My husband Kelly & I have a German Shepherd who seems to believe that if he's not barking, no one's giving him the attention he deserves. Sometimes I can actually identify with that, but for the most part I find it very aggravating -- and so do the neighbors!

Our new neighbor, Bob, had made repeated visits to our home asking us very nicely to please do something about Buddy's barking. We tried everything we could think of short of putting a muzzle on him. Conversations with Bob gradually became less cordial over a period of just a few days and I was feeling terribly stressed about the situation.

On Valentine's Day, a day when I should have been expecting a knock on the door from a delivery man bringing roses, I cringed when I heard the doorbell ring. Buddy had been barking frantically and I had banished him to the back yard so I could get a few minutes of peace.

I took my time going to the door, hoping that I'd either find a nice gift waiting, or if it was Bob he would give up and go back home. No such luck on either score.

There stood Bob with an angry scowl on his face. "Susan! I've really had enough of that dog. I don't want to have a feud over this, but I sure would appreciate it if you would try this muzzle and see if it tones Buddy's barking down a little bit." At that, he held out a muzzle and I took it from.

"Okay Bob" I replied quietly as I turned and walked back into the house. I really hated to do that to Buddy, but if that was the only answer then so be it. I walked out the back door and knelt down beside Buddy to slip the muzzle over his nose.

As I looked down at the muzzle, however, I saw that there was something stuck inside it that would make it impossible to put on. I pulled out a small gift box wrapped in Valentine's Day paper and with even more curiosity than excitement I opened it to find the diamond teardrop earrings I'd been hinting to Kelly about for two years.

I ran back through the house and out the front door to find both Bob & Kelly waiting with expectant grins on their faces. "You guys set me up!" I laughed.

Kelly reached out and pulled me close in a hug. "Honey, Bob isn't even all that mad about Buddy. He's just been putting on a show the past few day. I wanted these earrings to be a real surprise when I gave them to you, and I think I succeeded don't you?"

"Did you ever. And I love you for it!" I replied as I hugged him back.