The dog days of summer
A resounding chorus of swelling shrieks, that, from a distance, sounds like a group of terrified screams. This is the soundtrack and most frequent audible backdrop to Ross River. This town is not known for many things: There’s no mayor, no landmarks, and the town sign has a dilapidated old car ridden with bullet holes at the entrance. But many people remember Ross River as “the place with the dogs.”
There aren’t any bylaws, so far as I know, limiting the number of dogs a person can own, as in most municipalities. There are indeed some residents who house nine and ten dogs, all in a dog yard behind their homes. At one point, I was living in a house flanked by nine dogs on our left and another ten right across the street. Not fun. And when one dog goes off barking at something – real or imaginary- they ALL get going in the chorus.
Aside from the dozens of dogs chained up in dog yards, Ross River is known for its pack of wild dogs. Dogs that start out as puppies, that are cute and therefore attractive as fun pets. But then people sort of forget to take care of them, letting them roam free and fend for themselves with the other rejected and neglected canines. It literally becomes a dog eat dog world. They congregate outside the restaurant, waiting for scraps. They wait outside of the school for their “owners” to collect them at the end of the day. They roam the main drag of highway, with increasing aggression the hungrier they become. I’ve been warned not to bother going for jogs in town because the wild packs of dogs would be apt to nip at my legs, if not attempt to gnaw the flesh from my bones!
Lately, there have been a pack of dogs in our neighbour’s yard howling between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and about 4:00 a.m. Not the kind of night music one might request to be lulled to sleep with.
Yesterday on the way back from walking our puppy in the woods, one of the residents stopped driving his John Deere lawnmower down the road and expressed frustration at the nocturnal barks. In fact, his words were,
“I can’t take it anymore. The next time I hear it, I’m going to go running out of my house with either a shotgun or a bat and I’ll gladly beat the dog to death.”
Hmm. I’ll chalk it up to another day in Ross.