I hope to God I haven't started a neighbourly squabble.

You see, I just moved into my current townhouse about three months ago. Now, I dunno what it's like in the rest of the U.S. anymore, but I've been saying for the past five to ten years that Northern Virginia is the most impolite and downright vicious model of suburbia in the country. Unlike most migrants to the area, I've lived here my whole life. I've seen how things have changed. If you have a temper, you won't want to drive on the roads, and you sure as hell don't want to piss someone off who you'll see on a regular basis.

An axiom to all this is the fact that unless you make a damned concerted effort, you won't meet your neighbours, either. I have never seen hide nor hair of the homeowner to my left, To my right lives a woman, presumably single, who is mother to three adolescent or pre-adolescent boys. I've probably talked with her a total of five times.

One of the first things I immediately noticed upon moving into the place was the loud thudding bass next door. It is often loud enough to make my downstairs room unusable. It is annoying, but I daresay it's a risk you take when you move into a townhouse. Today, however, it drove me crazy.

This was one of those days where I could hear it two floors up, on the bedroom level. I was helping my fiancee work on a paper for school, and I could hardly concentrate. We finished up the paper, and I decided that, this time, I was going to go have a little neighbourly chat.

It is, however, at this point, where the story takes a turn

On top of the subwoofer that was shaking my walls, they'd put their dog out front to do its thing. The dog then, of course began to bark... And bark... And bark!

Upon heading outside to go try and talk some sense into the sixteen year-old, I quickly discovered that I might have a problem getting to the door, due much in part to the fact that the aforementioned dog is a dalmatian. Dalmatians are, by nature, territorial. I'm not stupid. I know precisely why Cruella De Vil hated the things. Nonetheless, I figured I'd see how this would go.

Two things happened:
  • One, I realised just how damned cold that dog was. It was limping around on the cold, concrete sidewalk leading up to the porch, and it was shivering like a fiend.
  • Two, I found out very quickly that this dog was not gonna let me go anywhere near the front door. I tried to coax it over to the property line, and it hesitatingly came over, but quickly ran back over to cover its post. I tried slowly walking across their driveway, only to have to dog chase me off, before, once again, limping gingerly across the ice-cold driveway.
At this point, I knew there was no way I would be able to talk to anyone today. It then occurred to me, however, just how long that dog had been out in sub-zero, windy weather. Probably about an hour.

That dog was probably half-numb. I stood there for a minute. It kept looking at me, growling, and then looking and barking at the front door, waiting for the kid let it back in. Of course, most likely, the kid couldn't hear the dog, for reasons already covered quite exhaustively.

At this point, I no longer cared about the loud bass in that house. And while really didn't care much about the dalmatian at this point, either, I was madder than hell at the way the dog was being neglected.

So what do you do, when you hardly know the neighbours, you certainly don't know their phone number, and sure as hell can't get to the front door?

Yeah. I called the local Animal Shelter.

I talked with the woman, explained the situation, and she said she would send someone out. Just as we were finishing up, I heard their front door open to let the dog back in. I explained this to the woman, but I am pretty sure they sent someone anyway.

So what is going to happen now? I am sure that if they find out I called this in -- and for all I know, they may have already -- I'm gonna look like one passive-aggressive asshole, a real dickless wonder. What's going to happen? I have no idea.

I didn't intend to start any drama. But goddammit, you don't fucking do that to an animal, regardless as to the size or demeanor of the beast. Ever.