, Salem, MA

November 30, 2012

Neighbor cleans dog's things in common washer/dryer

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Q: I live in a condominium, and residents share a common basement laundry area with three coin-operated washers and dryers. One day, I brought my laundry downstairs and ran into Lucy from the third floor. She’s attractive and has a dog, a Jack Russell terrier named Elvis. When she took her wash out of the machine and put it into the dryer, I saw Elvis’ soggy fleece dog bed transferred from the washer to the dryer.

Yuck. I turned up the water temperature up as high as it would go and hoped the hot water would kill all dog germs — and smells. After the dryer, my laundry came out dry but covered with little dog hairs.

My attraction for Lucy has left the building. Should I also suggest she wash Elvis’ dirty bed somewhere out of the building?

A: Your neighbor Lucy is typical of many dog owners who forget about the lines of decency between their animals and other people. Lucy just assumes it’s OK to wash and dry Elvis’ hairy nest in the common laundry without considering the consequences. Lucy may run her undies through the spin cycle with Elvis’ bed, but that’s her choice. She shouldn’t foist it upon everyone else who uses the washers and dryers. If she had her polite priorities in order, Lucy would launder Elvis’ dog bed in her own bathtub or kitchen sink and not in the machines used by her neighbors.

You could say something to Lucy. Better yet, seek out the manager of the building or a trustee on the condominium’s board. Explain the situation. Suggest that laundry rules be posted in the common area. Included in those could be a list of inappropriate things for laundering such chemical- or oil-soaked articles, as well as animal-soiled “items.” Ask, of course, to remain anonymous. Surely, the building’s managers will see the sense in your suggestions, and Lucy might get the point. And be a big boy, why not go shopping for your own stackable washer and dryer?

Q: I didn’t want to neuter my Lhasa apsos because I thought their personalities would change and they would get fat. About three years ago, I noticed one testicle was enlarged on my older guy, Charlie, and I got both boys neutered. When the biopsy came back, Charlie had two forms of early cancer. The veterinarian told me the cancer is common when a testicle does not drop, which is why the breeder sold my dog.

I will always think about what Charlie wouldn’t have gone through this if I had not needlessly worried about neutering him. It never changed his personality. He will be 13 years old, and this afternoon, he enjoyed his usual run in the park. My animals are happier and healthier.

A: The situation with Charlie is exactly how animal medical professionals make the case for neutering. Also, incontrovertible evidence concerns the unconscionable animal overpopulation. Sterilizing your pet is the only humane thing you can do for all the animals.


Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow “Ask Dog Lady” at or Write