Thursday, May 22, 2008

A good reason to move: sleep!

When we moved to a quieter, 2-way street with lots of shade we thought we found just right house. Great neighbors. Pretty brick houses. Great holiday decorations. Tops in block parties. Walking distance to everything. A lush backyard as seen in the photo above. We love the house and the neighborhood.

Lots of kids making friends with young son. Parks and churches nearby. People taking good care of their houses. What more could you want in a neighborhood? Everything seemed perfect. And it was! There's just one tiny problem. The place isn't just perfect for us - the wildlife likes it too. Too much. Not inside-outside!

All that lush vegetation in the backyard? It's the perfect habitat for rabbits, mice, squirrels, birds, possum, raccoon, foxes, everything. We're in the city, and it's living on the set of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Which is okay. We like having wildlife in the area. This time of year the singing birds are everywhere. And it's neat to see the occasional fox. We love the rabbits. It's all good. All good except for one thing: our dog can't stand it. She's half beagle, half shepherd. To her, the situation is totally unacceptable. And she's made it her job to do something about it. And she does.

Every night, without fail, between 3 and 4 am, she gets up to get to work. And she can't do her rounds without someone with her, for if she does, she will bark to alert us humans of her successes in flushing the wildlife from the yard. And good neighbors that we try to be, we can't have her out there in the middle of the night barking at every rabbit and squirrel she rousts from the yard. So daddy gets to accompany her on her "job".

Now you know that a happy dog needs to have a job, right? They do. And we want our dog to be happy. So, bleary-eyed and half awake, out I go, wrapped in a blanket, toting a flashlight, and dozing on a folding chair, to accompany loyal Hollie, as she protects us from the invading hoards of field mice, squirrels, and cotton tail rabbits. It's all very sweet really. But it's wreaking havoc on my sleep pattern. Something's gotta give, and we certainly won't give up the dog. And I've got to be able to get at least six hours of sleep. So what to do?

It dawned on me this morning. The only solution is we move. Not because we have a kid "reaching school age". Or because we have an "old house". Or because of the "1% earnings tax". No, I guess we'd be moving because we love our dog too much. That's a good reason, isn't it. Or is it crazy? We move because we love the dog too much?

Love of dogs is something that must be pretty important to St. Louis. We've got our own Dog Museum, and we've got an amazing person in one Randy Grimm of Stray Rescue. STL Rising wishes to thank fellow St.Louisan, Randy Grimm, for his love of dogs and his selfless acts of service rescuing stray dogs from the streets of our region. For his years of effort, Stray Rescue was just awarded the $1,000,000 top prize in a national contest to continue its efforts.

According to the sponsors of the contest, one of the reasons Stray Rescue was chosen was the way the St. Louis community rallied around Grimm's Stray Rescue program. Thanks to Randy Grimm and Stray Rescue for all the good they do to help save dogs from the streets and bringing positive attention to St. Louis.

St. Louis getting national attention for pulling together as a community for a worthwhile cause....that's about the best kind of news we can get, isn't it? And so while we may need to find a different house on a block where the backyard doesn't transform nightly into a scene from Where the Wild Things Are, that's certainly no reason to move too far away. A downtown condo maybe? Or maybe one in a converted old school? Something along Metro? Pave the backward? Hmmm. I wonder if they offer "test rests"...


bev said...

I meandered upon your blog somehow and I empathize with your wildlife problem. I grew up in a rural area in outstate Missouri and we'd get all excited if we saw a deer crossing the field in back of my house. It was a rare sight.

I had never seen a possum before I moved to the St. Louis area and watching the rabbits build warrens and bring up babies has become a commonplace thing for my kids. My neighbor's pool umbrella was a favorite owl perch a couple of years ago and recently I saw a hawk make off with some small game right over my street. Oh! And we share a female wild turkey with another neighborhood.

This is waaaaaay out in U-City.

So in an odd way, you might have to move to the country to get away from the great outdoors...

Anonymous said...


Lucy, our beagle, killed her first possum last week. Not quite as late as your 3am excursions, her mission was completed around 12:30am.

I must say we were quite proud of her performance, bloodied muzzle and all...

Bill Burnes