How Dare You Poop On Your Dog Walk!

How Dare You Poop On Your Dog Walk!

Like every apartment dwelling dog owner on planet earth, we walk our dogs four times a day because the alternative is unthinkable. Nobody wants to live in a toilet. Tons of trekking about is the byproduct of having dogs in a city. It’s a non-negotiable activity. So, being surprised or upset by poop is not reasonable. But I was surprised and upset, so there you are. Here’s what happened.

For the past 6 years I’ve been using this time to make art, mostly photos, some video. You can see it all on Instagram. Yesterday we are bopping along, and I see some pill bugs on the pavement. While that’s a pretty common bug, I don’t actually come across them very often. A few years back I made a video where the bugs were the eyes. They start out rolled up and then unfurl and walk away, changing the shape of the face. It’s fun. I wanted to do it again.

So, I collect three bugs, two for starring roles and an understudy in case I drop one. I now need to acquire a stick to become the mouth and something to be a nose. Let me make my physical situation crystal clear. I am holding two dog leashes in one hand. I am holding three pill bugs in another. They are on the move. I keep trying to push them back into my hand and they keep hurrying off towards my fingers and wrist, so I clamp my fingers into a fist. That’s both hands in use. I only have two. I also need to find a stick. Feather decides now is when she wants to poop. It’s not a reasonable response but I feel so angry. I take it personally. If it was holding anything else, I could just throw it in my bag. But I can’t do that with living creatures. And I don’t want to detain them any longer than necessary. I do respect them.

I wait for Feather to finish and somehow collect the poop while holding the squirming bugs and manage to tie the bag off. Now I need to carry that as well until we can find a trash can. So, leashes and poop bag in one hand, bugs in the other. Despite it all I am still scanning every bush for dark sticks.

I know all the dark stick trees and bushes and I am not seeing any. You probably don’t think about this, but most sticks have a kind of medium tone and so does pavement. Since you need contrast, dark is best. I’m scanning around like crazy for a trash can and a dark stick and I am agitated. All the bins are put away and all the sticks are blond. I’m fuming.

Story of my life. Nothing at all is abnormal or wrong but I’ve concocted a scenario to feel stress anyway. It’s almost like I enjoy feeling stress. Hmmm….

OMG! Mulch! Mulch is on the dark side and you can usually find a narrow bit to function as a stick or more accurately a mouth shaped “line” I set the poop bag down and grab a few pieces. Then we finally locate a bin and now I only need to scout a good piece of pavement.

It comes out great! You can see the video on my Instagram (latest post), including finding the bugs. I don’t include the poop bag. You’re welcome. I did consider it.

Despite wanting to feel good every second of every minute, I like my process. I like the randomness. I like the obstacles. They guarantee a novelty that intellect cannot provide.

Stop What You’re Doing and Smell This!

Stop What You’re Doing and Smell This!

My dogs and I are not paying attention to the same things, almost to the point of no overlap. Though we are in the exact same situation, mere inches apart, we are experiencing completely different sensations and prioritizing unrelated stimuli. For example, I will notice a person sitting in their car with the windows rolled down, maybe on the phone, maybe smoking a joint. My first impulse is to put some space between us. Just to be polite. We’re outside, no need to bunch up and crowd each other.

Decaf, my male dog, starts manically sniffing the grass along the length of the car, back and forth, from tail pipe to engine. It’s like he’s able to sniff gold and he can smell the jackpot. I’m not sure I do anything with the level of passion he displays multiple times a day sniffing grass. After twirling in a circle a few times right next to the car door, he settles in for a poop. Seriously! I feel like a jerk. If I was in the car I would definitely be like, Move along lady, why are you lurking directly out my window? Ugh! My dogs are oblivious to other people. Humans do not register. 

When approaching a group, Decaf will zig in front of me and zag in front of them causing everyone an inconvenience. I know this and so I tighten the leash and move us to the side. Even constrained, he strains to be under foot. I would think he too would want to avoid all this kinetic action but no, he struggles mightily to remain in alignment with the scent he is tracking. He is laser focused on smell. I don’t know what people mean to him. Are they like streetlamps are to me? Something in the vicinity that doesn’t need to be regarded? I would think that people would be noteworthy. They are to some dogs.

Just the other day a big dog with a ball in his mouth bounded up to me and my friend and needed to say hello to each of us. We received a good sniff from him and a small whine which seemed to be relieved by petting and acknowledgement. Then he loped off.

I like friendly dogs. I hope, if there are more dogs in my future, they are friendly. That’s because I’m friendly and it would feel more comfortable to me. Neither of my dogs are friendly. Decaf is like a navy seal. He is on a mission. Period. There is nothing else. Feather, the female, is traumatized and everything scares her. She flees from all interactions. But if people are NOT trying to interact, then it’s like they don’t exist, and she also seems oblivious to our proximity to others. She mostly focuses on Decaf. If he demonstrates that a patch of weedy grass deserves a good long smell session, she is going to wait patiently until he is done, you don’t smell in tandem apparently, and then she is going to daintily sniff about a bit. Nothing too excessive. She doesn’t seem to get as worked up about it as he does, but she does do something, and she sure takes her time with it. If it’s inconveniently happening near other people, so what?

I am super attuned to other people. How far away they are, what direction they are walking, whether we will intersect and when. Don’t you hate it when you can tell you and someone walking at a right angle to you will collide if you keep going at the same pace? Who’s going to concede and step aside? But aside from the haughty feeling I should have the right of way, I like people and am fine with crossing paths with them. I am not attuned because I am afraid. It’s just part of what registers and most of that registering comes from sight. A little bit comes from listening.

Decaf is mostly only using his nose. If I could be a dog for ten minutes or an hour or a day I would do it. I am not the most adventurous person but this I would do in a heartbeat. I am dying to know what he smells. But not with my nose and my general aroma ignorance. I want to smell with his nose and more importantly I want to perceive the information he is receiving. I want to know what he knows. I want to feel what he feels. Why is that particular spot of grass so psychedelic? Is his fevered and desperate sniffing, huffing, circling, tracking and trailing over a small patch of grass like getting to sample Albert Hoffman’s original batch of LSD? Is it like reading the last ten pages of a whodunit? Is it like hearing the numbers of a winning lottery ticket? Please share the pleasure with me!

But perhaps we could constrain my shape shifting fantasy to invisible smells only. Both dogs have a perplexing attraction to excrement. Yet another point of division between us as to what merits our attention during the daily walks.

I was reading this to my husband to see if my observations squared with him and he said, you should call this one: I Don’t Give A Shit About You But I Do Give A Shit About Shit. This is why I married him. He makes me laugh. And to be clear, that title would be from the perspective of Decaf, not me. I most certainly do give a shit about you and I hope you are doing well.

I’m a better dog than my dogs.

I’m a better dog than my dogs.

I saw a squirrel and they didn’t. Ha!

He was only 6 feet away from us on the ground so closer to their eye line then mine. We starred at each other for moment until he decided we were inconsequential and kept nibbling on whatever he had found. The dogs were sniffing the grass for dog pee with laser focus. Can’t be bothered too look around, must inhale these fantastic ammonia fumes.

So you know what dogs, I win! I’m the more observant dog. Take that!