I think, as pet owners, we’ve all had to answer this age old question: Why is my dog roaming unattended through the neighborhood wearing a white feather boa?
And I think the age-old answer is obvious: She’d rather have been wearing the purple and so she ran away.
I’m at a dilema because as secretary of the HOA here in our fantastic community, I’ve been charged with the responsibility of writing a stern letter of warning to all the folks who allow their dogs to run loose: Toni, make it sound like we mean business. Let ’em know what’ll happen to their dogs if they don’t take care of them. Make sure they realize how serious this situation is.
Serious indeed. If anyone knows how annoying it is to fend off an attack from a menacing shihtzu, it’s me. Caleb got a chunk bit out of his leg a few years back and we’ll never forget the round of rabies shots he endured as a result of our refusal to turn the dog (who belonged to a family with 5 children) over to animal control.
But I know the other side of the story well. I know it can be difficult to keep your dog in your yard; our dogs in particular had a serious case of wanderlust when we first moved into our house, and I spent almost every afternoon chasing them over the river and through the woods. But the point is–I chased them. I didn’t just let them run, not knowing or caring when they came back. The best thing we ever did was install a powerful underground electric fence.
With all that being said, I have a major problem with pet owners that just. don’t. care. I mean, really? Keep an eye on your dogs. Make sure they’re not out digging in someone’s trash can or scaring someone’s kid. Check on them. Feed them. Water them. Pet them. Play with them. Walk them. Look for them if they’re not in your yard. Do what you have to do to make sure they’re not running all over kingdom come. If you love your pet, Take Freaking Care of it. If not, give it to someone who will. It’s a simple concept.
So, what to write in this warning letter to the dog owners of my neighborhood? I can’t very well send out something like this (please be warned that I wrote this years ago, back when I was low on patience and class). But perhaps I can appeal to the love every pet owner feels towards their animal; being serious without threatening. Is it possible? We’ll see. I’m already combing the thesaurus for words that replace the descriptive language I would normally use.
But please, PLEASE, for the love of Pete, if you’ve got a dog, keep it in your yard.
You just don’t know how unfun it is for us HOA secretaries to write this hate mail.