Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where Should Dogs Pee and Poop?

(After you read the post, be sure to read the opinions of my other visitors in the comments section at the end.)

Back in the good ol’ days (or were they?), Fido had his own dog house in the fenced in back yard, where he chose his toilet area. Occasionally, his owners would let him inside to explore the big house, but he knew not to purge while visiting. He hadn’t done that since he was a baby, peeing and pooping on the newspapers, spread out on the kitchen floor.

A lot of dogs still live this life, while others have moved inside their owner’s home, dictating a change in the elimination process. (By the way, now Fido has a human name - Max.)

I live in a large subdivision of about eight hundred homes, divided into lots ranging from about a quarter acre to an acre. I’m guessing at least a third of the neighbors have a dog – or two, or three. Of the sixteen houses on my street, ten homes include fourteen dog residents!

Many of us do not have a fenced yard, although some have invisible fences. Soooo…what do we do when Miley or Max have to pee?

We put them on a leash and walk outside to the yard, where sometimes they’ll just “do it,” be happy, and come back inside.

What do we do when they need exercise and/or their favorite pooping area is beyond the confines of the yard?

We get our plastic bag (the long slim bag that the newspaper comes in is perfect for the job), put Miley or Max on the leash and WALK – until the feeling “moves” them.

The problem.

Sometimes the feeling “moves” them in a neighbor’s yard, and some of the neighbors DO NOT like dogs peeing and pooping in their yards. A few neighbors have a small sign near their mailboxes that indicate “no pee and poop zone.”

One neighbor comes out of his house screaming, “DON’T LET THAT DOG GO ON MY YARD!”

I’ve heard there are others who come out, too, when catching Max in the act, but with a “nicer” warning. “Would you NOT let your dog go on my yard please?”

One day, little Miley ventured "close" to the yard of the screaming man, when my dear friend (Miley’s owner) became a victim of the screaming man…or…is the screaming man the victim? It is his yard and dogs have used it; and I suppose some owners have not cleaned it up.

My friend and I had a discussion about this issue, comparing the various places where we allow the dogs to “go.” We feel okay when our dogs pee or poop along the street edge grass of a “safe” yard (the neighbors who also have dogs) as we walk in the street. After all, we do have our trusty plastic bag. Mostly, my dog Layla will go in the narrow strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk.

But, in our discussion, we realized that some dog owners still prefer not to have dogs peeing and pooping in their yards, regardless of the trusty plastic bag. One joked that his nice grass will not continue to be nice if little Miley keeps peeing in it (hint, hint). Typically, these neighbors have fences and their dogs go in their back yards. I asked my friend, “Does the pee hurt the grass?”

She didn’t know.

Another friend who’s been yelled at, said, “I guess once a dog goes on a yard, others smell the scent and it becomes their favorite place to go, too.”

Before I had a dog, I was not bothered by dogs using my yard as long as their owners picked it up. I figured it came with the territory of living in a large dog-owning, dog-walking neighborhood.

We concluded our discussion with a decision to put more effort and patience in getting the dogs to “go” in our own yards, even when they’re ready to walk, and to be more aware of where they “go” when we’re walking them.

Ps. I always scoop it up, even at night with the use of a flashlight.

Are you a dog owner? Where does your dog pee and poop?
Dog owner or not, does it bother you when a dog goes in your yard?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shock, Embarrassment, Disappointment


Kahil Gibran says in his book, The Prophet,

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.

Do you agree?

What happens to a family when a child gets into trouble or controversy? It seems that no family (or extended family) is exempt. If you’re fortunate, the incident is limited to a call from a teacher or principal reporting a dispute between your child and another. Or perhaps your adult child has decided to drop out of college. You didn’t see it coming. It’s inconsistent with Susie’s or Johnnie’s personality and behavior. It’s a big deal for a while, but later, it’s not.

But what about the unexpected grandchild; or the drugs found in the car, followed with an arrest, misdemeanor charge, and court appearance? Hmmm…definitely life changing with consequences.

Are you still supporting Johnnie or Susie? Are you still letting them know that they can rectify their mistakes and live a good life?

How do you feel when Johnnie announces he’s gay, which may be a relief for him, but a problem for you? How about the semi-nude photos of Susie that have been made public?

What do you do when a major crime is committed, or a life is lost due to a suicide or drunk driving?

You’re shocked, embarrassed, distraught, angry, miserable, disappointed, and/or grievous. Are you wondering, “Where did I go wrong? What did I lack in raising my child?”

How do people treat you? Are you avoiding them, knowing that they are “talking about you,” criticizing you, and thinking that it’s your fault because you’re the parent?

My three children are still young - the oldest fourteen. I’m pleased to say that neither has shocked me, and pray they won’t. (Am I na├»ve?) I’ve heard many parents say, “Oh, I know they’re going to do it anyway.” Is a seed being planted with that statement?

We’re all human – somewhat fallible and susceptible to temptation. Hmmm…

I have friends, relatives, and neighbors who have experienced these episodes. I’ve seen the surprise grandbabies, the addiction to drugs, the jail sentence, and sadness of learning that a lesbian daughter does not want children – a grandchild for you.

I’ve seen it in all races, cultures, economic levels, education levels, and religions.

And while many will blame you - the parent, your friends will love you, know your heartache, and not judge you.

I’ve heard Oprah Winfrey quote Maya Angelo, who said, “We do the best we know how to do.”

Hopefully.

To what degree do we “know” our children and their potential for trouble-free, successful futures?