I was thinking through my previous blog on the benefits of dog ownership, and I thought it might seem unfair to imply that you have to have a dog in order to meet people in your neighborhood. Certainly you can take walks in your neighborhood without the benefit of a dog. You will probably even meet some neighbors this way (although, most likely those out walking their dogs). However, I would like to point out a couple of things. First, dogs provide the benefit of instant conversation starters. Without one, you will probably only get a passing “hello.” Second, and probably most important, dogs help remove suspicion. Let me explain. Consider this scenario: You decide to take an evening stroll at dusk. You pause in front of your neighbors’ house (and may or may not look into their brightly-lit windows). In this scenario, pause with dog = responsible pet owner; pause without dog = creepy new neighbor. Just a little something for you to think about.