With Amy Burker’s post on becoming the “Poop Fairy,” there’s been a raft of posts and comments in the blogiverse about a dog person’s favorite topic: poop. The following guest post by my husband Michael will give you a new perspective on the poop that’s been left behind.
The Dog, the Universe, and Me
This is not a story about walking a dog. Rather, it is a story about caring too much what strangers think, and about trying what should not be tried.
However, it is a story that involves walking a dog.
The dog, whose name was Domino, was one of those sweet, sociable Staffordshire mixes that virtually begs you to draw a ring around one eye in white chalk and cast her as Pete’s girlfriend in a Little Rascals film.
My wife and I had agreed to keep her at our home during a winter weekend while a friend was traveling. Domino had not been trained to keep a loose leash on walks, and managing the energetic youngster in transit was like trying to tie off a tugboat still under power. So my wife and I decided I would handle her. That is, my wife decided, and I agreed. That is, I chose not to argue.
Having been dragged through much of the neighborhood during the dog’s morning walk, I decided to make her second trip of the day a modest affair–just a quick stroll around the block on a warming winter afternoon, the kind where remnants of the last snowfall lay in thinning patches of coarse, icy crystal on lawns and berms, and the sidewalks themselves are almost (but not quite completely) clear and dry.
By the time Domino had pulled me to the end of the first street, I realized I had forgotten to bring a clean-up bag. But she had relieved herself earlier that day, so the dog and I decided to keep going.
That is, the dog decided, and I agreed. That is, I couldn’t drag her back.
Domino pulled me down the second street. She pulled me past trees, cars and a fire hydrant. She pulled me around the corner. She pulled me up the third street.
Just before the end of the third street, the dog stopped pulling, stepped purposefully off the sidewalk onto the berm, and pooped.
Of course. That’s what dogs do on walks.
“OK,” I said to myself, “this is not a crisis, it’s an inconvenience.” We were just a little over a block from our house, so I could take Domino home, come back right away with a clean-up bag, and do the right thing.
But then a car pulled up and began to park right in front of us. “OK,” I said to myself, “now this is a crisis.” After all, I didn’t want to be seen walking away from the poop.
This is a story about caring too much what strangers think.
My first instinct was to go up to the car and knock on the window and explain to the driver that my dog had just pooped on the berm and it was going to look as if I were walking away without cleaning it up but it was OK because I’d be right back with a clean-up bag and I would give the driver my wallet as collateral if she didn’t believe me.
But I decided against that, because another idea had already come together in my head. An idea that should not be tried. An idea whose strange appeal was precisely that it should not be tried.
This is a story about trying what should not be tried.
Very simply, I had poop. And I had. . . snow.
So, rather than leave the poop there, I chose to make for myself a carryout container of sorts: a snowball with a poop center, like the world’s worst Tootsie Roll Pop.
The few ice crystals I could scrape together were barely enough for cover and made poor packing besides, and I realized the dubious object would fall apart under the slightest pressure. “So,” I said to myself, “I obviously have no choice but to cup it very gingerly in my hand.” And Domino and I turned the corner onto the last street.
Incidentally, this is also a story about the Universe. (Did I mention that? If you check the title, you’ll see I mentioned that.)
We were coming off a patch of ice onto a clear sidewalk when I suddenly heard the Universe speak in a language it must have chosen especially for that occasion: a car coming up fast behind us, with two large, happy dogs pressing their muzzles through its partially open side window, excitedly barking at Domino as they drove by. And although the message went home directly, it was simply too late to adjust. I was already in mid-stride when Domino lunged forward, yanking the leash that was around the wrist that supported the hand that gingerly cupped the snowball.
Award-winning choreographers would have envied the fluidity of the motion that followed. Jerked off balance, my right foot slipped backward on the ice patch, the snowball jumped out of my hand and landed on the dry sidewalk in front of me, and my left foot came down on it squarely, driving a skidmark of ice and brown matter a few inches inches wide by about a foot long into the textured concrete surface.
So when we arrived home, it was not to pick up a clean-up bag, but a street broom. And to return to the scene to scrub snow and ice into the sidewalk until it was almost (but not quite completely) clean and unstained. And, finally, to shout a loud and highly complimentary blessing at the Universe for teaching me such a valuable lesson.
Because although it involves walking a dog, this is, ultimately, a story about the Universe. If you ignore its lessons about the dangers of trying what ought not to be tried because you care too much what strangers think, you could end up with poop on your shoes.
So listen to the lessons. Accept them with gratitude. Bestow your blessings on the Universe.
And, for Pete’s sake, just walk away.