My dog has new toys and I don’t know where they’re coming from.

My dog is a criminal. Although she is confined to our house and backyard, she frequently ends up with things that don’t belong to her or us. I’m not asking for advice about the baby’s sweatshirt she brought inside once, because I threw that away immediately and wouldn’t go into the yard for a week, fearing there was a shirtless baby out there. My question is about her standard plunder: toys that we have not purchased (often the illegal-around-here squeaky kind). We share a fenceline with several houses, 2 or 3 of which have dogs. Am I supposed to take the toys door to door and ask if they want them back? I’d be annoyed if my dog’s toys were constantly disappearing, but I’m also not about to show up at these relative strangers’ doors with a now-legless rubber chicken. I also have no idea how she’s getting this stuff. What do I do?

There are so many possible scenarios here. Maybe your dog is the don of the local dog mafia, and that legless rubber chicken serves as her warning to all the neighborhood dogs that they better not mess with her.

Your dog could also be the Angelina Jolie of your block, and those toys are offerings the other dogs shoved under the fence in desperate ploys for her love and affection. A contraband squeaky toy is as appealing to a dog as a strawberry-kiwi wine cooler is to a sixteen-year-old girl.

If you really want to know where she’s getting the toys from, set up a web cam in your yard and monitor her from the office. You won’t get any work done because you’ll be obsessing over your cute puppy, but it’ll only take a day or two and a minimal expense to figure out the problem. If your neighbor’s kid is throwing them over the fence, or if your dog has somehow procured a small ladder and is climbing over to steal toys, you can take care of the issue easily. But I wouldn’t say anything to your neighbors until you know what’s going on. People are usually just looking for an excuse to hate their neighbors, and you don’t want to just hand them one for free. Save it for when you and your family do something terrible all on your own.

This is an anonymous forum so I’m glad you could clear your conscience regarding the baby sweatshirt, but please, for the love of God, don’t bring that up to anyone, ever again.

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