Friday Follow Up
And Then . . . It Was Summer

A Little Rant to Start The Week

One of the “hallmarks” of my personality is that . . . I really don’t like to be misunderstood. This is different from not wanting to be wrong (although I don’t like that either). But mostly, I just really want to be understood.

Something happened last week that is really triggering that “misunderstood” thing in me, so I thought that maybe it would help if I ranted about it a little bit here, in an attempt to just get it out of my system, y’know? (Because, really, there’s only so much “airtime” Tom is willing to give this particular topic at this point.)

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(Just a little view from my dog walk on Saturday. I love that haze of green from the willow trees in the background.) (And don't expect much from the other photos in this post. They are purely functional.)

So here’s the situation:

I live in a very dog-friendly neighborhood. There are lots of dogs, and they’re generally quite well-behaved – as are their owners. Pretty much every day - in all types of weather - you’ll see dog owners out there on the streets of my neighborhood, walking their dogs. On leashes. With poop-bags in hand. (We even have a neighborhood Great Dane. His owner walks him every day, carrying a small “shovel” and what appears to be a small garbage bag. Lucky him.) 

We neighborhood dog-walkers are a jovial bunch. We know each other, at least by sight, and if we have time (and the inclination), we occasionally allow our dogs a little “together time” out on the street. (To sniff and “play bow” a little, y’know?) We keep an eye on each other. Several of my fellow neighborhood dog-walkers have stopped me to inquire about - and offer their condolences for - Jenny, for example. 

Almost without exception, the dog-walkers in my neighborhood are caring and responsible. Some people actually leave out bowls of water near their sidewalks in the summer, for example, so dogs on walks can get a drink in the heat. And only on rare occasions do I find a “wayward poop” from another dog in my yard. My neighbors carry poop bags – and know how to use them.

JoJo and I join the dog-walking parade every day. We are very responsible. JoJo has been through obedience training, and “heels” well on leash. We stay on the street or sidewalk, unless JoJo needs to do her business (she prefers the grass for this), but I keep her just on the edge of a lawn - and I always pick up her “leavings.” I don’t let her walk through garden beds near the road. I don’t let her go more than a foot or two into someone’s lawn. I keep her out of any areas of active grass-seeding. She is always on her leash in our neighborhood.

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So.

Last Wednesday, we were out for our walk when JoJo stopped to poop on the very edge of a lawn. While she was in the process, as I was getting my bag out of my pocket - ready to pick up her mess, the front door of the house swung open, and the woman at the door started yelling at me. 

Really yelling.
Loudly.
I couldn’t quite get my head wrapped around the words she was yelling, but she was certainly incensed. I figured she was concerned about the poop in her yard. I waved my little poop bag and assured her I was going to pick it up.

NO! She hollered at me.

I.DO.NOT.WANT.YOUR.DOG.ON.MY.LAWN.
AT.ALL.

She was really, really upset.
Like, spitting-while-she-yelled upset.

I tried to be nice. I explained that I couldn’t really do anything about that right now (with my dog mid-poop), but I’d see to it that my dog didn’t get on her lawn in the future. Which apparently wasn’t good enough, because she continued to yell. I picked up JoJo’s poop, and quickly moved on.

I did scan the lawn, though, to see if there were maybe “keep off the grass” signs posted that I had missed. There weren’t.

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(This is NOT a picture of the lawn in question, but it could be. The street/curb situation at that house is exactly like the one in this photo. JoJo was this far from the curb when she did her thing. I never leave the street.)

Anyway.
The whole thing was very upsetting.
And I've done a lot of "stewing" over this situation.

There are MANY dogs and their owners walking past this woman’s house every day.  I wonder . . . does she just watch out her window and yell at people whenever a dog walks on her lawn? Have I been doing this dog-walking thing wrong (for the past 30 years) in allowing my dogs to step onto people’s lawns? Have I been missing a law or something? What made this woman so incensed about my dog being on her lawn . . . at the very edge of the street?

The next day I contacted my city’s municipal office to find out . . . what ARE the rules/laws of dog-walking in my community? I discovered that the rules are actually quite simple (and enforced) in my community: Dogs must be leashed. Dogs must be licensed. And that’s it. 

It is this particular woman’s preference that dogs not be on her property. She has no legal footing – unless the dog is unleashed or unlicensed. Now that I know about her preference, I will honor it. But I wasn’t doing anything “wrong” or irresponsible. I didn't deserve to be hollered at. And, really, she should make her preference known in ways other than yelling at people out her door. Like with signs. (Signs that people have no legal obligation to heed, mind you.) Giving some notice would be helpful for people trying to be good neighbors; trying to do the neighborly thing.

