Early this morning, I took doggo for our usual morning walk around the little park near our house. On the way, I spied an old used paper mask on the grassy strip next to the street. I felt vaguely guilty, because I used to occasionally walk with one of those now-banned plastic grocery bags, so I could pick up random rubbish on my walks. That may be a little nuts, but I am a good citizen, after all! Unfortunately, we ran out of those bags months ago, and I’ve yet to even find a suitable disposable receptacle to use for scooping our three kitty litter boxes, never mind figure out how to be a good doobie for the neighborhood. I suppose I could use a doggie waste bag, but they’re kind of narrow to be very useful for anything except the one thing for which they are intended, and for that purpose, they are perfect.
This was exactly what I was pondering when doggo pulled onto that grassy strip, did his circle-sniff and then squatted down to do his business. Right on schedule, halfway to the park. I went to pull a doggie waste bag out of the plastic holder attached to the leash…
Uh-Oh. Oh, shit.
Yes, shit is the word, because the holder was empty. No bags. And there on the grass was an impressively large, steaming, squishy turd, right in front of a cleanly landscaped colonial, and in full view of many other homes.
Now, we have very active town Facebook pages that are probably pretty similar to many other towns’ Facebook pages, in that people do not hesitate to report when their neighbors are being, well, less than neighborly. And there are frequent complain-y posts about dogs. Dogs that bark excessively, and dog owners who let their dogs off-leash where it’s not allowed or don’t clean up their dog’s doo doo. I can’t recall seeing photos with those sorts of posts, but I wouldn’t put it beyond anyone to share photographic evidence of such despicable behavior. After all, people have shared doorbell camera photos of kids playing Ding Dong Dash or smashing pumpkins. Then there’s the photos of people stealing packages or drivers driving erratically, et cetera.
So it wasn’t an option to walk away and leave the stinky mess next to the sidewalk in this very nice part of town, not only because that’s a crappy thing to do, but also because it’s against the town rules, and even more so because there was a distinct possibility that photographic evidence of such a heinous crime would end up in the public sphere. Oh, the shame!
I went into problem-solving mode. I could call home, rustle up Hubby, and demand that he meet me right there at that exact spot with some doggy waste bags. I hesitated, because this past summer, I actually did that, and felt really bad about it. “I’ll definitely check before walks to make sure I have bags, from here on out!” I had promised him.
Yeah, no. So I began searching all of my jacket pockets. Then I contemplated using my winter hat… but it’s such a nice warm hat, and it probably cost like twenty-five bucks. Hmmm.
Then I spied that dirty old mask on the grass. You know, that just might work. So I grabbed it, and placed it over the juicy turd pile, and sort of pulled the corners down to get under it a bit; then I very carefully flipped it all over, and– Voila! The surprisingly heavy doody fit into the mask, which was cupped in the palm of my hand. Problem solved! I walked on, holding the still-warm leaf-and-grass-studded mound out in front of me like a vile chocolate sundae with foliage toppings.
Then I realized that the porous paper mask was not an effective moisture barrier, and tried really, really hard not to focus on that. I half-hoped no one would see me, because, well, obviously. But I half-hoped someone would see me, and recognize what a heroic effort I was making to be a good citizen. Keep Our Neighborhood Clean, indeed!
We made it to the park and the trash cans, and I was thrilled to dispose of everything in the correct receptacle and following town regulations. But I realized that my right hand was now beyond contaminated and I couldn’t touch anything. I felt like my hand was radiating deadly toxins. I couldn’t wait to get home!
I prodded doggo onwards and we made it home, me thankful that the front door was slightly ajar so I could just nudge it open with my shoulder. I washed and washed and washed my hands, many many many times. After all, infection prevention requires vigilance and diligence!
I shared my tale with my family. The kids could not have been more horrified, but Hubby laughed and immediately re-filled the doggie waste bag holder for me.
“I’ll definitely check before walks to make sure I have bags, from here on out!” I promised myself.