Dear Lola,

I recently moved from an apartment to my first home. The neighborhood is quaint and features small back gardens that are fenced in for privacy. I decided to fence in my front lawn so my two dogs could use it to do their business, leaving my back garden pristine when company comes to dine outdoors. A neighbor approached me ‘on behalf of herself and others’ and asked me to take down the front fence because it isn’t very neighborly. I explained I have two large dogs and had initially considered an invisible electric fence but ruled it out because so many people cross through the front of the lawns to get to public transportation. I did not want to risk an incident between strangers and my dogs. She was extremely curt and said she’d let the others know that I was unwilling to compromise, labeling me an unfriendly person as she walked away. Should I take down the fence and just deal with having my dogs in the back garden while I’m having a nice dinner?


New Neighbor

Dear New Neighbor,

I would like to point out that the first impression people will have of your home is the front entry. You propose to fill yours with canine poop and urine stains. The fence will not contain the smells, so I do hope you are intending to clean it up often or I suspect the neighbor tensions will escalate. I will assume, unless told otherwise, your main goal is to avoid any potty business going on just as you take that first bite of salmon with your guests in the back garden.

I can tell you from firsthand experience that the humans’ faces are quite comical when it happens.

In the U.S. we have a wonderful saying that ‘good fences make good neighbors’ and it is practically expected that people will place barriers up to keep the neighbors eyes and feet off their property. Unfortunately, it seems like you may live somewhere that has the opposite motto and you’ve made the step to become the first neighbor to enact a change. You just may end up setting a new trend, but there’s also a more likely scenario.

Your neighbors will grab a bucket of popcorn and watch as your house is burglarized instead of calling the police.

I’m not usually one for giving in to a neighbor’s demands, but it does seem like you haven’t thought this through entirely. You moved into a neighborhood with a specific aesthetic and then you instantly changed it. While you haven’t done anything wrong, you are entitled to use your property how you see fit, you should consider how the neighborhood would look should everyone follow your lead.

Would you still have wanted to purchase in that area or would the quaint feel be missing?

I propose that you remove the front fence and train your canines to use the potty in one specific section of the back lawn, farthest from the table area. If that is not possible, perhaps because you own an exceptionally head-strong English Bulldog like myself, then you should refrain from letting your canines out during meal times. Sure, you’ll have to clean up a puddle of drool at your back door, but it will be worth it to have peace with the neighbors.


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2 replies on “Dear Lola – New neighbor branded antagonistic…

    1. We really went back-and-forth on this one. The American spirit in us wanted to scream that it’s private property and the owner can do whatever they want want. But the rational side of Lola said that when someone buys a house in a very stylized neighborhood and then changes the style as their first act as a new neighbor, it never works out well no matter what country a person lives in…


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