When I was a kid, I used to dream of having my own house & owning a countless number of dogs! Funny thing is, Fat Dragon & I have moved from an apartment to a landed terrace property for 2 1/2 years now and we still do not own a dog ….
Well, the last dog I owned was an Alsation/ Mongrel mix of an ultra friendly disposition. She was my best buddy. We went for walks uninhibited everyday, rain or shine in our Taman. Anyone who got to know her, fell in love with her – yup, even the non-dog lovers. At the age of 12, she succumbed to illness (heart worms) & had to be put to sleep. I was right there in the Vet’s office when he administered the lethal injections (Yes, you got it right, it was more than one jab) and the last moments were not a pretty sight. So, yeah… you can call it a traumatic moment, you can call it one of the saddest moments of my life. … whatever, life has moved on.
Owning a dog today, is a different ballgame altogether especially if you’re a fan of large dogs like me.
The thing is, large dogs need a lot of exercise. They need to have space in the garden to move around and they need to be walked regularly. If not, they will grow overweight, suffer extreme boredom or even get health problems. But we all know, in urban KL neighbourhoods (especially terraced homes), pet dogs are fast losing this privilege. Time and again, I hear reports from friends about quarrels with their neighbours. Some of these accounts are pretty hilarious! A Japanese friend was walking her doberman in Bandar Utama, one day. As they both strolled by a neighbouring house down the road, the owner dashed out from the house to give her a telling off …. “Hey, don’t walk your dog in front of my house ….!!!!!”. (FYI: they were only strolling by, the dog was NOT taking a poop). Well, she played dumb and said “Huh, sorry no understand English, I Japanese!” …. & that rendered the neighbour speechless. He was probably pondering on ways to scold her in sign language … who knows? Well, the nature of other complaints vary, some neighbours complain about the smell of dogs “contaminating” their air space, some complain about the dog’s bath water running down past their driveway. Things like that.
In our Resident’s Association website, the level of complaints has reached an even more sophisticated level. They write about how unhygienic dog poo is, about the noisy barking, etc! These emails are supported by scientific research attachments, mind you – about the kind of e-coli, bacteria contained in faeces, etc. Kudos man, these people really do their homework….. wonder how they cope when they do their own toilet jobs… they must go in full contamination suits.
I agree, as we get more urbanised, we are all densely packed into tight residential pockets . When we live as part of a community, we have to be responsible and take ownership when having a pet. We must make sure that compounds are cleaned everyday, we must ensure that our dogs get the necessary shots to prevent disease & most importantly, we really should clean up after our dogs when walking them. We wouldn’t want our friendly neighbours to pick up some sticky, foul smelling souvenirs in their shoes when jogging in the dim hours of dawn or late evenings, would we? These are obligations that dog owners should adhere to nowadays. It’s only fair in the light of community living.
Now, the smell of dog contaminating someone’s air space, ummm, that’s debatable though! If you complain about smelly dog poo, I sympathise with you completely…… but the smell of DOG?? Well, for your information, if you’re not a dog owner, you can’t bathe a dog every day. This will wash away all the natural oils from its fur and the dog’s hair will lose its shine. Hmmm, I guess this argument is similar to complaining about a human being having BODY ODOUR, HUMAN MUSK, etc. But isn’t it the case, some people actually find the human musk sexy? So I say here, one man’s smell is another man’s perfume – Ahahaahahahahhhhh!
As for noisy barking – food for thought… as society develops, perceptions change. In the good ol’ days, a dog’s barking was sort of a burglar alarm. When my dog died back then …. our neighbours asked if we were planning to get a new dog. They said that it was good to have a watchdog … it would be safer for our homes. In other words, they were willing to sacrifice having to listen to the dog barking when it saw a stray cat, or a strange car, etc for the benefit of shared security. Now that we are living in the age of technology – people can afford hi-tech alarm systems. Who needs a dog anymore? So, your dog has been reclassified (by a non dog lover, of course) to being a public nuisance ….. See how perception of things changes as time rolls by.
At the end of the day, the dog owners have their point view, the non dog owners also have their point view. The long and short of it is, tolerance levels have come down amongst urban folk! Well, like I said, it’s a dog’s life out there ………
P.S. On the back of all these neighbourly concerns, the act of getting a license for the dog is a trial in certain areas (like Shah Alam). You have to get permission from your immediate neighbours if you live in terraced home before the city council issues you a dog license. As a result, a lot of dog owners don’t bother to get it done given the ‘inconvenience’. This means they run the risk of losing their dogs, if they’re not lucky.
The latest story I heard was about how a friend (in Bukit Jelutong) had to give away his female dog and her litter straight after she gave birth because a neighbour complained. The authorities were not willing to compromise i.e. wait for the pups to get bigger & be weaned of the mother’s milk. That’s why he had to give away the female together with the litter. He is now left with the male only.
A dog without a license also runs the risk of getting killed by dog shooters if he was outside the house. That too, is not a particularly pleasant prospect for your beloved pooch.