Dog Days of Summer

Summer is here – not officially, but the life guards are back so that’s summer to me.

Dogs always cause problems in cohousing. Okay, pets, not just dogs. But dogs have teeth.  I heard on TV some celebrity say that all dogs can bite if they have teeth. And I think someone in our community said that as we debated the pet policy.  That was a day written in the history books. The first time we made a major decision at a plenary.  No house was built yet but we had agreed on dogs being under voice control which actually went against the leash policy of the county.

I heard of a community where a dog bit a child.  The way they dealt with it was to depart the dog to an actual farm (not death) but far away from their community. The dog had ruined their chance – you bit, you are a danger, you are out. They choose safety for the community’s children. I thought, wow, what a great community. Putting people first.

In my community I heard someone say the dogs have rights too. I was like, no, they don’t. Some were already annoyed with dogs begging at food events. Too many people weren’t following our policy of voice control – meaning no free range dogs.

Then my worst fear happened – a dog bite to a child. Still pissed it was my child.  The thing I wondered is if everyone knew about it. To protect others, they need to know this dog is a biter.  We didn’t even discuss deportation of the dog. Now, if a dog really does chomp down on a child and even adults sometimes, local animal control usually chooses to put the dog down.  I just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt and I loved the dog – a big herding dog like I used to have.

I read over some old emails and I saw a common theme – how do you balance privacy and what the community needs to know to protect themselves. Some things were easy to broadcast – hey, there’s poison ivy on that old tree. We even had a member do a power point at a plenary to show us the types of poison ivy and other plant dangers out there.  But no one takes plants personally.  If it’s your dog, or kid, that is hurting others, then it gets more complicated.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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