I like this definition From Wikipedia:
So yesterday I am in the changing room after yoga and run into a neighbors son. I’ll call him Scott for easy reference, not his name but this is the internet so let’s keep it protected. Scott says hello and gives me the news that his father had a heart attack the night before. He said his dad was doing well it was not severe and would be having a procedure to aid in his recovery. We talked for a moment and I assured him from what I know about that procedure his dad would do well and actually feel much better afterward. (I worked as a respiratory therapist for many years in cardiac units so am actually experienced in the arena.)
Scott continued that his dad would be coming home soon and I offered for him to let me know anything I could do to help. He then said “there is something you can do” and I said “sure, what is it?” He said “well it’s your dogs, they wake my parents up at night and I want to make sure that my father can rest and recover when he gets home.” To which I replied “I’m sorry but I do not see how as we go to bed at about 9 pm and the dogs sleep in the house with us.” Scott continued by saying “both mom and dad have complained to me about your dogs several times.”
I was taken aback by the accusation. So I restated that it could not be my dogs as they never sleep outside and are always inside with me at night and that also are never outside unless I am home as they stay inside when I leave as well, they are never un-monitored. At that point I was dressed and made my way out to my car.
Now we get to perception.
Off the top of my head I can count that we live on a block that has at the minimum 16 dogs. Across the street there are many more. Neighbors walk dogs on our street starting before dawn until well after dark. The neighborhood is full of many dogs at all times of day. Some neighbors do leave their dogs out at night. So obviously there is a perception that the dogs waking his parents up at night is my dogs when it isn’t. Mine not only sleep in the house, but in my room. If they made noise at night I would know. So that’s his perception.
Then there is my perception that I have been accused of something I haven’t done. I have to ask myself “was he accusing me? Or was this something he would or will say to all the neighbors with dogs?” I have to say it felt like an accusation. But I have to step back and think this through and act in the best I can.
I have to realize he is trying to protect his dad as this is a stressful time for him. I do have dogs that when are outside when I am here during the day, do bark when someone approaches their fence or hear another dog bark, which I can try to minimize when possible. I have lived near his father with several dogs at all times for 22 years and have not ever had a complaint about being woken up, but maybe on that once in a blue moon occasion that we came home late from a play or something and let them out to pee at midnight they may have disturbed someone for the few minutes they were out.
What can I do? I feel it’s best to write then let it sit for a while. A few weeks after his dad is safely home and recovering well, maybe I should ask his dad if my dogs bother him. Reassure his dad that we are responsible owners and will do all we can to minimize noise and ask him to call if ever there is a problem. Also let his dad know that our dogs do sleep in our house, in our room and if he’s being awakened after 9 pm let’s talk and work together to figure out who’s dogs might be the problem.