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Green Living

Create a Neighborhood Eco-Friendly Dog Co-Op

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I live in a stereo-typical suburban neighborhood. Most homes in my neighborhood have two-to-three kids and one or two dogs. We have a playground and a t-ball field that most of us have spent our fair share of time at, either watching our kids play or throwing a ball with our dogs. We know each other as (kid’s name)’s mom or (dog’s name)’s mom. One day last summer one of the women suggested we create a neighborhood coop. It started out small, but quickly grew. Our goal was to share where we could and help each other out as needed. Out of this grew our neighborhood eco-friendly dog co-op. I have to admit, many of our ideas for our dogs came from ideas developed for our kids.

Toy Sharing
Kids and dogs alike get bored with their toys. Child experts and pet experts both recommend that you put some toys away and leave some toys out to play with. When your dog (or child) gets bored with the toys they’re playing with, the experts suggest you rotate those toys into storage and bring the others out.

Rather than storing the toys your dog isn’t playing with, rotate the toys through other homes in the dog co-op. Our group has gotten big enough that we have sub-categories so the “heavy chewers” like my bulldog are in one sharing group while my next door neighbor’s spaniel is in another.

Hand Me Downs
Just like handing down kids’ clothes when they outgrow them, we hand down dog items. This primarily includes coats, collars and leashes. Again using my bulldog, Jes, as an example, she outgrew the collar I bought for her when she was a puppy but that collar is a perfect size for another puppy or a smaller breed, older dog that outgrows his puppy collar.

I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1992 so many of us have gone through the sad process of losing a pet. Many people who lose a pet swear they’ll never get another dog because their FiFi can’t be replaced. In this instance, our co-op accepts donations from that family. These donations range from dog beds to toys grooming tools and coats, collars and leashes. Dog beds often go to someone whose dog is entering his senior years and needs a soft bed for his arthritic joints.

Many times over these very people are back to the co-op in 6-9 months, in need of supplies for their new puppy!

Buying Power/Sharing
Many people in the co-op feed our dogs the same brand of food and treats.We buy both food and treats in bulk and split them up amongst us so they don’t go stale. No one is required to participate in this, but everyone is invited to do so.

Pet Store Runs
There’s always someone running an errand so we have a Facebook Private Group where we can post a list of items we want/need from the pet store and if anyone is going to the pet store we check our Facebook Group to see if anyone needs anything. If so, we call them and let them know we’re going to the store and ask if they still need those items. If they do, we pick it up for them.

While all of these things save us money, they also help us reduce the carbon pawprint of our neighborhood.  If you like these ideas, I hope you too can create a  neighborhood eco-friendly dog co-op.  And if you belong to a dog co-op, please share what other ways your co-op works together.

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