We Were Adopted By the Neighbor’s Dog

We moved to our house about 8 years ago. Shortly there after, the neighbor’s dog “adopted” us. But if you knew her, you’d know it was more like she “took over”.

As I have mentioned before, we live on the outskirts of our small town on a dirt lot. There is a house in front of us, two on the one side and one down the dirt road. We have two dogs and at the time we moved in, I was foolish enough to think I could seal off the 3 acres with a chain link fence. For the record, chain link on a dirt ground really means keep people out, but not stray dogs. (or keep yours in).

Being the good parents we are, we have a dog door so our “kids” can come and go potty anytime they want (aka – we don’t want to get up to let them go out 80 times a day). Now Arizona can get some awesome thunderstorms and a few weeks into living here, we had a big storm. That was the first time we met Nahla. How did we meet? Well, it turns out Nahla is deathly afraid of thunder. The night of the storm, she scared the crap out of us as we watched TV. We heard the dog door flap (even though both our dogs were sitting right next to us), next thing we knew, there was Nahla running into the room and hiding behind the chairs. We were like “what the …”

There was no budging this German Shepard either. She was scared to death. To make a long story short, we discovered she was the neighborhood dog. While technically she belonged to the neighbor across the dirt, she typically roamed the road traveling from house to house. But for some reason we became her #1 hangout (I’m pretty sure it’s because we were the only foolish ones to not kick her out).

Now one would think her true owners would seek her out. Not really. We figured out pretty quickly that she wasn’t allowed in her house (yes, even when it was 115 degrees outside or storming). It wasn’t until years later that they even acknowledged that they felt semi bad (but not really) that she “bothered” us. Never once did they drop off dog food or treats (yes, she pretty much eats here too).

The sad part is, she is an excellent indoor dog. For being outside pretty much all the time, she is amazingly house trained. For the most part, she lays next to the other dogs for hours. She can be pushy tho. If the other dogs are getting petted, she demands equal pet time. While our dogs know to walk off when we are done, not Nahla. She just stands there like you just needed a few minutes of rest and will start back up momentarily.

Nahla, isn’t good at sharing and acts like an only child sometimes. If either of the other two dogs come up to be petted, Nahla will try and cut them off. Or she will push her head in like she was cutting into the dance.

And petting Nahla isn’t easy. She has glaucoma in her eyes and they are all jacked up. Gives me the heebee jeebees’ (mean I know but it’s the truth – its gross looking and I have an eye phobia – tell ya about that some other time)

Each night I come home, she is usually waiting on our porch for me. On the rare occasions she isn’t, she has learned the sound of my truck and comes dashing over (almost getting hit a few times when I don’t’ see her). Then she knows my routine. I come inside with her in tow. I always walk over to the dog treats to give my “girls” their jerky or bones. She is the most aggressive of the three, and tests my patience some days. It is the only time she acts like this. I have her wait till last, teaching her patience but if she could, she would rip the treat out of the other two dogs mouths and still expect her own.

As I type this, she has boldly laid down on my greyhound’s pillows. Taking her life into her own hands (No one lays on Tia’s pillows). Soon Tia will wander in here and we will try to protect Nahla’s life by reminding her to get up. Usually she realizes her death defying transgression and moves.

As time has gone on, Nahla pretty much comes in at night and stays until mid morning, then hangs outside for a few hours (I assume checking out the other neighbors treats or food offerings) and then heads back “home” to us. With each passing year, she stays longer and longer. By now we think of her as our third dog. She just acts like the 23 year old kid that moved out but seems to hang out at their parents all the time. Eating their food, using their stuff and then disappearing whenever they want.

We’ve come to love her, so has all our family that visits. She provides us as much entertainment and love as our dogs and it looks like she isn’t going anywhere after the 8 years. If we ever move, I wonder if we take her with us, if her “real” owners would even realize she is gone. I guess someday we will find out.

Oh, and for the record, every storm Nahla still comes in and hides behind the chairs, turns out she feels safer here than anywhere.

~~~till we laugh again~~~