Walking the dog makes meeting people in our neighborhood much easier. Just this week I've met two families who live on our block, both with kids--the kids are usually interested in Mort, and the moms think he's cute (or at least say he is), and he's his easygoing self, happy to sniff them and be petted or (gently) tugged around. One of the families lives in the house to the north of us, and the other just bought the house that was for sale several doors down.
But Mort's most effective act of good neighboring has been winning over the woman who lives across the street. This is an older woman who is always concerned about where people park. She has (loudly and publicly) expressed her displeasure at our parking in the street rather than in our driveway because it takes up space that folks without driveways could use.
There are a whole bunch of reasons we don't park in our driveway, beginning with the impracticality of shuffling around three cars and a truck belonging to two households, etc., etc. I had been meaning to talk with her at some point, and offer to move our car into our driveway temporarily if she had family or friends visiting her who couldn't find a place to park. In keeping with my conflict-avoidant nature, however, I hadn't quite gotten around to approaching her, afraid that she wouldn't be mollified by this offer, and we'd end up further at odds.
... but it turns out she loves our dog. She called out to Mort & I as we were returning from an afternoon walk earlier this week--actually, what she said was, "I love your puppy." So we had to go across the street and say hello. She couldn't get enough of Mort, just kept petting and praising him, and was perfectly civil to me. Neither she nor I said anything about the whole parking thing. To tell the truth, I wasn't completely sure this was the same woman, because she was much more pleasant.
Then today she was out and greeted us again as we were on the home stretch, so we went over and she invited us into her yard. We hung out for ten or fifteen minutes, she alternately loving on Mort and talking to me. He, of course, made himself right at home on her porch. We eventually got around to talking about the parking issue. Turns out she can no longer drive, but used to have a handicapped designation on the space in front of her house. She likes to have her children park there when they come to visit. I did offer to move our car whenever her people need space, but she said that wouldn't be necessary... I think she just has some frustration about the neighborhood in general (parking, people don't pick up their trash, etc.), but when your neighbors have a pug, how frustrated can you be, really?
So here's a short video in celebration of Mort's natural diplomatic skills. OK, it has nothing to do with that, really, but here's a new Morty video anyway, with a brief cameo from Violet. Sorry it's so underexposed:
Now if only we could convince him that it doesn't behoove a good diplomat to bark at everyone who goes by the side windows...