I discovered the true meaning of neighbourliness  very early this morning.  I was home alone last night with the dogs keeping a watchful eye on me.

I woke to a lot of barking at around 6.40am and wondered what was up. The chorus was emanating from son Harry’s dogs and it seemed a bit strange that Puppy Stan who was sleeping away from them wasn’t joining in the cacophony. I scrunched my ears and heard an unusual thudding sound from his quarters. It wasn’t like anything I’d ever heard before so I decided I’d better go and see what kind of mischief he was engaging in.

What I found was the stuff of nightmares.  My precious pup had somehow got entangled in a very heavy lined curtain that pulls across our back door. The curtain was tightly twisted round his little neck and he was barely able to breathe, let alone bark.

At first I thought it was a simple matter of getting his collar off and that he would be able to run free but it was when I unclipped the collar that I realised the full extent of how much the curtain was constricting him.

After a quick try at cutting through the material with a fairly ordinary scissors and then a sharp knife, I knew we were in dire trouble. His mahogany eyes were pleading with me to act quickly but I couldn’t see how to release him without some sort of very sharp cutting implement and I was terrified to leave him in case he tried to follow me and made the tightness even worse than it was.

A zillion thoughts flashed into my mind ~ everything from calling the fire service with their cutting equipment to trying to pull the curtain down and somehow untwist it ….. Before I knew it I was racing across the road to neighbours who I know to be interested in DIY and the like so would be likely to have cutting tools.

I banged on the door and kept my finger on the bell until the woman of the house peered sleepily out the upstairs window to see what all the commotion was about. I gave her a shorthand account of what was wrong and within a minute or so she came running over to our house in her pyjamas carrying a very strong scissors.

Stan was frothing at the mouth by this point and between us we managed to get the scissors between his coat and the wadge of material. My neighbour steadied her hand and cut down hard. The blade bore through the taut curtain that had once been my pride and joy and Stan took a gasp and went to the Good Samaritan and put his head on her knee in a gesture of relieved thanks.

We opened the back door and Stan ran out drinking in the fresh air and then gulps of water from the dish on the steps.

My neighbour and I sat together on the steps in the early sun and she comforted me like a mother soothing a shocked child.

All day, I’ve been counting my blessings that I live in a community in which neighbours look out for each other. ( I know that this isn’t necessarily the norm, especially in bigger towns and cities in Ireland and elsewhere.) We don’t live in each other’s pockets but when the chips are down, it is beyond reassuring to know that there are caring hearts close by.

The Warmth of Neighbours

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

30 thoughts on “Neigbourliness”

  1. Oh My God Jean. That was scary – I was almost in tears I was so scared for Stan. It is so amazing that you went to investigate and that your neighbor was so quick to help. Just catching my breath here – Wow! I am so relieved that he is safe and unhurt – who would have guessed that a drape would cause such a life threatening situation? Thank you for such diligence.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for such a caring response. Stan sends his best to you too! He’s back to himself – raiding the fridge etc – and it’s just great to see him zooming around.

  2. Yes indeed…poor Stanie (Dougal sends his love) and poor you (we all send our love to you) – what a nightmare and thank God you got up to see what the commotions was about…and isnt it amazing that your son’s dogs knew something was up…take care of you and Stan and we think you should treat yourselves to one of those lovely deserts your recently told us about….

  3. Having not that long ago gone through a life threatening episode with Buster, my heart was in my mouth… so relieved that Stan is ok, thanks to your quick thinking and the caring and kindness of a neighbour. Our furry children are so precious to us, the shock will stay with you longer than it will with Stan. He will just be grateful for the help he receeived and I daresay a friend of your lovely neighbour for life.
    Lots of hugs from afar, to both of you..and thank your neighbour for helping to save one of my favourite bloggers, and you, too..

    1. Ah thanks Cris. Sorry to hear you went through a doggy horror too.
      You’ll be pleased to hear I gave my good neighbour a little gift of an Aster, aptly named ‘Starlight,’ just what she was!

  4. Jean, if our dogs never got all tangled up, we’d lose sight of life’s purpose. Then, on a calmer night without entanglements, the purpose might be just a glass of wine. 🙂

  5. Tears in my eyes reading this. How frightened you and puppy Stan must have been. Thankful for the happy ending and your sweet neighbor coming to the rescue! Hugs Jean!

    1. Hi Lennon, thanks for your heartfelt words.
      Glad to report Stan is fine, though I thought he’d swallowed a battery a while ago to give him extra dog power. He certainly knows how to keep me on my toes and I’ve lived with dogs since I was 7. He’s definitely one of a kind!

  6. I held my breath throughout this entire post. And then my eyes began to leak at the end. Lovely Stan, licking his thanks to your neighbor. Your lovely neighbor, coming to the rescue. You, the ‘mommy, panicking and doing everything you can to save Stan. And let’s not forget the other dogs, who alerted you out of sleep that Stan needed help. WHAT A STORY. I’m so thankful that it has a happy ending.

  7. Hi Pam, thanks very much for your kindness and caring.
    I’m still looking at Stan with very relieved eyes and only just about starting to breathe normally again. He’s in flying form, thank goodness.

  8. Oh, no, no. Terrible stuff. I know all’s well that end’s well, Jean, but my heart was in my mouth reading this so I can’t imagine what it was like for you. What a horrible thing. I hope he’s forgotten all about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: