3 Things I Miss About Owning a Dog in the Suburbs
When I bought my home my first priority was having a big yard – and I got it. While I love my home and yard there are a few things I really miss about living in a neighborhood; sidewalks and less bugs immediately come to mind.
What I Miss Most About Owning a Dog in the Suburbs
I grew up in the suburbs; things like sidewalks were a given. When I bought my home I moved out of the suburbs and went for the biggest yard I could find.
I wouldn’t trade my home or big yard on a little dirt road for anything; but there are a few things I could do without. Mostly bugs and random gunfire. I don’t know if it’s a Michigan thing or a rural thing but I’ve heard so many people shooting their guns around here it’s just normal background noise at this point. It did take a few years to get used to though.
But gunfire aside here are the 3 things I miss most about living in the suburbs with my dog.
I Really Miss Sidewalks
While I love the solitude of a nice morning walk down our dirt road with no one in sight it’s often interrupted by someone speeding by at 45 mph. I credit this to the speed limit law here in Michigan that states any highway (including gravel roads) without a speed limit sign can be designated at 55 mph. And although my road is considered residential and falls under the 25 mph speed limit most treat it like their own personal Autobahn.
It wouldn’t be much of a problem at all if our dirt road happened to be somewhat level or wasn’t surrounded by 4 feet embankments. There really isn’t a quick and easy way to get off the road. I haven’t had any close encounters yet, but I’m always having to check behind me.
When we do happen to encounter someone on our road it’s usually someone on a horse walking a bunch of unleashed dogs. Not always the easiest scenario for Laika and I but we’ve managed to keep our cool.
Sometimes I miss the convenient things in life; like walking on a nice sidewalk. I’d be able to stop worry about being ran over every day and I wouldn’t have to trim Laika’s nails nearly as often.
Seeing Less Roadkill Everyday
I cannot take Laika on a walk down our road without encountering some dead animal. Snakes, turtles, opossums, turkeys, deer, squirrels, rabbits; you get the idea. And because dogs are gross if Laika gets within 2 feet she immediately drops to the ground to roll in them; every single time.
Over this past winter alone we found 4 dead deer within a few weeks. People hit them with their cars and take off; likely because it is a dirt road and there’s no one there to report it. We also have a serial fish dumper on our road. Someone dumps a garbage bag full of dead fish (mostly carp) along the sides of the road a few times a year. Dirt roads are popular dumping grounds around here for more than just furniture and appliances.
There has not been a single walk where we haven’t found a carcass; but luckily I’m usually able to spot it beforehand and walk to the other side of the road.
Fewer Bugs aka Avoiding the Bugpocalypse in my Yard
This one really is my fault; I bought a home that has a swamp in the front yard and is surrounded by forest. I should have known how insane the bugs would be, and for the most part I don’t mind most bugs, but I hate all the ticks and mosquitoes.
I’ve tried attracting more bats to my yard with night blooming flowers but part of me says that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Might be time to get a little bit handy and make some bat houses as well.
While I can handle bugs myself I always feel bad for Laika; they really seem to love her. After every single venture outdoors we have to do a thorough bug check; the same method I use to check for fleas. This weekend I had the joy of removing my very first tick from a dog. Now the dead tick is sitting in a jar in my garage as I carefully monitor Laika for the next few weeks for any signs of illness.
Ticks are gross; it took so much pressure to get that sucker to detach from Laika. I was surprised that she got it from hanging out in our backyard while I did some yard work; not from one of our adventures in the woods.
We also have the privilege of having yellow jackets that nest underground. Nothing gets you moving quite as quickly as the sound of those suckers swarming after you accidentally step on their home. Lucky for me there are some “wild” turkeys that roam the neighborhood and do a great job at picking those nasty buggers out.
I Still Wouldn’t Trade My Big Yard for Sidewalks
Is it inconvenient to not have a sidewalk? Yes. But does it really bother me all the time? Not really. We have two wonderful parks within 5 miles of our home; I take Laika there every other day for a nice relaxing walk. I also have the most amazing woods with a ton of trails surrounding my home; we just walk right to them from our own backyard.
Maybe the grass is always greener on the other side; it’s easy to dwell on the things we don’t have anymore and forget the things we’ve gained. When I lived in the suburbs I wished for more woods and less traffic which I’ve certainly gotten. You can’t put a price on being able to walk your dog into the woods right from your own backyard.
What Do You Love About Your Neighborhood?
Do you live in the city, the suburbs, or a rural area? What do you love about it when it comes to owning a dog? What do you hate about it?
