There is no doubt that the persistent barking is seriously affecting my writing. Noise reducing headphones and music are OK up to a point but I really don't like things on or in or over my ears for any length of time. I have decamped downstairs with my notebook computer but I can still hear dear Freda and that option really only works when I am home alone. It is hardly fair on my husband to have to tiptoe around me.
I won't go into the attempts we have made to deal with the problem. Let's just say addressing the issue directly with the neighbours has made no difference If it was me, I would be mortified if a neighbour approached me to tell me my animal was a nuisance and do everything in my power to remedy the situation...particularly when the only thing being asked is to prevent Freda from having access to the balcony.
Don't get me wrong, I love animals and although I am primarily a cat person, I have had some lovely dogs in my life and do not grudge for a moment anyone's rights to own a dog. However there is such a thing as responsible ownership and if you work full time and own 2 large dogs surely there is some obligation on you to ensure they are exercised and entertained and not left to become a neighbourhood nuisance? All dogs bark but there are plenty of other dogs living around us who make for perfectly acceptable doggy neighbours!
Is it me or is there a movement among certain (not all!) dog owners to think in some way their dogs are "special" and exempt from council by laws, such as nuisance laws or being kept on leashes near playgrounds or have their droppings picked up? The leash off exemption for "special dogs" is particularly prevalent along our most popular walking paths by the sea. As a runner (cough!) I have been tripped by loose dogs who should have been on leashes and if you dare point out to a "special dog" owner that their dog should be on a leash, you get a stream of abuse for your efforts.
There is no doubt that the stress of living next door to Freda is affecting not only my quality of life, amenity of my home etc but also my writing. I think I will have to consider working away from home, from my beloved office (and my favourite desk) unless the situation changes. Watch this space.
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Also if you are in or around Melbourne (Australia) this weekend is the Williamstown Literary Festival where I will be running a beginners workshop on Scrivener and Chairing a fabulous panel of Romance writers! Come along and cheer...
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