I’d love to go back to that house and explain to the angry woman that I’m a responsible dog-owner, and that I wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. (I don’t like to be misunderstood, y’know?) I’d also suggest that, perhaps, if she really doesn’t want dogs on her lawn, she should at least put up a few signs indicating her preference, and see if that helps. Because just hollering at people? Not nice. Although effective. (I certainly won’t allow JoJo anywhere near her lawn when we’re out walking in the future!)

But I won't.

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Okay.
That’s it! 

I feel better now that I’ve had a chance to rant a little bit.

(I’d love to hear your thoughts, by the way. Especially if you aren’t a dog-person and have to deal with dog-walkers in your neighborhood. I am responsible with my dog-walking, but I’m always willing to be a better dog-neighbor.)

Comments

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Vera

Wow! She must have had something up her butt...or just a really, really bad day perhaps. I'm a cat person. I don't dislike dogs, but I prefer cats and I've never had a dog as a pet. We do have a lot of dogs in our neighborhood and they are walked on leashes all the time. We have no sidewalks and our street is a dead-end off a very busy street. One dog in particular (a Basset Hound - LOL) is always on our grass. I really don't mind. His owner always picks up any "leavings" as do other dog walkers. I would much rather see folks out walking their dogs than thinking they never take them on walks. (A former neighbor years ago just always put their dog in the back yard...ALL DAY LONG...and never walked the poor thing.)

Bonny

I get this situation and think I understand how you feel even though I'm not a dog owner. We live in a small town with sidewalks, and while it's my responsibility to maintain the sidewalk and mow the little strip of grass by the street, I still think of this as a public space because the public is entitled to use it and they do. There are lots of dog-walkers in the neighborhood, and I don't have any problem with any of their dogs pooping on my property. All but two of them pick it up, and I have yelled at them for several years. (It does no good.) I do have a problem with people throwing their candy wrappers, dirty masks, and used diapers on my lawn, but I'm just opposed to them leaving their trash, not being on my lawn. I have a problem with the people that pick my roses in the summertime, but that's because they're taking my flowers; I don't mind them being on the lawn. I don't think you've done anything wrong. This woman is allowed to have her personal preference, and it's admirable of you to respect that in the future, but I also wonder if she just stands at her window and yells at people. I would so want to have a conversation with her to better understand her preference and why she doesn't post signs. Everybody wants to be understood, and I think it's a real shame we can't have conversations to try and do that more often. You and JoJo are welcome on my lawn! (Isn't it wonderful to use your blog to try and get things out of your system and have civil conversations with people when those conversations can't happen in real life? This is pretty much how I felt about CRT at lunch last week!)

Bridget

Ah yes, the neighbor who doesn't want her lawn/sidewalk/street in front of her house sullied at all! Been there, done that, doing it again someday with whatever doggo we have in the future.

There are a couple of people in our neighborhood who are like this. And I'm sure that some of it is that there are sadly some EXTREMELY irresponsible owners who never seem to pick up after their dogs - I've even called them out on it (to no avail - whereas I once walked back three blocks after getting home after I ran out of poop bags on the walk so that I could pick up Dug's poop).

There is one woman who told me that even one bit of dog poop contaminates the grass and the ground and that's why dogs should have to only go on the street, because car tires of full of germs and so it doesn't matter. I was going to mention that the grass and the ground are in fact not perfectly sterile environments, but since her young child was sitting in the yard eating some grass (really), I acted fake-concerned and moved along.

I try to just avoid going near the places, but sometimes it's hard because not every walk should have to be four miles just to avoid some houses.

Maybe just sit back with a glass of iced tea and a bowl of grass from the woman's lawn if she'll share it and think of better things. ;-)

(Or, you could every once in a while "mistakenly" mail one of those magazine subscription cards with her address on it for a 2-year subscription marked "bill me later." I mean, I've heard of people doing things like that. Never me, of course.)

Carole

It's so frustrating when we feel like we are doing the right thing (which you are in this instance) and we get berated for it. That would bug me a lot, too! When we had Dixie we pretty much only walked her "down back" so there was no need to pick up the poop but if I walked her on the sidewalk, I definitely would. We don't really have dog walkers impact our house because the sidewalk is on the other side of the street but even if someone had horrible manners and there dog pooped on my lawn and they didn't pick it up . . . I can't even imagine yelling at a stranger like that!

Debbie

Wow! She must have something else going on for her to act like she did. I see it as her problem & it probably has little to do with you & your dog. I’m a dog owner and have never experienced something like that. I think most people don’t mind as long as the poop is scooped!

Carolyn

At the end of the day--and in the midst of dealing with A Really Awful Woman of our own right now, who devours a lot of our energy when we let her--I can only guess that this person has some sort of big ugly that she can only deal with by *totally losing it* on completely innocent passersby. I hear you; she, on the other hand, never will. Glad you're not going to waste your time trying. (But, grrr... to energy vampires.)

kim in oregon

This EXACT thing happened to us when we lived in Eugene. We ended up crossing the street and walking on the other side every time we passed her house, even though the other side didn't have a sidewalk.

