We ran into a charming new neighbor on the walk outside our home the other day.
He’s a little black-and-white, long-haired dachshund, and we spent a few minutes getting to know him.
He’s a young fellow, very friendly and, like most Stockaders, he has a story.
It seems he was left behind by someone when the semester ended at a New England college, and he was rescued by a kindly couple who brought him to live with them in the Stockade.
He’ll do very well here and will find many friends. Maggie, the cairn terrier who lives at our house (think Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”), has already found him to be very sniffable.
Of all the neighborhoods where I’ve lived, the Stockade is one of the most pet-friendly of communities.
When I was new here, my wife told me that you often get to know the four-legged neighbors better than you do their owners. Over time, I’ve discovered she’s right.
Besides Maggie, our own household includes her roommates, Owl the Pussycat, a large yellow tabby who spends most of his days sleeping because napping can be very exhausting, and Salami, a rescued calico cat who seems just a touch less crazy now than she did when she first came to live with us.
Next door is Flip’s Achilles, a magnificent Rottweiler with one blue eye and one brown. On the other side, is the feline elder statesman of the block, a black Himalayan named Lucky whose mere presence sends Maggie into paroxysms of high-pitched barking while he watches her through the fence, scornfully or indifferently, I’m not sure which.
Across the street is a schnauzer who’s fiercely protective of his turf, a dog named Boo who’s very sweet, and down the block, another cairn whose name is Jerry and who barks frantically whenever I walk past his gate. (Maggie and Jerry are quite chummy, by the way.)
Many more dogs and their owners parade by our stoop on the way to and from the park. Donna and Ditto, who are often out for a stroll on nice days, come to mind. There’s also the occasional pit bull, a pair of proud Akitas, a beagle, and a bull terrier who looks like the Target dog.
Then there is Emily, Frank and Mary’s sweet-natured golden retriever who lives a couple of blocks away. She is perhaps most famous for her love of vegetables — like green beans — and she was the only dog who came to our wedding.
There is also Nani, a lovable black Lab who lived around the corner with Philip and Kathleen until their recent move to the country.
And, let’s not leave out Lolly, who is sometimes dressed like her owner, Sylvie, and Maria’s bloodhound on Washington Avenue who is pressed into service when pets go missing.
It’s not all idyllic. Pets do disappear. We do have the occasional big dog off leash trying to eat a little dog, cases of animal cruelty and, like everywhere else, irresponsible pet owners who fail to follow pooper-scooper rules.
Recently there was a story circulating about a bizarre incident in which a scruffy cat who appeared to be on his last legs was picked up by a couple of visitors who took him to a shelter and had him euthanized.
I heard different versions of the story. They either thought the cat was a stray and they were doing the humane thing or they didn’t care whether it had an owner when they arranged to have it put down.
The problem was that the cat was not a a stray, was not in danger of dying (he had always looked wobbly) and he belonged to someone who was frantically trying to find him.
I don’t know how much of the story is true, but you can imagine how it reverberated in a pet-loving neighborhood like the Stockade.
Irv Dean is the Gazette’s city editor. Reach him by email to [email protected]