"Our neighbors are pigs," said Mr. Wild Dingo.
Now, we've lived in Santa Cruz mountains for many years and have had our fair share of neighbors with questionable habits such as decorating their garden with Budweiser cans or solving their leaking roofs with a blue tarp, every winter, year after year. As attractive as those blue tarps are, they get a little old. And Mr. Wild Dingo and I enjoy the mountains, so we bought property surrounded by enough trees to avoid enduring more years of "Blue Tarp Season." Even with our particular opinions about Blue Tarp roofs and aluminum gardens, I thought that was a pretty strong statement.
"Geesh! Harsh much, Mr. Wild Dingo?"
"No, I meant, that's what Loki and Juno have been so fascinated with--wild boar. I heard them grunting outside the dog fence yesterday."
"We gotta get rid of them," I told him in a panic, knowing that wild boars, especially with babies, are particularly dangerous animals. I fear them more than a mountain lion. "Maybe we should buy that gun."
Now before you all get liberal-nutty as the next tree-huger, don't get your shorts in a bunch. We're both big animal lovers and don't condone killing for sport. Seriously, we catch and release spiders in the house for dog’s sake! Like we’re going to shoot some ugly-but-cute piggies? I was simply suggesting a .22 and making some noise to encourage them to move elsewhere. Prior to getting Loki, Mr. Wild Dingo thought about acquiring a firearm for safety while living remotely in the mountains. We took lessons in shooting, applied for permits and surprisingly, I enjoyed shooting. Then we adopted Loki and, well, things changed. One day, a few innocent hikers came down NitWit trail on our property and ended up on the other side of Loki's fence. They took one look at him barking his fool head off and jumping 6 feet high, nearly over the fence, and ran as fast as they could. We never saw the point of a gun after that.
Still, Mr. Wild Dingo was amused with the idea. "Sure. Go get yourself a pistol and go hunt some boar. Tell me how that works out."
Suddenly I had a vision of a Lucille Ball episode at the chocolate factory in my head and replaced the mayhem with a herd of pissed-off boar charging me. And just then, my idea didn't seem so entirely well-thought out.
But night after night, Loki goes outside to do his routine after-dinner barking. It's a bit like an after-dinner mint. He must do it. He chows down dinner. Then he goes outside and runs from corner to corner, pre-emptively barking, whether there is a threat there or not. And since we no longer live in Switzerland, I have no need to tell him to stop barking his fool head off and to come inside. Instead, I let him bark his peace knowing it will probably annoy whatever is living close by.
In fact, I'm pretty certain I heard the pigs grunt their last statement the other night, "The landlords are back with that intolerable barking fool. There goes the neighborhood!"
And with that, we haven't heard them since. Good boy, Loki.