The Dogs


This post could get raw, weepy, and contemplative reeeeal quick. Consider yourselves warned.

I’m losing a mind battle with the dogs. I tried to focus myself to write about something else, like the delicious cookies that I’ve been living on for the last two weeks, or how we had a typhoon day at school, or how I got my first haircut here, but all I can think about is how I never ever want to see, touch, and especially HEAR a dog ever again.

So I guess I’m gonna tell you about the dogs now.


It’s funny how, of all the challenges here, it’s the crazy, mangy barking dogs that are killing me.

Last night I was laying awake all night because our one billion stray neighborhood dogs were, for lack of a more offensive term, barking. Did I mention that our window doesn’t close? Nope, doesn’t close. Just slats of glass layered over each other. They’re very Filipino and usually they are nice for bringing in a hot, steamy breeze. But the bad news is that they’re very open and accepting of all noises. Dance beats until 5am? Come on in. Hammering? Moving furniture? Babies crying? There is no discrimination – all sounds, any time, day or night.

I generally don’t see myself as an angry sort of person, but this constant noise, the barking all the time, all night, is! At one point last night I may or may not have literally kicked the concrete wall with my bare foot. Realllly helpful.

In my head, I’m shouting mean things at the dogs. In my body, I’m exhausted. In my face, I’m crying. And in my heart, I’m wanting to go home, and I’m missing my big fluffy white bed and my quiet neighborhood and my other life.

And then, in my deepest heart, I try to let go of those things I hold to so dearly. Like sleep, and quiet, and comfort.

Except then a single dog barks and the spell of positive thinking is broken.

Hmm. I’m not very good at this.

It’s painfully ironic that I wrote a post literally entitled “Letting Go” about six months ago, just before we left. I’m smiling as I think about it because I don’t think I knew what it would be like to actually have to give up something that was truly precious to me. Maybe I didn’t even know what was precious to me.

Refrigerated milk? My car? Not that big of a deal.

But quiet? Quiet is precious. And I’m mourning the loss of my quiet and trying to accept that this new life includes dogs. The e8uriiwo3gjdksa;kluhlak dogs and their hs;dgjal4kjsktjhl barking.


If I can calm down for one second, I can realize that I have a home. An air conditioner keeping me cool. A blanket for me to sleep under and a mattress to lay on. And most nights, a futon to resort to when I give up on sleeping. A funny, smart, cute husband sleeping soundly through the dog barking insanity (unnnnbelievable) who will make me a coffee in the morning because he knows I’m going crazy in the head.

Guess what? These beautiful kids that I see every day?

They’ve endured more than anything that can be wrapped up in words. They don’t have a mom and dad to hold them when they’re sad or when they can’t sleep through the night or when “the dogs” of their lives become overwhelming.

And they’re still just kids.


And yet – I’m not just saying this – they truly radiate hope.

It pricks my heart and it challenges me.

So will I hate dog barking for the rest of time? Absolutely yes.

But tomorrow is a new day, and we can try this all over again. Thank God.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

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  1. I don’t usually comment but I so totally felt your pain. We specifically chose a dog breed (King Charles Spaniel) that doesn’t bark because it would drive me crazy, too! Earplugs, honey, earplugs. Also a white noise machine, if you can get your family in the states to send you one, will help.

    • I was just going to suggest the same thing–a white noise machine. Hope you can find one, because they are the best. Turn it up high and it should drown out all other sounds. Sleep deprivation makes everything seem worse, in my opinion.

  2. When we lived in Malaysia, where it’s illegal for the average Joe to own a gun, my greatest wish was for my husband to own a gun so that he could shoot the stray dogs in the parking lot across the street. Wouldn’t the world be better off without stray dogs? Yes. Yes it would. I feel your pain.

  3. That barking would totally drive me bonkers too. It sounds like you have an incredible way of keeping it in perspective though!
    Also, I’m in the midst of considering adopting a puppy as we speak. Mental note: look for quiet breeds.

  4. Hang in their Lindsay! It definitely makes you think about all the advantages we have here in the U.S. especially windows that close and AC.