Susanne

She obviously has other issues but I agree, she should put up a sign even though it is not a legal thing but she could at least try and then not yell at people!! why can't people just be NICE!!!!

Dee

Maybe she is concerned about dog urine ruining her lawn. I really don't get the yelling though. There was no need for that. On the other hand, I wouldn't feel the need to explain myself either. She obviously is not a reasonable person and it most likely would not end well. Do as you said and just keep Jojo close by when you pass the nasty woman's place. As the movie song says..... Let it GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and be thankful there is only ONE of her in the neighborhood!

For me ..... as long as you pick up the poop and DON'T leave the bag in my yard OR put it in my trash can, I'm good with that.

We had a couple of people that would put their poop bags in our trash can after the trashman had picked it up. By HOA rules our cans had to be in our garage. It was quite an unpleasant surprise a couple of days later when the whole garage smelled like poop. (But, most people were very considerate and did not do that.)

kat

Ooof! Okay... of course I have some questions!

1. Do you have sidewalks in your neighborhood? Why? Well generally, the portion of your yard between the sidewalk and the road are generally really not owned by the homeowner. There are easements for utilities and such things. If you don't have sidewalks, that does not negate the easement issue... generally it is roughly 3' on either side of the road.

2. I am now wondering if she yells at other dog walkers... I'd be asking other walkers if they have had a similar experience.

(and after that vitriolic yelling, I'd be tempted to send her a poop present... You know... a healthy dose of oh... maybe Elephant Poop!... there is Poop Senders Anonymous... https://poopsenders.com/ just sayin....)

I am so glad that you unloaded all this on us... I hope dear Jo-Jo was not traumatized by all that kerfuffle!

Sarah

I'm fairly confident that you have done nothing wrong and that she was just having a bad day; after all, as you said, you were ready with poop bag in hand and she had no signs out indicating that she preferred for dogs to stay off her lawn. I see signs like that in my neighborhood and certainly heed them when I'm walking a dog, but I think they're fairly ridiculous (all sorts of wild animals are likely using their lawns as bathrooms!). I have to say that this kind of vile behavior would make me likely to leave poop on her lawn!

Mary

Oh Kym, I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I know lots of folks do not like dogs to do their business in their yards. I've been yelled at plenty - and Holly was a little dog. We are fortunate around where I live now that there are plenty of non-home places to walk ... common areas in neighborhoods, parks, even the city-owned right of way near the sidewalks. It's actually uncommon to have other people's dogs even visit my yard...

Helen Mathey-Horn

The least she could do to help her blood pressure is put up a sign. Most dog owners/walkers I know would respect it. I do. We have a corner lot with a sign of a dog pooping with a 'No'. Simple enough and I make sure all my dog does is walk on the grass. It sounds like she has problems of her own...oh well and if you are on a sidewalk, as someone else pointed out the space within 3 feet of the road is technically the municipality's. Her problem and it seems to be eating at her.

Jane

I am sure you were doing nothing wrong. Back in the day when we had a dog, I had a similar experience. The woman in question was less of a yeller but she didn't want dog urine on her lawn and picking up poop wasn't enough for her. So I respected that. To me a yard is a yard - just grass - and not a shrine to perfection but to each her own. I don't like to be misunderstood either but just try to let things go. Easier said than done.

Pam

Years ago, and a previous dog, a man, a few blocks away, threaten to shoot our dog if he ever came on his grass again. We never walked our dog on that street again, and I still don't walk on that side of that street, with or without our dog. Some people have problems, and dogs, or what dogs do, aren't the problem.
Sorry for this situation. Grrr - Argh. . .

Vicki

Wow. I'm gonna guess that she had to deal with someone else's "load" -- and probably stepped in it. She's rude and yelling was uncalled for, but I'm hoping she was just having a very bad day.

We have two new neighbor dogs that are tied out in the back yard a few times a day (never walked, that I've been witness to), apparently admonished by the across-the-street neighbor shortly after moving in when the dogs were running free. Glad it didn't have to be me! ATS neighbor also has a dog, never on leash, but trained to stay in their yard (though how many times over the years have I heard "WALTER! GET BACK HERE!" when he gets excited and/or tests limits?) (a lot).

I live at the end of a dead-end street so I don't see a lot of dogs other than the neighbors'. When we had a dog (a decade+ ago already), I'd walk a quick "business" loop around the 'hood. There's a house three blocks away with usually 2-3 small dogs and they nailed a sign up on a tree (facing the direction we'd walk) about picking up YOUR dog's poop (which, of course, we always did). It made me laugh, wondering how they could tell their dogs' poop from anyone else's dog's poop!! (I suppose there are ways/differences, which I don't really need to know!)

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