Neighbor seeks help with rude dog owner
DEAR MARIANN: We have a lot of neighbors who own dogs, and most all of them seem to be responsible about picking up their waste as the animal and owner walk nightly. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that at least one such dog walker disregards the common courtesy of clean-up, with a regular deposit in my yard from a rather large dog. Any suggestions as to how we as a neighborhood might address this problem? The evidence is obvious, but the culprit is not.
MARIANN’S RESPONSE: Previously, I have mentioned about the invasion of technology upon our personal lives and how it can be disrespectful to others and also while in public. However, this is one circumstance where I support our electronic capabilities. How about installing outside surveillance cameras to catch the culprits? Webcams are now less expensive than in the past and people enjoy monitoring the safety of their homes while away; what the babysitter is doing with their child; being entertained at work by “home alone” pet mischief; and in this circumstance could be valuable in catching this inconsiderate dog owner. Once you have videotaped evidence, confront this neighborhood clod. As much of an animal lover as I am, it is the owner’s responsibility to clean-up after their pet.
In conjunction with the webcam, I would post a professionally printed yard sign where the dog has been known “to go.” Simply stated, “This property is under webcam surveillance for catching inconsiderate pet-owners,” makes your point and hopefully will keep the tandem from coming into your yard. If they do, you will have video evidence that is indisputable if the dog and human images are recognizable and you can identify the culprits.
Is there a homeowners association? Implementing fines for those who are caught by the webcam could be considered. And finally if all else fails, most pet stores sell some type of animal repellant that you can use without damage to grass, plants and shrubbery to make your yard undesirable, at least to canine noses.
READER’S QUESTION: We have a neighbor who is retired after a very successful professional career and well respected by most everyone in this community. However, he is a non-stop talker, oppressively intense with opinions, and regularly writes letters to the editor of our local newspaper. How might we shield ourselves from receiving a “sermon” upon encountering him?
MARIANN’S RESPONSE: The joys of living in a neighborhood… I am not sure which is the lesser of two evils; being blessed with inconsiderate dog owners or hesitant to be outside in fear of seeing “Mr. Know-It-All.” This sounds like a person who is insecure and potentially is trying to impress others as extremely knowledgeable to build his own ego. Possibly he missed his professional calling by not pursuing politics as a vocation or maybe he did since you mention that he is now retired. Except for using this personality style in the political arena, usually this “know-it-all” style backfires and alienates those whom he encounters.
Here it comes again, my lecture on boundaries. This person needs to be respectful of your time, while you must be forceful in maintaining time limits. When you see him coming, be prepared. Immediately before he cycles into a sermon, succinctly mention “It is good to see you, Stanley, but my wife and I only have a few minutes before we need to go elsewhere,” (such as lunch, church, physician’s appointment, the tanning bed, etc…) After those few minutes have expired, say again “It was great seeing you, but we need to run to that appointment,” and then exit, even if he is mid-sentence. You have given him warning with the previous time limitation statement, so stick to it by departing his presence on cue. Once you are firm with people that your time has value, departing the situation after giving prior notice solidifies the seriousness of your words.
Even more problematic is a person who talks excessively on the telephone and monopolizes the conversation since body cues of looking at your watch or seeming distracted aren’t recognizable via the cellular unless “Skyping.” Please readers be considerate of others around you. Whether it is walking your dog, seeing a neighbor in their yard, or talking on the cellular, be conscious of their rights to personal space and time limitations. Not everyone enjoys having unplanned conversations or wants to hear a sermon on the subject you have deemed important for that day. What is fascinating to one person is no guarantee that others will share your same passion.
Mariann Main is a Licensed Counselor and a Delaware native. Her column appears weekly on Wednesdays. To submit a question and have Mariann answer it anonymously, visit delgazette.com/life-questions-with-local-answers or send mail to the Delaware Gazette office, 40 N. Sandusky St., suite 203, Delaware, OH 43015.