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Column: One dog gets the rest of them going

In late 2023, the house Melissa and I were renting was put up for sale, and unfortunately, it was way out of our price range.

While it probably doesn’t do me any good to carry many regrets, I wish we had purchased a home when we first moved to Montana in the summer of 2015. The housing market was just a bit different then, and we should have jumped on that opportunity.

There is certainly a lot to enjoy about the new home, and we’ve settled in well; I miss the quiet from four years of living out in the “country.” There was something special about sitting out in the backyard and hearing a whole lot of nothing. A peaceful summer evening with a beautiful sunset was something special.

On a few occasions, there was a bit of noise, people going a bit too fast on the nearby state highway, and other times, the cows from a nearby ranch were in fine form, but for the most part, it was calm.

We had one house close to us, but they kept to themselves and made little noise other than when they decided to mow the lawn at 6 a.m. I’m still wondering how they thought mowing that early was a good idea, but it at least got me out of bed early so I could get going on a day’s work.

On one occasion, the owner of the cows I had previously mentioned came to our place. It was one of the few times someone knocked on the door, and it startled me. I had known him from the previous newspaper we owned, and he had just come over to give me the heads-up that he had to shoot a cow and did not want me to be alarmed by the noise. I respected that he did that.

I didn’t realize how much I loved the quiet until we moved. It had only been four years since we had lived in a “neighborhood,” but I was surprised at the difference.

After a few days in the new place, I immediately noticed that there were a lot of dogs and that calling them a well-behaved crew would be a stretch.

I went outside one morning to see a dog using the bathroom in our yard. I’m not sure how the dog got through our gate, but he didn’t seem concerned when he saw me and continued his business. Whenever that dog gets out, it often sends the dogs in the house behind us in a frenzy. Once they get into a frenzy, it receives the loudest dog on the block aggravated, and in seconds, about five dogs yapping so loud that you need to increase the volume on the television.

As the five dogs start barking in unison, it’s almost like a scene from a 1980s cartoon where dogs start communicating with each other by howling or barking, and a few minutes later, about 20 dogs are making quite the racket. I’ve never lived by too loud of dogs before, so this was an eye-opening experience, and I fully understand now why people sometimes call in to report the noise.

One of the best parts of living in the country was that you barely hear anything during “fireworks” season. It was so loud with fireworks on New Year’s Eve that I could not imagine what it would be like on the Fourth of July.

I’ve also never lived near a school bus driver, so I was shocked at how loud the bus was when it started and went into reverse. It’s almost like an alarm clock every school day.

Four years in the country they also made me forget how loud people can be when they argue. A few people in the neighborhood have had some epic arguments.

At the end of the day, these are just slight inconveniences, but they do make me miss the old place.

However, I like getting to the store in about two minutes, which has been so lovely after quite a while when it could take up to 20.

We are considering buying in the next year or so, and I will definitely consider a house in the middle of nowhere.