No nut job dogs allowed

Dorothy L. Harris

So we've looked at houses recently and were a bit shocked to find some communities more welcoming than others. There are neighborhoods where you can do pretty much anything your heart desires on your property, whether you're raising 15 hunting beagles, storing 12 dilapidated cars or working on your uncle's project boat. This was a bit more lenient than we personally felt comfortable with, although I completely respect one's right to do whatever the heck one wants to, if one is paying the taxes on that piece of dirt. Of course some communities are a bit more selective and frown upon these sorts of things.

We have discovered those more restrictive communities also sometimes look down upon larger dogs. Why a lovely community might express worry over big, aggressive breeds is understandable, I suppose, but expecting dogs to weigh in still seemed a bit much to me.

"Sadie's going to have to go on a diet," Mr. Harris said as we toured a stunning home in such a manicured community recently. Apparently dogs are restricted to smallish in size and must be seen and not heard. (Their opinion on children was not stated, but I assume similar.)

Dogs are also limited in number, meaning any unfulfilled desire we might suddenly have to own a pack of hunting dogs would have to be left as such. This seemed less of a problem than their policy of no fences. It was suggested we consider an invisible fence if needed. We just looked at each other, said a polite thank you and exited the lovely home.

"I suppose we could try," Mr. Harris remarked, smirking at me as we both laughed, knowing our nut job dog would never be on the ground long enough for the shock to register. She sort of flies rather than runs as she nearly knocks you down to bolt out of the house after her backyard squirrels. These rodents are hot commodities and rarely seen anymore, adding to her excitement, since we have that squirrel-massacring cat amongst our household of pets.

"What will we do with the cat," I wondered aloud, imagining a wake of carnage stretching across the perfectly manicured golf course leading right to our front door. People would know. Glancing around, I saw no cats and figured it wasn't a coincidence. "Do you suspect there are any outdoor cats around here?" Mr. Harris' look said it all. We crossed off the rest of the open houses, but enjoyed driving through to view the lifestyle choices vastly different than ours.

I just can't imagine not having a backyard, a couple of cats or a nut job dingo and yet the peace and tranquility present was quite different from our diverse, sometimes noisy and often messy-looking neighborhood. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. No kids were riding bikes or tossing a football. No joggers passed by with a giant dog straining against the leash. No dirt bikes whined in the distance. I looked around and sadly realized even if we managed to keep our crazed dog in our screen room, there would be no neighborhood cats to visit with during our nightly walks.

Seeing the golfers tooling around and shooting putts as sandhill cranes cruised by, I realized there was no way our hyper dog would ever fit in. Come to think of it, maybe we wouldn't either, but that's okay because there are lots of other options out there. No need to disturb the well-structured lifestyle of these fine folks. Fore!