Do Fences Solve Problems or Create Barriers?

Robert Frost’s poem, Mending Wall, poses an interesting question about whether “good fences make good neighbors.”

On one hand, there are several advantages to having your property surrounded by a fence, especially if you or your neighbors have dogs or small children running around.

If you happen to have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your backyard, a well-constructed fence can also help keep out ravenous deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other wildlife.

There’s no doubt that fences can serve a variety of useful purposes, ranging from privacy and safety to wildlife control and home security. While it can be beneficial to mark off your property boundaries and keep your backyard private, a question to consider is whether a large fence — especially a new one — sends the wrong message to your neighbors.  Striking the perfect balance between privacy and friendly neighbor relations can be tricky at times, but there are compelling reasons to stay on good terms.

  1. Security reasons: If you take the time to chat with your neighbors every now and then, they’ll have more of a tendency to keep an eye on your property when you’re on vacation or just away for the day — especially if you ask them.  People tend to be more helpful, observant, and protective of others with whom they share a bond or have a sense of community. In contrast to that, if they don’t even know your name and haven’t exchanged more than a few words with you in years, they’ll be less inclined to pay attention to who’s on your property and whether they belong there or not.
  2. Sharing resources: Keeping the lines of communication open with your neighbors is beneficial on many levels. When you have a friendly, ongoing relationship, you won’t feel reluctant to ask them for help when your car battery’s dead and you’re running late for work. Trusted neighbors can also provide you with valuable information, such the names of dependable home improvement contractors or how to arrange a free pickup of household clutter that you want to donate to the Salvation Army.
  3. Quality of life: When you’re regularly greeted by friendly neighbors, your neighborhood will feel like more of a welcoming and upbeat place to live. It may be necessary for you to set the example or make the first move, but once a friendly atmosphere has been created in a neighborhood, it’s relatively easy to keep it going.

So while you may not want your neighbors to get in the habit of stopping by your home to chew the fat, every day, it can be worth your while to greet them by name, offer help whenever possible, and be the kind of good neighbor you’d like them to be. Setting a positive example may be all that’s needed to establish a cooperative relationship and possibly even a life-long friendship. And, if all else fails, keep in mind the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Love thy neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge!”

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Four Advantages of Owning a Dog

When it comes to the decision of whether to add a dog to your family, one thing’s for sure: Pet ownership is not for everyone! If your job or lifestyle keeps you away from home most of the time, then adopting or buying a dog might not work out that well for you.

Dogs are very social creatures and need daily companionship and a lot of attention. If they’re left alone day and night, they’ll become increasingly unhappy. That often translates into undesirable behaviors, such a incessant barking, chewing on furniture, and other symptoms of separation anxiety and boredom.

The good news about welcoming a dog into your family is that the rewards usually outweigh the drawbacks. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll be able to relate to the many advantages of owning a dog (or maybe even two)!

  1.  Dogs can bring a positive energy into your home. Assuming you’ve chosen a dog that’s a good fit for your family and lifestyle, it can be a lot of fun to have a dog in the house. Most dogs are playful, affectionate, and obedient, and are always thrilled to see you when you come home!
  2. Dogs and exercise often go together. Unless you have a fenced in yard and can just let your dog out when it needs to relieve itself, it’s necessary to accompany your dog for neighborhood walks. While this responsibility can be shared by different members of the family, walking your dog can be a great way to burn off a few calories, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air. There are also the health benefits of taking in a little natural vitamin D from the sun.
  3. Dogs help you meet other animal lovers. Whether you take your furry friend to a nearby park or just a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood, their will be a lot of chances to exchange greetings and small talk with other dog walkers and animal lovers. If you’ve just moved to a new neighborhood and are looking for ways to meet your neighbors, going for daily walks with your dog can be an effective way to do that. An important side benefit of having Fido interact with other dogs and people is that it helps them get properly socialized — especially if you start the process when they’re still a puppy.
  4. Dogs play a role in protecting your home and family. Some dogs are better security guards than others, but most have a protective instinct to bark when strangers are on the premises. While this is not a fail-proof security system, it can definitely be a deterrent to break-ins, burglaries, and other intrusions.

Although there are a lot of advantages to bringing a dog into your household, it’s always a good idea to carefully weigh the pros and cons, and make sure everyone in your family in on board before making the commitment.