Have you ever witnessed a dog relieve himself on a bush, hydrant, or street corner, only to have the next dog to come along use the exact same spot? There is not, in fact, a secret network of designated doggie latrines that only they know about, as I once dead-panned to my wide-eyed 8-year-old sister. “Don’t you see them lining up, waiting to go?” (I got significant mileage out of that one, dear readers.)
The truth is, dogs are incredibly territorial and some breeds more than others. And, as anyone more knowledgeable than an 8-year-old will tell you, urinating is their way of announcing to other dogs and animals that a particular bush or tree – and the surrounding area – is theirs. Here’s the problem: the pH balance of urine tends to be harmful to grass and plants, often creating a patchwork of brown, brittle death wherever dogs congregate.
Residents in Toronto's Roncesvalles neighbourhood, particularly peed off (pun intended, of course) with the state of their parks, lawns, and newly created community gardens, came up with a rather ingenious idea. To preserve their plants and perennials, they have created zen-like rock gardens, where smaller stones and gravel create a bed for one particular large rock: a pee rock.
Think of it as a more natural looking version of the Potty Rock. Drawn to the smell of urine, dogs begin to gravitate to the pee rock, compelled to cover the scent of other canines with their own. With the pee rock taking the brunt of the acidic urine of neighbourhood dogs, and the surrounding gravel doing its part to filter and drain, Roncesvalles volunteer gardeners are already seeing an improvement in the state of their community spaces; dogs are learning quickly to use the pee rock for their needs, keeping lawns and gardens green and spot-free.
Photo courtesy of RoncyWorks
We love that Toronto ‘hoods, varying demographically from one another, seem to quickly develop senses of community and pride. Roncesvalles Village, with its massive boom of young families – with pets – over the past 15 years, deserves praise for the way they have come together to solve a problem like this; taking steps toward improving quality of life makes Roncesvalles a stand-out neighbourhood in our eyes!
Thinking of trying this idea at home? Depending on the aesthetic of the rocks, they can be standout design elements in your gardens and landscaping – and nobody will know the difference! Alternatively, visit sites like Welcome Pup that instruct on how to create your own designated doggie latrine, or check out Dog Rocks, an Australian company that recently migrated to the US, who invented a product to harmlessly alter the pH balance of your pet's urine to render it lawn-safe!
Do you have a dog and love Roncesvalles Village? Here's our latest offering, a Vintage Robert Watson Loft, offered for $449,000.
Have you read team member Monika's blog called Animal House? It's about living – and finding – pet-friendly condominiums in Toronto!
~ the urbaneer team
earn your trust, then your business
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Monika’s Animal House