s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We hope you've enjoyed reading your 10 free articles this month.
Continue reading with unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you!
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for your interest in award-winning community journalism! To get more of it, why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app starting at just 99 cents per month, and support community journalism!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Take the next step by subscribing today!
Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading Petaluma360.com, the Argus-Courier e-edition and our mobile app, and support local journalism!
Already a subscriber?

A neighborhood that adores its dogs

X

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

X

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

(Editor?s note: This is one in a series of monthly stories taking a close-up look at neighborhoods in Petaluma.)

At times, residents of Rosamond Street, like other people around the globe, temporarily forget the names of neighboring families.

But these local residents have developed a way of quickly identifying such families without any contemplative effort.

?Around 16 of the 20 families on our street have dogs, so we identify each of them by their dog?s name,? said Barbara Ginsberg, who has lived with husband Alan in the Rosamond home of Carly, a Labrador-German Shepherd mix, for the past 15 years.

?It?s true, and many of us get to know each other better because of our dogs as we walk them,? said Elece Hempel, who has lived with husband Scott and son Adam in the home of Toby, a Bearded Collie, since 1995.

One of the residents ? Phyllis Silverstein, who lives in the home of Lily, a Terrier mix, on Rainier Circle ? even organized a birthday party for dogs at the home of George and Jean Gillmore.

In fact, dogs play such a revered role in the neighborhood that it is rumored residents inadvertently spell ?dog? backward when referring to one of the critters.

Some of the dogs on Rosamond and in other parts of the north Rainier Circle neighborhood moved there with their families as puppies and either have died or have reached their golden years.

?We moved in together,? said Lois Jenkins, referring to Nikki, a Border Collie and American Eskimo mix. ?She was 1 year old when we moved in 12 years ago.?

Similarly, many families in the neighborhood had children in the early-to-mid 1990s who grew up together while attending Sonoma Mountain Elementary School, and now are attending Kenilworth Junior High School and Casa Grande High School.

?There isn?t a kid here who doesn?t know other kids (in the neighborhood) and play with them,? said Bruce Lundquist, who has raised six children with wife Denise at their Almanor Street home during the past 14 years.

Lundquist and many other families moved to the neighborhood before the school was built.

?But a lot of people moved in because they were promised an elementary school, and it has proven to be a huge asset to the community. I?ve never seen a school with this kind of support from the community,? he said.

The kids, like the dogs, were instrumental in bringing the families closer.

?I think the neighbors are close because this was a new development, and the people moved in with similar aspirations,? said Nadine DeVost, who has lived on Rainier Circle since 1992. ?We came in as new families with an open spirit and forged a new neighborhood, and all the kids got to know each other.?

?Most of us moved in around the same time, and went through similar experiences in building the neighborhood. And a lot of us are still here,? Lundquist added.

As the neighborhood was growing in the 1990s, families on Rosamond and other streets rarely used their backyards.

?Just about everything in the neighborhood happened on the front porches,? Hempel said. ?The kids played there, and the houses all had swings. Some families later replaced their swings with chairs, though.?

Several annual neighborhood traditions began, such as block parties, Easter Egg hunts, Fourth of July parties and New Year?s Eve parties.

The New Year?s Eve Party begins at 9 p.m. (midnight, East Coast time) at the home of a host family that offers appetizers. At 10 p.m., it moves to the house of a family that provides dinner, and at 11 p.m. proceeds to the home of a third family, which offers desserts.

?There?s a waiting list of people who want to be hosts,? said Bridget Lyons, who has lived with husband Charlie and daughters Jessica, 16, and Jamie, 13, on Eagle Street since 1994.

Walking became another neighborhood tradition, and the nearby trails remain very popular.

?I like to take walks and kind of explore ? and all of the paths are easily accessible,? said Emily Hart, 16, who has lived with her family on Rainier Circle for the past 12 years.

And kids, adults and dogs in the neighborhood all enjoy Eagle Park, with its multi-use field, playground and gathering areas.

?We?re now seeing a fresh crop of kids congregating there and at Sonoma Mountain Elementary School, and having a great time,? DeVost said.

Generally, people in the neighborhood ? particularly the long-term residents ? are highly social, and rely on each other.

Jenkins, who lives on Rosamond Street, had back surgery in September, so her neighbors got together and provided dinner for her each night.

?You don?t find that very often,? she said. ?It?s a great neighborhood.?

Perhaps George Gillmore, known as the mayor of Danby Court ? apparently because of his popularity ? best exemplifies the spirit of the neighborhood.

?He waves to everybody as they drive by, even if he doesn?t see who they are,? Silverstein said. ?And they all wave back.?

As the neighborhood has grown, some of its demographics have dramatically changed, particularly in the 1990s.

In 1990, 22.7 percent of the neighborhood?s residents were children under 15 years old. The portion increased to 28.9 percent in 2000 and was an estimated 27 percent last year.

The total population rose from 199 in 1990 to 932 in 2002, and reached 972 last year. The percentage of Asians has grown from 5.9 percent in 1990 to 8.6 percent in 2000 to an estimated 9.9 percent in 2006, while Hispanics have increased from 7.8 percent in 1990 to 8.6 percent in 2000 to an estimated 11.6 percent in 2006.

?Now there are white, black, Latino and Asian families. We?ve had Filipino and East Indian families. We?ve had everything,? said Louisa Otis, who moved to Searles Way with her family 11 years ago.

Perhaps the most striking demographic change has been in adults? education and income levels. In 1990, 16.2 percent of residents over 24 years old had a bachelor?s or graduate degree, and the portion rose to 40 percent in 2000 and an estimated 45.1 percent in 2006.

Correspondingly, the median household income increased from $51,455 in 1990 to $91,195 in 2000 to $107,396 in 2006.

Many residents feel that the neighborhood has retained its Norman Rockwell-style, down-to-earth coziness des-pite constant growth.

?You couldn?t ask for anything more,? said Maria Tribble, who has lived on Tulare Street for the past six years. ?We have Sonoma Mountain in the background, cows mooing in the fields and John, our favorite ice cream man, coming every day ? and the people here are wonderful.?

Residents invariably prais-ed the safety of the neighborhood.

?It?s very quiet and safe ? and one of the best-kept secrets in Petaluma,? Lyons said.

Some residents mentioned that low-level crime and litter have increased in public areas, however.

?I?ve always picked up debris when I?m walking in Eagle Park, and have found more broken bottles and trash during the last couple of years,? Ginsberg said. ?Picnic tables sometimes get turned over, and there is some other light vandalism that could be considered dangerous.?

This hasn?t deterred the neighborhood?s former residents from dropping by to visit and re-connect with friends as if they never left.

Neighbors threw a big party when Cathy and Bob Lloyd came back to visit in April, and they immediately bonded with one former neighbor.

?George Gillmore loves the lemon pies that Cathy makes, so she brought one for him,? Silverstein said, laughing.

Some residents have been retiring and re-focusing their lives. One resident?s new venture seems particularly fitting, given the personality of the neighborhood.

?I wanted to pursue something closer to my heart,? said Peter Alexander, who has lived on Almanor Street with his wife, Linda, since 1993.

And so, he became the managing editor of Fetch!, a newsletter for dog owners serving the North Bay, San Francisco and the East Bay, and along with Linda, owns a pet-sitting and dog-walking service.

Oh, and they live in the Almanor Street home of Linda Lou, a Golden Retriever.

(John Jackson and Corey Young contributed to this article. Contact Dan Johnson at dan.johnson@arguscourier. com)