Dog Walker Diaries: Nightmare Neighbor

As told to me by Reese. Some details have been changed.

In the scenic suburb of Happy Valley, Oregon, Reese, a full-time dog walker, wholeheartedly stands behind her personal motto that "dogs are the best people." She fills up her days with as much dog walking, sitting, and boarding as possible, and admits to leisurely hanging around a few extra minutes at the end of most walks to get in enough canine cuddles to tide her over until next time.

dog walker cuddling a french bulldog during a sitting
No shame in this snuggle game

One April morning upon arriving to her regular Wednesday drop-in visit for enthusiastic mixed breed rescue dogs, Frida and Nico, Reese slid open the backdoor for the pups to do their usual shoulder-to-shoulder doorway squeeze and sprint for the fenced-in backyard. They got to work on their pees, poops, and wrestle time, letting loose some play growls and barks between full body slams.

Squatting down to grab a tennis ball for some fetch, Reese heard a very clear and irritated, "Shut. The. FUCK. UP!" from the fence separating Frida and Nico's home from their neighbor. The neighbor's windows slammed shut and Reese continued to hear muffled yelling from inside the house, but wasn't too deterred from the task at hand. She'd heard it before from this neighbor and been on the receiving end of several dirty looks from his front porch while walking by with the dogs. It did make her wonder whether the neighbor was your typical jerk, or if maybe the dogs constantly barked their heads off when alone in the house, slowly driving this guy to madness.

red master locks hanging on a chain fence
Well this is one way to send a message to your neighbors

Nico leapt into the air to catch the ball in her mouth, and Frida was exploring the far corner of the yard with her nose in the dirt. When Reese called out to her, Frida lifted her head and continued chewing whatever dirt snack she had discovered, swallowed, and began sniffing around for more of the mystery treat. As Reese ran over to investigate, Frida found a second treat and pouted as Reese pried it, half-chewed, out of her slobbery jaws.

To Reese's horror, she was now holding a drool-soaked chunk of hotdog stuffed with two large white pills. Wiping her saliva-, dirt-, and hotdog-covered hands off on her jeans, she fumbled for her phone and navigated straight to Google, heart thumping in her chest. The search "how to make a dog vomit" yielded instructions to feed them hydrogen peroxide, and Reese bolted inside to tear through the bathroom cabinets.

hot dog with poison hidden inside
Hot dogs: not as innocent as they appear

Three minutes later, with peroxide in hand and correct dosage Googled (1 teaspoon per every five pounds of bodyweight), Reese fed Frida the solution and held her breath for what felt like hours. She was already on the phone with Frida's human when Frida's breakfast finally spilled out onto the grass; Reese let out a celebratory "Oh my God, YES!" (the happiest anyone's ever been to see dog puke). The pill-stuffed hotdog was still in one piece.

A police report was filed, and the pills were later discovered to be Extra Strength Tylenol, which can be deadly for dogs in even tiny amounts. Each hot dog piece contained ten times the lethal dosage.

over the counter drugs, tylenol, ibuprofen, poison for dogs
In case you needed one more reason people suck

Being the only other person who shared a fence with the dogs and their humans and could potentially access their yard, the angry neighbor became the leading suspect for the poisoning. Reese later learned that he had filed several noise complaints due to the dogs barking over the previous months. To her disappointment, the last time Reese checked in with the owners, nothing could be proven and no one was officially charged with the attempted poisoning of Nico and Frida. When news of what the neighbor had done quickly spread through the neighborhood, he began avoiding any of the usual eye contact or pleasantries with the owners during his walks to and from his car or mailbox. He left town in a rush within a month, surrendering his security deposit and leaving half his belongings behind.

piles of trash bags and junk in a garbage bin
Actual photo of the neighbor's abandoned possessions

Dog walker Reese became the neighborhood hero, her pet care business nearly quadrupling as a result, and she now has several employees to help with her influx of canine clients. These days she carries a dose of hydrogen peroxide with her for walks and requires her employees to do the same, making sure everyone receives first aid training.

Good girls Frida and Nico are healthy and happy and at the top of their class in obedience school where they're working hard to curb their barking habit.

two lab mixes who learned not to bark, obedience school
At last...silence.