To the anonymous person who left a note in my mailbox:

Hello Neighbor!

In the twelve years that we have lived in this house, the entire time with dogs, we have never had a complaint about noise until yesterday. I will say that our neighborhood is rather quiet, on the whole, though if you step outside on any given afternoon you are bound to hear children playing, car horns honking, a radio playing Rush Limbaugh while someone washes their truck, police sirens chasing the latest drug pusher through town, airplanes flying overhead, the sounds of power tools from the auto shop on the alley, and even the occasional barking dogs. I am sorry that this last one has proven to be such a nuisance to you while you are trying to sleep.

I will admit that I do own dogs, and indeed they do bark from time to time (as this is a dog’s primary form of communication). But I am positive that they do not bark “ALL DAY LONG.” I work from home and they are inside with me for the majority of the day. When I step out I can not be certain of what they do, though again, they are inside and swear to me that they only threw a loud party that one time. They are older and wiser now and have promised not to do it again.

I have checked with my next door neighbor, Ryan, to ensure I wasn’t going deaf or crazy, but he assures me that he doesn’t hear my dogs barking either. There is a chance that both he and I could be going deaf together. I think he might be in a rock band. I just have allergies that lead to stopped up ears from drainage.

Speaking of stopped up ears, I am sorry that whatever brand of earplugs you have invested in has let you down so thoroughly. I have a relative that snores very loudly when she comes to visit and I too have gone through several different types of plugs seeking the best ones. I know from experience that not all earplugs are made the same. I also regret that you must do your sleeping while the rest of the world is awake and less than silent but to each their own. You must, however, grant some concessions to the rest of us since your situation is not quite the norm.

I should probably also warn you that I do allow my children to play outside and encourage them to have fun and be loud where I don’t have to hear it. Perhaps my windows are thicker than yours because sending them outside is sometimes the only way I can get any peace and quiet.

Those same kids have recently been expressing an interest in learning musical instruments. I have steered the eldest away from the brass family, but she now seems set on the violin. The youngest is torn between ukelele or the drums. For both of our sakes, I hope he goes with the first one.

You confessed in your letter that you do not mow your grass at night, and I feel that I must take a moment to congratulate you on that wise decision. Lawnmowers can be very dangerous, especially if you cannot see what you are doing. I would hate for you to injure yourself, especially when everyone else is sleeping and wouldn’t hear your cries for help.

All jesting aside, I would like to suggest an honest solution. White noise is amazing and relatively inexpensive. I turn on the fan beside my desk whenever I need to drown out my wife or children and focus on my work. When I really need to buckle down, I turn on a free sound machine app on my phone, so that others may enjoy their day without disturbing me. Such a solution may help where earplugs have failed, and I do wish you luck in finding something that works for you.

I have also asked my dogs to be more courteous when they are outside. They, however, have blamed all the excitement on the stray cats that frequent the area and the construction crews fixing the roads in the alleyway.

One last request, if I may. The next time you leave a note, please give your name. That way I could have addressed your concerns in person instead of contacting a police officer to see what I should do. He recommended reaching out to all my neighbors to find out who was upset. I thought this very wise, not only to make amends but also in case anything untoward were to happen to my beloved family members.

As there was no name on your note, I have sent this letter to everyone in the neighborhood, posted it on facebook, and sent it to the paper. I hope it reaches you in the goodwill with which it is intended. If you are in fact assailed by the constant barking of dogs, then I fear you left your letter in the wrong mailbox. My dogs, and their vocal cords, have been accounted for.

I really do hope that you manage to get some rest and that maybe one day a new job will come your way so that you can enjoy the sunshine with the rest of us. Until then, sleep well.

Robert Turk
(your friendly neighborhood author)

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