  5. Trudy Maves says:

    hmmm…if one watches children and animals (i.e. dogs), there is, in my opinion, a similarity. Inherent in both is a desire for fun, a pecking order that THEY will establish on their own, base on communal tolerances, and above all else, love. perhaps when we cannot sleep we are called to observe quietly and learn…

  6. Hang in there you will get through it…may I recommend some ear plugs or listening to some spa type music at night? I know that I am not a fan of that either but considering the alternative it may be your best option…

  7. Lindsay – I usually don’t comment but really admire what you all are doing — and appreciate your updates. My first thought was noise cancelling headphones – is it possible to get a pair? I have a friend who wears them at work so he can focus amidst the noise…..

    • Thanks for the comment Kel! We actually ran out to the mall the next day to get a pair but they are so huge and clunky that the one time I wore them in bed, I was so distracted and uncomfortable. Now Bjork just wears them for work during the day. That being said, I should give it another try. :) It would be awesome if I could get used to wearing them because they do help shut out some of that barking.

  8. Oh man. Hang in there. I’m not an angry person either, but if there’s something keeping me from sleeping, I get straight up angry. Kicking walls certainly isn’t out of the question. Like Anita said, get someone to send you a sound machine. It should help to block out some of the aggravating barking and other noises! Heck, I’ll even send you one…from one angry non-sleeper to another!

  9. Hi there. I totally feel your pain! I hope some of the suggestions given above help!

  10. I totally feel your pain. I CANNOT sleep without peace and quiet. In college I was plagued with noisy neighbors that literally stayed up all night. That’s when I fell in love with earplugs. They literally saved me from going crazy. LOL. Hearos are the best – Another suggestion is the app “White Noise”. I have several friends who swear by it. Hope this helps!!

    • I’ll have to check it out! The only earplugs I’ve found here are like 20 cents and they are just tiny pieces of foam. Not too helpful. :) Maybe these will be better!

  11. My husband would probably sleep through the barking too. Me, on the other hand, would be standing in your shoes. Our neighbors dogs across the street bark non-stop, but we have windows. Your post reminded me to be thankful for the little things! :)

  12. Sorry about the dogs That can be iratating, even when Bernie snores . Well won’t be long and your mom will be there. At least you aren’t in the storm out east . Hope you time will be fun there. Must go time for my Bible study in the country.

    • Aw, thanks Grandma! You’re so right about being out of that storm! It sounds scary out there! Mom’s on her way … I can’t wait to see her! Thanks for giving her the idea for the T-shirt bag crafts! My girls are really excited to make them. Love you Grandma!

  13. I am with the peeps who suggest earplugs too. 7 years ago I moved to the heart of downtown. 7 years ago I invested in some earplugs and haven’t slept without them since. It took me a few days to get over hearing the sound of my own heartbeat and blood rushing through my head amplified with the earplugs in, but then that goes away and you are left with pure bliss.

    a few years ago they decided for 3 STRAIGHT YEARS to build a brand new apartment building right beside my house from the ground up. Every day for 3 years I swear I woke up furious because of the noise (through my earplugs). There was one point where I realized I was literally waking up angry every single day because of it. 3 years of anger is a lot of anger! LOL.

    Anyway, I digress. Ear plugs. Hopefully you can get some there, or get a loved one to send you some! And hopefully they work to block out the noise for you.

    • Oh gosh. That construction sounds like it was insane. I did get some ear plugs but I found that I was really uncomfortable wearing them. Maybe if it continues I’ll give it another go. :) Thanks for the comment Torri!

  14. I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through! I can’t even imagine how bad it is – I have a neighbor’s dog yapping into the night (it’s just one tiny annoying dog) and I plan on calling animal control but reading your post has made me realize that my situation is nothing compared to yours. I hope things get better soon, Lindsay!

  15. You did warn me it could get weepy and you were not lying! It’s amazing the difference it makes when we try to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes. And then we realize our problems are nothing compared to theirs.

