Park Ettiquette-lesson number one

As a first time parent and someone who considers herself ‘aware’, I often have moral, ethical and parental debates after returning from a play group or interaction with other kids and their parents.  Today the incident was at the kids park in our ‘hood.  It is semi gated, and we left the stroller and the dog (we stopped by the dog park first) on the outside of the park.  There were a few other people at the park–2 Mom’s with their daughters on the swings and a Dad with his son and their unleashed dog in the sand area.  Can you see where this is going?  

Elliott loves animals–and hasn’t learned yet that some (most?) animals aren’t fond of small children.  Particularly the kind of kids (like Elliott) that pull their ears, tail and fur. Along with the ear piercing screeches of joy.  Luckily I intercepted him before he so lovingly attacked this dog.  I was verbally coaching him about how you have to ask the owner if the dog is friendly and if you can pet them first, all of the things you read about in the parenting books.  
The Dad and dog owner was intuitive and saw where I was headed and told me No, in fact the dog wasn’t friendly and was a bit temperamental.  He went on to say that the dog often growled at kids and was very protective over his son.  All the while the small dog was offering E a guttural growl and a nervous demeanor.  I carefully extracted my kid from the dogs periphery and said calmly to the owner–perhaps then, it would be a good idea to put your dog on a leash, particularly while you are in a kids park.  
I felt bad about it after I said it–typically I am not confrontational.  If you are a reader of this blog you will know I am opinionated.  But, usually I voice my thoughts and feelings here–and not to peoples faces.  The dog owner didn’t say anything to me in response.  We both just separated.  But, I noticed that he did in fact leash his dog shortly thereafter.  
What I wonder is why he felt it was ok to bring a temperamental dog to a kids park and allow it off leash?  Was I wrong to say something to him?  Did I over step my bounds?  Am I being to snooty?  Would I have said the same thing to another Mom?
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Dogs

Have you noticed that dogs and their owners often share the same dominant personality traits? Think of a dog you know. What is the dog most glaring personality characteristic-aggressive, mellow, passive, energetic, insecure, pushy, lazy? Do the owners possess this same characteristic? My observation is yes.

Hmm…Interesting coincidence or do our dogs pick up on our personalities?

Dog gone crazy

While we were on vacation we hired a dog sitter for a our dog and cat. We could kennel the dog, but then we would have to pay more, and inconvenience a friend to come over and look in on the cat. So, for less money for us and less stress for the animals we hire a dog sitter.

This gal has been dog sitting for us for a few years, she love dogs, and works full time at our local dog wash and pet store. She stays at the house most nights and works just a few blocks from our house.

There have been a few odd occurrences while she watched the house and the dog in the 3 plus years she has been here. Once the towel rack in the bathroom was broken. Another time the house was kinda messy when we returned. All simple manageable things.

This time she couldn’t get into the house, and we had to call a friend over to come and help her with the front door. Granted, we have an odd front door-that gives us issues occasionally. But, the most random thing that I discovered was that she tried on one of my dresses. You are probably wondering how I know, right? Well, let me expose how anal and neurotic I am about my clothes.

On Easter, I wore a floral dress to a party. All of my dresses are in the garage in a wardrobe. If you have been to our house, you will know that it is almost 100 years old, and the closets have not be renovated. And if you have been in an old house you might remember that closets are the size of match boxes. Ours is no exception. The only exception is that my husband has a lot of clothes too. So, we split the closet 50/50 and both store coats and dress clothes in our garage.

Back to the main topic. The dress was hanging in our room still, because I hadn’t found the inclination to walk it back outside to our detached garage, open 2 locks to get in there and hang it back up. When we returned from our trip, the dress was still hanging in the same place, but the zipper was down.

Now folks, I will say again how anal I am about my clothes. I always hang them the same direction, I fold them immediately to avoid wrinkles and I always zip them up. I rarely loan them out, and like to keep them clean and neat. So, I can only assume that she tried it on, and given her past behavior of leaving our house untidy, didn’t zip up the zipper.

All and all, not that big of a deal. The animals are happy, the house wasn’t robbed, nothing was stolen or damaged. But, to me…its a bit of an invasion of my privacy. What are your thoughts?

The neighbors

We live in an urban neighborhood. It isn’t city and it sure isn’t a suburb. On one side of our house is another similar type house, and on the other side is a huge apartment building. Well, let me clarify. It used to be an 8 unit apartment building and over the last year has been going through the condo conversion process. It is now 7 condos (most bigger than my house).

All but 2 are sold, and they seem pretty nice. While they are technically Condos…they pay HOA fees, have their own electric and gas meters, and their own garages and parking spots…they are still apartments in my opinion. They don’t have any community outdoor space, no yards, no patios and no community space what-so-ever.

Which brings me to my issue. How can you have a building with no community space and allow dogs? 2 of the 5 tenants have dogs. 3 dogs total, all combined weighing less than my 1 dog. The point is this-where are these dogs going to take a poop? Yup, you guessed it….in the neighbors parkway and yards. I mean where else are these pent up creatures going to poop?

Every morning and night, the neighbors are seen walking these cute little dogs up and down our street so they can crap and pee on my parkway, and the old neighbor lady’s lawn.

I love animals, and I don’t mind the neighbors, or really the poop (most of the time they pick it up). But, what was the condo association thinking allowing pets and not providing a stitch of grass? Would a letter to the association help? Would they offer any sort of explanation for their rules? Would they do anything at all? Am I totally being proprietary about space that isn’t mine either?

What are your thoughts?