Aren’t sidewalks the best? I never realized how much of a convenience they were until they weren’t available anymore. If I could avoid dodging speeding cars at 6am I feel like our walks would be a bit more relaxing. But then again it does wake me up better than any cup of coffee ever will.
I think it is a little bit of the grass being greener. I would love to have the trails and openness that you have around your house to be able to go on more off-leash walks. Our neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks so we have to walk in the street, but it’s a small neighborhood so there’s not a lot of traffic.
We drive to areas to go on hikes or off-leash walks and we also drive to a nearby town to do townie walks which are fun too. Is there a town nearby where you can take Laika sometimes? I live in Ohio and we visited Michigan for the first time last fall and LOVED it! Lake Michigan and the sand dunes were beautiful and I still think about that piece of cherry pie from The Cherry Hut, yum!
Jen Gabbard says
I haven’t been to the Cherry Hut I’m ashamed to say; I’ll be sure to check it out. The grass is always greener for sure; being able to walk my dog off leash is something I never would have been able to do in a neighborhood; it really is amazing.
We so take Laika to a few of the downtown ares in small villages occasionally but unfortunately they’re pretty far away. Luckily my dads old neighborhood (which is huge) is nearby and we can go there to swim in the lake and walk around.
Lauren Miller says
I had the same problem when we lived with the inlaws! No sidewalks, tons of bugs.. ugh.. You might want to get Laika a “tick off” scoop thingy. It’s a little scoop with a slit in it. It’s the easiest tool I’ve found for removing ticks and I can get the head out every time. It’s super easy, you just slide the tick into the slit and the apply pressure on the dogs skin, then gently scoop it out as you’re applying the pressure. It takes less than 10 seconds and you get the whole tick. Neither of my dogs have ever gotten an infected tick bite when i used that tick off. 😀
Jen Gabbard says
Thank you for that suggestion; I just looked and I’m definitely going to buy one of those tick removers. I couldn’t believe how hard that sucker was to remove – I was so paranoid I was going to rip the stupid thing in half. I’m usually not very squeamish at all but that tick really grossed me out.
Lauren Miller says
No problem! It’s the best thing I’ve found so far! Ticks totally freak me out, too!
Rebekah Ward says
I live rural, on 7 acres. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. The only downfall-a 25 minute drive to the closest grocery store.
2 brown dawgs blog says
We have off leash dogs here in the suburbs too. Some things are the same everywhere. We use a tick key on the rare occasions the dogs get them. I do hate the bugs up at our cabin but we have a screen porch so I stay in there May-July. After that they are less troublesome.
Jen Gabbard says
I’ve just never been a person whose comfortable with off leash dogs on roads. When we’re back in the woods sure but I couldn’t imagine ever feeling safe about letting my dog loose on any traveled road.
Lindsay Stordahl says
I’m in a town north of San Diego, so pretty suburban/urban. We have sidewalks here and I agree it is so nice! I am also thankful that just a mile away there is a relaxing trail for horses and bikes and of course dogs. It has a very rural feel. We go there a few times per week and could go for miles. We also have the off-leash beach only a mile away, but we don’t go there as often as you’d think.
And although we are in a very suburban area, we’re lucky we only have to drive 5-10 mins to find somewhere much more rural. I’m thankful for that. I’ve also lived in more rural areas, and it’s what I actually prefer but for now we will enjoy our home in the suburbs with no bugs and plenty of sidewalk space 🙂 I didn’t realize you had such a big yard. I am jealous!
Jen Gabbard says
It’s so nice that you don’t have to go very far to find some rural areas. I love our local parks; I’d be so sad if we didn’t have a bunch of trails in the area to keep it interesting. A dog friendly beach is something I’ve been on the lookout for. At the moment we use the lakes in a local park in the “non beach” areas since dogs aren’t allowed on those portions.
Leah Erb, Let's Go Dog says
Fish dump, ugh! Sometimes there’s a dead seal or salmon on the beach. If I don’t spot them first … yup, the dogs roll in it, major gross. We don’t have many sidewalks, but there’s so little traffic on side streets that we often walk right down the middle of the road :->
Jen Gabbard says
Yeah the fish dumper is so weird. I have my suspicions that it’s might be aimed at one specific company though since there’s a pending legal matter regarding putting up some utility lines in the area. Let’s just say the person who owns that property isn’t happy at all about the situation and the company installing the poles seems to keep getting a big pile of fish dumped on their work sites… People are weird.