  16. Funny how as I read this the tenant’s dog below me is barking its flipping head off. Urrrrrr! And my dog is doing these gentle “woofs,” because I told her to be quiet. I like the idea of noise canceling headphones. I have a white noise machine, and it works wonderfully, but it doesn’t block out the barking below me. But reading further into your post…that beautiful girl’s face! No mothers or fathers? That is incredibly sad. :( I just want to wrap my arms around them and read them a good book. Sending out prayers for their well-being. (The Lord is watching over them for sure.)

    • Thank you Martha! The Lord is definitely present here – thank you for your prayers for them! The good news is that so many of them are eventually adopted into loving families. The hard thing is waiting. Also – hope your barking dogs quiet down soon!!

  17. Lizabeth K. says:

    When I lived in Costa Rica, it was car alarms, and the same windows. I swear I could sing the different tunes in the same order (the most popular one was like a sampler of all the possible car alarm noises….).

    I’m so happy your kidd-os are are inspiring you to see the big picture (which when you can’t sleep, isn’t easy!) I’ll never understand the strength that kids can show.

    • If there’s one thing that would be worse than barking, it would be car alarms. Because they have a tune. Yuck. Hope the school year is going well for you! :)

  18. Beautifully written, Lindsay. Thank you for letting go of so many comforts to serve these sweet children! And I too want to give them all a big hug. You are awesome, and thanks for continuing to persevere through the hard times. We are thinking of and praying for you! XO Sonja (& Alex)

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, Lindsay! Even though you are having this really huge challenge, it sounds like you’ve talked yourself down from it a few times over. All the posts here are so great. Having had a similar problem myself, I can only tell you, short of having proper fitting ear plugs (if you haven’t found ones that fit great yet, keep trying) and having a white noise machine, the thing that worked for me was to learn to sleep with the television on, sleeping on my side with one pillow over my exposed ear. If you have a dvd of a nice quiet movie, put it on low volume, cover your ears and maybe that will help. I learned how to do it so well that it worked like a charm. Bless you and all that you’re doing and I hope you get some relief soon. Sleep deprivation is toxic for us in so many, many ways. Good luck!

  20. Lindsay, something like not getting enough sleep makes every single other thing so difficult to deal with. I buy these incredibly great earplugs here in Bangkok – I never even used to like using them before, but these work wonders. Do you want me to send you some!??!

    • Everything is relative. It’s like when a really thin person gains 5 pounds and feels fat…but everyone feels they are so skinny…BUT to them its the end of the world….like these dogs. It would drive me nuts. Everyone needs and deserves sleep. When my kids slept through the night for the first time I woke feeling amazing and couldn’t believe how crappy I had felt with no sleep. Get ear plugs, you deserve them. You can only take care of others when you are taking care of yourself. Get the sleep you need and there is a white noise app for phones…download it.

    • Oh my gosh, you are so sweet. :) I will be in touch if things don’t improve! Thank you!

  21. I am so, so sorry about those &@(;$/-,,””%#} dogs! What amazing photos of them…dark and spooky! What a beautiful shot of the precious little girl at the end. Beautiful! Thank you for this honest post. I can’t imagine having to lose all that sleep. Have a wonderful time with your mom.

  22. I haven’t slept without silicone earplugs since moving into my within-walking- distance-to-work-but-so-noisy apartment building over 10 years ago. I highly recommend them; they work almost too well to tell you the truth.

    You are grace personified in my opinion. Good luck!

  23. Try Xanax. It works for me. :)

  24. Allen Mork says:

    Hey Lindsay – thanks for sharing the good and bad of what you see daily and reminding us to look (at least occasionally) at the world through someone else’s eyes. It often looks much different.
    Now for the sleep problems – I am sending you my favorite personal courier with lots of sleeping solutions as well as a whole lot of hugs from the homefront!! Enjoy!!
    Love you! Dad

