They throw cigarette ends over the fence and mow their lawn every time we try to spend time outside, I think I may have mentioned this before. They've stolen our bin and play terrible music too loud with the windows open so that we can't hear the TV indoors with our windows closed. And I'm not convinced that they didn't plant the dog poop on my front garden that I trod in a couple of weeks ago when I came home steaming drunk after a night out with my brother.
Anywho, this is the story of the the day that THEY reported US to the authorities. (I know right?)
We had a pup once, called Jack, who liked to chew things. He was the punk version of The Very Hungry Catterpillar, where he would forgo the pleasures of dogfood and plump instead for tables and doorframes and floorcoverings. When he was about a year old, he decided to test the mettle of our other dog, a seven or so year old female Staffordshire Bull Terrier and make a bid for dominance of the pack.
The set-to started as some high-spirited snapping at each other whilst I was raking the gravel smooth on our rear helicopter landing pad. It quickly escalated through biting of tails and chewing of ears to full on grabbing each other by the throats and shaking. There was blood, quite a lot of blood.
the first thing I thought of doing was to grab them and pull them apart, then I sucked my bitten finger and thought of something different to do. I took the rake, spun it around like a Ninja Alan Titchmarsh and gave both dogs a couple of decent whacks across the shoulders with the blunt end. This stopped them both dead and they looked at me as if to say 'What're you doing you bloody nut-job', then they looked at each other and thought something like, 'Hey dude, did you know you were covered in blood?'
They actually started licking each other clean as if nothing had happened... Dogs!
It was then that I heard the shouting from next door, it was pretty garbled and nonsensical if I'm honest, and it was a while before I realised that they were threatening to report me to the RSPCA. I told them that they should, and that I was going to report them to... to... I think I said something about Some national society for Emo teens who were too scared to tell their parents that they smoked drugs whenever their parents went out.
Then for a while, peace was restored.
A few weeks later there was a knock at the door. It turned out to be a fairly large inspector from the RSPCA, who happened to be South African. He said that they'd had a report of mistreatment of animals and he'd like to come inside and take a look around.
He came in and we wandered through into the kitchen, the dogs were chasing around outside and he asked if he could meet them, so I banged on the window, they noticed that there was a new friend for them to meet and came bounding in like furry little freight trains. I don't think that they both hit him in the genitals, but one certainly did, and as he doubled over, the other one licked his face. It was a good ten minutes before the hubbub died down enough for him to sit down, and I made him a nice cup of tea. and asked if he'd like a bag of frozen peas for his testicles.
He politely declined and started asking me questions from the Eye-Spy book of dog care, you know the sort of thing, 'How many times a day do you feed them?' or 'Are their injections up to date?' or 'Have either of them ever spontaneously combusted and/or turned into a leopard?' And he seemed happy enough with the answers. Then he said 'In your own words, can you tell me what happened?'
So I told him what I've just told you, I left out the bit about knowing what the dogs were thinking obviously, I mean, I didn't want his to think that I was barking...
Nevermind, he nodded sagely and said, in a broad South African accent (which is what you should read the following in if you can, think Joss Ackland in Lethal weapon 2) 'Sounts reasonible to may, in thu future you maight wint to kip a bickit of colt watar outsoyde thee bick door to threw ovva thim if it hippins agaiyn.'
We all nodded and had a laugh about things whilst he finished his tea, in fact, it turned out that he'd done a similar thing himself 'Bick in thee Olt Kintree.' His family bred and sold Rhodesian Ridgebacks as guard dogs. In case you've never seen one, this is what they look like.
They're a bit bigger than a Rottweiler and just as willing to kick your ass should the need arise.
It seems a couple of young males were following him around one day when he was digging ditches and they'd decided to have a bit of a scrap so he laid into them with the flat of the shovel (one of those long-handled, triangular bladed ones that you see people digging graves with in Cowboy films) until, 'Neethir if thim knew which whaey wiz ip.'
He stayed for nearly two hours in fact, telling stories of other calls that he'd been to that had been sparked off by feuds between neigbours and local busybodies and left us with a tale of woe, which I'll render his tale in the first person, in English, rather than the accent he told it to us in.
We must have had about fifty Liondogs (Ridgebacks) on the Farm, most of them caged up in huge pens, but we had half a dozen that lived in the house as pets. They were the ones that we used to show customers and prove how good they were at guarding.
We would use a code-word to put them on guard, and one would go to each of the doors to the outside, and one would go and sit outside my parent's door, and they wouldn't move until they were 'turned off'.
Anyway, one day I went out late, when my parents had gone to bed, put the dogs on guard and left. I came back a couple of hours later and I could see the lights from the police cars and the ambulance from about a mile away. I met up with my Dad outside and asked what had happened, he said that a couple of 'Local Boys' - (That's not the phrase he used though, the word he used implied that they may have had dark skin, but it didn't begin with the letter 'N', it started with the letter 'B') had decided that the house was empty and so they were going to rob it, despite the fact that they must have walked past the dog pens to break the kitchen window.
In the time it took Dad to get up, put some trousers on and get to the top of the stairs, the screaming had started and stopped. When he got to the kitchen there were five dogs (The other one had stayed by his side through the whole experience) and some meat, two bits of it were still wearing knocked-off Nike running shoes, spread all over the kitchen floor.
I asked him how he knew there were two of them and he said that the dogs took off like rockets when he opened the back door, so he just sort of assumed. (Something the police coroner confirmed later that day).
No charges were brought, just a simple case of a man defending his property - What a civilised country.
When he'd finished his third cup of tea, he called his base and told them to put the incident down to a malicious crank call and I walked him to the door. As he stepped out, he turned around and said 'Ah yis, thiy also sid thit yew down't fid yerr kit. Dew yew evin hiv eh kit?' I pointed at the tortoiseshell cat wandering up the driveway, meowing.
'Yis, thit's thu wan thit cayme ip tew mee whin aye pirked thu Vin.' He bent down and picked up said cat, who started purring and rubbed against his face. He leaned over the fence and stared into the next-door neigbour's front, still clutching the cat and said, quite loudly,
'Sim piple shid maiynd thir awn ficking bisniss and waind thir nicks in.' then handed me the cat, apologised, and went on his way.
He also told us some stories about his time in the Army, working for a Lieutenant Colonel Vengesai - But I think I might save those for another day.