I'm Canadian: that's my excuse. We're a caring and giving people who must be sure that everyone is safe and sound. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Yesterday was a fun filled day of Jess trying to be a good neighbour. I think my first attempt was a bit more successful than the second, but I'll let you be the judge of that.
On my way home from the gym in the afternoon I happened to run into an older man that I used to chat with when out walking the dogs. He himself had three dogs, but in the last year and a half or so all three have crossed over rainbow bridge; the last one passing just over a week ago. He was so sad and was quite choked up when talking to me. He kept saying, "Oh, I won't keep you," but I just had Nala sit and let him talk until he seemed talked out. He told me about how he was still going through his ordinary routine of opening the back door to the yard for the dog and even walking some of the routes he used to take with them. He lives alone and I don't think he has any kids and I started to worry about him. A lot of times when elderly people's pets pass away, the person becomes withdrawn and depressed; they have nothing to do anymore. Their company is gone too. As he talked I began wracking my brain for a way to help and it suddenly occurred to me that he could walk one of our dogs. He knew the two little ones and had petted them before. I thought Hermione might be a bit too high energy for him, but that walking Otis would be perfect. When I asked him if he would want to walk Otis, I think he was a bit speechless, but recovered quickly and sounded very excited. He asked where he could find us and what times of the day worked for us. I really hope he comes and takes Otis out. Not only do I think Otis would enjoy it, but I really think it could help our fellow dog lover. I know how attached to animals I am, I can't imagine being without a dog. At his age, I'm not sure he would even get a new one. So, if he can borrow one of ours and it helps, then I will make sure Otis is always ready to go.
My second adventure as a good neighbour went a little awry.
Later in the evening, I took Hermione and Otis out for a much needed relieve time. It's been warmer here the last couple of days than any of us are used to and so water consumption has increased; for dogs and humans alike. This also means more frequent bathroom trips for the little dogs. I just don't think their bladders can hold as much or for as long as the bigger dogs. On the way down to the cycling trail, I thought I heard someone shouting, but just brushed it off. With it being so warm and sunny out, everyone's outside or have their windows opened. I was down on the trail for about ten minutes. The dogs probably didn't need that much time, but it was nice out and I was enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Even at six in the evening the sun is still warm here. As I returned from the trail, I could hear the shouting again which grew louder the closer I got to my flat building. At my front door I paused and listened for a minute.
My initial thought when first heading out was that someone, or a few someones, were having some "afternoon delight" and had forgotten their windows were open; or maybe just didn't care that the windows were open. As I stood outside of my building though, it sounded more like someone was in pain-as if an elderly woman was having a heart attack. I instantly began to worry because there is an elderly woman who lives alone below us.
I went in and told Mr. K about my concerns and he said I should knock on her door. So, I ran back down and rang the doorbell with no response. I stuck my ear against the door and could only hear water dripping. Becoming even more worried, I went back up and told him. I said that I thought I should call an ambulance, but that I was worried that I was being a nosy neighbour. What if she wasn't even home and I had misheard?
Mr. K pointed out that if anything happened to him that he hoped he had a nosy neighbour and I picked up the phone.
I was on the phone for about ten minutes, describing the situation and going back down and listening at her door again. Eventually, Mr. K went down and shouted through her mail slot, but she still didn't answer. He went outside to see if he could hear anything and heard the shouting, but he said it was more low key than I had described.
An ambulance and cops were dispatched and Mr. K and I waited outside for them to arrive.
The ambulance came first, with the sirens off thankfully. We chatted a minute and they went in and knocked on her door, calling her name.
To my complete embarrassment, the elderly woman that I had sworn was having a heart attack opened her flat door. The paramedics explained what was going on and she said that it hadn't been her shouting. She was quite well. So well, in fact, that she had been in her bathroom smoking weed which is probably why she hadn't heard Mr. K and I knocking and calling for her. Despite my mistake, she was grateful that we had been concerned. After confirming once again that she was fine and that she was not having a party, the paramedics, Mr. K and I trooped back outside to face the numerous cops arriving on the scene. I couldn't believe how many they had sent. An entire van unloaded about eight cops and more arrived in pairs, driving cars. In total, there had to have been at least twelve police officers standing outside of our building. Just to add to it all, one of the officers who had come to my flat earlier that week to take my statement about an out of control dog who tried to attack Nala, was a part of the team.
We're going to get a reputation.
The whole story was re-hashed, but we explained that we had ruled out the elderly woman in our building. (No one mentioned the weed). The cops began wandering around asking people out for their nicotine fixes and it was concluded that the noises that I had confused with a woman in pain and dying was instead two older women having some private time that wasn't so private. One of their neighbours explained this happened a lot. The cops seemed annoyed, but after feeling a bit embarrassed, I thought it was funny.
The woman that I was so worried about was happily and safely, smoking weed in her flat and the two women who had caused the whole thing came out to sit on their front steps and have a smoke while irritated police officers clamored back in to their many vehicles.
The paramedics were the nicest and told us a story where they had climbed over a back fence and broke into a house because a landlord thought his tenants were in distress. That scenario ended with the paramedics actually busting in on the couple, despite them shouting the whole way into the house. We laughed and I did feel better. The one paramedic patted me on the arm as they left and even though things had gone a bit askew, I'd rather that it ended this way instead of the elderly woman actually having a heart attack or a fall. I always think it's better to be safe than sorry and I'm glad I called because you just never know.
So, will stop being a nosy neighbour?
I told you: I'm Canadian. I can't help it. ;)