Weighty Matters

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Thinking Before Acting

on November 4, 2012

First I hope that all of you who are dealing with the aftermath of Sandy are doing okay.  If there’s anything you need that you can’t get at home, let me know.  I’ll find it and ship it to you!  In the meantime, know that the rest of us are thinking of you and sending supportive energy.  I donated to the Red Cross yesterday for their Disaster Relief for Sandy.  Many years ago I worked with the Red Cross Chapter in the Central Jersey area.  That chapter is no doubt working triple overtime right now.  I know that some people knock the organization, but when I handled their account, their record was excellent.  Ninety-six cents of every dollar donated went to service (Relief, aid, educational programs, etc.).  That meant that only four cents went for administrative costs which is an excellent percentage.  Okay, enough of my PSA.   The Salvation Army is also a good organization to give to for getting help to those who need it.

Okay, enough of my public service announcement.

The dogs and I just got back from a morning walk on the Old Seven Mile Bridge.  I almost have them up to two miles, although Pyxi was far from enthusiastic today.  She lagged and wanted to turn around at the half mile mark but soldiered on.  Not that she had any choice unless she flat out lied down on the bridge and refused to move.  We got in a good 40 minutes at a good pace.  I feel great!  I also reflected on the simple joy and pleasure of being able to walk without extreme pain and of walking two well-behaved dogs.

We have issues brewing in the neighborhood.  The guy that bought the house on the corner about a year and a half ago is pretty much a nice guy except for the fact that he’s lousy at keeping an eye on his dog, a young boxer.  He lets her roam around our little neighborhood, doesn’t watch to see if/when where she poops, and doesn’t clean up after her unless one of the rest of us says something.  Even then, he’ll make a show of carrying a bag for a while but his vigilance always slips.  The woman who lives with him, who he made a point of telling me is not his girlfriend, is a cranky beyotch who gets particularly pissy when I point out that the dog just crapped on a neighbor’s lawn.  Okay, so that’s issue number one.

About four or so months ago, another couple moved into the house, along with their large yellow lab.  They also let the dog roam and don’t clean up after him.  I have mentioned this to them and to the homeowner and they “swear” they’re looking out.  Maybe they’re looking out, but they aren’t doing anything.  The older woman who lives next door to them has an eight by 40 (approximately) stretch of grass between her home and their fence.  The two dogs play in that area every day and I know they roam it because I’ve seen it.  Yesterday, she got a note from her lawn maintenance service that they will no longer mow and tend the yard unless she does something about the dog droppings.  She is a dear, sweet person but congenitally unable to confront anyone.  She’s afraid to say something.

I’m a dear, sweet person, but I’ll be damned if I let this continue.  Other snowbird neighbors arrived yesterday.  They’re not going to keep their mouths shut either.

Now for issue number two.  The yellow lab has always appeared friendly enough, but three times this week he has rushed other people in the neighborhood and then intimidated them.  This happened to the friend who stayed with me for two weeks.  The dog ran up and blocked her from moving from her car to my house.  Yesterday, he blocked the newly-arrived neighbor from returning to her home.  I love dogs but I don’t care how friendly a dog normally appears to be, if it charges and then blocks you from moving, that’s aggressive behavior that could escalate if you challenge him.

I’m pissed off.  I’m fed up with constantly needing to remind these people that our neighborhood is not a freaking dump and that they need to have respect and courtesy for our properties and clean up after their damn dogs.  I will absolutely not tolerate an aggressive dog being allowed to roam free.  I will 100% not stand for my sweet neighbor’s quality of life and pleasure in her own home being compromised by the thoughtlessness of others.

My initial instinct was to go right over and challenge the people, but I know that’s not the way to go about it.  My newly-arrived neighbor was ready to start a petition and present it to them.  I thought long and hard about the situation and reflected on the things I’ve learned at work from our coach the last couple of years.  I decided that it is important to think before launching into action.

There was a time when I would have been totally reactive.  The ongoing inconsiderate behavior would have lit my fuse.  I believe now that it’s better to invest the energy to consider what is the best, most effective way to approach the problem and negotiate a resolution.  Okay, I always believed that but didn’t always act that way.

Here’s my plan.  I’m going to wait until I see the homeowner on his own and ask him if we can talk for a few minutes.  Without being abrasive or harsh, I’m going to lay out the facts of the two issues.  Then I’m going to ask him how he thinks we can resolve these issues.  I will explain with all sincerity that we would like to solve the problem cordially as neighbors and that  none of us wants this to escalate to the point where we need to involve law enforcement and animal control.

I think this sounds reasonable and that it could be effective.  What do you think?

 

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5 responses to “Thinking Before Acting

  1. Hope says:

    I have fond memories of jogging on the old seven mile bridge! 😀

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the talk won’t do much. :\ The guy sounds inconsiderate, and there’s not much you can do to convince inconsiderate people to change their mind… they usually need consequences. But who knows, it’s worth a shot!

    • Mary Stella says:

      You could be right, Hoper. I’m going to keep a positive attitude for a successful resolution. If he and his buddies aren’t interested, at least I’ll know that I tried. I’ll also be able to point that out to them the first time they’re angry that we called the cops and/or animal control.

  2. Please send heat and hot water! 🙂 And that sounds like a totally reasonable response to the dog issue.

  3. Skye says:

    It sounds very reasonable to me, especially as the one dog has already shown aggressive behavior; some folks would have called animal control immediately. If the talk doesn’t work, then maybe the petition? Do petitions actually work or are they perceived as coercive? I think that using what you learned in your class sounds fantastic. Good luck!

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