  25. Ahhh Lindsay I so feel for you. Sleep is so important for our physical and mental health. Rick and I sleep with a fan on all year round specifically for the “white” noise, the only bad thing is when I go somewhere and it is absolutely quiet its weird. But I can so relate to wanting sleep so bad and not getting it. There have been different times in my life, one being when Dane had his days and nights mixed up, he would literally be awake all night which would have been fine if I could have slept with him during the day…but I had 2 little girls who were up then. I remember laying him between my legs while I would sit up in bed and he’d be happy and playful and I’d be crying and just wanting to sleep, and I would look over at Rick….SOUND ASLEEP and get SO angry!! (sleep deprivation can bring some pretty not so nice thoughts out in a person) Try to squeeze in a nap everyday if you can. I also know that sometimes peoples suggestions, as helpful as we want to be, can actually be annoying or frustrating because we are deprived and feel like nothing will work. But I do want to remind you that there are promises of comfort from Jesus and as hard as it is to focus on Him during the night and not the barking dogs His word says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I WILL give you rest….. Anyway, I am going to be praying for you, praying that there will be a solution and praying that you will get the rest you need. I Love you guys and I am so proud of the work you are doing there and your love for the children! XXOO

  26. You’re halfway home gf! I appreciate the honesty of your posts, Lindsay. You’re a fighter, and you will get through it!!!!! Lots of prayers coming your way!! :)

  27. I completely understand how you feel. When I was in Thailand and Bali, the dogs drove me insane. I saw dogs, I would love to forget even seeing. Mangy, missing limbs, etc… loud, barky and annoying. I wonder if that is why I am not a dog person now. Hang in there …

    And, I want to hear about that first haircut!!

  28. Oh girl, I feel your pain. My 16 month old son has slept through the night a total of maybe, oh, 7 nights? ONE WEEK. In over a year. I’d hear stories like this and think, “That is not possible. I would die.” But here I am, very much alive, and a testament to the fact that when we are weak, that’s when God is strong. When my son was little, God gave me Is. 40:28-31 and while it took awhile, God definitely let me live those verses out, understand them, and finally come to a place where I was okay with not sleeping through the night. That doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled when it does happen, or that I’m not looking forward to a day when he does sleep, but for now, I’m learning to lean on God everyday when I’m so tired I can’t contemplate the next 12 hours that loom in front of me. Find some verses about God’s strength, and CLAIM THEM!!! I’ll be praying for you. :) (And I’m so thankful for all the thankfulness that your post exuded. Your heart is in the right place!!!)
    28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
    29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
    30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

  29. You’re right- quiet is SO precious and there’s nothing more needed than a good night of sleep. Definitely get yourself some earplugs and go off to dream land :)

  30. Love that verse–what a great post! It’s so refreshing when God gives us the wisdom to see life through another person’s eyes…gives us great perspective.

  31. You are amazing, Lindsay! Always have been…always will be! Way to put sleepless nights from barking dogs into perspective. :) You are making such a profound difference in those kiddos lives…I know you are! You are wonderful! I will say a prayer that those dogs will let you get some sleep…poor Linds!!

  32. I like your blog for your honesty in dealing with life’s challenges while keeping them in perspective. I think the same way about things- it’s ok to vent but follow up with gratitude (no matter how difficult at times!)

    Keep making delicious things and know that we are all sending positive thoughts!

  33. Lindsay – I’m SO sorry :( Can I say, the SousPug – he only barks for cheese and even then it’s such a cute short little bark, I can’t fault him for that. However, rampant dog barking night after night after night – my heavens, I’d go crazy!

    Definitely love the idea of the white noise machine. I use mine from time to time on those nights I can’t sleep and it comes in so handy. Plus – it lulls the SousPug to sleep as well.

    However – if there was any barking, I’d much prefer it to be of the pug variety :) (Disclaimer – the SousPug sings along with this pug when he hears it…)

  34. Eeek, your apartment is AC but has jalousies? Your cooling system might be very inefficient. I hope your windows have heavy drapes.

  35. Sorry to be commenting on like EVERY post, but, living through the barking dogs in the Philippines right now! And, your perspective really helped me. Thanking the Lord that His mercies ARE new every morning! Great is his faithfulness! Thank you for sharing this!

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