I wrote this for my parents' newsletter last spring.
The best way to meet your neighbors is to get a dog.
Our new puppy was a whiner - she didn’t like being left alone. She especially hated when Paul left for work before dawn without petting her. I would lay awake in bed for an hour after he left, unable to sleep because of her pitiful cries. After a few days of this, she got better, but I knew some apologies had to be made.
I hadn’t really talked to my neighbors much, but when I knocked on their door to say sorry for my loud puppy at unearthly hours of the morning, they were as nice and friendly as can be. They had a dog too, they understood what puppies are like. Since then, we’ve often met outside - walking our dogs, always stopping to say hi and exchange pleasantries. We even got our dogs to play together although her golden retriever is a bit big for our beagle puppy. We meet other neighbors as we walk our dog throughout the complex, and throughout our area of the city. We meet other citizens when we go downtown and walk our dog around there. We recognize the smile that people flash when they see a puppy, and we love to answer their questions. The fresh air is good for all of us, energizes us. The exercise means that we can put our hoodia diet pills back in the cabinet.
We’ve met people at the dog park, too. We go there a lot to let our dog run. We see the same people there, know their dogs. As we stand and watch them play, we talk about things. It’s fun. We realize we don’t know anyone’s names - only the names of their dogs. It’s a community, though. A community of dogs and their owners.