Small-town living isn't always perfect, but sometimes it's nice!

Coming in from work this morning, I was slowing to turn in to my driveway when I spotted two dogs across the street at the (under construction) fire department. At first glance, I was afraid that my own dogs had somehow escaped, so I turned around to get them. Instead I saw two huskies moseying across the (usually) busy highway. (Not so busy at 7:15 on a Sunday morning, thank goodness!) Caught up to the dogs on a side street, rolled down the window to see if they’d approach. They did, and seemed friendly enough, so I loaded them up in my van.

So there I was, with two stinky wet dogs in my van, no collars or tags on them, and no clue what to do with them. Great.

I turned around and drove to the police station, but neither of the two officers on duty was there. (Small town, right!?) I couldn’t take the dogs to my house, since I didn’t know how they’d interact with my dogs, so I decided I’d drive around and see if anyone was out searching. My daughter and I were driving down various streets, looking at different homes, and saying things like “No, those folks have Pomeranians,” or “Aw, Lady must have died - her people took her fence down.” And “Hey, those people with the basset hound must’ve moved, because they took the kids’ swing set and trampoline!”

We didn’t see anyone out looking for dogs, but several were out walking their dogs. So we asked the old gentleman with the cane - I don’t know his name, but his fat little mutt’s name is Sandy. No joy, nor from the lady with the schnauzer (Janie.) The man with the flirty basset thought that they might belong at the house across from the horse paddock. (Yes, in city limits. He had to narrow it down for me, because there are two.) Along came the gentleman with the golden retriever and the gigantic German shepherd mix (Maybe half great Dane? Maybe half horse?) He confirmed the location.

Too late to make a long story short, but the owner wasn’t home (two neighbors confirmed that the critters belonged there.) I managed to get one of the dogs into the outside kennel (filled his water bowl first.) The other made a second getaway from me, and frankly, with a broken foot, I’m not so good with the chasing right now. So I stopped by the local c-store (the only one in town,) to let the clerk and the morning coffee klatch know to be on the lookout, and where the dog belongs. When I started describing the dog to Stephanie (the cashier,) she let me know that the cops had already been by, hoping that someone had posted a missing dogs poster on the bulletin board there.

One of the cops pulled in about that time - turns out, he and his colleague had been chasing these dogs all morning. They finally caught them, and locked them in the impound lot while looking for their owners. Houdini Jr. and Sr. got out of the lot while the officers were trying to find that info…

I enjoyed poking fun at the officer, since the middle-aged woman with the bad foot and her 10-year-old daughter had managed to get the address and return one of the dogs, while the two able-bodied officers lost 'em both and had no address! :smiley:

But it really confirmed to me how much I like living in a smaller town. Sure, it can sometimes be annoying when everyone knows your business, but it can be very helpful if you have neighbors who help mind your business…

I’d rather live in a city. There’s more going on, and more options. But they’re noisy. Where I live now (pop. ~5,000) is very quiet most of the time, and I like my house near the shore. It gets noisy here twice a year: New Year’s Eve and on or around the first week of July. Fireworks are legal here (unlike L.A.), and mortars and other exploding things are at least quasi-legal. Canada Day and Fourth of July it sounds like a war zone! :smiley: New Year’s Eve I picked up a couple of 30-minute flares provided gratis by a local realtor, and roomie and I participated in the Ring of Fire and Hope. (NB: Pics are from 2006.) I made glögi, which we took to the beach to keep us warm while we watched the fireworks people brought. Canada Day and Fourth of July people spend untold thousands of dollars on fireworks, and the displays are awesome. Last year I bought my first mortar to add just a little bit to the festivities.

Roomie finds the people here friendly. I suppose they are, but being from L.A. I don’t know my neighbours. Except for the Canadian guy and his wife who come down for the Summer. There are a few dogs that are frequently off-leash. I see them ambling down the road. Yesterday a dog that looked like a border collie was in the back yard. There are three or four cats that like to transit my back yard (roomie’s cat is an indoor cat), and squirrels abound. Roomie saw a coyote in the back yard one day, but I haven’t seen any coyotes nearby. Last one I saw was in Canada a few years ago on the way to Vancouver. My best fiend, from whom I bought my house, used to feed the raccoons. They were cute the way they’d stand up and look in the back door. ‘Dinner time?’ Back then, shortly after buying the house, I’d see families of raccoons. Since I don’t feed them, I only seen individual ones ambling around. Recently we’ve seen a couple of woodpeckers in the trees.

“The nice thing about living in a small town is that if you forget what you were up to, someone else remembers!”

My tiny town has a population of ~800, so it’s really small. When 11YO mudgirl wants to go out riding her bike or go to a high school football game out at the ball field on a Friday evening, I feel perfectly comfortable letting her go. If she gets into any kind of trouble, someone will call and let me know (they all know who she is); if someone she didn’t belong with tried to take her, someone would notice.

It is boring, that’s true, but I’ve gotten old enough to think of ‘boring’ as a good thing! :wink:

I sit on the fence.

I am a product of a small town (3000, northern BC) but I’ve spent the past decade in cities ranging in size from 150,000 - 30,000,000. I recently landed a job back up in the North, so I have returned to smallish town life (18,000).

I certainly miss the diversity of the city. People, food, cultures, activities, opportunities, arts, thinking etc. Those items are tough to find outside the big urban centres. I know some members here don’t like the term redneck and white trash, but that is an apt description of where I live, except they all have piles upon piles of money (oil/gas sector). Socializing can be tough. Professionals often gravitate to one another, but it is transient with many only up here for a year or two. It is difficult to develop relationships (IMHO). Transportation in/out of this place can be annoying expensive as well. I’m also an urban planner by trade, so most of the cutting edge urban stuff I keep up with via the profession is completely useless where I live. The urban design, planning and architecture here is absolutely awful (think strip malls, low rises and shitty public space) and having to look at that crap every day gets to me…especially when I know it doesn’t have to be that way…but the critical mass of citizens is either apathetic or cynical.

I love not having to commute though. No matter where I’ve lived (city, town), I’ve always gone out of my way to ensure I don’t have more than a 10 minute commute (walk/bike). It is generally affordable and while there is significant oil wealth (big trucks, skidoos, boats etc.) people go out of there way to portray a pretty solid middle class life. I don’t have to “drive till I qualify”. One doesn’t see the income gaps that you would see in Vancouver. Destitute poverty vs. flashy wealth. Not here. I also have easy and cheap access to one of the best ski hills in North America and the easily accessible outdoor activities are not viciously crowded like they are in Vancouver and other big cities. When I do take out my car, I never have to deal with soul-crushing congestion. My career options with the organization I’m with are probably better as well. I have more responsibility and say in the decisions than I would with a similar entry-level gig in a large city and certainly more opportunities to move up faster.

I live in a large city, in a small neighborhood, where I know all my neighbors and we know each others’ business to some extent.

Spent my first 54 years in San Diego. Saw it grow from a pleasant, smallish city to a hellishly crowded, smaller version of L.A.

Six years ago my wife and I retired and relocated to a small town (pop. 20,000) in Idaho. 90 miles to the nearest big city (Spokane). We love it, and will probably never go back to living in or near a large population center.

The OP’s lost dog story could very easily happen here, except that we have eight cops.

No, it isn’t always perfect, but it’s close enough.


I grew up in little shit towns. Moorecroft Wyoming (pop in the hundreds I think), where the nearest hospital was Rapid City. Then probably a neighbor of TreacherousCretin in St. Maries (IIRC pop about 3,000), followed by a shit farm town in the northern Sacramento Valley (pop 4,000) and then Folsom CA (where if you didn’t count the prison the population was around 6,000). I’ve spent most of the last 3 decades in cities of at least 6 million (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo).

Now I live in the Seattle suburbia of Bellevue.

Small towns can be good if you’re at the top of the pecking order. The other key point is you need to be within about a 2 hour drive of a major metropolitan center like San Francisco.

I thought growing up with one foot in the middle class that small towns were shitholes. I wouldn’t consider moving to one until I’m retired and kids are out of the house.

When I was a kid someone’s sheep herd got loose. We saw them sloooowly making their way down the road, so the Old Farmer Network kicked in and everyone started calling everyone else to find out who the herd belonged to. Mom went out and corralled them all (and got headbutted too, which was hilarious to my younger self) until the owner came around. My dad would also get out the binoculars and spy whenever the RCMP had someone stopped at the highway.

I’m pretty happy living in a ~200k place right now. Large enough to have all the amenities and variety, but small enough to have a ~10 minute commute. Now that online shopping is ubiquitous I could go back to living somewhere smaller. Just not the farm, only getting mail 3 times a week sucked when you were waiting for a package!

This isn’t IMHO, but here’s my opinion: I would choose to live in either a big city, or a small town. Places in between seem to have the worst of both worlds - boring, no cultural activities, limited job availability, but plenty of crime, gang activity or meth labs or something like that.

I’ve always lived in a city; I grew up in Portland, Oregon, which was in that uncomfortable middle space, although it was big enough to consider staying in. I’ve also lived in Chicago and Tokyo, both of which I loved. Now I live in San Francisco, which is nearly perfect for me.

When I was growing up, my grandparents lived in a very small town, and I would visit for a week or so, once a year (to give my parents a vacation!). I loved it there, mostly because there were places to explore that I didn’t see every day, including a creek with critters I could watch or try to catch, and quiet little roads, and trees and fields and a little main street with little town stores. But I don’t think I would have wanted to live there.

I often think about the possibility of retiring to a small town somewhere, maybe one with actual seasons, but my partner would never come with me. He’s a city boy even more than I am.