The Neighbourhood Housing Authority

My neighbour’s dog was a Shetland sheepdog, with fur all over the place. He looked hilarious, with the fur in his eyes, though I imagine now that was a nuisance. Still, it’s a style that’s been copied by teenager, so there must be something too it. He was grey and white, and would often come visiting. People used to let the dogs roam free in the neighbourhood, and they would always play with us, and were always kind.

When my other neighbour wanted to form a Neighbourhood Housing Association, he did so with grand gestures and bold statements. A couple of houses had been broken into over the past year, and though not much was stolen, any amount shattered the piece of mind. So we went along with it, eager for more security, and a prettier neighbourhood (as we were promised).

His real motive, of course, came out soon after we all signed on. He didn’t like the dogs. Even though we cleaned up after them, and kept them from wandering far, this man was just a curmudgeon, and hated animals in general. He started with the cats, and since there was only one on the street, there wasn’t a lot of push back. Cats were not allowed outdoors.

Then the dogs. Dogs had to stay on leashes. Okay, fine. He was able to get everyone to agree to that. If he had just asked us, we would have been happy to do so, but instead, he made it a resolution in the NHA meeting, and it passed. Fine, we changed our ways.

A few months later, he didn’t want the animals outside at all, unless it was just for a short walk, and even then, only to go to the car to take them elsewhere. We dog owners protested this, but there were more non-owners, who wanted them gone.

Then there were complaints of the sound of barking from inside the houses, and a demand we get rid of our pets. We fought this one, making it a street-wide battle, but there were more animal-haters than animal-lovers. No one was allowed a dog or cat, because it “disturbed the beauty of the neighbourhood”.

That damn housing authority. The friendly pup I had grown up with left, the family moving away. Ours did soon after, which I’m glad about. Now it’s a gated community, and I make sure to tag those grotesque brick walls every damn chance I get. Screw the lord and his little fiefdom.

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