We lived in a townhouse in Reston. Since no one owned their yard, I didn’t worry too much about where Melvin did his business. We did most of our walks around a large public park so the geography of his bathroom breaks were never a concern. In the new neighborhood all the dog owners bonded immediately over a single question: Where are we supposed to let the dogs ‘go’? Obviously we all pick-up, every time. The issue is that urine kills lawns. Neighbors do not want dogs contributing to the death of the sod they are so desperately trying to water and keep alive. I found myself sneaking out for walks in the darkness, pulling on Melvin so that he’d walk a full block to the vacant lot before he did anything. I knew I needed a new strategy when the poor thing took to peeing on the sidewalk when the empty field destination was just too far away.

Solution: I only let Melvin go in our yard and once he’s done I open up the water bottle that now joins us for all our walks and I neutralize the spot. So far, no brown spots. Yes, there were a few looks of ‘what the hell is she doing’ but now those looks are much more of the ‘wow, she is pure genius’ variety.

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