I believe more people are concerned about dog poop than any other issue facing our nation today. Not only is the owner concerned when his dog does not poop or poops too often, but also not a day goes by for a yardless dog owner without someone making a comment about where or when his dog poops.
David Letterman once made a joke that if an alien landed on Earth and saw a man walking his dog and witnessed the man bending over and cleaning up the dog’s poop, he would consider the dog the more intelligent being.
I would never in a million years want to change a diaper, but I have no problem putting a plastic bag over my hand and picking up dog poop, which is also when the Jewish mother in me comes out, for I am concerned with firmness, consistency and color. After all, the colon is the window to your health. This is why whenever you come back from the bathroom in a Jewish home, everyone asks, “Are you ok?”
As an apartment dweller and now a trailer park queen, I have never had the luxury of opening a door and letting my dog go out into the yard. That means, by my crude calculation, in twenty-six years I have bagged 23,725 pounds of poop. That is a lot of shit.
I am so glad I always had small dogs. I do have a rule: I will never have a dog whose poop is bigger than mine.
My friend Charles has a very large and beautiful chocolate lab named Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella for short. Ella is now sixteen and still going strong. She also tap dances when she is excited. Once when I was staying at his house for a book signing, I remarked that having a dog that large was like having a pet horse. Ella’s head is as big as mine. I offered to walk Ella and my Serena together, and he said take a large bag because her poop is enormous. I prayed she would not have to go. Unfortunately, she did. For the first time in my life, I gagged while cleaning up poop. I should have brought a shovel and a cart.
My friend Ed once had a Great Dane, named Gable, in a New Jersey apartment! He told me he mastered the art of holding a Hefty bag below his dogs poop chute and catching all he had to offer. That story made me gag.
The worst thing, however, is when you take your dog for a walk and three blocks from your house you realize you forgot to grab a bag. This is also the time your dog decides to take a dump in the mean old man with a shotgun’s yard. And just as your dog finishes evacuating, he steps out his front door, and you say as quickly as possible, “I forgot my bag; I’ll get one right now and be right back.”
The beauty of having a small dog is that you can pick her up, run home, grab a bag, come back, and clean it up before he has a chance to reload.
Having female dogs presents its own problem. Amazingly, people who don’t own dogs do not understand biology. They think all dogs lift a leg when they pee. If they see a female dog squatting to pee, they assume a present is being left for them. Once in Mount Pleasant, a lady screamed at me, “Are you going to clean that up?”
I screamed back, “Not without a sponge.” She then ran out to her yard to find the offending shit pile but was shocked when nothing was there. She thought I was a magician.
Esmeralda doesn’t just pee. She has to find the perfect spot and then perform figure eights for a minute before finally squatting and taking a long luxurious piss. More than once in my new neighborhood, I have had to explain that she is a female dog and they squat rather than lift a leg.
One night after dinner with a friend, we were walking Esmeralda, and she started her Dorothy Hamill compulsory figures. I had just remarked about how friendly my neighbors were when this old man with an oxygen tank yelled at me, “That dog isn’t going to shit in my yard is it?”
We immediately walked to another spot, and my friend remarked that not everyone was friendly. I informed him that every neighborhood has the mean old man with a shotgun, or in our case, an oxygen tank. Did I mention he was smoking at the time? Another reason we chose to scurry out of there.
Before she poops, Esmeralda trots laps back and forth then walks in circles. When I first adopted her, I didn’t know this, and I thought she was trying to walk in the other direction rather than where we were heading. I don’t know how many times I nudged her back in the direction we were going and wondering if she would ever poop outside rather then immediately upon returning to our horrible apartment in Rockville.
The first time I realized what she was doing and she finally did pooped outside, I said jokingly, “Praise Jesus.” That was a mistake. “Praise Jesus” became our command for taking a poop, and even though I am Jewish, I prayed to Jesus that no one would ever hear me say that to make her poop outside. Fortunately, she quickly got the hang of things, I figured out her bowel movement schedule, and pooping was no longer a religious experience.
Once we moved into the park, with the exception of mean old man with an oxygen tank, things were going well, until …
My dog walker, Mrs. M, adopted the most adorable beagle basset mix, we’ll call Buddy because that is his name. Buddy, also a rescue, is two years old and has epilepsy. He loves Mrs. M, but he won’t go near anyone else. He and Esmeralda are boyfriend and girlfriend – she, the older woman, he, the younger man.
Mrs. M soon discovered that Buddy found two spots where he loved to poop, Mary’s yard and Madge’s yard. Good citizen that she is, Mrs. M always cleans up after Buddy, but someone in the neighborhood was not doing his or her duty, and feces was discovered in both of their yards.
That is when the Poop War of 2012 began. Mary accused Mrs. M of leaving a present in her yard, which of course, Mrs. M denied. Then Madge declared that Mrs. M and Miss K, who happens to have a beagle puppy, are not welcome to walk their dogs near her yard. Madge said she does not like dogs and as the first person to move into the community seventeen years ago, she feels she has a right to establish her rented as off limits to dogs.
I have declared neutrality in the Poop War of 2012. Esmeralda pees in Mary’s yard all the time, and Mary has not said a word. I think giving Mary some of my truckload of mulch didn’t hurt. Madge’s yard is not convenient for walking, so we have never had an issue.
But when the women folk get to arguing, beware of your alliances.
My being so young, charming and handsome does have its advantages.
One day, I was at the mailboxes, and Madge pulled up in her rather large and old SUV, stepped out and made nice, nice with Esmeralda. I thought this strange since Mrs. M and Miss K both told me she doesn’t like dogs. We chatted for a second about nothing in particular and went our separate ways.
As I was walking back to my house, Mrs. M and Miss K approached and both asked what she said to me. I said nothing really. She talked to Esmeralda and that was it. Something told me neither was happy with that answer. I think they wanted me to declare war on Madge.
My being so young, charming and handsome can at times be a disadvantage.
Fortunately so far, no one is angry with Esmeralda or me.
I just hope I am not called in to mediate a truce. Getting into the middle of a poop war seems like a pretty shitty prospect to me.
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