the collar. Squirrel chases can’t last longer than that. 

If your dog continues barking for more than five minutes, I think it’s reasonable to bring her in and let her out in another half hour. Might they even have a few kids old enough to walk the dog on the weekend? Nothing will ingratiate the neighbors to the dog like their kids falling in love with her. That is what we call a win-win.

Dear Gabby, 

I like to play sports for the camaraderie and the workout, but now the college team I’m on (it’s a no-cut sport) is getting really good and I’m really not. I’m a little paranoid and don’t wanna be a burden. Also, I’m not sure if I can keep up. 

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