The title says it all: I’m nervous. The problem, you’re wondering? My family bought a house last year. It’s in a nice little suburb of a small, well known town. The kind of place where you’ve got a big sem-private backyard and all of the neighborhood kids walk around on the streets unattended but pretty well-behaved until dark every day. Deer and other wildlife are so rampant in our yard that one sometimes has to drive around them in the road because their nonchalant walk is slower than your car.
One threat has bothered me since we moved in: my neighbor’s pool. While there are laws here regulating the safety of pools (including lockable gates and pool alarms), somehow, they’ve managed to slip under the radar. Instead of having any safety device at all, they have a 4′ blow up pool that’s quite accessible by anyone since you could climb in using the raised bed rails next to the pool, or, by golly, you could just climb up the ladder that’s always left in it. Not even a pool cover. So I’m nervous. I’m nervous about the neighbor kids who swim unattended in this pool (one of which is a boy about 10-years-old and has no arms…so hopefully he will always come with a big sibling who can help him). I’m nervous about my almost-two-year-old daughter who loves to swim, loves to test boundaries, and is very clever when it comes to opening doors and such.
I keep telling myself that somehow, we won’t be that family that accidents happen to. Easy for me to believe when I rescue those families for a living. Right! Actually, my experience and knowledge makes it harder for me. I care a whole lot.
Now there’s a whole new problem revealed on the block. And it just so happens to reside at the home of my next-door-neighbors on the other side of us! What, you ask? A pit bull dog that just killed the neighbor’s dog across the road the other day. Apparently, there was no growl or warning. Just an instant kill. 9-1-1 was called during the horrific ordeal, but the officer said he couldn’t even write a report because it was on the property of the pit bull owner and it was the other dog (a poodle) that approached the pit bull (not maliciously, mind you). I knew that this dog was a problem, just by the way the neighbor handles him and little things she’s said to us nonchalantly about keeping our daughter (who loves, loves, loves dogs) away from him.
My mama-bear instinct wants to march next door and demand to know why on earth they insist on keeping such a wretched dog whom they didn’t even raise themselves. What if it had been a child who approached the dog? Does the neighbor realize that if he wants to take off on her, she won’t be able to hold that leash? He’s a big dog!
So I’m nervous, but I don’t really know what to do. It wouldn’t be good to make enemies with the neighbors about these issues, but I don’t know how to tactfully say “hey, could you invest in a fence for your pool?” or “hey, could you
shoot put your dog down or sent him to a remote island, please?”. It’d be great if we could fence in our yard, but that’s out of our price range for now. I grew up playing outside, and I want my kids to have that opportunity as well. But with a little person, a killer dog, an unattended pool…I’m nervous she’s going to get outside on her own and it’ll be too late by the time I get there!