Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dog Culture

I grew up with the knowledge that I didn't belong to a demographic or a "culture" - I wasn't greek, or catholic, or a cape bretoner, or a newfoundlander, or Irish - my family wasn't particularly close and it was very small.

I never really belonged to any group or identified with anything - and it always bothered me. I wanted to belong. I didn't want to give in to my nature and just become a loner, I wanted to "be" part of something.

I became a Buddhist, I sold Mary Kay - yes, I sold Mary Kay - I tried to find ways to inculcate myself into some social group so that I wouldn't feel so alone in a world that is just so huge when you don't have a built in culture to support you and keep you safe.

I didn't think it would be dogs that would give me my "culture" - my demographic, my chosen way of life, my own set of shared values with my compatriots, my own myopic way of looking at the world that is shared by most others in my culture, and a shared sense of togetherness because of our love for the animals we've chosen to not just spend our lives with - but to live our loves around.

To think that "dog culture" doesn't exist is to delude yourself - because it certainly does.

When you google it - not very much meaningful comes up - but that's going to change in the years to come. People like me are growing in numbers every day as we get our message out - that live lived gently with dogs is a good way to live.

And that even if the dog is far less than perfect, that's okay - just accept the dog for what they are, and go from there. Sometimes bad habits don't need to be cured, they just need to managed and everyone kept safe and worked around - you are living your life for your dog, so if everyone is safe there's no problem.

It's all about building a positive relationship with your dog and spending time with them, and when you spend time with your human friends - that too is focused around the dogs - whether it's going to dog events or buying dog stuff.

By the time I die I want everything I own to have a dog on it. To me, that is dog culture.

I don't know if it is a family - because dog people are crazy and we're always fighting - but people involved in dog culture do know one thing - they love their dogs more than life itself, and that's something that we can always agree on. And that is good enough. We love them so much it may start the next world war. But hopefully not. But it might. That's what dog culture is like!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

When you're being harassed in a dog friendly condo/apartment building, what can you do?

I was first contacted by Brian and his family in October. In July they acquired a puppy - thinking that their building was dog friendly because there were so many other dogs around - they didn't know that they had to apply to have a dog from their condo corporation to have that dog.

They are renting the condo that they live in from an owner with the condo corporation - so one would think that they only agreement they'd need to get is from the owner of the condo - which they had. Several days after having the puppy, the superintendent advised that they had to write a letter stating that they had the dog, which they did immediately. A week later they received a notice from the condo board that a formal application had to be submitted and during the waiting time they would have to place the puppy somewhere else outside of the building.

Can you imagine?

They checked around with other dog owners in the building and some have not even asked for permission but still have their dog with no harassment from the condo corp. A few weeks ago - to top everything off - they received notice from the condo corp that they're being evicted over this - meanwhile the building is full of dogs.

Brian can't figure out if it's because there's not too many renters and they're being discriminated against - there's been no complaints against him and his dogs - he's gone to all of his neighbours and nobody has complained about him - so he can't figure out why they would want to evict his family because of his puppy and a form that hadn't been filled out.

There is nothing in the tenancy act that allows the condo corp to be able to do this - so Brian is taking this case to the Human Rights Board - which is meeting tomorrow.

I guess it will be based on that whether or not their eviction is finalized - but it all sounds very unjust to me.

The condominiums they live in are on Larry Uteck and are owned by Podium Properties - with so many places dying for renters these days - you'd think that owners would be a little nicer to people willing to pay super high rents.