A Dog Friendly Neighborhood is No Joke

I often get mocking smiles when I tell people I am a dog friendly Realtor. Yesterday one of the agents in my office walked by my desk barking. However, most dog owners know that having a dog friendly Realtor and finding a dog friendly neighborhood is no joke. When I talk with dog owners about my business, I frequently hear stories about dog hating neighbors that ruin people’s lives. Just today I heard a story about a woman who was walking her dog in her neighborhood when she saw a pit bull behind a fence in a neighbor’s yard. Before she knew it the pit bull jumped the fence, ran over to her and began terrorizing her, her young son and older dog. Fortunately, there were no injuries (other than emotional) but now she is afraid to walk in her neighborhood. Other neighbors have told her that the owner is aware of the pit bull’s tendency to escape and has done nothing about it.

These are the kind of things you want to know before moving into a neighborhood.  As part of my dog friendly real estate services, I help my clients get the lay of the land before they put in an offer on a house.  I always recommend that my clients spend some time in the neighborhood walking their dog and talking to neighbors.  If there is a dog park near the home my clients are considering buying, I suggest they take their dogs there for a trial run.  You can get a pretty good idea of the personality of the neighborhood by spending some time at the local dog park. 

Dog parks are not created equal.  Some dog parks have rough dogs.  Some have aggressive small dogs.  Some are mellow.  Others are friendly.  At one dog park a man dropped his pit bull mix off at the gate and got back into his car to read the paper.  The dog ran wild through the park.  When approached about the unattended dog, the man said, “Oh, don’t worry.  He is friendly.”  This may not be the park you want to live next to if this is how the people handle their dogs. 

Dog owners have many unique considerations when buying a home.  Some of the things I help my clients determine is the suitability of the neighborhood for them and their dogs.  Does the home have an area where they can contain the dog when they are not at home?  Is the yard large enough and safe enough for the dog to be left unattended?  If they have an older dog, is there going to be an issue with a two story home?  If there are carpets, are they going to get ruined by a dog’s dirty feet? 

Dogs are the new children.  Just as you would want to move your children into a neighborhood with other children and good schools, if you have a dog you want to move into a dog friendly neighborhood with good dog parks.  Unlike schools there are no test scores to study, but a dog friendly Realtor can point you in the right direction. 

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