Oh yeah – we’re going to discuss this.
We can be mature, respectful, and well-spoken, right?
Is it okay for your dog to relieve him or herself on your neighbour’s lawn? If you said ‘yes,’ and your neighbour disagreed, would you have a problem?
You’d be shocked at how often I come across this…
See that sign?
My client bought that on www.amazon.com, after a lengthy search, a well-thought-out reaction to his lawn problems, and an intense discussion with his wife…
Nicole & Patrick are both friends and clients of mine, and they live in Riverdale, where everybody gets along in a happy paradise!
Riverdale is one of the best family neighbourhoods in Toronto, and the streets are littered with children, in a haven for young parents and their growing family units.
Personally, I love Riverdale. I have put over a dozen clients in here in the past three years, and it’s one of the first locations I suggest to prospective buyers looking for a 3-bedroom house in a good school district, near downtown, for $650 – $900K.
The one drawback to the area, however, is something I’ve heard time and time again:
“Sometimes, you’re a bit TOO close to your neighbours, and the area is TOO full of smiling faces.”
Take that for what it’s worth.
Riverdale is home to many semi-detached homes, and the houses are much closer together than, say, Leaside, North Toronto, etc.
If your neighbour is renovating, you’re going to feel it.
And if Betty and John’s kid sneezes, you’re probably going to hear about it from eight different people on Saturday morning in Withrow Park.
If you want a close community – Riverdale is the spot. People are kind, down-to-earth, and helpful.
But what do you do when you have a problem? And what if your problem is a problem to you, but seemingly not to anybody else?
Patrick is a huge fan of a lush, green lawn, and has always dreamed about owning a home where his kids can set up a Slip ‘n Slide on the lawn, erect a lemonade stand, or just lay on a blanket with a picnic basket on a sunny day.
Unfortunately, Patrick’s lawn has become the neighbourhood dumping ground (pun fully intended…) for every canine that passes by.
Here’s a recent shot of Patrick & Nicole’s lawn after a busy week of dogs doing their ‘thang:
Make no mistake: this is private property. Patrick & Nicole bought it – it’s theirs!
But what do you think a Riverdale resident would say if Patrick kindly asked, “Can you please stop letting your dog go to the bathroom on my lawn?”
This truly is a snowball rolling down a hill.
Once one dog goes to the bathroom, another picks up the scent and wants to leave his or her mark, then another, then another, until finally every dog in the neighbourhood knows this spot as “the place” to let go.
And Patrick & Nicole’s house is the first house on the row that has an actual lawn. The first six or seven homes all have “English Gardens,” and no grass. So dogs walking up the block, who don’t want to go to the bathroom on a rock, end up stopping at Patrick & Nicole’s house.
It’s been going on for two years now, and Patrick finally had enough.
The boiling point came one day this fall when he was standing on his front porch, with his two kids, and a neighbour walked by with her poodle. The poodle stopped, and started to take a poop.
“Nice day, isn’t it?” Patrick said, from his front porch, as this lady’s poodle took a crap.
“Lovely! And your daughters – they’re so beautiful! I love those little dresses!” she said.
The lady picked up the dog poop with a bag, the poodle ripped up the lawn with her back legs as dogs do when they finish, and the lady smiled, and walked away.
Patrick told me, “This lady had no shame at all – thought nothing of letting her dog take a crap on MY lawn, right in front of me!”
The problem isn’t that Patrick can’t be on guard all the time; the problem is that many people don’t think this is anything to be fussed about!
And for certain – most dog-owners don’t think this is an issue, and that’s why the poop-problem persists.
I’ve talked to dog owners that say, “It’s a natural bodily function, and we all do it! You can’t be so uptight not to expect a dog takes a teenie-tiny whiz on your lawn!”
But therein lies the question: is this a natural bodily function that we can’t control? It’s our dog – we can take our dog elsewhere, right? We can stop the dog from going there, there or, there, right?
Parents – perhaps you can relate to this…
Are you all familiar with the book “Everyone Poops?”
Many of you parents know this book as the quintessential hand-guide to potty training your children, and helping them understand the concept.
The basic premise, and the conclusion, are both spelled out in the title. The content itself is barely needed!
So dog-lovers, tell me: do you feel the same way?
Do you feel that we’re talking about a natural function, and that Nicole & Patrick aren’t within their right to complain when neighbours let their dogs go to the bathroom on Nicole & Patrick’s lawn?
Or are we talking about two very different things here?
Patrick knows it’s just a matter of time before somebody takes that sign and chucks it into the street, or on to his front porch, but what else was he supposed to do?
I suggested he take a page out of Jim Carrey’s playbook, from “Me, Myself, & Irene,” but he’s a bit too conservative for that approach…
And thus, the sign was purchased on Amazon.com, and the test-run is under way.
I polled two people in my office this afternoon, both dog-owners, and these were the answers:
1) “I honestly never thought about how it would affect the home-owner! My dog takes these teenie little poopies and I pick it up, so it’s not like they’re really leaving their business behind! Most of the time, the home-owner would never know!”
2) “As a dog-owner, who has bred, trained, and loved a dozen dogs over the years, I can’t stand when people let their dogs go to the bathroom freely, wherever, whenever. Do you let your kids pick up candy in the store and eat it? Or do you teach them restraint, and time/place? I walk my dogs from a-to-b, and they don’t stop in between. I only let them go to the bathroom on MY property, or in a dog park.”
Call me biased, but I’m going to agree with #2 (that pun wasn’t intended…).
The idea of “taking your dog from point-a to point-b” is something many dog-owners don’t learn, and sometimes, they’re in a hurry – and they let their dog go wherever they please, instead of waiting to get to the park. Hey, we all have busy lives, but if you can’t spend 15-minutes walking your dog to the park, and instead you prefer a 4-minute walk where your dog goes to the bathroom on your neighbour’s lawn, then maybe you don’t have time for a dog, dare I say…
If you want to get really technical here, consider that the morning pee is the worst, because it’s the most acidic, and it burns the grass. The only way to stop the acid from burning the grass is too immediately dump a bucket of cold water onto the urine, but, well, how many of us carry a bucket of cold water with us when we walk our dogs?
I’m curious for my readers to weigh in to this discussion.
I assure you – Patrick & Nicole are both waiting…