British naturalist Chris Packham surprised quite a few people when he said pandas are doomed and should be allowed to become extinct. Rather than spending millions of dollars to save a hopeless species, people should support other endangered animals that have a better chance of survival, he said.

That’s a radical approach for anyone, but particularly coming from a conservationist.

I, on the other hand, prefer saving pandas over a particular species of animal that Americans just can’t seem to get enough of – domesticated dogs.


My own canine, Hazel, is a sweet little mutt I found on the street a few years back, and now we’re buddies. But she’s not good for anything other than eating, scratching, shedding, digging, chewing, and pooping. Sure, it’s nice to see her wag her tail and get excited when I pull up in the driveway at night. I feed her good food and scratch her belly and talk to her and we get along great. But if all the dogs in the world went away that’d be fine with me, even if I had to give up Hazel in the bargain.

Every place I’ve ever lived in has been surrounded by neighbors with noisy dogs that bark at every shadow, person, car, grasshopper, or blade of grass. I’m so sick of hearing dogs bark that if I’m watching a movie or TV show and the scene involves a dog barking in the background, I mute the sound.

Maybe I’ll start a Save The Basenji movement. Those little boogers are cute, athletic, good hunters, good watchdogs — and quiet as a mime artist with laryngitis.


  1. Barking dogs is an epidemic that affects everyone but that no one seems to care about. My neighborhood association Nazis will send me a letter if my lawn is a quarter-inch overgrown. But call them to complain about a neighbor’s constantly barking dog, and it’s as if they don’t know who you are. I’ve actually thought about soundproofing parts of my house — I’m surrounded by dogs on pretty much all sides. And what most dog owners don’t understand is that part of training a dog includes training the creature NOT to bark. When you first get the dog, if it starts barking at you, you either spray pepper water or shake a tin of pennies in its face. Takes only about two weeks to a month. EVERY dog can be trained not to bark. Hard part is, I really like my neighbors, and they do their best not to allow their dogs to become nuisances. Makes it hard to call Animal Control on them. But if it ever gets out of hand again, I’ll have to.

  2. I always give my neighbors that own a constantly barking dog a courtesy visit and ask them to stop the noise. If it persists, I do not hesitate to call animal control. Anyone that does not train a dog to not constantly bark is not a good neighbor. As A-Train says, it is part of owning a dog. If you want to own a dog that constantly barks, move to south Dallas or the country.

  3. When my dog was a puppy he used to bark when the neighbor dogs barked and I would say NO. After a week the problem was solved. She doesn’t bark hardly at all anymore unless she gets startled by something. My neighbors arent that courteous.