Monday, February 7, 2011

A dog rant: My roses are in pens because of your pets

Liam posing in front of the pens I built for my roses

I'm a rose addict. I'll admit it. But unfortunately, I live in a place that isn't ideal for roses. And my neighbors and their dogs aren't making things easier.

At the moment, I have three roses on my property. The only location sunny enough to help them grow and thrive is in the small strip of land between my house and the street.

This parking strip is narrow, and technically it is on public property, but I am still amazed at the basic thoughtlessness of the people who use the sidewalk and our parking strip to exercise their dogs.

I've seen owners allow their dogs to pee right on the stems of roses. They also let their dogs both sniff and chew at the leaves (which are sometimes sprayed with chemicals). And, I've seen owners let their dogs step on our growing roses—Which leads to broken leaves, buds and stems.

Worst of all, some owners allow their leashed dogs to run around the roses. Then, these distracted people yank on the leashes to pull the dogs back—Which pulls the roses out of the ground, roots and all.

I can see all of this damage from a second-floor window. And while I can run out and talk nicely to some of these people about the anguish they call me, new dog people always come by the next day. The damage is ongoing and persistent.

Until now.

Over the weekend, hubby and I built these large, gated barricades. They are made up of stakes driven right into the ground, connected by very thick and dense wire mesh. One side of the gate can be removed, which allows me to get in there and do a little weeding and fertilizing as needed.

I'll admit that it makes me sad to have our roses in these gated communities, but I can't figure out how else to tackle the problem, unless I stand out there and yell at the thoughtless. I think my husband wouldn't be fond of that approach, however.

So the gates might be ugly, but they keep my roses from being shredded. And they keep the neighbor dogs from being poisoned by the chemicals I sometimes use on the roses (you're welcome).

But as a reminder to dog owners: Please remember to be thoughtful of your neighbors and their growing plants when you're on your walks. Don't give us all a bad name. Be aware of where your dog is going, where the leash is and where the plants are. Then, and only then, can I take the barricades down.