Re: Pet Agreements/Rules and Regulations
From: Eva Parker Passalacqua (
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 11:54:48 -0800 (PST)
Hello, folks:

These conversations have been very timely, as our community has just reached 
consensus (this past weekend) on a complete rewrite of our pet policy. (Those 
of you who have been involved in creating similar documents for your own 
communities probably appreciate the scope of this accomplishment…this process 
took us seven months.)

Our original pet policy was written about 16 year ago (at/before move-in) and 
was a list of nine rules, written in a “rules and regulations” tone and format. 
In the years since, our community has navigated a number of difficult 
situations involving pets and humans, and came to the conclusion that our pet 
policy was not very useful to us in these difficult situations. 

This past July, we formed an ad hoc committee to write a new pet policy. We 
determined that the main issue was not with the policies themselves; we needed 
to give them meaning by contextualizing them in our culture around pets, and to 
create a set of supporting procedures.

So we decided to develop language around three things: Culture, Policies, and 

- To define and understand our community culture around pets as an expression 
of our mission and values.

- To create policies that are an expression of our community culture around 
pets and which reflect our community values concerning how we interact with one 

- To create procedures that support these policies, and that can help us 
support one another when friction arises around pets.

We also included a shared understanding that this is an ongoing and evolving 
process, and made a firm commitment to revisit this in one year.

I hope our community can use this model ongoing as we look at our other 
community agreements. I’d like to put our energy into creating the kind of 
culture in our community that we aspire to; to think about how we handle 
difficult issues in terms of connection and communication, rather than command 
and control.

I’m including a link to the document we just agreed upon in case it might be a 
resource to other communities as they work on this particular facet of living 
together in community. Please feel free to use any of the writing we’ve done 
here in any manner that’s useful to your community.

(tl;dr: When things happen, talk to each other — and if that’s hard, ask for 
some support.)

My appreciation for what we learned from so many of your communities! Part of 
our process included reading pretty much everything on this list serv that 
touched on the topic of pets and pet-related conflicts. Where we could find 
them, we also read pet policies from other communities. (We’re particularly 
indebted to the folks at Heartwood Cohousing in Colorado — you inspired us, and 
you’ll probably recognize a couple of sentences in the culture portion of this 

In community,

Eva Parker Passalacqua
Rocky Hill Cohousing
Northampton, MA

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