I have a dog. His name is Lucky and he’s the size that strangers consistently say “what a cute puppy” when they see him. He’s at least seven people-years old. That’s 49 in dog years. To the extent that he understands the strangers, he doesn’t seem to care.
You may be thinking that this is the story of how that charming dog came to live with me. This is not that story. This is instead the story of dog poop.
I am, in this area, incredibly inconsiderate. Just ask anyone who’s walking through the park when they see a dog arch it’s back in that certain way that makes it clear that they couldn’t really be doing anything else but what they are. And then they’ll yell, “I hope you’re going to pick that up!”
To which I give the only reasonable response, nothing. And as they walk away, I do too. Without a bag of warm excrement in my hand.
I realize that leaving my dog’s turds in public is not appropriate. But sometimes I just can’t stoop down to pick it up. Especially when it looks like Lucky had a little too much to drink last night. Or especially when someone reminds me of my ‘responsibility.’
It’s not that I never pick up the dog poop. If the conditions are right, and a bag is close at hand, I’ll do it. But even then I can’t escape the feeling that it’s a rather silly thing to do.
There a number of reasons that picking up dog poop is absurd. For one, horses, whose poop is much larger and much more solid, are allowed to leave turds wherever they want. Their owners seem to feel no need to clean it up, even if it was lain in the middle of a perfectly good hiking or biking trail.
Further, dogs are, to my knowledge, the only animals that poop outside that we are required to clean up after. Surely inside-pooping cats get their poop cleaned up, as do gerbils, rabbits, and guinea pigs, but this is because they’re pooping in our homes.
The where and how of dog poop is much more like the where and how of squirrel or wild/feral rabbit poop. And it’s not as if dog poop is a danger to the environment. All they eat is grain and some rare meat proteins, nothing terribly foreign or worrisome. In fact, it probably makes pretty good fertilizer for all the foreign substances (like grass) that we plant everywhere.
So next time you’re walking your dog, and someone asks you if you’re going to pick that up, do the right thing. Say yes and walk away. Leave the excrement where it falls.