Poop, There It Is

by gillis

It says something about someone when they don’t pick up their dog’s refuse. I’ve never understood how dog owners can blithely let their animals defecate on lawns, in parks or on sidewalks and just walk away. Our family has a large stash of poop bags, the biodegradable ones, that we keep in our coats, cars, and bags in case we need them. We’re pretty conscientious about cleaning up after Mr. Jingles. The only poop we don’t religiously pick up is the poop in our yard presently frozen into the layers of permafrost that accumulated during an extended stretch of below zero weather. We’d let him out to poop behind the shed and he’d come flying back to the porch to be let in. He didn’t want to travel very far on that frozen landscape. Other than that, we pick it up and throw it away responsibly.

If I’m honest, I’d say we might just be a little self-righteous about the need for everyone to clean up their dog poop. We’re also not above shaming others who forget to pick up their dog poop. I’ve handed bags out to people who have started to walk away from our property after leaving a mess behind. It probably doesn’t do much to help people’s behavior long term, but at least I’ve done something to keep our lawn cleaner and perhaps given people a reason to find another place to defile in the future.

All of this makes what happened today even more out-of-character. I walked our dog this morning and he pooped in the snow-filled driveway diagonally across from our house. I had plenty of bags with me, and I pulled one out to retrieve the mess, but it was out of my reach. The driveway hasn’t been plowed for several weeks so the snow was up at hip level. I leaned over as far as I could, but no, I could not get it. I tried several different angles, but each time I tried, I could not reach the little poopy bundle sitting atop the snow. The dog had managed to walk just far enough our of my reach to leave this little gift for the homeowners.

I had two choices, leave it and walk on, or step into the snow with my clogs and jeans on and cover my lower half with snow in order to retrieve the mess. Had Oscar (Mr. Jingles’ legal name) pooped on anyone else’s property, I would have waded right into that bank and taken care of it without worrying about my comfort or clothing, but he chose the house that belongs to our second homeowner neighbors. These folks employ a battalion of landscapers who drive and park all over our “rustic” property in order to make their property look like a golf course, complete with mowing patterns. Seriously. These are the same people who were upset about our decision to leave a section of our property open after taking down groups of dying trees. The overgrown landscape had provided them with a shield from the local highway. They hoped we were going to do something to our property that would maintain their privacy. They live very high-powered lives. He is wildly successful in business and she is wildly successful as a professional volunteer and board member. Their second home may have been purchased as a refuge, but they have some trouble dealing with the backwards way of life that we yokels live.

I am not native to this area, but I have called it home for more than fifteen years. It is a tourist-driven economy and we rely on second homeowners and vacationers for a healthy economy. I don’t begrudge anyone their success. I do, however, have a problem with the lack of perspective often seen in the local privileged class. There is a lack of graciousness that makes no sense to me. When you don’t have to scrape for everything, shouldn’t you be more generous rather than less so?

Knowing that our neighbors would be calling one of their caretakers to plow and shovel them out if they were going to come out from city this month, I had an easy time deciding. We had a lovely, long walk this morning and my shoes were blissfully dry when we returned home.