notes from an urban hibernation

Paris : Simon Cutts & Erica Van Horn

The dog next door


There is a dog next door, or else he is in the adjoining building.  I have never seen this dog, or if I have seen him on the street, I do not recognize him as the dog who lives in such close proximity.  I hear this dog in the middle of the night.  He howls and moans and sometimes, he sort of gasps.  It is difficult to listen to such desperation.  If there were someone in the apartment with him, the person could not be sleeping with this noise.  I cannot sleep with this noise.  No person could hear these mournful keening sounds and not want to do something about it.   I cannot do anything about it.  I am completely helpless. I have walked up and down the stairs and listened at every apartment door in the building.  I cannot hear the dog behind any door.  I have gone into the shops around the corner and asked if they can hear this dog. I have asked if they know the dog I am talking about.  No one knows or cares that I am worried about a dog.

Sometimes the howling and moaning goes on for several hours from 3 until 5 am.  Then there is silence and then it starts again.  Sometimes it is loud and sometimes it is faint.  When it is faint, I wonder if the dog is dying.  Is he starving or is he desperate for water?  The sounds might last all morning and right into the afternoon.  I worry that the owner has gone away for the night or even for a few days.  Maybe the person who is coming to take care of the dog has forgotten to come.  Maybe no one is coming.  Maybe the owner is dead on the bed and the dog is trying to tell us something.  Maybe the dog is just a noisy dog and likes the sound of his own voice.  I don’t really believe that even as I write it.  The sounds are too lonely and too desperate.  The sounds make me want to cry.

Every local dog I see on the street, I consider as a possibility.  Some dogs I know are not the dog who would or could make those kinds of noises. They are too big or too small for the sort of noises being made.  My theory is that this is a medium-sized dog.  Sometimes I do not hear any sounds from him for several days.  I do not know then if he and his owner are just living quietly in their usual schedule or if the dog is dead.  Mostly when I don’t hear any moaning or howling, I forget about the dog.  A few days later, it will all start again. Perhaps this has been going on for years.   EVH


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This entry was posted on February 10, 2014 by .
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