How do you solve a problem like their Copper?
The neighbors' dog, Copper, continues to frequent the Mansion. And by frequent, I mean live here. He thinks he belongs to our pack. He's always around, on the porch, in the yard, following the Gator, wrestling with Jack, and being the bane of Juno's existence.
I tried to let him sniff the back of my hand the other day, as he crept closer and closer on the brick sidewalk while I was putting groceries from T-Hoe onto the side porch. Copper looked at me with distrust, and backed away. Seriously? It's been MONTHS since I hollered at him. He's quit barking at me when I walk in my own driveway. I don't even yell at him when he's on the porch because it's raining, and in my way as I walk around the porch for 21 minutes. I just keep walking, and he gets the hint, and runs down the steps, then right back up after I pass. He has not figured out that he can lay on the side porch, out of the rain and out of my way, and not move about 30 times down off the porch.
When I start my driveway walk, Copper creeps up behind me, almost close enough to touch the back of my leg with his nose. When I turn to look back at him he skitters away. But he will play-fight with Jack in a game of "I'm Closer To Her Than You Are." Farmer H says that he tried to pet Copper, but Copper won't let him get close enough.
A couple nights ago, Jack was taking a long time to eat his evening snack. I took a piece of a torn-up tortilla off his plate, and tossed it to Copper in the front yard. He ate it like it was a delicacy, and came to stand right in front of the porch. He looked up with a quizzical expression on his face. Like, "What was THAT all about? And is there going to be more?" No. No more. Because I don't want Copper to think he lives here.
Sunday night, I was sitting on the front porch pew, snacking the dogs, and Copper was over by Shackytown, watching Farmer H. Juno was all persnickety that evening, and left a couple of slices of Italian bread, torn in half, on her paper plate. She only ate the good stuff, that being some General Tso's chicken that Farmer H didn't eat from The Devil's Playground deli, and scraps of tortilla from my Chicken Bacon Ranch wrap that I had trimmed off.
I figured that Jack didn't need extra bread. He thinks he's a big dog, but he's physically not. I figured I'd toss a piece of that bread to Copper. But his attention was on his other master, Farmer H. When Farmer H got into his Olds Toronado and drove across the yard to park it under the carport, Copper barked and got out of the way of the bumper, and followed. Slowly. He turned to look right at me, and I tossed a piece of the bread. Of course he didn't see it, and went over to find Farmer H.
Eagle-eye Juno was sitting by the front door. She saw that piece of bread sail into the yard, and was off that porch with a quickness! Straight to the bread she loped, and ate it in one bite.
Because nothing tastes better than an unwanted scrap of dry bread that you keep the neighbor dog from eating.