Re: Dogs and common facilities
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2019 19:22:38 -0700 (PDT)
 Linda, there are two kinds of people in the world: dog owners and dog not 

I am a dog lover. When I first moved into Takoma Village some 19 years ago I 
lived w/ a dog. And I felt the same as you - torn between being with my dog or 
being with neighbors in the common house. I don’t expect “dog not owners” to 
understand this.  Like you, Noah and I were inseparable. He was always at my 
heels.  We were best buds.  Sadly, within two months of moving in Noah died. 
Nineteen years later there’s still a hole in my heart. The professional advice 
upon the loss of a dog -   New dog.  Same breed. As soon as possible - has not 
yet manifested itself.  Still too soon.

Adapting to cohousing rules about pets is not an easy adaptation for dog owners 
to make.  You are used to going places w/ your four-footer.  They are “family 
members.”   Now, after these years developing your community,  you are 
confronted by the promise of having these relationships w/ two-footers but your 
four-footer is restricted.  This is hard.

Many people on this list have addressed the challenges and concerns of mixing 
pets w/ community life especially as it pertains to the common areas.  I won’t 
repeat the concerns.  

I suggest:  make the most of outdoor spaces. During warm weather consider 
organizing dinners or other meals outside.  People love to BBQ or just bring 
dinner on a tray and sit w/ others outside.  If you have the outdoor space, 
consider creating a dog run.  It will be a lovely social space, as per Lynn 
Nadeau’s email.  If you participate in agility create an agility course.  Put 
on a demonstration for your community.  Have a dog show!  Do fun things w/ your 
dog and invite neighbors to go w/ you even if just for a walk.  Walking w/ a 
dog is never boring.  Even in cool or cold weather gin up some activities w/ 
your dog(s) and the community.   NOTE:  Dog/pet owners can gain a good deal of 
Karma by scrupulously cleaning up after pets.  

You will still have the problems of folks who are afraid of dogs, who don’t 
like dogs, who are intolerant etc.  You can do a lot to reduce hesitation about 
dogs in the community by sharing your dog.  There may be kids or adults  in the 
community who cannot own a dog for some reason but who would like the company 
of dogs. So consider including neighbors in the life of you and your dog.   
After Noah died, my neighbor brought her dog, Lucy, to stay w/ me during the 
day.  That started my Doggie Day Care service.  I had Lucy’s company all day.  
Lucy didn’t have to spend her days in a house by herself.  The owner could 
relax and not rush home to walk the dog by 6 p.m. because I gave Lucy a comfort 
break every afternoon.    If the neighbor wanted to stay at work later … I 
would feed Lucy.  Perfect cohousing relationship.   

You may be able to work something out w/ your community about limited access in 
the CH proper.  However, that may be a steep climb.  So again … look for 
opportunities to integrate pooches w/ the community.  Enjoy living in cohousing 
w/ your companion.

BTW —For my next coho community I’m envisioning creating a community of dog 
lovers and Mindfulness Meditation practitioners.  Excellent combination.

Bark! Bark!  Ruff! Ruff! Ohmmmmmmmmmmm

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Member, Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

Handle every situation like a dog.  
If you can’t eat it or play with it 
Just pee on it and walk away...

> On Oct 3, 2019, at 12:24 AM, Linda Hobbet <coho [at]> wrote:
> We are in the process of developing processes for our move-in next Spring. I 
> am interested in knowing what rules other communities have around dogs in the 
> common house and other common facilities.
> I have a well-behaved dog who is an important part of my life. I enjoy his 
> company. I do dog sports with him. I like to take him places. I enjoy going 
> to restaurants with outdoor patios where he can be with me. I try hard not to 
> let him be a bother to others. If I can't bring him with me into common 
> facilities at least some of the time, perhaps on leash, then the common 
> facilities are not the extension of my home that is the promise of cohousing. 
> I will be torn between abandoning my dog to his lonesome while I socialize, 
> or spending my time with my dog and not as much time with my community as I 
> would like. It is distressing to consider.
> How do other communities handle this. Perhaps dogs can earn privileges with 
> proven good behavior while under control? What works and what doesn't?
> Thank you,
> Linda
> -- 
> coho [at]
> 706-202-7178 (mobile)
> 919-596-4558 (home)
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Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Member, Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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