November 9, 2020 – Dog Poop Etiquette

Every other day I walk my dog. She demands it. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is or how tired I am, we are taking that walk. Generally, once I set out, it actually is a pretty pleasant experience. It’s always good to get some fresh air and if it’s a sunny day, even better. I’ll take all the Vitamin-D I can get! What I can never get my head around, however, are the piles of poop that flank either side of the path that we walk. Who are these pet owners that think it’s ok to do that? The city isn’t going to clean up after you and neither am I. I’m taking care of my own dog’s ‘business’. Why aren’t you taking care of your’s?

It truly takes less than a minute. The minute your dog starts to squat, you pull a poop bag out of your pocket and wait until he/she finishes. You then reach down with the poop bag secured over your hand, glom onto the fresh deposit, and while it is still in your grasp, pull the edge of the bag down until it (the bag, not the poop) turns inside out, pull the bag taut, twist a knot, and voila! It’s really quite simple. Having said that, I realize there are exceptions. I don’t mean to be a hypocrite but I have to be honest. I have left behind my own dog’s deposits on a rare occasion and I still feel a teensy bit bad about it, but I would do it again if the circumstances were the same. I know, I know…how do I lecture you about this when I have committed this very sin myself?

There are two instances when I will walk unashamedly away from a dog turd. The first? One word, liquid. Sorry, being a bit vague. You know what happens when your dog eats too many carrots or gets into the garbage? Diarrhea. I just can’t do it. Not only is it a near physical impossibility to pick it up with a poop bag, but it can also lead to other things. The other ‘things’ (it really should be singular) I am referring to is vomit. Not from my dog, from me! Have you ever tried to clean up doggy diarrhea with a poop bag? Just thinking about it makes you nauseous, does it? Yep, me, too! I’ve tried to do it, and inevitably, one problem became two. So rather than leaving two piles, one from my dog and one from me, I have determined that it’s best to leave well enough alone after my dog has raided the garden. The second instance when I walk away? When as I cross a street, my dog decides to poop. I’ve never had another dog that has done this before, but my current dog is a little ‘special’. And occasionally she surprises me. Sorry, I’m not playing chicken with a pickup truck. Not going to bag that turd today!

And I have a riddle to solve that I’m asking your help with. Have you ever come across dog poop in a bag that someone has tossed onto the trail (never to retrieve it)? What is the point of that? I cannot figure it out. They’ve already done all of the work! Why are they leaving the bag? Again, I’m not going to pick it up and neither is the city. Did something happen that frightened them so badly that after they picked up the poop, they had to ditch the bag and run for their life? Did a rabid squirrel or chipmunk come out of the bushes and start to chase them? I could see that. If a rabid squirrel with a frothing mouth leaped out of the bushes and started approaching me, I’d probably run for my life. Do you know what happens if you get rabies? You should look it up. Once you know, you’d probably run, too. Or maybe an alien spacecraft was following them and when they remembered what generally happens to most humans accosted by aliens (lots of invasive probing), they decided to bolt out of there at lightning speed? I don’t know. But maybe you do? I’d love to hear your feedback!

I know I’m not the only person this irks. There are signs all along the path I walk that say, “Please clean up after your pet.” Not only does it spell out the request, but a very clear illustration/graphic is included. But maybe they’re being too nice about it? Maybe people would take the signs more seriously if they were asserted in a more commanding way? I’ve thought about other ways to say it, when I’m feeling particularly disgusted by the quantity of piles I pass. “Hey *sshole, pick up your dog’s crap! I know where you live, don’t do it again! Stop being a selfish jerk and bag it, would you?!” Of course, that doesn’t take into account the folks that bag it and leave it. That would require a much larger sign. “Hey *sshole, pick up your dog’s crap AND take it home with you! I know where you live, don’t do it again…and if you leave the bag on the trail, you and I are going to have words! Stop being a selfish jerk and bag it AND dispose of it properly, would you? I don’t care if you did encounter a rabid squirrel, I’m tired of you leaving your dog’s crap on the trail!”

My point today is this, please be a responsible pet owner. It takes so little. I don’t want to look at your dog’s doo and I don’t want to step in it either. Scrubbing poo off of the bottom of my shoe is not how I want to spend the afternoon. It doesn’t take much, my friends, to do the right thing. If you have a dog and you take it for a walk, bring along the essentials. My essentials include a leash, a roll of poop bags and a hanky. Why a hanky? It’s totally unrelated but I’ll tell you. My blasted nose runs constantly so a hanky goes with me everywhere. Anyway, as I was saying, do the right thing. Don’t be that person that stands idly by while their dog leaves a deposit and then casually walks away. And don’t be that person that acts like they’re going to pick it up and after they glance around and think nobody noticed, hightails it out of there.

You have an excuse, you say? You were accosted by aliens? You didn’t even have a chance to get it into the bag before they beamed you up into their spacecraft? Ok. Ok. I’ll buy it this once. But I’d better see some probe marks or at least evidence of a tracking device in your forearm.


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