Second Installment of:
Julie's Friends

...... and NOT!
(The Disgrace of the Ban on Pets in the Yard)

From the November 2010 Issue of The Pride Cartoon™ E-News:


Can you believe it's been a year since our first installment of Julie's Friends?  That was our first ever issue.  We've met a lot of people since then.  Many earned FAN POINTS.  And some deserve serious POO POINTS.  I know, I said we weren't going to dignify bad behavior with recognition, but some things are just so over the top outrageous you want to..... to...... scratch something.  So, even against our own protocol, today we deliver the PP to the OTT.

Hands down and by a large margin, the winner of the grand POO is the co-op board of our building for unilaterally, suddenly, without discussion, debate or consideration for the innocent, banning pets from the back yard.

OMG, the sky has fallen.  This is AWFUL!  Our resident pets have had yard privileges since before this was even a co-op building.  Members of this and past boards have actually advertised the yard to potential buyers as a perk of living here.  As recently as the last flip!  Certain residents, me included, moved here instead of elsewhere because this was represented as our right.

This is a terrible blow to all the building's pets who treasure their time in the yard!  It's been  an absolute heartbreak for Ms. Julie who adores and depends on her outdoor time to decompress, have my full attention, and escape the unwanted advances of her pesky little brother, Jack, who is all Judo all the time.  Yes, she will wear a leash and is comfortable going outside in the street, but it's not the same as being in her own private enclosure, every inch of which she learned at her own pace, safe to walk off-leash wherever she likes, and roll upside down without harness buckles poking in her back, dogs wanting to lick her, and fans taking her photo.

If I thought anyone would care, or it would make a difference to the outcome, I would explain that there are things unique to our yard time that Julie just can't do anywhere else.  Little things no one else would understand, for instance that it helps her IBS to chew a particular variety of grass that only she recognizes amongst the weeds.  I can't pick it for her.  I always get the wrong one.  Or that she won't walk more than a few steps with me standing right next to her - only if I walk ahead some distance, then she'll try to keep up.  I've been trying for four years to get her weight down.  Catching up to me is the only exercise she will do.  Outside the enclosed yard, there's nowhere I can safely put enough distance between us to motivate her.   On her leash, she's right at my heel.  I'm certainly not going to let her off-leash outside the building!

And then there's our game, Leap Frog Tunnel Frog which she does only outside.   I walk a few feet ahead and look upside down at her through my legs.  That's her cue to tunnel under, stop just long enough to be tickled, and then move ahead a few feet.  I catch up to her and pass, then repeat.  We can sometimes do this all the way home.  Another small but meaningful activity that gets her moving, but which she doesn't do in the house.


So she's losing not only her favorite pastimes, but a couple valuable health benefits.  But these words would be wasted on closed-minded board members who don't care for pets.

Julie doesn't understand why she asks and asks and we never go to the yard anymore.  That little tabby face is killing me, looking backwards over her shoulder as she waits by the door, her forehead stripes knotted in a frown of pleading and confusion.  Those imploring emerald eyes are unbearable, asking over and over "can't we go today?"

You know, with an unbroken 4-year record of perfect behavior and respect for people and property, I think Julie has earned the right to come and go as she pleases in our home.  She doesn't pee or poo in the yard, she doesn't yap or snarl.  She's friendly and polite to everyone who meets her, even though 80% of them are rude and call her fat - she's just the world's most perfect girl, and she doesn't deserve this! 

Most pets in our building are equally well behaved.  Some of the dogs will poo or yap a little, but what's the difference if a bark comes in your front window or your side window, and the owners pick up?   And should a poop go accidentally unscooped, isn't it better that such a calamity occur in the private backyard than the heavily trafficked area right in front of the building? 

Anyway who cares?!  I ask this not rhetorically but earnestly. The vast majority of our residents never even use the yard!  Who actually cares who's out there?  It's ridiculous!

FIFTY POO POINTS! TO EACH MEMBER OF THIS BOARD!  ALL 7 OF THEM!  (4 OF WHOM HAVE PETS.  Explain that to me, will you!)  OMG, I will never understand the mentality of people who:  a)-hate animals  b)-can't live and let live  c)- have nothing better to do than burst everybody else's bubble.  They should be ashamed.

But wait.  It gets worse. 

The residents all got together and signed a petition rejecting the ban on pets in the yard.  Fully 62% agree that pets should keep their yard privileges.  That's a resounding majority and includes pet- as well as non-pet owners, shareholders and renters alike.  We sent the signed petition to the management office, return receipt requested.  I posted copies on the lobby billboard.  We know they got it.

Three months went by.  The entire summer. There was no acknowledgment, not even the courtesy of a reply.  No word one way or the other.  And all the time, those emerald eyes were pleading with me from the door. 

After all this time, you figure if an argument was forthcoming, it would have come by now, right?  Nothing.  So I decided our petition must have been accepted (with hard feelings).

And I took Julie out.  It was the last few mild days of the year.  The sun was warm, the breeze was lovely, the temperature was perfect.  I couldn't deprive her of the thing she wanted most when we may not see another day like this for months. 

She was so happy, walking between the plants, rubbing her cheeks on the bench, rolling on her back, picking her own grass.  She smiled and cooed.  She lay in a sun patch.  She climbed up in my lap and hugged me.  We stayed out for an hour.

A week later I received a notice that we had "violated" the building's strict "pet policy", and were given our, quote, "first warning."  The next time we "violate" the "policy" we will be "FINED."  Cripes, did you just hear a gavel bang!?  Did the cast from Law and Order just bust in here?  For sitting in the SUN?!

Anyway, excuse me.  Our petition, signed by 62% of residents, which represents our voice on the matter, should have been the last word months ago. 
(FYI, this warning letter was on building stationery, but unsigned.   Yea, I'd be ashamed to sign that rag too.)

A HUNDRED MORE POO POINTS EACH!!!  (Incidentally, POO POINTS can not be expunged.  Once you have them, they're in your permanent record.)

This is infuriating.  To quote Howard Beale, I am as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!  I'm going to fight this unfair, arbitrary, hurtful, and frankly very stupid policy with everything I have.  My girl has never done a wrong thing in 4 years that she's lived here, and I do not accept her freedoms  -
MY freedoms! - being arbitrarily curtailed, the way we spend our time together dictated to us, and her angel heart broken by animal-hating, bubble-bursting, nothing-better-to-do small minds with exaggerated ideas of self importance.  Absolutely not.  And I would love to hear the ideas of our fans for getting this nonsense overturned.

In the meantime, we have been going to the park.  In the park, there are nice people.

Which brings us to the better half of our story.  Our FAN POINTS honorees for this issue are all the kindly, animal loving people of our building who signed the petition and advocated for the rights of our pets:  Catherine, Dan, Denise, Dennis S. (RIP), 2 Eds, Elba, Gina, 2 Gregorys, Jaime, Jason B., Joe, Jorge, Julian & Liz, Kristen, Linda, Luis, Margaret, Maria, Megan, Melinda, Mike, Miriam, Nick, Nora, 2 Patricias, Peter, Rachel, Robert, Rose & Frank, Sal, Servio, Shaquille, Stuart and Todd & Christina.

Thanks for standing with the pets against the poops.  Thanks for being Julie's Friends.  -JD


Stay tuned, and keep your eyes open for us on nice days in Queens.  If we see you on our walks, remember not to say the "F" word, and you'll earn 10 FAN POINTS!