I love walking my dog. Well, I love walking in general; but walking the dog gives me purpose. She needs the exercise as do I. She revels in the word “walk”, running and jumping as if to say “let’s go NOW! NOW I say.” If you happen to watch “The Dog Whisperer” you know that Cesar says all dogs must walk daily; there are dire consequences when they don’t. If our Saint Bernard doesn’t get a walk we all pay; by her in appropriate behavior (which might entail too much barking or taking food off the counter). However, my least favorite part about walking the dog is, well you know, taking care of her business. Granted; it’s gross. It’s disgusting. But it has to be done; at least by a responsible dog owner such as myself.
Writing about a dog’s bodily function is not an enviable or enjoyable task. I’m pretty sure my high school English teacher will be sorely disappointed. But after yesterday, I feel I must go on record as saying: PICK UP THE POOP PEOPLE!
Yesterday, I was on my fitness walk through Royal Oak (which is different than walking the dog. On the fitness walk I try to keep up a brisk pace and go about 4 miles. The dog walk is much more leisurely because she must pause and sniff each and every blade of grass, rose bush, hosta, tree stump and fire hydrant in our path. A half-mile dog walk takes a good 45 minutes. If you know me, it is possible you have seen me on my “fitness walk” but please refrain from commenting on how “fit” you think I might actually be; that would just hurt my feelings) and witnessed an infuriating sight.
I happened to be about 20 yards behind a young man walking 2 dogs. The dogs stopped, and, you know, made a deposit. He looked at his cell phone, and continued to walk. When I passed the spot where he stopped, you can guess what I saw (yes, I had to look). I wanted to scream: “Hey! Where is your bag?” or “Come back here and clean this up.” This is the type of behavior my husband worries about. Fearful I may be verbally or physically assaulted (which has yet to happen in all my years of pointing out stop sign avoiders, red light runners, handicap parking violators and dog deposit ignorers). We happened to be walking in the same the direction, and as I gained on him, he picked up his pace, and kept looking behind at me. I believe he was well aware of his infraction. I was only going to suggest that he ask someone for a bag to it clean up. I promise that is all. We eventually parted ways, and I lost my opportunity to inform him about proper dog walking techniques. I realize that he was young, but my son, 12, never leaves when walking the dog without a plastic bag. My years of training have paid off!
I see this a lot while on my fitness walks. I see dog poop. Everywhere. And well, it bugs the “you-know-what” out of me!
Don’t get me wrong. On a rare occasion I have been caught without a vessel in which to scoop. But, I have gone so far as to knock on a complete stranger’s door and ask for a plastic bag. You’d be surprised, as most folks are willing to give you one – especially if you explain why you need it, and if it happens to be on their lawn. See, what happens when you don’t pick up after your dog (like the young man I was stalking) is you give those of us that do clean up a bad name. Because you don’t know that I’ve taken care of business. You don’t even know that my dog made a deposit on your lawn, because I did such a good job of cleaning it up. I try not to make a Broadway production out of picking up my dog’s daily; but I want you to know that I did indeed pick it up. When I see dog-walking remnants around the neighborhood; I don’t want anyone to think it belongs to my dog. Because it doesn’t. She’s big. She leaves large evidence.
I realize no one deputized me the “poop police” but it’s unsanitary, and air polluting. And it’s good dog ownership etiquette. Don’t you think?